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You are in,only when they make fun of you

June 18, 2009

This post by  ShetalkslikeJune and links given by MadMomma in her blog( I knew there had to be a story about NE even before I clicked on them) made me realise that whenever there is a story about racism discrimination within India, we North easterns are sure to be there with our own sob story.As STLJ (sorry if that sounds like DDLJ) points out “Any NorthEastern with a computer has written about this”). Including me, of course. We  form a sisterhood of victims. Misery does know a lot of company.

Why is it that we only get talked about , when there is talk of terrorism/racism/development/discrimination/exoticism.All big serious stuff.

We can be funny -when we are not dodging bullets or scraping off shards of bombs, or  popping ecstasy pills with a bottle of vodka, or trying out this pleasurable thing called sex,or picking pieces of dog meat stuck between our teeth .

You should see when we are drunk.We go red and then our chinky (I can say chinky, since, I AM CHINKY, yoo hoo) eyes go smaller, till you can barely make out if we are awake.If its our fifteenth glass of the evening, we are not.

So, let me start by telling a joke.Don’t run away.

Did you hear about the one where the loud Punjabi ..oh you already heard that? Ok I have one about this miserly Gujjui..that too? Surely you have not heard about this geeky gult in..Oh damn.

Ok then, have you heard about this Assamese….Aha, I see you haven’t. Neither have I.

We are so bloody insignificant you guys don’t even make jokes about us.Come on embrace us.Make fun of us. Else we will feel like that girl who goes to a new school where everyone is  trading insults with each other and totally ignoring her and she has lunch all alone, and she is miserable because her parents got divorced,so finally she takes to drugs and starts killing people in locker rooms…See YOU are responsible for OUR wanton irresponsible lifestyle.

The point I am trying to make here, is that a sure sign of  minority community/tribe getting truly integrated with the mainstream,is when the majority dares to take a potshot at the minority without getting hauled up for been ‘insensitive’ .Or they can make jokes about them,infront of them. Till then, we will always , at best,be met only my amazement  “aah, the North-East.I have always wanted to go to that part of the country…’.Which,after a point, frankly ,gets on my nerves. If every person who told me that, actually intends to go there, I think I have stepped onto a right business <wink,wink>

And till the jokes keep coming I have nothing to recount but a few random REAL LIFE conversations that took place in the Assamese hostel I stayed in during my Delhi University undergrad days.

Key : We Assamese cannot ,for the life of us, pronounce “Ch..”as in “Chatri”,Chutiya”,”Chaman Chutiya”, or”Sh” as in “shit”, “Shucks”  and F as in “Fuck”, ..you get the idea, right? We simply are wusses when it comes to swearing. Ch and Sh become ‘S’ like Sootiya  and F is Ph as in Phaak.Oh and V is Bh (which I think the Bengalis might understand). And in Upper Assam , they cannot pronounce R.Its simply doesnot exist . The chinese might identify with this particular problem.Notice, how we have divided ourselves nicely based on the upper bank and lower bank of Brahmaputra- and Upper Assam and Lower Assam are very much local terms now,of course pronounced as Aaapar Oxom and Loar Oxom.
So an Assamese, fully aware of his shortcomings will  try to speak in Hindi by simply using the Assamese word but replacing every S with Ch.*Or by raising his voice,like my Dad.Dad, they are not deaf,they just don’t understand your language.Eibur sob thogabaaz dillialla, sob buji paai (Nonsense, these delhi wallas are thugs, they just pretend not to understand).Oh well, that is my dear pater.

So, now that that is cleared, try to understand my hostel mates quandary.

My roommate G (who btw for reason had misplaced confidence in her hindi speaking skills) wanted to tell the maid to hang the washed clothes out in the sun .She , of course, had no clue what sunshine (dhoop, i know) is called in Hindi. She goes “Didi, aap kapda wooohan pe tangiye jahaan pe..a big pause…suraj ki kirne neeche aake kapdo pe gir sake’…” .By this time, Didi was done with said job.Leaving behind a breathless but very victorious G

Another friend,E, whose umbrella(which is called saati, in assamese,and now refer to my earlier key to figure out how an assamese trying to speak in hindi will try to say this word*) just fell out of her lap as the rickshaw took a sharp turn ,shouted frantically to the guy “Bhaiyya ,rokkiye, mera chatti gir gaya “. This was in a small bylane crowded by the delhi roadside romeos, the worst of the lot.

