This and That - some more

by Ramesh Mahadevan

In our great linguistic melting pot country, we speak Ticklish English. The entire range of emotions can be measured in Hindish, Benglish, Punjish Tamlish and Gujjish. Here is a letter I got from my bosom buddy from India.

Hey Ramesh there !

Bhat man, no nooj fram you far lang time ? Bhat matter eej ? Hab you forgotten me ? Myself, Deepak Khanna from IIT Kanpur. Same Kolege, same nolej, hee hee.

Arre bhai, yesterday I go restaurant and they ask, what bil you hab ? Cadberry ? Papsee ? Or one bottle Thunderbolt, one 'baees ka pauwa' and one lag piece ? Or bil it be straight 'chempen' ? Talking of alcohol, do you know there are three kinds of beer in India ? One you drink, one you sleep with (called 'taddy beer' - you hug it) and one you having nothing to do with, since you cannot 'beer' it. Not to talk of the Gujju Beers of Dalal Street who in these Bull Harshad Mehta days, ask each other, (instead of the customary 'kem che ?') 'scam che ?'

Coming back to good old Punjaaaaab, everything is 'fitta-fit', thank you. 'The loins of Bhatinda welcome you' says a roadside sign. The greatest of their loins, Ajit (of the 'Tawny', 'Raabert' and Mona Darrrling fame) inaugurated the 'Groin young loins, mathlab Leo as in leopard' Club just the other day.

The Bengalis like to 'shit outside' in the cool 'bridge'. Of course, it is impossible to cross the Howrah 'breeze' these days, especially during the 'crush' hour, when your clothes in the crowded buses get 'crust'.

Bengalis do not have 's' sound and Oriyas do not have 'sh'. So when Bengalis sing 'God shave the queen', Oriyas shout 'Same, same'.

Delhi 'sacooter taxi vallas' will say 'Woh Susu ki' referring to Maruti Suzuki. And a Delhi teenager might ask a restaurant waiter to 'rape the snakes' (wrap the snacks) and 'snakes' could be anything from 'peeza' to 'baig-dish' (baked dish) to 'senwich' or a plain 'aam-late'. And the waiter asks 'Do you want them raped separate, separate or together ?'

Which all amounts to BJP. No, not the Bharatiya Janata Party, but 'Bada Jollu Party' of Tamil Nadu (this acronym refers to a 'lecher') with its 'jalrafying' tendencies. Ready-aaa ? In Tamil Nadu, 'somebody else' becomes 'somebody yells' and villages become 'vill-aage' and marriages, 'marr-aaage' and people vacation in 'Gova' and 'Lenden'. And not to forget that bakery called 'Standard confessionary' (sic) in Madras who are the 'biggest loafers in town'. And Madras folks are also concerned about others' opinions and wonder 'What will four people think, sir ?'

Which brings us to my native land, Rajasthan. One english tutor was heard telling his pupil that 'pittal' is 'bras'. And also that 'Mooli' is 'carrot'. The mother of the student overheard and came in and asked 'Isn't Mooli radish ?' To which the embarrassed teacher replied 'Yes, yes, Mooli is sometimes reddish and sometimes whitish.'

And two IIT Kanpur professors were bickering about regional accents. When one Bihari professor got up to make a speech "Bhy bharchu of the authority bheshted in me ...." he was interrupted by his Malayali colleague, (A Malayali colleague = Malayaleague) who commented "What atrocious accent !". Stung, the Bihari retorted. "Bhat bil you shay ?" "Why, I would say it 'praperly'" said the Malayali "Like 'By wertu yof the yatarity wasted in me...."

I am not knowing if you are doing the understanding ?

Deepak Khanna

Folks, go see a hindi movie. Really. I think Bollywood has finally emerged from the pre-Cambrian era. A lot of hindi movies these days are pop-slick, technique-rich, entertaining and are eminently watchable - to the point you rarely hit the fast forward button on your VCR. For some of us, the diehard faithfuls, hindi movies have always been the umblical cord that linked us to our distant motherland. Now, in addition, we get entertained too.

If you want to see a simple potboiler, go and rent 'Hum hain raahi pyaar ki'. It is such 'clean' fun you can even watch it with your parents. If you want an intellectualized 'love story', rent out 'Lamhe'. Then, spare a saturday to watch 'Khalnayak', and the odds are you will really like the controversial, catchy song "Choli ke peeche kya hai". Then follow it with 'Darr', a film where Juhi Chawla is in heat for almost the entire duration of the movie. The next week, rent 'Gardish', and enjoy the art direction and the sets. The slums of Bombay are created with incredible attention to details and a lot of 'existing light photography' is used. If you want even more offbeat, you can always see 'Maya memsaab', (personally recommended to us by Faroukh Sheikh when we accidentally ran into him in Pittsburgh [and also by my friend Geeta Cowlagi], not to mention the debate that raged here on the SCI about the movie)

No, the old formulas are not dead yet and movies are not totally 'artistic'. Yet, the repackaged, streamlined versions, a la Hollywood, hold your attention. For example, the 90s villains no longer rape hapless women. In fact, the 'Gardish' villain, ('Billa Jilani'), even professes that he is a man of integrity and that he does not believe in rapes. There are vicious fights and gratuitous violence, but they rarely go 'dishoom dishoom'. There are usually none of the annoying side stories or distracting unfunny comedy tracks. The heros and villains actually have muscles and tighter bellies. The hero and heroine still sing songs, but love scenes from movies like 'Darr' can be really romantic !

I work as a hospital volunteer on sundays. I deal primarily with the elderly patients recovering from stroke or complicated surgeries. One old woman in a wheelchair asked me where I was from. And when I said I was from India, she said,

"Aha, I used to know a woman from India. A good girl."

A nurse standing beside me was curious and asked "Don't women from India have dots on their foreheads ?" Remember, I live in Colorado, where there aren't too many desis.

"Yes, yes, my dear." said the old woman "And my friend used to wear a saree. You know, a saree is an interesting dress. There are no buttons or zippers. It is just a sheet of cloth and my friend would simply wrap it around her."

"Really ?! Isn't it kind of difficult to wear, if there are no buttons ?" - the nurse.

"Oh, yes" replied the old woman "And that's why my friend always wore six underwears."

I had to excuse myself to go out and have a little laugh.


All you folks -
On this cold wintry day
You drive your cars in a blizzard
Cursing and yelling and skidding.
In snowy, hazy daylight,
You have your headlights on,
Heat on, wipers on,
And everything else on, on.
When you reach your workplace,
And park your cars right,
You might want to know that,
At least some of you will
Forget to turn off your lights
And drain your battery.