January 16, 2014


Parsi Bol, a Gujarati-English phrasebook which catalogues the caustic insults and salty lingo of the Parsi community. From Time Out :
Photographer-filmmaker Sooni Taraporevala and writer Meher Marfatia have come up with a book called Parsi Bol: Insults, Endearments and other Parsi Gujarati Phrases. The book is a collection of 730 phrases, which the writers believe are as much a part of the community’s heritage as exquisitely embroidered garas and lagan-nu-achaar. “Like everything about our community, our language – Parsi Gujarati – is completely our own and nowhere is this more evident than in the phrases we use: unique, inventive, lively, often combining wildly opposing things,” states the introduction to this compilation. “We want to archive the gems we grew up hearing, before the generation that knows them dies out.” 
Mumbai Boss has some more examples of eccentric Parsi creativity from the book: 
It takes some imagination to come up with a line like “Oont nee gaan ma jeera no vughar”, which literally means “a sprinkling of jeera in the bum of the camel”, a phrase uttered when someone with a large appetite is offered little food. Not surprisingly the bum is frequently (we couldn’t resist the pun) the butt of the joke. If you want to insult a fence sitter, call him a “gaan vugur no loto”, a vessel without a bum. You can say of someone who’s ignorant that “gaan neh soodhlo nathi”, meaning his arse is clueless. And our favourite, for sheer silliness, is “motai na musa”, meaning haemorrhoids of greatness, to be used to carp about someone who has delusions of grandeur.
My favourite phrases are the ones that evoke surreal images:
Chumna jeva pug (Feet like pomfrets) - Large feet 
Mai mooro bap gajar (Father a radish, mother a carrot) - Mixed fare
Ghudeeyal chai peeyech (The clock is out drinking tea) - Time is passing slowly