September 10, 2007

Brother Tongue

Ketan Tanna updates the underworld lexicon in the Times of India ('Bhais speak differently now', 9 Sep, 2007):

A crore, which the underworld famously called "khoka", is now "bada rupiya" while "peti" (one lakh) has become "chota rupiya". Encounter cop Sachin Vaze says that "supari" (contract killing), once the most feared word in the film and real estate circles, is today called "nariyal dena" as a tribute to the tradition of breaking a coconut to inaugurate a venture.

Needless to say, this is not a structured transformation. Old usages still linger but these new expressions are catching on. In the past, cops, especially the constable, were called "pandu" without affection. Later they were called "bidi", without affection, of course. But now they are called "badal". It's used as by gangsters as a warming to their men that the clouds have come and they should scoot.

AK-47 has become "Lambi" (referring to its length). Pistol is "Magazine" and bullets are "dane" (grains). A 6mm pistol is still called "chakri" and if one has to bring a 9mm variant then he is asked to bring "nine number ki chappal". An ordinary revolver is called file. Cash is still known as "kagaz" (paper) but now it is also called "patte" or "lottery" Gold which was called "pila" (yellow) is now also called "jaundice", according to the police, and silver is called "barf" (snow).

To eliminate a person, the underworld continues to use the "de de" (give it to him) or "baja de". But when a contract killing gets postponed, the term now used is "shaadi multavi ho gayi hai" (marriage has been postponed). When a gangster is on the run, he becomes "11 number ki bus" (11 refers to the two legs).

A police officer says that the foot soldiers of the underworld used to come from UP and Bihar and they had created the first lexicon. Now, with most gangs disbanded and the aura of the underworld decimated, even the literary talents of the mafia seem to have become diminished.

1 comment:

Yohan said...

I really like this blog's central idea. More power to you!