October 31, 2004

Hazaar fucked

There's been a spate of articles about Hinglish recently, thanks to David Crystal's claim that Hinglish, spoken by millions of Indians across the globe, is set to become more popular than English. The Business Standard (Oct 19, 2004) has a piece that cites some trends in support of the claim. Among other things, it notes that in the racing pages, "Silver Rainbow, Arctic Wind and Feng Shui now face the likes of Tashann, Ganga Mahaan and Jai Bharath".

Whatever. I think the author is on firmer ground when she claims that 'hazaar fucked', that classic expression from English, August is 'one of the phrases that, along with Yeh Dil Maange More and We Are Like That Only, ushered in the rise of Hinglish'. Certainly, Upamanyu Chatterjee was one of the first serious writers to comment on this mongrel tongue we all speak (Shobha De doesn't count):

"Amazing mix, the English we speak. Hazaar fucked. Urdu and American," Agastya laughed, "a thousand fucked, really fucked. I'm sure nowhere else could languages be mixed and spoken with such ease." The slurred sounds of the comfortable tiredness of intoxication, " 'You look hazaar fucked, Marmaduke dear.' 'Yes, Dorothea, I'm afraid I do feel hazaar fucked' - see, doesn't work".

(Upamanyu Chatterjee, English, August)

October 29, 2004


There's a new book out on Konglish.
Mangalore , October 16: 'Ami Konglish Uloitanv' Volume II, a book by J B Sequeira was released by Rev Aloysius Paul D’Souza, Bishop of Mangalore in Shankerpura in Udupi District recently.

The book contains a mixture of Konkani and English sentences and phrases numbering more than 3,000 in daily usage.
What next? Tululish? Bhojlish? Khasilish?

Malayalish, Malglish, Minglish

What's a good name for a hybrid of Malayalam and English? Some people use Malglish, but that's too awkward a name for such a mallufluous tongue. Minglish is too confusing, it's used for hybrids of Marathi and Malay as well. Malayalish is better:

Character of the Year is Zeenat Aman, as the wildly improbable, Mallu-speaking Dr Babylona Menon, in Rajeev Nath’s Moksham. She’s descended from a Malayali grandfather and Spanish grandmother, and lives in Almaty, Kazakhstan, if you please. She asks someone in chaste Malayalish, "What is your belief about after death?"

(IFFI Diary by Meenakshi Shedde, Outlook, 18 Oct 2004)
But then again, is that too much Malayalam, too little English? If you're looking for a true half-and-half, the correct word would be Mallish. Though it does suggest a Kerala massage, an extra whiff of coconut oil you may or may not count as a bonus.

October 28, 2004

College Slang

The Times of India (Sunday, October 24) takes you on a guided tour of Campus Lingo 2004. Articles of this kind are quite standard in Indian newspapers by now, so there are rarely any new slang words to report. You know they're scraping the bottom of the barrel when some journo notes that kids these days seem to be using words like 'stuff' and 'dude' a lot.

Still, there are a few interesting trends to note. Mumbai street lingo is working its way into mainstream vocabulary faster than ever, thanks to movies like Munnabhai MBBS. And maybe it's a sign of the times that there are now a variety of words to describe the wannabe hep. The behenji-turned-mod (BTM) is passe, her place has been taken by call-centre executives with their Instant American accents. This is the age of the B2B - the Bindu-to-Britney.

October 25, 2004

Chamcha/Double-Tongued Word Wrester

Grant Barrett is a lexicographer for the Oxford University Press who tracks words as they enter and leave the English language. What makes his site, Double-Tongued Word Wrester, particularly interesting is the fact that he pays special attention to varieties of English from around the world. There's less than a handful of Indian words at the site, but the few you will find, like goonda tax or item girl are defined precisely and provided comprehensive citations, as befits a professional lexicographer. I found an interesting quote under chamcha:
1998 P.S. Sharma Times of India (Jan. 17) “In Praise of Chamchagiri”: No doubt, the British also had their sycophants—toadys, bachhas, jholichuks and hukkabardars—but chamchas of the modern vintage they had none. Chamchas are a breed apart. A chamcha, verily is more than a favourite. He is a catalytic agent to activate the Sahib’s ego and cloud and obfuscate his thinking.
I know about toady-bachchas and hukkabardars, but what on earth is a jholichuk? A quick Internet search suggests this is a derogatory term for Sikhs who collaborated with the Raj, but I haven't found a proper definition or explanation of the word's origin.


