Sunday, 15 April 2012

Colloquially English!

Days and nights of Bangla
Meals of fish-n-rice in a Bengali’s home;
Color them all in new colors,
And usher in a happy new year!
My salutations to one and all for a bright and prosperous Bangla, Malayali, Punjabi, Tamil or  any other new year that you could be celebrating.

How could I not write about this language that has held me in awe for ever so long? English it is I talk about. The language had its origin in North West Germanic and compared to the Modern English that we speak today, it’s unintelligible to most of us. Brought to England by the German invaders who colonized parts of the empire that in later years colonized the rest of the world, it had its influence on other languages and was influenced by others equally. In modern days the English we speak tends to adhere either to one of its two varieties – The American English and the British English. Now India having been a colony of the empire where the sun never set, have been largely influenced by the British English so much so to decide to use it as its official language. As I type this article, I however note that “s”in most words ending with “ing” (eg. agonizing) are automatically converted by MS word to “z”. That’s American English for you. The advent of technology has Americanised our British English. While we have been taught to “honour thy word” in school, MS word asks me to “honor thy word”.

English has added to its kitty words from the Indian vocabulary like “pukka”, Pundit etc. and it return for its magnanimity, we have adopted words from its vocabulary into our dialects, Indianised its use to speak what is called colloquial English, like Hinglish and Benglish to name a few. Examples are varied – the use of a English word in a Hindi sentence or even writing Hindi words in English and ones that commercials frequently use – “Life ho to aisi”.The same goes for Benglish. All the talk of Mamta didi going gung ho about “Poriborton”is simply Benglish, to me.

I came across an interesting poem in this context which I proceed to share with you, yes its hilarious and I cannot help but praise the writer for his/her ingenuity.

Through the jongole I am went
On shooting Tiger I am bent
Boshtaard Tiger has eaten wife
No doubt I will avenge poor darling’s life
Too much quiet, snakes and leeches
But I not fear these sons of beeches
Hearing loud noise I am jumping with start
But noise is coming from damn fool’s heart
Taking care not to be fright
I am clutching rifle tight with eye to sight
Should Tiger come I will shoot and fall him down
Then like hero return to native town
Then through trees I am espying one cave
I am telling self – “Bannerjee be brave”
I am now proceeding with too much care
From far I smell this Tiger’s lair
My leg shaking, sweat coming, I start to pray
I think I will shoot Tiger some other day
Turning round I am going to flee
But Tiger giving bloody roar spotting this Bengalee
He bounding from cave like football player Pele
I run shouting “Kali Ma tumi kothay gele”
Through the jongole I am running
With Tiger on my tail closer looming
I am a telling that never in life
I will risk again for my damn fool wife!!!!
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Saturday, 7 April 2012

Of pickles...and prosaic matters

Between Rushdie and Kiran Desai, I have been busy. I haven't written or blogged much lately. But Mr Ashok Banker says he reads, writes and researches for 18 hours every day. I hide behind the cupboard in shame, I admittedly haven't been that diligent. But then, I haven't been totally useless either. So, what have I done? Ah, I have been writing my own book and pickling stuffs.

Pickling mangoes
Well, my book is drafted. The pickles are half-done. What pickles you ask? You see, there are things I prefer buying from the market and then there are things I wouldn't have anyone else make for me. So, I gifted myself the art of making pickles. Long years ago, I pickled the Indian olive and gooseberries. I tried them on various unsuspecting victims - aunts and cousin. The result was lip-smacking. So, off I went and made a marmalade of lemons. But later I lost myself in the labyrinth of life and the art was forgotten. During a shopping trip two weeks back, I noticed a woman picking up 3 kgs of mangoes. My curiosity notwithstanding, I asked her what they were for. She said, "pickling". I said, "Wow, you are making pickles while the sun shines." With the Bangalore sun beating down like crazy, I decided its time I too revived my skills. So I have a bottle of mangoes, limes, chillies and tomatoes basking in the sun during day time. While they get ready, I decided to pickle my brains; no sunshine needed.

I bought myself a book by Deepak Chopra and found myself trying to get clinically spiritual. If you are not familiar with the man, he is a renowned physician and a spirtual guru. His book - "Ageless body, timeless mind" has made a human pickle of me. And no, I'm not waiting to be salvaged from the bottle. You can label the bottle "Life's vagaries unlimited".
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