While driving to Southern California this past Christmas, we were stalled behind a particularly snail-like vehicle that would neither speed up nor let us pass. The Boy was at the wheel, and while he is typically patience personified, I could sense the situation was pushing some buttons. “Dheero dhurpuch!” he grumbled aloud, and my brows shot up in amusement. In five years of knowing me, our man is spewing Parsi-isms like he owns them.
It formally began with the installation of a little whiteboard in our home. Primarily put up to bear reminders, lists and the odd story idea, I found myself inscribing definitions of typically Parsi words and phrases, just for fun. Like so:
dholio, n.: bed
dheero dhurpuch, adj.: slowpoke (masculine)
I regard my mother tongue with equal parts of humor and fondness. Borrowing heavily from Gujarati and retaining its script, Parsi Gujarati is a bastardized/hysterically funny adaption of the original language, depending on the way you look at it. With only a 100,000 of us left in the world, and fewer still speaking the language, only a handful of you will encounter it– unless you live in South Bombay, around a Parsi colony / the community in Toronto (second only to Bombay), or in a Gujarat town/city still populated by my people.
But guess what: I wouldn’t let you miss out! Starting this year, you’re going to find the odd phrase, the quirky word, and the unfathomable saying, all right here on WWNP. Here’s your chance to access a little-known language and either impress that one cuckoo Parsi in your life or seek one out if you suffer the misfortune of knowing none.
Ready? Practice this phrase and I’ll be back with more. Chop-chop now! Can’t do to be a dheero/dheeri dhurpuch!