Tag Archives: humor

Stuff, Nonsense, and a Giveaway

15 Jan

One of my enduring childhood memories–and, in retrospect, a favorite one–is of my mum haggling with our regular fish vendor. (A piece about that interaction and my relationship with all things piscine will be part of an anthology in the mid-future, but never mind that right now.) We knew that after all the dramatic declarations of unfed mouths and daylight thugee had faded away, our prize would be fresh, delicious fish–fried, curried, or put in a good old patio.

Among the previously mentioned declarations was this unique phrase my mother would exclaim: Dhoor ne dhumasso!

“Dhoor ne dhumasso”, stuff and nonsense

Pronounced: dhoo-r neh dhum-aaso

Direct translation: dust and sawdust (?) I’m not certain what dhummaso means–will update if I find out!

Time to practice:

You’re telling me the prices have gone up since last week?? Dhoor ne dhumasso!

More:

Dhoor ne dhumasso they’re moneyed! Their type shows Colaba, buys Dadar.

Still more:

The maid came back today, claiming she’d had malaria for the 4th time in 3 months. Dhoor ne dhumasso, she’d be dead at that rate!

For an authentic exclamation, add a snort and a miffed shake of the head. Foot-stomping optional. My very efficient mother did all three seamlessly.

*****

Because it’s a spanking new year, because I have recently returned from a trip to the mother ship, and because I’m delighted with the stash I’ve carried for you, here’s 2014’s first giveaway on WWNP!!

Presenting:

parsi bol

I am thrilled that I don’t have to be your sole source of Parsipanu anymore! From the scriptwriter/director of the award-winning Salaam Bombay, Mississippi Masala, and Little Zizou, and the author of Laughter in the House: 20th Century Parsi theatre comes this delightful collection of Parsi-isms that had me guffawing late into the night.

Between its covers are gems like “Budhvar na vandha” (so dim, can’t recite days beyond Wednesday), “Tamboo ma saheb” (pregnant), and “Kamakli”, (of lesser intelligence), which you may recall from this post.

And you, lucky people, get to raise your hand for one of three author-signed copies I’m giving away! All you need to do is tell me your favorite Parsi thing. It could be a dish, a person, a book or movie, a phrase, or a quirk you can’t quite wrap your head around.

Exhibit A:

You: Do Parsis really sip an albino bull’s urine at their Navjote?

Me: Yes! And because once isn’t enough, at their wedding too–so anything that comes after seems infinitely better! Here’s your free copy of Parsi Bol!

~

Exhibit B:

You: Do Parsi dead people really get fed to vultures?

Me: For breakfast, lunch and dinner! In fact, I’d last them a whole week. Here’s your free copy of Parsi Bol!

~

Exhibit C:

You: My favorite Parsi is Freddie Mercury.

Me: Oops, wrong answer! It should’ve been me. Next!

~

So go on, jump in and wrangle! Winners will be randomly chosen. Giveaway open until January 31st and to U.S. residents only. Everyone’s welcome to chime in, though! Please leave a valid email address in the required field (and not in the comment box) so you can be contacted.

Happy New Year, my friends! So glad to infuse some chuckles into 2014. :mrgreen:

*****

 

Updated to add:

 

*Trumpet blast*

 

*Lion roaring ala MGM*

The 3 lucky winners of the Parsi Bol giveaway are……. *drumroll*

*nail-biting anticipation*

*torturous silence*

*clears throat*

 

# 1: Subu

 

#2: A. Rashid

 

#3: allMom

 

Congratulations! I hope you have a truly enjoyable time reading the book. 🙂 Please email orangejammies@gmail.com with your last name and mailing address and I’ll pop your prize in the mail right away!

*****

This giveaway has now concluded. Thanks every one of you for participating and chiming in with your lovely responses! 🙂 You guys are the best.

 

Mango Madness

15 Nov

Egad! It’s nearing the end of the year and I just noticed that our “Parsipanu” category isn’t exactly chubby, unlike a certain well-fed community member in the mirror. Time to remedy that attar-ghari (right this minute).

