December 07, 2006

Slang Sighting: Bombay Docks

Slang term used on the Mumbai modelling circuit to describe someone with bad body odour.
"Mumbai lingo is a bit different. There’s a lot of Hindi slang and it’s mostly abusive, but used a lot in the modeling circuit. [A fairly common term here] is ‘bombay docks’, used when a girl has bad body odour." (Mumbai model Sahil Shroff quoted in The slang bang! by Reshma Arya, DNA, December 4, 2006)

November 24, 2006

English of India

An exhibition by Meena Kadri of the National Institute of Design, in collaboration with sign painter Yasin Chhipa. Catch it on Flickr. (For the ignorant, here's a basic definition of Roadside Romeo).

It's Hinglish, innit?

From BBC News:
Hinglish - a hybrid of English and south Asian languages, used both in Asia and the UK - now has its own dictionary.
A dictionary of the hybrid language has been gathered by Baljinder Mahal, a Derby-based teacher and published this week as The Queen's Hinglish.
Much of it comes from banter - the exchanges between the British white population and the Asians," she says.

"It's also sometimes a secret language, which is being used by lots of British Asians, but it's never been picked up on."

And in multi-cultural playgrounds, she now hears white pupils using Asian words, such as "kati", meaning "I'm not your friend any more". For the young are linguistic magpies, borrowing from any language, accent or dialect that seems fashionable.
Kati? That would be katti, I think, as in 'I'm katti with you' (cool title for Himesh Reshammiya's next doleful hit?)

June 09, 2006

Street Cricket

A glossary of street cricket terms from Wikipedia. This one's done the rounds as one of those annoying forwarded emails, but it's worth a read nevertheless. How else would you learn the meaning of this mysterious battle-cry?

Upeeeet (Up-it) Etymology partly English - When the batsman, usually the sothai hits the ball in the air, it is a common practice for all the fielders to scream Upeeet encouraging the fielder in the closest proximity to the ball to catch it.
Many of the terms listed are here originally from South India, so I'm not familiar with them. For example:

Gaaji Etymology English - Comes from 'Taking guard' - The Indian reference for an 'innings', usually for batting. It is a well known fact that captains of street cricket teams always prefer to bat first irrespective of conditions. A team batting is said to have had its 'gaaji' and a team which did not bat can get their 'gaaji' the next day

'Idea' Mani Etymology English. Mani refers to a common tamil name. - An intelligent player in the team who always comes up with ideas. Sometimes used in derogatory context to refer to someone who always comes up with ideas that won't materialize.
Street cricket always involves a great deal of improvisation. If you don't have the right equipment, or enough players, the rules of the game need to be adapted. That's how you land up with terms like these:

Automatic Wicketkeeper Etymology English - This indicates that a wicketkeeper is assumed to be standing behind the stumps. No person is placed in that position due to lack of fielders. If the batsman knicks the ball and it goes behind the stumps, he is out caught by the automatic wicketkeeper.

Double-side batsman Etymology English - When the total number of players is odd, one player is declared as Double-side batsman. Typically this person keeps the wicket and will not be allowed to bowl. Also known as inter-pinter.
And finally, do follow the links at the bottom of the Wikipedia entry, they'll lead you to some more glossaries.
Poi Bowling The hard-to-please Chennaiite’s description of the stuff dished out by most spin bowlers. Poi means a lie, and this term denotes lack of spin or fictitious spin. A variation is poi bowler. (V Ramnarayan, The romance of TN cricket, ChennaiOnline)

Baby Over A concept truly Indian. It was definitely invented by the strong guys of the team who realized that it was too expensive to allow a Chintu to bowl half-a-dozen balls which could prove fatal to the team. Hence, the Chintus bowled only 3 balls after which a Sameer or Jaspreet took over. No hard feelings. (Arvind Iyer, Iyer-archi's Blog)

June 02, 2006

Tapori Talk on Pak Radio

Mumbaiyya, the patois of Mumbai's streets is taking over the airwaves in Pakistan, reports Hasan Mansoor in Mid-Day ('Tapori India on Pak radio', Mid-Day, April 16, 2006).

Pakistani linguists have joined their Indian counterparts in lamenting the way Bambaiyya has defiled spoken language.

