Volume - 2 : Issue - 3

Published : Jul. - Sep. 2003

Group : Humour


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By Arun Babani

When a Sindhi shouts “Haitha Athaiya”, gesturing five fingers in the others’ face, signifying the famous “Bhoondo”, a Sindhi is venting out his anger, saying “Lakhh Laanat Athaie”. . . . Sindhi culture is rich in Gaaryun for all occasions.

Thus, a Sindhi mother speaks of the “Mochdo” when she has to correct her errant children. One word that is fit for all situations, is the “Muaa”, which a Sindhi woman carries on her tongue most of the time. “Muaa” is not exactly a ‘gaar’ but fits in with hate as well as love lines. Thus, she would say, “Muaa, aheen kithe”, signifying a loving “I missed you!” When referring to her daughter’s mistakes, a Sindhi woman speaks of ‘Kaaro mooh’, meaning the daughter’s face has a tinge of black. Alternatively, even the reference ‘Acho Mooh’ is used, signifying something similar!

In a harsher tone a Sindhi woman says “Chandi Muee” referring usually to her maid or someone she does not like; as for a male recipient, it is “Chando Muo”. If you refuse something she offers, she’d tell you “Dhood Paye”, meaning ‘Go to hell’, and if she doesn’t care for you she’d send you to hell by pronouncing “Jahane mein pao” or even “Khada mein pao. . .”

A Sindhi woman believes that children need a little rebuff now and then, a correction in their behaviour, which she refers to as “Kanna Mahett”, literally meaning ‘rubbing of the ears.’ In Sindhi schools teachers would actually rub the ears of errant children, resulting in “Allah Allah . . . .” cry of pain when the calling of God’s name comes handy. . ..

A common refrain Sindhis is the “Charyo” or “Charri” the word meaning the ‘Mad One’, but used in all sorts of situations. Thus a “Charyo Muo” is the one referred to lovingly, or an idiot. An alternative to “Charyo” is “Mastano” which is derived from the word “Mast”, and that has its roots in the word ‘Mystic.’ Another word that describes a lower Sindhi is “Vaaryon”, which means the ‘Grocer’; a varied word is “Gotharon”, the ‘Villager’; and now in big cities, another word to describe a lower Sindhi is “Kalyani”, which literally means the people staying in Kalyan, a suburb of Mumbai, also known as Ulhasnagar. Since Sindhis staying here are by and large illiterate and poor, the urban Sindhi describes anyone having such background as “Kalyani” . . . such low class Sindhis are also referred to as “Dahiris”, loosely translated as “Jatta”, meaning ‘the dumb one.’

A Sindhi woman uses the word “Daain” in a variety of good and bad situations. When another woman says something bad, it is an occasion for a Sindhi to call her a “Daain”; but it is also used lovingly . . . .when tired of the others’ demands, a Sindhi woman would say, “Ratt pee vyo aahe . . . .” (has sucked my blood). A Sindhi woman lovingly pinches you at times, calling it “Chundi”, and extreme would be her “Chambo”, when she’d literally show you her paw! A Sindhi man on the other hand would speak of a “Gaddi”, a gesture a little too dirty, signifying “Up yours” . . . .  If a man shows you his middle finger, a woman shows you her thumb, saying “Thengo”, or “Aangootho”, signifying the same thing . . . A lazy girl would be referred to as “Haddan sukkee”, meaning ‘dry bones’ or “Chel bhagal”, meaning ‘broken back’; a similar occasion would call for a refrain, “Karman kutti” . . . . ‘the unlucky one’ or “Nibhagi”.

Prof. Popati Hiranandani, the doyen of Sindhi culture, once related an incident regarding the principal of the college she was teaching in who kept blocking her promotion chances. She drew a ‘Bhoondo’ on paper, put it in an envelope, writing “This is a Bhoondo, it is for you”; and left it on his table. The principal naturally fumed and allowed her the promotion. Ms. Hiranandani has written a lot, but one poem of hers that drew a lot of acclaim was titled “Dunn Hethan Dadali” signifying the private parts of a woman, literally meaning the vagina. This poem written by a fearless woman created quite a stir in the Sindhi community. Ms. Hiranandani is no doubt the queen bee of the Sindhi community and is a rebellious spirit. So when the English say ‘NO SEX PLEASE WE’RE ENGLISH’ DO THE SINDHIS SAY “NO FOUR LETTER WORDS PLEASE WE’RE SINDHIS?”

Believe me I’ve heard some of the choicest words in Sindhi that could put a sailor from any part of the world to shame. But then isn’t a language incomplete without the flowery cuss words!