Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mee Marathi

For someone who has grown up speaking Marathi, the whole mee Marathi thing seems a little jaded. Even since Raj Thakeray went from being a on the sidelines to a politician of prominence the debate has raged endlessly; to Maharashtrianize or not that is the question.

And I have no easy answer. I have found myself vociferously opposing the man’s strategies and vehemently endorsing what he says at times. Maybe it is the Marathi boy in me speaking, maybe this is what philosophers call ‘rationale’. I do not know, but the Marathi issue is too close a topic to the heart to not talk about or to brush under the carpet.

Mrs. Pawar was my first link to the Marathi world, a burly woman, she babysat me till while my parents went off to work . It was at her place that I took my toddler steps and ate varan-bhat. I learnt to cuss in the way to school sharing meager space in an autorickshaw with seven other kids. I learnt to read at tuition classes (Mrs. Koregaonkar, who prayed to all the Gods in the pantheon for my passing) and learnt the ‘gavthi’ accent from our bai. I have more friends to whom I speak the language than I care to admit, and have sighed endlessly over ‘davya dolyavar vat’ all the time maintaining my innocence with a studied ‘khara ki!’.

The charm of Marathi is lost in Mumbai people will moan but ask anyone to speak hindi and the words will be littered with offerings form Marathi. Scores of words I use to express myself in lose their beauty in sore translation. How can one explain to a non Maharashtrian what ‘halkat’ is. Or when someone is being a ‘bawlat’. Or what the meaning of ‘maaz’ actually is? To date I call the potato batata and onion kanda regardless of the language I speak in. And what can replace the mellifluousness of a sighing heart, lost in its sweet nothings of ‘premat padloy’. The exclamation ‘haila’ (immortalized by a Mr Tendulkar) to a coy ‘laaz’ and the versatile ‘ai gaa’.

You can take sides all you want, I am content sitting on the fence here. Or maybe even on the other side, where comfort takes precedence over language and words are no longer hindered by thoughts. It is not years of schooling that have made me Marathi, neither is it long nights of mugging up textbooks. Belonging doesn’t stem from laughing helplessly over PL Deshpande’s works or from sipping the perfect solkadhi. I can live in the USA, consume mounds of rice drenched in rasam but when the going gets tough I sigh a fortituous ‘sagla bara hoil’ and that’s really all it is to it.



gavthi: pertaining to the country, rural

davya dolyavar vat : curl of hair over the right eye, line from a famous song

khara ki: really?

halakt: a man of loose morals

bawlat: irksome, troublesome? I cannot find an exact meaning, peevish maybe?

maaz: charbi(Hindi), kozhupu(Tamil)

premat padloy: fallen in love

haila, ai gaa: exclamations!

laaz: shame, blush

solkadhi: a Konkani dal with kokum in it, is simply awesome

sagla bara hoil: all will be well


Swatimala said...

u had 2 mention pawar aunty!!!

Gradwolf said...

It should have been called Mee Balaji Iyer Boltoy.

Nandini Vishwanath said...

I feel the same about Karnataka, Kannada and Bangalore. I'm as Tam as any Chennaiite ( except for the precociousness and the maami-like behavior at a young age ) but I do think that I love the city I grew up in, the people around me who are such satisfied people, who sometimes feel like beating me up coz I'm Tam and then just sigh and leave it.

I'm really proud to be considered a Kannadiga sometimes. I don't feel insulted like some other Tamils do.

About Raj Thackerey, I have some very strong opinions and I don't want to ruin my mood.

Anonymous said...

Your blog post brought back fond memories of my time with Marathi and Maharashtrians. There was a time in my teens when during the summer hols my brother and I would eat brunch at 10 at our place and sit down for roti subzi varan bhath or amti bhath at mulay aunty's place across the street.. and the time we sang "Sukaharta Dukaharta" for the Vinayaka chathurthi aarthi..good ole times..

buddy said...

@swatimala: how could i not? :P

@gradwolf: barr

@nandini: whats to be insulted on not being tam..and love him or hate him u cant ignore raj..he is a pretty articulate man!

@nrimaami: how can i forget sukhakarta dukhakarta!!!...

kusublakki said...

Chaan waatla post vaatscun :)

Winnie the poohi said...

Reminded me of some fond memories!!

Esp sukakarta dukaharta.. and til gul kha ani god god bola

and so many more moments!!

RukmaniRam said...

from homing to madras to romancing marathi... ore national integration than po this blog!

maxdavinci said...

jai maharashtra, good shit man!

missed stuff liek this, guess it's back!

Sowmya said...

My husband lived in Pune for some years and all I know of Marathi is 'lavkar'.

As newly weds, back then - I'd associate only one meaning! LOL!

buddy said...

@kusublakki: majja aali? toch uddeshya hota mazha

@winnie the poohi: :)

@RukmaniRam: next post in Assamese :P

@maxdavinci: welcome back

@Sowmya: ROFL :P

narendra shenoy said...

Super post! Enjoyed!

Anjana R said...

neengo nadathungo.
p.s-hey title of previous post was your comment on my blog! :)

Aparna said...

A 3G Punekar... assal Marathi as much as Tamilian...

Liberal said...

I agree with gradwolf! I have heard these ideas coming from you verbally this post was a recap of past conversations!

Perception said...

Awesome post. Mast ekdum, Zhakaas :)

Lekhni said...

That's a heartfelt and beautiful post :)

Anonymous said...

maaz meaning is kha kha ke charbi chad gayi hai

kha kha ke maaz gaya hai