Can our warden be far behind? The gas pipe in the kitchen was leaking .She calls a repair guy and gives him a lowdown of the situation “Bhaiyaaaaaa, kya bolu,gas leeek ho gaya ,aour itnaaa ganda khusbooo aa raha hain“. Perfect thesis/anti-thesis argument ever. After all ‘bad-boo‘ (odour) is ‘gand-a-khusboo‘ (perfume), right?

G again.Bargaining with a rickshaw wala bhaiyya and wants him to reduce the fare “Bhaiyya,Kamaiye Kamaiye“( We think what she meant was “kam kariye” .) Rickshaw wala replies “Kama hi to raha hoon, madamji“..

And so on and so forth.

Our ragging sessions new joinee interaction sessions included making freshers stage a play in hindi.Howlarious, to say the least.Oh how we laughed when some new kid says Carol Bagh instead of Karol Bagh.Someone pronounced Janpath as Ganpath.(I donot even dare reveal her excuse lest you think we share the same level of IQ).

My memory fails me,but there were other such interesting Hindi/Assamese conversations which led to delicate situations.

But wait, I still have not told you a Joke as yet.

Ok this one goes for all my khar-khua (staple Assamese diet, which if I tell you what is, you might not share my tiffin.Which is good because when it comes to Assamese food I always lick the plate clean )Assamese ‘countrymen’ , which unfortunately, no one else other than my 3 assamese readers will be able to understand.It is thaaat subtle.

Edited to add: Before I accept the laughters ,and later on accusations of plagiarism,the following are common Assamese jokes, atleast common with the Assamese student community in Delhi.

Joke 1

Two Assamese friends go to a restaurant in Delhi and orders two cups of tea. “Do Sai lao” (“Do Chai lao”)

So the waiter brings two plates of Dosa to them. After much confusion they accept the Dosa and ask for two spoons. “Ok, Ok, Do Saamas lao” (“Do Chammach lao”) So the waiter brings two Samosas this time

Joke 2

One Assamese person was going home in a rickshaw. Suddenly he said “Hey rickshawalla, rickshaw rokho, hum giregaa”. Rickswawalla replied,”Babu,aap nahi girenge, mein thik se chalaa raahaa hun”. The person exclaimed,”Hum idharhi girega. ye hamaaraa ghar haai!!”

Hahahahaah.I am laughing so much that fine Korimgani Assamese tea is coming out of my nose.

P.S. No more blogging till end of month.

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58 Comments leave one →
  1. June 18, 2009 12:42 am

    You are Hilarious!
    I am glad I came this way.
    I am a bengali and totally get the V and BH(they interchange it according to the bengali alphabets/phonetics). Not that I have the prob (I am a lucknow girl) but SH had it till I cried sore and corrected him. Now he does not say Varat(Bharat) and Bherry (very).
    Definitely Blogrolled!

  2. June 18, 2009 1:26 am

    Thank you. I didnt find it so funny though, seeing as it seems so familiar! 🙂

    • June 18, 2009 1:46 am

      I knew I was getting into tough territory.Those who will ‘get’ the joke won’t find it funny, because its as you have put it ‘so familiar’ and those who wont’t..well..won’t.
      I think, I just posted the World’s Unfunniest Joke..with a disclaimer no less.hang me

  3. June 18, 2009 1:29 am

    This was Hilarious and enlightening 🙂

  4. Nil permalink
    June 18, 2009 1:40 am

    This was good (seriously) and funny too. Btw, ‘Do Sai’ should have been ‘One Dosa’ – why two? 🙂

    • June 18, 2009 1:50 am

      Now, you are confusing me ,in what already , is threatening to turn into a tricky situation,where i am explaining this joke to Assamese and Non-Assamese alike 🙂

  5. June 18, 2009 1:42 am

    Hey, #4 above is the Guy. I made him come and read this too – he should know what he’s married into!

    • June 18, 2009 1:47 am

      of course.Juwai is from which city? I remember you had a similar post about NE and tried to link you up, but could not get it.Or am I mistaken?

  6. June 18, 2009 2:22 am

    familiar but funny..we truly are a lovable bunch of folks. especially the last joke..its a popular one..have heard it innumerable times but every time it cracks me up.
    i have to tell you what i said to a guard one day…
    this man was one of our company’s security guards, manning the desk at the reception. the receptionist long gone since it was quite late in the night. i wanted to say bye to him and said, ok bajranj ji, aap ko kal dekh lenge…literal translation of i will see you tomorrow.
    worried, his repsonse to me was…kya hua, madam, maine kya kiya?
    poor man…i still remember the look on his face…he thought he was in some real shit and i was determinded on reprimanding him. will never forget this incident. since then my wise friends advise me not to speak hindi.

