Sunday, July 18, 2010

bachpan key din bhula na deyna

This post has been " commissioned" by Sue and the Tulika Blogathon. Sue had asked for something originating from the North East. As I am so late with this post Ive thrown in one from the (former) North West (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)...I forget the term but vegetable sellers in our part of the world have this endearing habit of throwing in the coriander, chillies for free when you buy your vegetables.
The translation is literal not lyrical...will revise (all in good time!)

From the North East we have one in Assamese (অসমীয়া Ôxômiya):

Jonbai-e beji eti diya
Beji nu kele?
Muna xhi boloi.
Muna nu kele?
Dhon bhoraboloi.
Dhon nu kele?
Hati kini boloi.
Hati nu kele?
Uthi phuri boloi.
Uthile nu ki hoi?
Bor manuh hoi.
Hatit uthi Paniram ghoroloi jai,
Ali bator manuhe ghuri ghuri sai."

Jonabai, give me a needle
Why a needle?
To sew a sack
Why a sack?
To make more money
Why more money?
To buy an elephant
Why an elephant?
To go on rides
What happens when we go on rides?
You become one of the big people
Paniram will ride the elephant to go home
With all the people on Ali road looking up to you

And from my part of the world we have in Pushto (Naskh: پښتو - [paʂˈto]; also Pakhto)

yaw wana wa
wanay laandai gatta wa
Gattay laandai maar o
Maar pa khulay kai taar o
taar zama pakaar o
Naskam da jabeen obo
khula ba mai tarhaaka shee
Kabul ba raa na patay shee.

There was a tree
With a rock underneath
Underneath the rock lived a snake
The snake has a thread in its mouth
which I want
I will not drink the water off its forehead
My mouth will turn bitter
And I will have to let go of Kabul

Clearly even as toddlers we were worried that our acts of mischief could have powerful ramifications when it came to Af-Pak relations.

p.s: some of us use the term ghanna (thicket) instead of the gatta rock


  1. Fascinating:) Now you just have to tell us what languages these rhymes are in...

  2. These are lovely, Aneela. How about a performance video or at least an audio recording? I know, I know, boshte pele shutey chai. ;)

    Vegetable vendors used to throw in the coriander and chillies for free here too, even last year I didn't pay for them, but yesterday morning I was brusquely told that those days are gone. *sigh*

  3. Beautiful, these rhymes do have a local flavour don't they. And I agree with Sue, an audio recording would be really nice to have

  4. The word used in Dilli Punjabi was 'jhongey mein',
    for the free chillies and coriander.
    A performance video would be fun.

  5. In Bangla it is "phau" although only your "best friend"veggie seller will throw in chillies and coriander for free - but in Lucknow I remember Ma never had to buy chillies .
    yes - do a performance video, Aneela - will be great fun !


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