Hark back to 1980s Bombay. Your family just made plans to go to the Victoria Gardens, (also known as Jijamata Udyan or the zoo). In their excitement, they invited two neighboring families, and before you know it, there’s a phone marathon about how many akoori sandwiches, chicken patties, and mawa cakes will sustain the hungry horde. The day dawns just like any other, except nobody ever says that in writing. Bright and early, we like to chirp. So bright and early, three families and their hampers pile into their shiny, Parsi-owned Fiats and trundle off in anticipation of a fun picnic.

At the once immaculately-maintained gates of the zoo, a large board announces that today being a bank holiday, the gardens will be closed to the public.

Chaalo, dhom dhuss ne keri chuss!” declares Uncle Kersi, in a suspiciously satisfied tone.

So we don’t have a picnic, but we do get a brand new Parsi-ism to play with:

“Dhom dhuss ne keri chuss”, it all came to nought.

Pronounced: Dhawm dhoo-s neh ke-ree choos

Direct translation: It all came tumbling down, now suck a mango.

Let’s give it a try:

“What was the point of training so rigorously for Sports Day if you were going to sprain your ankle the night before? Chaalo (come on), dhom dhuss ne keri chuss!”

And one more time:

“Kaiomarz thought his girlfriend was commitment-phobic, so he never discussed marriage. She eventually dumped him. Big fat dhom dhuss ne keri chuss!”

What situations have been a DDNKC for you? Time to share! Everyone wants to know. 🙂

Peas, Potatoes & Parsis

14 Oct

“Aye Mahnaz, ai joh, gilora!” came a voice wafting across the produce-lined aisles of my local Indian store, effortlessly conquering Kumar Sanu’s nostrils. The words crashed against my eardrums. My body continued to move on autopilot. An arm rose to open the door to the refrigerator case while the other grabbed a bunch of cilantro. Meanwhile, deep inside me, everything hushed and I strained to listen.

Gilora. The Parsi word for the vegetable the rest of the world calls “tindora”, among other names. That unmistakable accent that belongs only to my people. Here, in the sunny South Bay, thousands of miles away from our hub in South Bombay, were a full three Parsis of the 100,000 left in the world.

Being one of such a unique minority fosters a strong feeling of extended family. We are alarmingly identical (and near-uniformly mad as coots). It means that when there’s a Parsi in the vicinity, I will almost certainly feel the level of kinship the rest of the world feels for an aunt or cousin. As I turned to face the voices in question, my mental checklist fired through its boxes: short hair, cropped pants, hazel eyes. Check, check, and check. And the undeniable proof, the language we took from the well-meaning Gujaratis, mangled into a linguistic pretzel, and unleashed upon the world, sprinkled with the sugar we’re supposed to be.

There’s a solid reason why reality TV doesn’t cut it for me. Daily life offers infinitely better humor. Exclamations floated across the eggplants as the two merry women planned their menus, rechristened theplas “methi ni rotli“, sang along and thumped cucumbers to Bollywood songs from the ’60s, and yanked an entire roll of grocery bags off its holder, expressing loud surprise when bell peppers flew in four directions. As my body continued to pick out groceries independent of its brain, a smile broke out on my face, one I quickly hid amid the spinach leaves, whilst debating whether to let on that there was a clanswoman in their midst.

In the end, eyeing their increasingly amusing trot around the store and eavesdropping shamelessly on their conversation trumped any spirit of confession I may have harbored, and I remained content to spectate. Paying for my purchases, I turned back one last time, gave them a broad grin, and walked out to my car, chuckling all the way home.

My beloved community, may our foibles never stop and our capsicum always fly.

No Meat Feat

9 Sep

Hands up those who’re related to well-meaning but bumbling folks who amuse us with their follies. Yup, totally expected that forest of waving arms. I’m no exception, and my community even has a special phrase to celebrate mix-ups, boo-boos, or whatever you want to call ’em.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, presenting:

Ghotala-ma-goas“, n. a big bungle

Pronounced: gho-taa-laa maa go-s

Direct translation: Meat in the mess-up

 

If you know anything about the Parsis, you will be aware that we’re a bunch of obligate carnivores. Mutton is our Mecca, our Holy Grail is the holy grill and many, many childhoods revolved around the thrill that was the arrival of the Chick Van.