    • lostonthestreet permalink*
      June 18, 2009 6:57 pm

      “ok bajranj ji, aap ko kal dekh lenge”
      Too good.I am thinking of passing this off as my story in my circle 😉 hehehe..

  7. June 18, 2009 4:26 am

    Was this meant to be a serious post? I laughed till I DIED. Ok! since I like you so much, I will sing you the only assamese song I know. Okhomiya sualiee, dekhiboloi dhuniya, pet-ot aase puali, naasiboloy nurarey!
    Talk of regional stereotyping!

    • lostonthestreet permalink*
      June 18, 2009 6:58 pm

      hahaha..i am doing the bihu here!!! maybe we should have a NE soiree in Mumbai 🙂

  8. Just call me 'A' permalink
    June 18, 2009 6:39 am

    ahhhh i’m holding my side and laughing…..totally totally dig this 🙂

    one from me:
    scenario.lady buying eggs at her doorstep. egg-seller sitting down counting the eggs for her while lady stands looking down. lady speaks very very very minimal broken hindi and does not know what egg is called in hindi.
    lady does not like one or two of the eggs that the man was putting in her basket so she goes…”nai nai nai…app app ka ithu nai..app ka ithu chotta hai” 😀 (pointing down at what looks like the eggs but from the angle the man was sitting looked like she’s pointing at something else ;)). the man goes red in the face and left without taking money from her.

    • lostonthestreet permalink*
      June 18, 2009 6:59 pm

      damn..u guys are coming up with better ones..:-)

  9. June 18, 2009 11:13 am

    🙂 good one babe. I love a person who can take a joke. hugs.

    • lostonthestreet permalink*
      June 18, 2009 7:00 pm

      I use humour as a self defence mechanism to hide inner childhood trauma….:-)

  10. June 18, 2009 11:20 am

    ROFL girl.

    One from me too:
    I Bong we say ‘beechana tulbe’ for make the bed. I once told a friend I have to pick up the bed (literal translation) 😛

    Another one:
    A Mal friend and me shopping in Laxmi nagar in Pune. The shopkeeper quoted 100 bucks per piece. I told her to let e bargain and was trying to it bring it down to 80 bucks while he was adamant at 90 when my friend stepped in and quoted ‘ek so dus’ hi denge bhaiya. Her logic was that was (100 – 10)and not (100 + 10) 😛

    I also remember how we Bongs are from khaata -khaata gharanas while the North Indians were from khaata-peeta gharanas 😛

    Or how I used to speak bookish Hindi while everyone spoke conversational Hindi

    Or how my Bong uncle went to Allahabad (UP heartland) and proudly showing off his Hindi to his in-laws says “Idhar bahut masa hai” [mosha + mosquito in Bong]. His friend had told him to remove the ‘sh’ and the ‘o’ sounds frm Bong words while talking and that would be Hindi 😛

    We almost also called off the wedding whn my sister’s Assamaese MIL put sindur on her a day before the wedding and then informed us that she had to attend the wedding with sindur which for us was a big No-No

    • lostonthestreet permalink*
      June 18, 2009 7:02 pm

      beechna tulbe reminds me of cigarette khabe? i think assamese and bengalis are the only ones who ‘eat’ water and ciggarettes.Rest of them seem to be ‘drinking’it.cig peena hain?

    • lostonthestreet permalink*
      June 18, 2009 7:02 pm

      ur sister married an assamese? oh yes, we have the juroon where the mil puts sindoor on the bride,a day before th actual wedding

  11. June 18, 2009 11:21 am

    Long comment.

    One more (can’t stop myself)

    M<y cousin married a sardarni as per sardar rites and they have no feras so my grandmom refused to take her home since the marraige was incomplete until a fire was lit and they took 7 pheras around it 🙂

  12. June 18, 2009 12:18 pm

    The hum-girega-from-the-rickshaw one was so hilarious I almost burst out laughing sitting in this office cubicle! The rest of the post is quite funny too and a pleasure to read.

    • lostonthestreet permalink*
      June 18, 2009 7:05 pm

      you should see the way our mothers go shopping in janpath/sarojini nagar..linguistic differences go for a toss when they bargain

  13. June 18, 2009 12:51 pm

    I didn’t get the “girega”(duh!), but the rest is hilarious! Inspires me to do a post of my own on linguistic mixups, those are hilarious!

