Pardon my alliteration allergy as it gets the better of me again: a deadly, devastating disease that doggedly drives one dotty. Today, because it’s my favorite day of the work week, because it’s the farthest day from Monday, and because Tuesday’s child is full of grace (at least in her insane imagination), I bring to you a fresh platterful of Parsi food phrases!
Ready? Set? Go!
“Bhujelo papad nai bhongi sake“, cannot break a roasted papad.
Pronounced: bhoo-jay-low paa-pud nuh-i bhawn-gee suh-kay
Everybody who knows what a papad is (and for those who don’t, it is a very thin, crisp, disc-shaped cracker made of dough and eaten as an accompaniment with Indian meals) knows that a roasted papad is among the most brittle, fragile things in the world. I routinely break mine even before roasting, but ignore The Resident Klutz.
So bhujelo papad nai bhongi sake refers to a person so lazy and/or inept that they are unable to break even a roasted papad.
Give it a try: Perin Kaki won’t be able to manage a house full of guests. Evan toh bhujelo papad nai bhongi sake! (By the way, true story. May Perin Kaki get lots of ready-roasted papad, wherever she is in the firmament.)
“Daar bari gayi“, someone whose dal is burnt, i.e. someone who is miffed/bitter/in a huff.
Pronounced: Daa-r buh-ree guh-ee
Wouldn’t you be pissed off if the dal (lentils for non-desis) you so lovingly stirred and simmered, all the while inhaling the aroma of garlic and turmeric and ghee, dreaming of topping it with crispy onions and garlic, fused with the bottom of your tureen and decided to char? Similarly, someone whose “daar bari gayi” is in a foul mood for a multitude of reasons not necessarily associated with the universal Indian lentil!
For example: Khursheed ni dar bari gayi because Jimmy didn’t get her jewelry on their anniversary.
“Karakri biscuit“, a person as brittle/fragile as a biscuit.
Pronounced: Kuh-raak-ree biscuit
Usually used to refer to someone whose health is fragile/prone to illness, likely to crumble easily like a cookie/biscuit (the English/Indian sort–not the flaky, madly yummy American kind!)
This is how we say it: Arre no no! Don’t offer her street food, she’s a karakri biscuit as it is!
Or: These NRIs are such karakri biscuits-the smog bothers them, the food affects them, and they routinely pass out in the heat!
“Chhamna jeva pug“, feet like a pomfret.
Pronounced: Chhum-naa jay-vaa pug (like hug)
Before you start visualizing feet growing gills and reeking of fishy smells, let me assure you that “chhumna jeva pug” merely means flat, wide feet– shaped like a pomfret, the Parsi National Fish. Growing up, I had a friend whose mother would constantly point out her “chhumna jeva pug”, to which she’d retort that chhumna (pomfrets) didn’t have any pug (feet)!
Get your Parsipanu on: Where do I find shoes in my brother’s size??? He has such chhumna jeva pug!
“Ghotala-ma-goas“, bungle in meat.
This good old favorite has already been shared on the blog! Go read about it!
“Kaando khai toh gaando thai“, the one who eats onions goes mad/crazy.
Pronounced: Kaan-doh khaa-y toh (like toe) gaan-doh thaa-y
I grew up hearing Adi Kaka chant this line with great relish (no pun intended) each time someone at the dinner table asked for the kachubar (Parsi onion salad). I don’t think it is any particular warning against onions as much as it is a fun bunch of words that rhyme. And given that the lot of us are dotty anyway, this beautiful bulb couldn’t possibly be more crazy-inducing.
Still, chant it with me: Could you pass the kachubar, please?
Sure, but remember, kaando khai toh gaando thai!
Did you get your bellyful of Parsipanu? 🙂 Which phrase is your favorite? Does your native language have interesting food metaphors? I’m listening!