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Tum kidhar mein namega

Hindi and its variations have never seized to amaze me; be it with a spice of English, Bengali or Marathi.

Meghalaya has a substantial population of Bengalis. Perhaps substantial is not a correct word. There has been a slow exodus of this community from here for various reasons over a few decades and not many remain here anymore.

I rather prided myself on my Hindi language skills as far as speaking is concerned. Unfortunately that skill does not extend to writing, in that language.
I still remember how my Hindi School teacher Mrs. Rana, used to be appalled at my absolute lack of interest in her subject.
“Murga banau kya, HAEN…Banau Murga?” She used to say threateningly.
I used to try to keep as straight a face as possible for my insides would be churning up with laughter at the HAEN!

On arriving in Meghalaya, the Hindi spoken by Bengalis was such, that each seemed to be a stand up comedian to me.
One of the days I was travelling with some family friends. There was a person of Hindi origin with us.
The driver asked him,” Tum Kidhar mein namega?”
The person looked all at sea.
Driver tried to explain,” “Namega..tum namega nahi janta hai? Kaisa hindi manush hai tum?” He said, scratching his head.
Others pitched in to help.
” Gadi se lafa(jump) ke dono pa( feet) ek sath korega tum kidhar?”One of them asked him pointing to his feet.
The poor man stared at his feet in dismay.
” Ore Baba…Tum hindi kuch nahi samajhta..Bangla bhi nahi samajhta. Hum korega kya?” This was the driver again in anguish.
By this time, I was in a state where I thought I would burst with laughter.
“Bhaiya, Aap ko kahan utarna hai?” I asked him.
He turned towards me with joy and relief on his face. He got down soon after. Others looked at me with admiration.

Soon I realized that no one understood the Hindi I spoke. Even hindi speaking people spoke that eclectic mix of Bengali and Hindi in day to day life. I also started speaking in a similar way. Initially I felt like a clown doing so, but then it became a matter of habit. Now there was a new problem. When I spoke to old friends back in Maharashtra, they became bewildered.
“Teri tabiyat toh theek hai na?” They would ask, invariably.
Then I would wonder, stare at myself in the mirror and feel my pulse and wonder again. Later on, I realized there was absolutely nothing wrong with me with the sole exception of my tongue. They were too polite to point out that to me.

Then once, I was speaking to a new friend from Uttar Pradesh. I was speaking in the best Hindi I knew.
“Haan kya?”I said at regular intervals.
At the end he said,” Aap Marathi kafi accha bol leti hai!”
My mouth fell open.
“But I have been speaking Hindi all the time!”I ejaculated.
“Is this Hindi? It sounds exactly like Marathi.” He said.
I later realized that “Ho ka?” is my Haan Kya…
My pure Hindi is heavily influenced by Marathi!

My confidence has still not taken a beating. I still consider myself head and shoulder above others.

Here again today I heard someone say, “Apun ka Shorir koisa?”
(Kaisi hai aapki tabiyat?)
God knows what the other person answered on the other end.
” Dekha..ham kaisa bodiya Hindi Sikha.” He said to his friend sitting with him.

I felt a familiar laughter growing within me.🤭🤭 I instantly turned my attention to the newspaper.

At 67,385, highest number of babies born in India on New Years’s Day.
Time to turn solemn.😟😟 It saved my day.

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