    On a more serious note, what’s the problem with being different and having a regional identity, as long as you aren’t being seen as inferior ? That is addressed not to you, but to the mainstream-integration Nazis. Everyone has an individual identity, and deserves to be treated as a human being, BUT everyone is also tremendously influenced by their home, school, uni, reading habits, so on and so forth. I’m a Bong and I dislike a lot of things about Bongs… but being Bong has shaped me and I’d hate to have that taken away from my identity.

    • June 18, 2009 12:53 pm

      the “duh” was because I don’t know Assamese, and hence would obviously not get the joke. Just realized it sounded somewhat offensive.

    • June 18, 2009 3:59 pm

      Oh oops. I just got it.
      :smacks self for being dunce:

      • lostonthestreet permalink*
        June 18, 2009 7:06 pm

        there you go …To ans on behalf of mainstream integration Nazis, people in general are wary of ‘others’- the ones who are different from them..sigh!!

  14. kausiki permalink
    June 18, 2009 3:24 pm

    Hhahhahhahha.u r too gud sis.Loved it!

    • lostonthestreet permalink*
      June 18, 2009 7:07 pm

      🙂 genes huh?

  15. June 18, 2009 3:37 pm

    Hey LOTS! This was hysterically funny!

    I think my spleen just ruptured laughing..

    • lostonthestreet permalink*
      June 18, 2009 7:09 pm

      coming from you- big compliment.:-)
      hope you dont have any immediate requirement for that spleen thing ..

  16. Chiranjeeta permalink
    June 18, 2009 3:46 pm

    even i had water almost all over my table by the end of it……but how could you forget the “biis” (Bitch) episode? dnt u remember the “si called me a biis”…hahaha n how many times you guys made me mimic that…..

  17. blinkandmiss permalink
    June 18, 2009 5:37 pm

    The jokes are funny, but laughter ain’t coming. Why the blogging hiatus? What have we done to deserve this?

    • lostonthestreet permalink*
      June 18, 2009 7:10 pm

      deadlines, which I have been missing regularly.:-(

  18. June 18, 2009 5:42 pm

    Too much!!

  19. June 18, 2009 7:21 pm

    The comments are quite as funny as the post!

    I didn’t mean the post wasn’t funny, earlier – just that while one part of me laughed, the other kept saying, ‘oh yeah, that’s totally possible!’

    Juwai Gujrati. Proper national-integration family, we are.

    • lostonthestreet permalink*
      June 18, 2009 10:57 pm

      ideally i should have just uploaded a video of our of the parent’s generation speak in hindi – with the bihari rickshawallas and marwari shopkeepers in fancy bazaar

  20. June 18, 2009 9:05 pm

    hahaha.. today I can truly understand the meaning of the term rolling on the floor laughing.. that was so hilarious!!!

  21. Shahana permalink
    June 18, 2009 10:11 pm

    Curious to know if the Assamese have mastered pronouncing ‘Tamatar’? 😉

    • lostonthestreet permalink*
      June 18, 2009 11:03 pm

      aah, my achilles heel.that along with ‘tintin’and ‘laddoo’ still there on my list

  22. Kamala permalink
    June 18, 2009 10:42 pm

    Did I miss the point here? It wasn’t about the joke right? Knowing you, you probably wanted to make a point and then your non-confrontational side picked up and you ended with a joke. Albeit, one that was funny.

    I may not really understand your minority case but I can get where your rant is coming from. But if I may disagree, me or anyone around me has never singled out assam-ese people. I have people from assam around me in a foreign country pretending that India is not their country. In most cases I know of a lot of assamese people say something ethnic doing a good job of alienating themselves. That may be again because I never had to stand up and say I am a tam-bram from mainstream India or seek acceptance so pardon my ignorance.

    You sister was the first assamese I had close contact with, and it has never crossed my mind that she is any diff from my friends or her friends.

    (Kamala leaves after stirring the hornet’s nest before the brick-bats arrive from her north-eastern FELLOW COUNTRY(MEN/WOMEN))

    • lostonthestreet permalink*
      June 18, 2009 11:09 pm

      YOur point about Assamese pretending India is not their country, will be dealt in detail in another post.
      To be frank, I am confused about what the post was supposed to be.
      I think I started writing about stereotypes- not in a negative sense,but objectively.And objectively, I think we NE ,generally, are quite a lazy bunch.:-)
      See, that is why I will never be a good novelist.Or wait,maybe I will be a good whodunit novelist- even I will be unsure till the last page as to who killed the rich old heiress 🙂

  23. June 19, 2009 6:33 am

    I blog hopped from somewhere and am glad I did. This was howlarious! 😆 You are good.

