Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I Swear ... No, Really ...

A table of us smoked our shishas, drank our coffees, ate our roast lamb legs and tried to solve the troubles of the world tonight. Failing that, we decided to swear up a storm.

Actually, to my great contrition (yeah, right) I started the cuss ball rolling when I revealed I had learnt a new swear word yesterday & tried it out on one of the Nepalese waiters.

"Hey, Mandeep, come closer ... I learnt a new word in Nepalese today."

"Yah , what is it, mam?"

"It's a bad word. Chiknay (I think that's how it's spelt)."

"Mam, not so bad, yah. Not so bad word. Can mean handshome, mam."

"Handshome ... I mean, handsome? Really?! I've been cheated! I thought it meant fecker! Darn!"

"Er, mebbe, mam ..." stuttered the poor, young Nepalese giant.

"OK, so if I add the word maa to chiknay, it would be maachiknay ... which would mean ..."

"Ahhh, mam!" A deep, rosy blush bloomed prettily over his face as he genteelly claps his hand to his boy in silent shock.


For you lot unfamiliar with the lingo, maa means mother.

When I disclosed my conversation to my tablemates, which was made up of two Egyptians, one Malay-Arab and one Sikh (yes, all males except me .. at least the last time I looked in the mirror in the bathroom), we chortled as we pondered the colourful words that paints our world.

We decided that while the English language can convey insults and swears of a fairly crude & virulent manner, Hindi & Punjabi swear words are superbly descriptive and colourful.

Take for instance, calling someone a 
pondekh (I know my spelling leaves much to be desired but it's a verbal learning for me with no spelling assistance, alright?) is equivalent to calling him an arse orifice. Just wrapping it around your tongue ... the word, not said body part ... has such a tactile vibration that it fairly, er ... rolls off your tongue.

When you want to be a statistic of racial disharmony, you can call an Indian Muslim 
tulken and wait for the machete to divest you of your new word knowledge. I suppose if it was a MTV video where they can rap the word much like "nigger", perhaps then it may be acceptable. But I seriously doubt it.

The ultimate would be to call someone a 
blenchod whereupon I would say it was nice meeting you and I hope you had a good life. The translation is too rude to even type out. Yes, you ask, what can be ruder than calling someone maachiknay? I leave that to your imagination.

I'd forgotten that I'd heard this insult before but was reminded when I read someone's blog. I realise now that must be a fairly common insult but it still slays me ... There was classic incident where I heard a bunch of old biddies casting slurs on the local bicycle in India. Said local 711 (always close but never closed) was described as "so black even the broom can sweep her away." How amazing is that insult? So visual! So graphic! So venomous! So Indian!

Please note that I am not casting racial slurs or making political statements but am just expressing my supreme appreciation of a superior form of expression. Bless.

When kidded that I should learn words of more acceptable social standing based on the positive, I took the challenge. As did my tablemates. We sat there in flummoxed silence for a full 15 minutes before we wisely decided to change the subject. After all, why mess with a good thing?

Please direct all hate mail & flames to all the blenchods who taught me all these words.