of thoughts in ebb and flow

Words, unthinking words

I walked from the kitchen to the dining area carrying a pot of steaming hot sambar. Worried about someone bumping into me accidentally, I kept up a steady call of `Baaju, Baaju’ until I reached the table and lay down the pot.

“Have you noticed servers in crowded places in Kerala?” my father suddenly said, peering over the rim of his ever-present newspaper. “Or.. perhaps people carrying unwieldy stuff through crowded streets?” he added.

“Er.. yes, I suppose” said I, wondering where this was going.

“They say `Vayi, vayi, vayi’. Is it nicer somehow?…” he trailed off, disappearing behind the paper again.

I reflected on the two words. `Vayi (Malayalam word) means `way’. So, when you say `vayi vayi vayi’ it sounds like a request to offer you a way forward. ‘Baaju‘ (Marathi word), meaning, move aside, sounds more like a peremptory order to `get out of my way’. The way they are uttered could change their palatability I suppose. But still…`Vayi’ does sound more polite.

Is there another Marathi word that is generally used in this situation? I don’t know. But for now, time for `baaju’ to make way for`vayi’ in my vocabulary!

I wonder what other words we use unthinkingly in mundane, everyday situations pack an unintentional sting in their tail.

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Comments on: "Words, unthinking words" (1)

  1. In Odisha and Bengal when people are leaving a meeting room when everyone is sitting on the floor, the person leaving bends over at the waist, stretches out an arm ahead of themselves. The idea is to part people and ensure that no one gets touched by their moving feet. No words are spoken.

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