    I have learned that it is better to laugh at stereotypes than getting agitated. At least laughing won’t increase our BP.

  24. sid permalink
    June 19, 2009 10:52 am

    even though i have heard some of these before i still find them hilarious 🙂 would like to 2 more: 1) ‘d’ is pronounced as ‘t'(hindi) so mann mein laddoo would be mann mein latoo
    2) peanuts are understood to be ‘badaam’

    cant recollect any more right now but am sure will keep on adding to these

    • Shahana permalink
      June 25, 2009 1:45 am

      Hello?? Peanuts are ‘badaam’ for me too. What’s the joke here?

      • June 25, 2009 9:43 am

        Arre nothing.According to these Hindi speaking folks,peanuts are mugfali and only almonds can be called badam.So acc to my Bihari friend(you kno who),my parents cheated us by feeding me cheap peanuts and telling me its badam..since we in north east are too poor to afford the real badam anyway…

  25. June 19, 2009 5:54 pm

    OMG! Hindi speaking skills I can REALLY identify with. I can’t pronounce “ch” too (I once said,”Christmas’or dina donbosco school’or SEARCH tu iman dhuniya ke hojai!).

    Here are few random linguistic goof-ups by me and people I know, tormented by our national language for years…

    My friend’s father to his boss: Hum office nahi aa sakta. Humri choto beti ko hospital le jana hain..use kutta ne ‘kamra’ diya hai!

    My father:
    #aap kaahan ‘mein’ hain? (where are you?)

    #bohut mehnati koro, beta. (work hard, son)

    #humri choti beti ‘ekdom ustaad’ he ‘eisob’ kaam sombhalne ko. (my youngest daughter is expert in handling all these matters)

    #thoda roko, roko (asking someone to wait at the door…roko instead of ruko)

    Me:

    Gender confusion occurs when I speak Hindi, similar to the driver ‘James’ in the movie Chupke Chupke (of Hrishikesh Mukherjee).
    And the damn “ch” and “sh” pronunciation. And words like “ekebare”, “neki”, “tarmaane” from the Assamese vocabulary has become a part of my conversational Hindi. And it’s the other way round too. My friend while urging me to crouch down and slip out of the class, after roll call is over says…”Bol…aami “Chuppi” thaku…professor’e nedekhake “bhaagim”!”
    And I’ll never forget about getting beaten up for repeatedly pronouncing the word “bhediyaa” as “veriya”..in that “boy who cried wolf” story.

    As for “f” becoming “ph”…it’s so common. My friend told me…”Moi eibaar ekdom phael korim”

    But I absolutely “heart” the Assamese folk’s delightful twist (or massacre) of Hindi language.

  26. June 19, 2009 11:43 pm

    Korimgani ? Do you mean Karimganji or Korangani? 😀

    • lostonthestreet permalink*
      June 20, 2009 10:42 am

      😛 meant the latter.no wonder was not able to google it.

      • June 20, 2009 11:09 am

        And now Google returns this post for ‘Korimgani’. :))

  27. June 25, 2009 11:29 am

    I loved this post!

    Well I have a lot of friends from the north east and love them to death. I know what you mean about isolation, having studied in DU…but I do think it takes both sides to make an effort. In college sometimes, a lot of people chose to stick with people only from their native states ( not just NE, but even Cal or Bihar etc) .

    The friends I have from NE are all from my student/PG days and I am so glad we’re still in touch, even thogu none of them are in delhi anymore!

  28. June 25, 2009 1:29 pm

    will you believe me if i say i know the people who are being “joked” about!! in both the jokes. i am surprised they have become so famous!

    • lostonthestreet permalink*
      June 25, 2009 4:42 pm

      You are kidding.You should be more specific now 😉
      these jokes are kind of like urban legends now

      • June 25, 2009 8:20 pm

        trust me, i can introduce you to them. one is still in bbay. there are lots more stories.
        the first guy once accompanied a friend to his accountant who was counting a million cheques. he saw them and exclaimed, “so much sex!!”
        how do i know? i am assamese too 🙂

  29. November 4, 2009 2:07 pm

    Hey, these jokes are up here: http://www.assam.org/node/2327

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