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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

 feb 2014


मांचो...mancho .... with the n pronounced as an "anuswar" rather than a full न, is what we call a bed in Konkani.

Today I was talking to a friend. We were discussing and dissecting the movie Highway. Both of us held opposing view points and I realised that the ' gappa' session would be a long one. I got up from my chair and moved towards the bed, wanting  to curl up in there and comfortably chat with her. In this, while my phone was tucked in between my shoulder and neck , the chubby cheek touched the touch screen and the call got  disconnected.


 I called her back . "kya hua" she asked. She is an old friend and a bestie.... a Konkani married to a Gujarati. 

" kuch nahi , Manche pe baithne jaa rahi thee... call disconnect hua"  I replied

She burst out into a hearty laughter and said  "  arrey.. M A N C H O"..I  haven't heard that word being spoken in years.     BED , is what I refer to it.    At home the  spouse and child while speaking in Gujarati , also,  refer to it as the bed. "



Her glee at being reminded of  a forgotten word, in turn, reminded me of another incident.

For the first eleven years of my life, I lived in a Maharastrian neighbourhood. A Marathi speaking CKP family, a Marathi speaking family from Belgaum, a Marathi speaking Brahman family, and another  family who spoke the language with a less 'susanskrut leheza'.  


The women would discuss, "aaz kay swayampak".. and aai  would say "aaz bazaar aanla aahe." Baazaar would mean the sea food.  

I would argue with aai... "You  went to the Baazaar to buy the fish  You bought some fish , not the 'entire Baazaar'     "  


Marriage had  brought me to Andheri and  a cosmopolitan neighborhood   - Muslim, Christian,  Malayalam speaking families, Punjabis and then a few Maharashtirans.

We would all meet at a haldi kunkoo  or at the New Year's eve party  and 
other functions celebrated in the building.   The ice breaking conversation amongst the senior ladies would usually be "aaj kya banaaya lunch mein... kaay swayampaak." .    "Rajma, chole, chowmein.... would be the usual answers.. and then one day I heard a neighbour say,  " kaahi naahi ho, aaz Baazaar kela. "

A wide smile spread across my face ... "Why are you  so excited ", they asked..."you don't even eat fish"


How could I explain to them .... that one expression.... it was  music to my ears.  It  had transported me back in time..reconnecting me  to my childhood, to the  memories of my favorite people

 Yaadon ka kya hai.... they come unannounced,  unheralded .  Anything can be a trigger - sounds, smells ,  fragrances, songs, words....

And then a thought came to the mind .   Aren't we forgetting our languages? T
erms, phrases, idioms, the quirks.... which are uniquely ours... those, which connect a community together...      In that effort or rather effortless adhering  to the use  of  the (dominant)  common language,  English ,   Hindi or any other.... we are sometimes forgetting vocabulary which is peculiarly ours.... distinct.


Language,  is but  a means of communication.... yet it is an  identity.    There is something about the 'matrubhasha' which is close to the heart.   'My mother tongue', is a  relevant term even today, giving us a sense of belonging... roots.


The chawl culture, the trusting days of  a bygone era , where we hopped in and out of the neighbour's homes,  the single channel world of television.... it exposed  us to so many languages.. customs.

It pleases me to hear a familiar word in another language...'motte' in my mother tongue - konkani,  is an egg.   It means the same in Tamil or Malayaalm.   Bengali and Konkani have some similar or similar sounding words. I love drawing  such comparisons.  

Pass on your legacy, your  culture, your language.  It is one global village we are citizens of, yet, is it impossible to retain a  uniqueness?   Differences attract, don't they?


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