August 16, 2008


A new book on the jargon of bhai-land:
It is a world where anaar (pomegranate) is a grenade, “artist” a shooter, atthais (28) an alcoholic, baja (musical instrument) a handgun, blue a Rs. 100 note, “camera” a weapon, “capsule” a bullet, chabbis (26) a young promiscuous girl, “Clinton” fake American dollar bills, “Delhi” is Dubai, “Indian bat” a country-made revolver, jhadu (broom) is an assault weapon, “Kanpur” is Karachi…
The Hindustan Times has an extract here. The author is a well-known crime reporter who's covered Mumbai's crime beat for the Indian Express and the Hindustan Times, so I guess he knows what he's talking about when he tracks the origin of underworld slang terms to specific gangs:
Dana Live rounds, a relatively old term, can be traced back to Dawood and the early 1980s.
Item Sexy damsel. Originally coined for Meenakshi Sharma, who wanted to join Bollywood but ended up as a key operative in Babloo Shrivastava's gang.
Zero dial The informer, as he was known in Dawood's stronghold Dongri, in South Mumbai.
The extract features a few slang words new to me:
Gaddi (Train) The position of practising sodomy inside a crammed jail.
Lift-wali building 9 mm Caliber Semi-automatic Star Pistol. So called because bullets are pushed upwards by a spring in an automatic pistol, just like an elevator.
Roti A term used by intelligence officials to denote compact discs (CDs), which are often dispatched through couriers

1 comment:

Zythophile said...

It is a world where anaar (pomegranate) is a grenade...Well, that makes perfect sense, since the word "grenade" in English comes from the word "pomegranate" in the first place, according to the OED.