Used to be short for Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak , the 1988 Amir Khan-starrer. A cutesy abbreviation replacing the original long-winded title: that made sense. But then came HAHK, which sounds like a paan-chewing lala clearing his throat (not spitting out the paan, for that we'll have to wait for the sequel HAHK-2), followed by DDLJ and RHTDM and the calculatedly cool K3G, and god knows what else. The trend seems to have vanished, these days Bollywood prefers terse Hindi titles with nonsensical English tags, as in Adaa: Will Kill U.

And so, the corporate world has moved in, putting QSQT to work after all these years. In its new rolled-up-sleeves avatar, the acronym stands for 'Quarter se Quarter tak'. For the Indian manager, that means a competitive scenario in which the pressure is on showing quarterly results, perhaps at the cost of long-term planning. The situation's fairly bleak if you're surviving QSQT, from quarter to quarter.

Although Nilekani admits that "our lives run quarter se quarter tak, qsqt" because of stockmarket pressures, Infosys has already chalked out a new blueprint to be the largest global software company.(Outlook, May 10, 2004)

After the economic reforms, the competition is far greater, and like the west, there is pressure for every quarter’s results. That’s why the investors are pushing us... The QSQT phenomena as they call it, quarter se, quarter tak. (Anu Aga & Shekhar Gupta on NDTV 24x7’s Walk-The-Talk, October 12, 2004)

The QSQT – quarter se quarter tak – result of opportunities reveals that the leash on recruitment facing India Inc is loosening and there are jobs aplenty up for grabs. ("Jobs claw back from the cold", The Telegraph, December 20, 2002)


Kitabkhana finds fractured phrases and Babu English in the classifieds.
"Survical body massage by male to male" competes with Tanisha, who will "service only elite family member", and others who will "hell both body and soul", should you be in need of helling by "beautiful m/f masseses".

("From the Utterly-Useless-Stuff Dept", Oct 12)

Two wheeler, four wheeler

Time Out Mumbai keeps an ear open for city slang. Here's a sample from the October 22 issue:
Two wheeler, four wheeler: Culinary euphemisms used by Gujaratis and members of other traditionally vegetarian communities when they succumb to the pleasures of the flesh and order up dishes made with the bipedal chicken or the quadrupedal goat.
Example: When we went to Bade Miyan yesterday, we couldn't decide whether (sic) to have between two wheeler or four wheeler, so we ordered both.

October 21, 2004

Make a move

File this under 'Those Inscrutable Americans'.
Savitha Nayak and Sunil Dholakia, who train employees of multinational corporations in soft skills such as dealing with conflict, negotiating and communicating, say they have added the basic dos and don'ts of interacting with the opposite sex to their curriculum.

"For example, we have many Indians who say, "Can I make a move?" when they mean they would like to take leave of someone. But if that is uttered in the US, to a lady, it could be taken for a sexual request," says Dholakia.

("Indian professionals wary of women", Washington Post, Oct 20)

Alur Dosh

Alur Dosh is a colourful Bengali phrase that translates as 'the fault of the testicles'. (The literal meaning of alu is potato, but it is also a slang term for the testicle). If you've been thinking with your dick, or you've done something stupid because you were driven crazy by lust, shrug it off by saying 'alur dosh'. Just blame it on your balls.

Or at least that's how a Bengali friend explained it to me. That's the meaning implied in this post to soc.culture.bengali , which refers to Priyanka Vadehra's Bengali stalker:
Although the action of the cops were very unjust, seems that the Mitra dude has a big "alur dosh"..
I've also come across the Bengali slang term aloobaaz, used for a flirt or a randy guy. Must derive from the same meaning of alu.

I'm sure there are other connotations to the phrase though. Looking for citations, I came across this forum where alur dosh is defined as a 'flaw in the character'.

I guess you could see it that way. Though I wonder, is this an oblique way of referring to impotence/homosexuality, implying it's all a matter of faulty equipment? Over at soc.culture.bangladesh, an American visitor's queries about how to join the local gay scene receive the blunt response, 'Go to Chittagong and use the word "Gandu" or say that you have "ALUR-DOSH", ok!!!'


David Crystal toh thinks ki Hinglish will take over the world only.