Its amazing how people around you influence your vocabulary. Without releasing you pick up words and phrases and start using them. Here’s a list of words /phrases from Hindi, English and a few assorted Indian languages that I heard, liked and adopted. This is my way of saying thanks to all the people who have enriched my vocabulary.
1. Dhakkan– this is credited to a certain Miss Bakshi who was a really cool roomie and absolutely loved using this word. In fact, I think she should have patented it- would have made her mighty rich by now! I picked up the word from her but began using it extensively after moving to Mumbai. The word is a bit infectious-people around me in office have started using it too! People who I would call dhakkan are now calling me dhakkan! The word is used as an alternate to ‘silly’, ‘stupid’, ‘dodo’.
2. Man- this is the classic Goan thing to say. I picked it up sometime during my tenure at TISS. This word is generally used at the end of the sentence. For example “what are you doing, man?” Please note that the person this sentence is addressed to may or man not be a man. Its just one of those things you say. The pronunciation of the word ‘man’ is kinda of like ‘men’, but not quite. Its hard to describe- you have to hear it to know exactly how to speak it
3. Don’t bother- Sera’s favourite thing to say when she wants to dismiss something as unimportant or avoidable. Two words that very effectively tell the other person, this isn’t even worth my time. I use this on and off and have found it to be an effective tool to divert the conversation to nicer, more exciting topics.
4. Barabar– This is typical bambaiya. An unbelievably flexible word, the meaning of which depends entirely on the context and usage. But please note it does not mean the same as the Hindi barabar, which actually means equal. The bambaiya version can mean “correct” like in “hisab barabar hai”, “I agree to what you say” like in “haan, yeh to barabar hai na”, “ok” like in “barabar hai”. We are fabulously flexible with our language in Mumbai so you can make up more meanings and usages of the word it you like!
5. Silly goose- At one point extensively used by my mum. She gave up the word and I took it on board. The first time I heard the word was at age 3 when my mum called me a silly goose. I don’t quite remember the incident leading to my being called that, but I do remember the emotional outburst that I unleashed after I heard the word. I though I was being given the worst foul word in the history of man kind and cried buckets. Nowadays considered a harmless, mild word by me and used frequently with friends (not family!)
6. Lallulaal, Ghanchakkar, Joker- Aah! These words are credited to my dad. As interesting as these words sound, his usage of these words seems inversely proportionate to his age. I haven’t heard him utter these words in a long, long time. Use of any of the above mentioned three words was saved by dad for people he thought were too stupid/ silly/ behaved weirdly. I find these words interesting sounding but don’t use them too often myself.
7. Maha– An all time favourite of one of my aunty who substitutes the English ‘very’ with the Hindi ‘maha‘. Considering the number of years she has been using this word, Hinglish was in fashion much before the newspapers starting writing about it. Of all the possible word combinations with maha (maha late, maha lallu,maha pagalpan etc etc), maha bore is loved the most by her. I used to use this word a lot till sometime back, but lately I seem to have forgotten about it! Time to bring it back in popular use.
8. Chamber – Used by my maternal aunt. When she wants to have a full fledged argument with her husband or kids, she refers to the room in which the fireworks are to happen as the ‘chamber’. The usage of this word is especially saved for times when the kids are misbehaving in front of visitors- this ensure that the kids know they are either in or are heading towards, deep trouble and the visitors remain oblivious to the impending family Mahabharata. Unfortunately, my aunt doesn’t realize that by now everyone is the family knows exactly what she means when she says “chamber main jaana padega”
9. Awesome- this seems to be the preferred word of all 14-21 year olds in Mumbai city. A short trip in the daily during college hours will tell you just how important this one word is to them. Absolutely anything under the sun can be described using this word. “the lecture was awesome”, “these samosas are awesome”, ” those shoes that lady is wearing are awesome” etc etc.
10. Kewl- An alternate to ‘good’, excellent’, ‘wonderful’ that was very ‘in’ till sometime back and was used by every tom, dick and harry. I think I used the word more in writing than while speaking. I am totally over the word now.
11. Alibagh se aiyela hai kya?- One of our office assistants lorrves this line. You watch hindi movies, do you really want me to tell you what that line means?
12. Su chhe? – Credited wholly and solely to my gujju neighbours who feel that it is imperative to talk in loud booming voices al through the day. The lady of the house over uses this small sentence and since it has been drummed into my head day after day, I have taken a liking to it.
13. Kabul Expraas, Braaad, Baad- These are words used by the brat of my ex-boss who, judging from his pronunciations, is a punju reborn in a marathi family! I can pronounce these words the correct way, but saying Kabul Express, Bread and Bed is just not as much fun! Thanks Adi!
14. Kutti- thank to Lakshmi, this word was added to my highly limited knowledge of Tamil during the trip to Chhattisgarh. With the addition of that word, my Tamil vocab has gone up to an impressive four words! lol! I don’t find much use of the word in Mumbai but I do try throwing it in at some point in the conversation with locals while in Pondicherry.
15. Sobti- Kannada for “little”. Taught to me by Naitra during one of our online chats. Since that’s the only Kannada word I know, I use it randomly while chatting in English. The simplest and commonest usage is in ‘sobti mad’.
16. 🙂 Two people come to mind- Neha and Bodhisatwa. Both of them use happy smilies almost as much as they use words!! Chats with them are sprinkled with 🙂 and: D at regular intervals. Great ways to cheer someone up! 🙂 🙂 🙂
17.’The plurals’-This is not a word, it is a full blown language. Invented by I don’t know who but used by Areeba and Naitra. The language is essentailly simple- you have to say everything in present continuous and in plurals. For example ” I am having great happiness in my heart at seeing your successes.” Ok,I suck at this. I will have to request the experts to provide decent examples. Nitrus,Areebadi are you listening?
18.Super- this along with ‘Really’ are my very own favourites.