This photo bears no connection whatsoever to anything contained or alluded to in this blog. And any relevance is hereby stoutly denied. Just love this unique design. Thankyou google
I haven’t spoken to you about life in Delhi for a long time. The language delhi-ites use is particularly noticeable… and quite endearing. Here I share my language experiences with you
I approach this Sardarji cab organiser in front of our apartment to tell him I need a cab to take my aunt and uncle to Rishikesh.
Halloo. Kitthe janai?
Eh? Does he mean kahan jana hai?
So I hazard a reply Rishikesh.
He clarifies Rrisikes? And then asks me, Kaisee gaddi chyyei?
I am confused. Which car do I want?
He explains, like he is talking to an imbecile, Risikes ke liyeh gaddi hai tho hammare paas bout saare gaddi hai tho kaisee gaddi bhechjoo yaceekinaanaycee
(yaceekinaanaycee = AC ki non AC )
Bheichjoo!! Doesn’t that mean sell?? God! Does he think I want to buy a car??
I want to run. But I am at home and on phone. Shall I disconnect? But I need that cab. Taxi I scream…. Taxi Indica. Indica hai?
Haanjee. Ek minatta. Paaji indica kitthe? He shouted across to somebody. A sardarji is called paaji. Then he continued this time addressing me
Accha kya taime?
The rest of the conversation went on in this manner. He was quite sure he was talking to a fifth-fail and I was not at all sure I was answering correctly. But the Punjabi accents are fascinating.
Then I have two lovely neighbours, typical proud-to-be-in-delhi dellhi-ites. They are warm and friendly. They are full of info and equally eager to gather info. Ye-saadi-badi-achi-hai-kahan-se-khareedi-aap south-waaley-badey-asaani-se-saadi-pehente-ho-isse-kaise-rakh-lete-ho-dinbhar?
Now this is said in one breath; A continuous flow of soft sounds. I store the sounds in short term memory. Take a moment to rewind and replay it in slow motion in my mind. Then I get it all. Aah! I open my mouth, ready with the answer.
But meanwhile my friends have moved on and covered two more topics in the same breathless manner. They could give Shankar Mahadevan a run for his money.
Have I told you about the Monday bazaar in Mayur Vihar. Maybe not. Ok. That’s reserved for another blog. But what I need tell you is about this particular vendor selling greens. He thrust a cluster of pudina at me, urging me to buy it. Bahut meetha hai. It is very sweet. He says. Mint leaves are sweet? But hey, just take a whiff of the mint flavour. There is something sweet in that aroma
The fruitseller cuts a watermelon open and holds it out invitingly. Shakkar hai shakkar!
Eh? Is that what they call watermelon in hindi? Shakkar? Then I realise, he is telling me that the watermelon is tasty. Shakkar as in sugar!
There is the iron-man who takes my crumpled washed saree and promises to deliver it ek dum kadak….that’s crisp…like a fried papad??
At a local furniture store I was delighted with the sales guy’s description of a particularly well made dressing shelf. The sales guy runs his fingers over the smooth curve of the panel and says kitna pyara design hai, meaning what a lovable design.
The choice of words is amazing.
The icing on the cake (or the tadka on the daal) is our driver. When I carry my bag of vegetables he rushes to help. And I a proud Banglorean, protest, saying, I can carry my veggies bag thank you. And he silences me with aap lete hain to accha nahi lagtha. Hamey deejiye. I don’t feel good if you have to carry the heavy bags. He says. Oooo! His chivalry floors me.
It feels as though people here really love their vocation. And express their love for it through words. I have been in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Calcutta. I have not experienced this anywhere else.
Am I turning into a proper Dilli pankha?