Panga lena (to invite trouble), phadda dalna (quarrel), jugar (doing something by any means), lash pash (fantastic), khancha (backdoor), lafra (quarrel), supari (commissioning a killer to kill someone), chief saab (the boss), and phrases like topi ghumana (to befool), meter ghoomna (become wild and violent), pinki hona (begrudged), hut jana (become violent and annoyed) — these are some of the words Pakistani youth are importing from India and popularising through radio and TV.
The article's worth a read, though I should point out that very few of the slang terms listed here are actual tapori talk. Chief saab is Pakistani slang, and so I suppose is pinki hona (no idea where that comes from, it sounds more P'njabi than Mumbaiyya).

Bitten by the Blurb

BollyWHAT? examines the fractured English of Indian DVD blurbs in a dissertation titled 'Bitten by the Blurb: The DVD Synopsis as Comedy Routine'. Very funny indeed, and I'm waiting for them to turn their attention to DVD subtitles. Meanwhile, here's the ingenious plot of a B-grade movie called Ek Aur Vishpot:

Hero of this film is honest muncipal commissioner, who is very strict about his rules & regulations. The villian belongs with the evil deeds. Their illegal construction are destroyed by our hero with the help of law & order. The villians plan in such a way our hero taken into the court. Court declares that our hero is pagal [mad] and taken to mental asylum.

In the mental asylum, he observed three characters (Anjan Srivastava, Kiran Kumar, Anees Khan) and escaped from the asylum. By mistake Asrani (Mad Doctor) joined in the mission, our hero uses all the four mads like weapon and all the mad characters kill one after another. If pagal kill a person, no punishment.

Finally hero again taken to court. Hero argued in the court:

1. If I am murderer, I could not be Pagal

2. But the same court given the judgement that I am a pagal

3. If I am a pagal I am not a murderer.

Judgement still awaited.

Complexion Coffee

I've heard of metre coffee, but what exactly is 'complexion coffee'? I came across this term in an Outlook review:

Coffee, a naturalised white man's drink, was introduced by the Portuguese, who also introduced the original version of the rasogolla. The natives, as the imperial mind put it, took to it with alacrity, abandoning their rice gruel for this bittersweet affair. Coffee was called complexion coffee in the family. It was something that the Brahmin mind needed with that other meticulous creation, The Hindu.
The book under review is In those days there was no coffee: Writings in Cultural History by A.R. Venkatachalapathy. It sounds interesting, and I'll surely read it one of these days, soon as I find a copy. But till then, any guesses?

May 31, 2006

The Below Statement

'The use of below in Indian English is well worth a study', writes K S Yadurajan in the Deccan Herald.

Several railway officers have assured me that a standard opening in railway official correspondence is: ‘Dear Sir, with reference to your above see my below’.

Below can be used as a adverb: go below the deck; we saw the blue waters spread below us. But in IE we see the use of below as an attributive modifier of a noun — the below statement.
More here.

Pirate Talk

Mid-Day ('Takla Hatela ya Lamba Khamba?', Mid-day, May 20, 2006) reports that the Mumbai underworld has coined new slang names for Bollywood actors and actresses. This list was extracted from a conversation between video pirates in Karachi and Mumbai, recorded by an anti-piracy cell.

The men

- Chyawanprash: Amitabh Bachchan (after the brand he endorses)
- Takla Hatela: Salman Khan (recently went bald)
- Jhakaas Mamu: Anil Kapoor
- Chikna Kaana: Saif Ali Khan
- Junior Daadhi: Abhishek Bachchan (thanks to his ever-present stubble)
- Booddha Hakla: Shah Rukh Khan
- Kavla hakla: Shahid Kapur (the aspiring SRK)
- Satkela AK-47 or Munnabhai: Sunjay Dutt
- Kala Ghoda: Ajay Devgan
- Charsi Punter: Fardeen Khan
- Chumma Jumma: Emraan Hashmi

The women

- Kajrawali: Aishwarya Rai
- Chhipkali: Urmila Matondkar
- Item bomb: Mallika Sherawat
- Boodhi Ghodi Lal Lagam: Rekha
- Carrom Board: Priyanka Chopra
- MMS item: Kareena Kapoor
- Shaani Batli: Rani Mukerji
- Lamba Khamba: Shilpa Shetty
- Khallaas Baby: Isha Koppikar
- Mota rola: Manisha Koirala