Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bhai Log!

Hailing from a Punjabi background, Urdu has come easy to me. Well poor marks in the subject do not count for that has more to do with my inscription than grammar. Since birth , I have been cognizant of the rules on how different urdu words change their forms, combining them effectively to form new sentences. Problems in pronunciation have been there but the issues of intonation, accuracy or fluency never occurred to me. English has never been my strong point and about Punjabi, well the less said the better. So it has always been Urdu that has come to my rescue, in the vocabulary developed under Arabic, Persian and Turkish influence I found complete solace and voluntary freedom on expressing my deepest of ideas and desires. Alas that was all before Karachi happened.

On stepping down at Quaid-e-Azam international airport my innocent dialect was completely oblivious of a stark ‘mutter’ society relishing its clout in the metropolitan. It engulfed me the very first day when I asked an address from a local retailer. Dressed in shabby shalwar kameez and masticating a paan the aloof face kept his eyes fixed on a piece of paper he was reading.On enquiring again his face remained there , only looking up through the pupils, he replied “Maloom nae, bai” and with that he was back at being himself. What was pata nahin in Punjabi had suddenly transformed into maloom nae in Karachi. The word ‘H’ was no longer an emphasis in nahin and bhai. That was four years back, ofcourse now the reality of vernacular has dawned upon me. And it wont be arbitrary to add that somehow Urdu has been quite screwed up down under. Well here are a few examples:

1) Referring to someone as DADA : Now why would anyone like to denote someone as the father of his father completely baffles me. To give respect is one thing; to malign the sanctity of family is other.

2) Confronting an argument by ABAY/ARAY: Firstly someone is refusing to agree with you, secondly he starts by the ever annoying obtuse words. Double minus.

3) Expressing shock with Oh Bhens! : Guys there are many other ways of expressing your astonishment, and no , involving a poor buffalo is not one of them?

4) Advising someone with Mere ko/Tere ko: POOR poor grammer, this is the limit of ridiculing ones mother tongue. Such kind of speakers seriously need to undertake basic Urdu language classes. Maybe a grade one student can help them out.

5) Request someone with Karlio/De diyo: You want me to do something for you, then better take out the irritant ‘i’. Elongating a word only messes it up further.

6) Attendant is your BOSS: Waiters in Karachi find it rude to be referred by their profession. However they have no objection to being called as Boss. Attenders love being pampered.

7) A solution restricted to you is Geeti: A geeti is knowledge about some wisdom or know how only known to you , mostly referred for mind boggling questions in exams.

8) Gayani: Derived from hindu word gayaan , gayani is what you may call someone with a good grasp on a particular subject.

9) Lectures are a real Chabao: Someone boring you to death with his oration is termed as a chewer . So what who did you chew last night?

10) Bhaiya: If by chance you are lucky enough to escape the chants of dada or boss. Bhaiya would complete the cycle.

11) Tafreeh: Salees Urdu word for 'fun'. After all the slangs , comes a pure hyderabadi touch. Usually expressed as shughal, by rest of Pakistan.

More so , Karachiites have a tendency to twist simple words like pen, cap, bag into pain, caip and baig respectively. ‘Aey’ is another word used excessively to address someone. For the residents of this city these are common urdu words used in day to day dealings, but problems arise when you go to someother part of the country taking along this barrage of parlance mistaken for urdu. Stares will be directed, faces made and a disgusted groan can be heard nearby. To them you are like an outsider, someone evil with the intentions of hijacking their understanding of Urdu. So don’t act surprised if you are despised or grumbled upon , hey I did warn you. Once back home I was watching tv with my brother and granpa when my brother accidently changed the channel prompting me to react predictably “Ae dada, chainal kyun change kia?”. I’d let you imagine the consequences.

P.S: A pathan friend gullibly confessed “Hum ne to Urdu bhi navy me a k seekhi hai, aur who bhi Karachi wali!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Football – Cheering the national team for a change.

Whether you are strolling in the park or shopping at some mall, dining in a fancy restaurant or head banging to a concert, there would be scores of men (from kids to adults) spotted in football T-shirt. The impact of European leagues has mushroomed since the emergence of cable television. Now you have got guys cheering certain clubs as their own, eyeing their every move, sharing emotions and cursing any other team that might come in their way. I too have been a loyal supporter to one of them. But, when it comes to our national side, we hardly hear about them.

Thanks to social network that I got to know about a match scheduled today in Peoples Stadium Lyari, Karachi. Fearing the ever deteriorating law and order in the future I decided to finally pay witness to the spectacle before even teams like Palestine start voicing their concerns on security. So taking a friend along I took a taxi to the stadium an hour before the official start. The taxi driver, a voluble pathan kept on warning against going to the disturbed land of the gang mafias. Our mulishness finally got the better of him and we reached well before time. "Try to leave the place before dark", was his final advice.

The stadium was heavily guarded by rangers with banners welcoming the guest team hoisted around the walls. People, mostly locals and press were smarming in dressed in colourful tshirts. The first shock dawned upon us when we were told to go back because we did not have tickets and tickets were not to be sold on the match day. If it had been a game of cricket, I might have understood the logic, but starving the youth from a game that is already suffering from lack of promotion, is just plain stupid. You seriously don't expect people to buy tickets in advance for a football match from Lyari. Even cricket stadiums hold back general seats for the final day. Going back was totally out of the question. So, with a bit of persuasion and contacts, we were finally let in thanks to our Rangers.

The chance to see a football stadium with the national squads lined up against each other was totally charismatic. Pakistan were in light green while Palestine spotted a red kit. The crowd was full of local Balochs and Pathans. Media people, security guards and team officials made up for the rest of crowd. Not even a single family or lady was present on the occasion. The transporter's strike was one of the major factors that narrowed the crowd down to 3500.

The match was itself quite entertaining, with both sides fighting it out evenly and getting fair share of chances, before playing a nil nil draw. Palestine leads the series 1-0 after two matches. The next two matches will be held in Palestine on 24 and 27 May.

Coming back to the point we need to take our football seriously ,building a new ground on a secure land in Karachi can be a good start, for it may draw in the crowd that has reservations against places like Lyari. Secondly, the ground management needs to set policies that encourage people to come and watch, instead of sending them home ticketless. And lastly, we really need to show our support for the game by turning up, and getting behind our team. There's no reason why we can't support our own team, while we feel pride watching Man Utd battling it out on the big screen cafes, donning the red kit.