DippyBlogs (dippyblogs) wrote,

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Of Kolkata, Vacations, Bengali and Mothertongues

I am back from being home for a short holiday. A glorious one where I attended Pujo, and went to Sikkim. Then why doesnt it feel like one?
Maybe its because of the terrible cold Ive caught, or maybe its because of the hectic activity filled days. Maybe its the pressure to still show the best of Calcutta to N and make him love it. Maybe its all combined.
I wish I could stay a few more days there, I wish it was Saturday tomorrow.
Im missing the filtered sun, and the cool tinged winter breeze. The sunlight on my face as I wake up in the bedroom of my childhood. The home made food made by Mom. The sound of Bengali everywhere.

I have realised through living in Bombay, the interchangeabe ironies of using some Bengali words here and there. Mostly inspired through over dramatic films like Devdas (the SRK-AR one), people here tend to overuse and misuse some words often, especially the moment they hear I am a Bengali.
To touch back upon the warmth of Kolkata, and to introduce you to the correct usage of some common terms, here is the meat of the post:
1. Chee chee! : This is similar to the Hindi term, and signifies distaste. As in, "Chee Chee, the floor is so dirty!", or, 'Chee Chee, still not done your homework?'
2. Uribaba! or Orebaba : This is a term to be used less frequently. A term used to show pleasant surprise, this is a very rarely used word. As in, "Uribaba, how big you have grown in the past 5 years!" or, "orebaba, thats a lot of gifts!"
3. Oreb-baba! : This is different from Uribaba. The stress here is on the "b" in the middle. This is simple astonishment. More frequently used than uribaba, and more pally. This word signifies anything larger than life. Well, almost. "Orebbaba - what a goal that was!" or "Orebbaba, that is a huge sweet, I simply cant eat it!"
4. E-baba! : This is calamity. No joy in this word, its sadness personified. Speak it out in an astonished baritone, stress on the initial "e" and final "a". Mostly, it is followed by the phrase 'ebar ki hobe", meaning 'now what'. The extent of calamity can be understood by the stress on the ebaba, and the more the baritone, and slower it is, the more sad it is. As in, "Ebaba! You missed the train?! Ebar ki hobe?" it can also be used for simple things like dropping tea - Ebaba, the tea spilled over my clothes.
5. Eeesh! : Yes, we've finally reached that famous word. For correct pronunciation, please refer to Utpal Dutta in Golmal, and not to Aishwarya Rai in Devdas. The word has to be said with your personality in it and differs person to person. Its a term of irritation. The importance is to strech out the 'eee' and almost forget the "sh" in the end. This is lighter than ebaba, and is used more often for scolding a child, or a minor misdemeanor, or when something doesnt go as per plan, but there is no doom or gloom. As in, "eesh, kya kar rahe ho?" or, 'Eesh, I stepped on dirt!'

Now for some phrases:
1. Eta Ki? : No, this does not mean 'this is a key'. (Har har hardy har!). This very simply means, "What is this?"
2. Ki Holo? : What happened? (key hole-o)
3. Ki Korchho? : What are you doing?
4. Ki hobe? : What will happen?
5. Kemon Achho? : Now, for the most used Bengali and most abused by non-Bengalis phrase - this is pronounced as kay-mon achho, and not achhi. It means, how are you. And the 'you' aspect is signified by the final "o". This is the most replaceable and oft used phrase, which can be a hello, a smile, a cheer, and a genuine question to health. Its a good conversation starter, but only if you can respond in "Bhalo!"

This list making has definitely made me feel better. I hope its added to your repertoire as well.
And to round things off, another word which you will even hear newsreaders use once in a while - Byapok.
It means - awesome. And its used for "a lot" as well. As in, New York saw Byapok amount of rain over the last two days thanks to Hurricane Sandy.
And of course,
Its been Byapok writing this post!
Tags: calcutta, general, holiday, kolkata, mother tongue, sandy, vacation

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