There is nothing as gratifying

Posted on March 10, 2009


as a well-timed, well-deserved, well-enunciated cuss word in the native tongue.

Stress-balls, psychotherapy, yoga, counting to ten, twenty, ninety seven – even if it’s in French, and you’re trying to pronounce all the four words of “quartre vingt dix-sept” correctly and in that order – are all shams. They are all machinations of some greater force that is trying to fit civility in a domestic environment involving children (see? another strong reason to use protection) and enforce politesse at corporate offices where they have bugs fixed everyfreakingwhere, so you can’t even swear in private.

So, tonight, while you’re working your 3758943rd gratis overtime, just double check the softboard pins, BEFORE you verbally wish upon your boss and his kin, very unpleasant things.

But speaking of the power of the native no-no-not-mentionables.

The Colonizer was right in stereotyping us as mysterious and exotic. There is no sound explanation for, or logic to, the profound release one feels while launching an assault on another’s ancestry, or likening another to strands of hair. Especially in Kannada and Tamil. Hindi is a distant third, but that language is rich and verdant with abominations directed to female relatives. Not exactly my style.

It is incredible that every culture has many, many synonyms for bovine refuse. I suppose that comes from the fact that it is a very popular fuel (no jokes on gas will be entertained). Especially in areas where the idea of titillation involves a village belle in a startlingly revealing choli, with very supple legs, patting cakes of the said fuel – fresh from factory, full lips red from chewing pan.

Oh, don’t forget the inverted mathematical “therefore” symbol (or the “since” symbol) on her chin.

Also note, if any native language is alien to you, you will find that the most polite sounding words are surprisingly strong in offensive flavour. I have noticed this with Malayalam and Bengali, where everything sounds so musical that it really is hard to know which bug in what part of anatomy the speaker has gleefully and straight-facedly named me.

And the harder a very bad word is to pronounce, the more joyful it is to expel! Twofold, double-bubble! Achievement while you dismiss somebody. Like the ego-trip that your boss has on a daily basis. Case in point, the Tamil alphabet “zh”.

What takes the cake – not necessarily associated with the cake mentioned earlier in this post – is the expression on a comprehending listener’s face. The reactions to my generosities are particularly entertaining, especially because they are delivered at at least two octaves higher than the average person expected to say them, and, well, I have a nose-stud.

I have earned a variety of monikers for the liberal practice of this school of stress-relief. Right from gutter-mouth to underwear-mouth (this one comes with a Kannada subtitle, roughly translating to, “open it and only dirty things come out”).

But this is not to reduce the effectiveness of the English tongue. Four letters have their own very important usages – given it is essentially what makes up an entire genre of music called Hip Hop. But now, we live in a global village, where all things Indian are being sold at five times what it costs on MG Road, and ten times what it costs on Linking Road. Globalization has the world turning to India for answers.

Are we ready?
Of course we are. I’m in charge of printing that lexicon.

Posted in: Memoirs, Rant