Just like we break an egg on near everything, meat–good old goas–is dunked and simmered in dals, vegetables, rice, and ice cream. Okay fine, maybe not ice cream. So we have paapri-ma-goas, masoor-ma-goas, papeta-ma-goas, tamota-ma-goas, cauliflower-ma-goas, bheeda-ma-goas, and sakarkand-ma-goas, in addition to meat-specific dishes like kid goas (served at our wedding dinner), salli boti, chops, and cutlets.

Now that you have this introduction, you won’t be so surprised to learn that a bungle, in Parsi Gujarati, is called ghotala-ma-goas. Why leave the poor errors out in the cold while we feast on tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone meat?

Let’s practice with an example:

They landed up at Eros instead of Sterling for the movie! Tsk, tsk. Such ghotala-ma-goas.

You try it:

These people OJ knows fed the same dog twice and starved the other one for 2 days straight. Now that’s a ghotala-ma-goas if there ever was one.

Your turn now: What legendary ghotala-ma-goases have you been a part of? C’mon people, get sharing! Let that be your Parsipanu pound of flesh. 😉

Just Add Fruit

30 Apr

The Boy (idly wondering): You’re not allergic to any nuts, right?

Me: Honey, I’m Parsi. We invented them.

 

 

Sock It To Me, Baby

23 Apr

It’s a wonder there’s no Match.com for socks, given how many singles there are in that universe!

~Me to the Boy, as I unsuccessfully attempted post-laundry pairing.

Automatic For the People*

28 Mar

I’m going to write a manual on newbie marriage.

I already have a title for it:

“Shut the Door, I Can Hear You Pee”.

Wide open to content suggestions, y’all!

~

*Title taken from one of my favorite albums of all time.

New Year, New Section

8 Jan

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!

Fa-La-La-La-La (La-La-La-La)

18 Dec

Him: I thought you didn’t like this new batch of brownies you baked?

Me: I don’t.

Him: Funny, half the pan’s empty.

Me (in an Irish accent): ‘Tis the season, there be elves about.

Poop Goes The Weasel

3 Oct

I’ve recently switched doctors and my new one wanted to conduct a series of routine tests, so last week, I traipsed along to the clinic, empty sterile container in hand, to donate some pee to the lab. Walking toward the entrance, I noticed a man—middle-aged, Asian, balding, with slightly rumpled clothes—headed toward the entrance as well, with a bottle of stool sample in his hand. And so began my not-so-pleasant reaction to the swishy brown contents of his bottle. All conversations in my head will hereafter be italicized:

Eww! Gross! How could he just bring poop in a transparent bottle like that? At least cover it with a paper bag! Some people.

Swish, swish, swish went the poop, as the gentleman stepped into the clinic lobby, with me a safe distance behind.

Disgusting. It’s so runny. Good thing I haven’t had any breakfast. Seriously, I get you’re a recent immigrant, but watch and learn, my friend! No. Scratch that. You’re not my friend. No friend of mine would walk around with poop in public view.

Poop-swisher took a seat, bottle in hand and on full display, while I chose one at the other end of the waiting area.

Really? Holding it so close to you like it’s your lost lover? You’ll die of an infection, man. Oh god I’m going to hurl. This should be illegal. There are kids with compromised immunity in this place. Have you no concern for the wee ones of the world??

Poop-swisher stared benignly into space, clutching the watery contents of his intestines.

I don’t believe this. Why couldn’t he just do it in the bathroom here, like everybody else? Maybe he has a performance anxiety issue. Maybe he had one of those tiger mums who said “Poop now or forever hold your piece.” Well, he’s sure holding his piece now!

Poop-swisher adjusted his position and I looked away for a moment, to give the impression I wasn’t turning cartwheels on the inside and emanating guttural gasping sounds of disgust.

Holy guacamole! He’s raising it to his mouth! Omigod, he has Pica! Somebody get mental health medics in here! Noooooooo! STOP IT! Don’t drink that!!!! I’m gagging, oh lord I’m gagging, I need the bathroom. Now!

Wildly looking around for a nurse or medical aide, I saw Poop-swisher from the corner of my eye, calmly take a swig from his bottle of Starbucks Mocha Frappucino, screw on the lid, and put the bottle beside him.

Oh.

“…………..”

 

If you ever repeat this incident to anyone, dear reader, you and I are OVER.