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Of gaalis and galoch

Our languages have a way of lending themselves easily to awesome swear-word formulation. Even the most basic, seemingly innocuous swear word in Hindi or Marathi has that succinct quality of being so crude and offensive, you almost want to seal it with a kiss before parting with it. ONE word, mind you, in a very morbidly beautiful way, encapsulates every angry feeling that throbs in your gut and turns into this grenade of vengeance, exasperation and desperation that you just want to throw at your opponent. Once the grenade lands, it is almost as if the white hot anger in you lays back & rests like a worker after a job well done. Its not just me who experiences this as a cathartic revelation of sorts.

Popular western profanities (one needs to have a decent command over English/Hindi/Marathi cuss word vocabulary to fully grasp this piece :P) don’t even have half the effect that choice cuss words from our colloquial vocabulary do. They might, in fact, come out sounding almost sophisticated, and invariably feeble in their impact; they don’t do justice to that pot of anger boiling inside you, begging you to manifest itself poignantly. A mother-f***er here, an A-hole there – doesn’t quite cut it. If these words were to be measured on some visual scale with respect to the impact they caused, they would most probably be seen as words hanging mid-air, almost too weak to slice through the opponent’s veneer.

Even the shortened and euphemistic versions of our gaalis are therapeutic and will do for the time-being – reserved for beginners who are just starting to enjoy the gaali-mouthing, but don’t want to come across as uncouth AND life-savers when you need to blow off steam in the presence of your parents – your commonplace BC becomes bhendi (with extra lingering on the bhe) , and your C becomes, well, something that sounds like ‘chew’. See? There is something for everyone. Also, in India, there is an unmistakable glee and mirth in hearing gaalis on TV (Movies use it as a definitive selling point – e.g. in songs played on loop – like D.K Bose) and from spunky politician(s) who trash other politicians, almost to the point of being amusing. Forget the point being made. All we remember and note (I do) is the use of innovative profanity and the different permutations that can be used in prospective situations. What good is profanity without a bit of mix and match, eh?

Gaali-galoch in our country is never just that. The knowledge & execution of the choicest cuss-words are indicative of one’s street-smart quotient here. In Mumbai specifically, as i have learned, one’s dictionary of Marathi & Hindi cuss-words will always, stand one in good stead.

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