Delhi-ism

Once ‘Bihari’ meant ‘a fool’ in Delhi and that was the time when I came to delhi. Although, Bihar is a full fledged state with a historical past and bright culture, it had a very different connotation in Delhi. Probably it was because of the labourers who came to Delhi out of pauperism were unable to retaliate to the mockery. Instead of digging deep into the culture and history of a far away land an average delhiite prefers stereotyping. I always had to clarify that Jharkhand is not Bihar. The focus of Delhi has now shifted from Bihari, or Madrasi, to Chinki, and the North-Easterners are now facing the brunt. Nido Taniyam lost his life because of his unconventional hair style, a girl was molested at DU metro station I don’t know why, an ex-army man and his wife were beaten in their apartment in Munrika. All this happened, not because there is anything wrong in the north easterners, its because of lack of ability to accept something different.
Delhi has its own composite culture but I think it should be a little more accomodative and less sterotyping. Every outsider has to acclimatise to Delhi’s mannerisms. Shouldn’t then Delhi be a bit more flexible? In the next paragraph I would like to point out some of the Delhisms-i.e. things that you are going to find commonly in delhi but they may be a rarity elsewhere.

1. Mutter paneer chowmein- I bet even Xi Jinping didn’t know about it, until he visited Delhi. People love cheeze here,so they put it in everything from dosas to chole-bhature.
2. Socks with sandals- Its not a faux pas in Delhi,its rather a fashion statement. Some prefer white socks under black sandals. Isn’t that some style statement. The fashion police here beats to death a boy with an uneven haircut.
3. Seedha-Ulta haath: Right hand is straight hand and left one is inverted hand( or wrong hand according to some) in Delhi. If thats not enough, we have many other misleading directions here
4. Takkar pe=at the point of strike or at the site of hit…but in Delhi it means an intersection.
5. saath me= with, but here it means by the side of something
6. Laal batti= red light, in delhi it means all the three colors of traffic signal, imagine telling a bus driver” take a right turn, when you see a red light”
7. Then there is a special diction here, bulb is balab, park is parak, red is rad, bed is bad… definitely the accent is as dead as “Dad” here.

Now lets suppose an outsider asks a Delhiite for directions to the nearest eatery, he would get direction somewhat like this:

Walk “with” the trees, soon you will reach a “hitting spot”, take a turn to the side of your “wrong/inverted hand” after walking for a few “saconds” you will find a “rad light”, you can eat “mutter paneer chowmein” there.
Just think what would happen to someone who doesn’t know hindi well- a North Easterner or a South-Indian, they become a reverse laughing stock here.

Please Delhi please! Before making fun of someone, always remember ” Big brother is watching you”.

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Dry wit

Two events full of wit that I find  worth sharing:

Our college fine arts society was having fun in the canteen when suddenly one junior made a triangle out of a straw. He asked me to describe a girl sitting infront of me, the only catch was that she should be described using triangle as the motif. It was very abstract. But I tried.
I said, if she would have been a triangle, “she must have been A-CUTE triangle”. To this she promptly replied, ya “He is RIGHT…..Triangle.”

Another funny incident was when my pocket money got over before the end of the month. Instead of asking my friend for money I said to him,” I despise my deplorable destitution”. To this he replied, ” I Prescribe you proactive prostitution”, indicating his disinclination towards lending money at the end of the month.

Dilemma

It was the begining of november last year,perhaps the first sunday. At around 7’o’ clock I was coming back from my local guardian’s house. It was a part of my routine those days. Every sunday I went to visit my local guardian, who lived in Laxmi Nagar, I used to come back to DU by metro and then walked down to my PG.
But that day was a bit different, I saw a thin old rickshaw-puller at the DU metro station who was requesting everyone, but no one boarded his rickshaw. Whether out of pity or his expected speed hardly matters. Instead of walking I decided to book his rickshaw for Vijay Nagar. I won’t lie that I wanted to help the guy,but truthfully, leaving that guy wanting for customers didn’t seem somewhat right at that moment. It was cold, he was old, he definitely was in need of money. He could have easily begged for help, and many in a similar situation would not have hesitated. His condition looked worse than many of the professionally pestering beggars of delhi. It seemed to me that he was different, he was a man with self-respect.
I felt like talking to that guy,I wanted to strike some converstaion with him. I just wanted to know what was it that made him look strikingly different from others. Why does the composure on his face not match with his tardy dress? What was it that pushed him into pulling a rickshaw? Should I blame the government? Or was his son responsible for this? I just wanted to blame someone. Anyone!

To break the ice, I asked,” oh uncle ji! Don’t you feel cold? You are showing your body just like Salman Khan; without any reason.” I ended the sentence with a fake smile, I didn’t want to look disturbed at the elan with which he was pulling the rickshaw.  He turned around and said, ” I don’t have that now, so I don’t feel cold.” Perhaps, he was refering to clothes or may be something else. But at that very moment I felt like helping that guy. I wanted to give him at least the sweatshirt I was wearing. But there were two issues involved here, first I wanted to help without hurting his well preserved self-respect and secondly, the sweatshirt belonged to my friend.

I decided to leave the sweat shirt under the seat and pay my friend for his loss. I tied the sweat-shirt to a rod so that it doesn’t fall-off and end up as a wasted attempt. I paid the the richshawalla hurriedly,pretending that I was getting late for something, I quicly entered a narrow lane so that he can’t trace me even if he notices the sweat shirt.
On reaching the PG my friend put across me a very simple question ” How can you donate someone else’s property?” I said I’ll pay for your loss. He said, “I am not asking for money, but please tell me how can you donate someone else’s property?”
I had no answers.

Family Life

Our society has assigned a stereotypical behavior to every relationship, parents are expected to be caring, sons and daughters to be obedient,daughters-in-law to be dutiful, and so on. In reality we see a lot of deviation from what has been prescribed and mostly we don’t mind such anomalies, for they add at least some flavor to what would have been a highly monotonous social life. I remember, the son of my first landlord in Delhi,who used to abuse his father whenever the latter smoked. The father was a TB patient and  the son cared for him; but calling him by words that have to be covered under a kilohertz beep, was quite eccentric! He remained a matter of discussion within our group for a few months.

Another guy, a distant relative of mine had once crossed all the limits. After a few years of his marriage, he developed a sudden interest in God. He would do all the religious rituals with great fervor, but lost all his steam when it came to his kids. I don’t know where he learnt about such a God who would be pleased by his prayers while he left his family starving.

Once this guy left his wife at home; please don’t ask me whats so special about it?

Because she was 6 months pregnant.

Ask me Why?

Just to spread the word of God!

I have heard that, for God, billions of years are like seconds, God certainly would not have mind a delay of three months. Nevertheless, he left on his quest to spread the Word of God.

Whilst he was busy spreading the word of God ,his wife’s condition was deteriorating. She got herself admitted to the government hospital. She did it all on her own. Due to lack of proper care during pregnancy and also in the hospital, the baby was still-born. When the lady was lying half conscious on the hospital bed,the naked dead body was on a tray, the father was missing from the scene and no relatives were present, she asked a janitor to throw the dead-body,at some place where the dogs won’t eat it. This great apathy is unexpected from a mother,but this is a true incident.

As a male I can never understand her pain,but unlike the father I would try my best to do so. 

Most of the countries don’t register still-births, India is no different. The baby with no name or number was thus born dead and not murdered due to negligence.

At times I feel it is imperative not to deviate too much from the social norms.