July 09, 2017

Life Has Become Ladies' Finger

In 'Word of the Day', a daily column that ran in the Bangalore Mirror through the latter half of 2015, writer Sriram Aravamudan, who describes himself as a 'gardener, baker, comedian and all-round Bengalurean', compiles many entertaining examples of the city's street lingo. Some of these may be familiar from other online glossaries of Kannada slang (bombat, pigar, one thara), but I found a great deal of evidence that Aravamudan is a diligent eavesdropper with an ear for everything from college jargon to Anglo-Indian speech. Yes, the infamous bad word curry is here, served with some devil's chutney on the side.
Bad Word Curry: An Anglo-Indian dinnertime favourite. It's a cheeky euphemism for balls curry, usually made with minced mutton or chicken meatballs in a spicy gravy. They are perfect accompaniments to appam, sannas or even parathas.

Example: "'Waiter, waiter.." "Yes madam."

"What's bad word curry?" "It's mutton kheema in a gravy madam."

"Yes, but why is it called bad word curry?"

"Err.. I'll call the manager to explain, madam."
Since the site's archive is not easy to navigate, I'm going to compile a few more entries here. Aravamudan notes many hybrid Kanglish (Kannada + English) phrases (don't worry madkobedi, galabarskofy) along with some constructed by applying the rules of Kannada usage to English:
Commey commu (Kam-mey kam-moo): Commey commu (Kam-mey kam-moo): A Kanglicization of the Kannada phrase 'bandhe barthare', meaning 'will definitely come'. The phrase is used to stress the coming, indicating definite arrival of the parties concerned. Example: "Don't take your bridal gown off yet ma putta. The groom will commey commu." Or, "Hello contractor-avarey! Where is the sand load delivery? From morning you are telling it will commey commu, but nothing has commu. I think driver has taken my money and is putting rummu somewhere."
Simp-simply: A direct translation of the Kannada phrase 'sum-sumne' meaning, for no reason at all. It's used mostly to complain about unjust actions, or bad behaviour: Example: "Sir I am the innocent. Simp-simply nurse Manjula is putting allegations on me." Or: "Aye boss, simp-simply don't go on irritating me okay. Sud-suddenly I will get angry and give you nice beatings."
There are a few phrases that seem suspect to me. I'm not sure if they're common in the city of boiled beans; it does look like Aravamudan is indulging himself with joke translations of Kannada idiom. I don't really care, as long I'm allowed to use these fine phrases and sigh on occasion that my 'life has become ladies' finger' or pitiably like a 'baduku bus stand'.

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