Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bovine memories

This is perhaps going to be my first bilingual post in the true sense of the word. The original script is too vivid to miss out on, and the contents are too good to keep it restricted to a few.

Somewhere on a Delhi street, 1999. A certain member of the bovine family made its way towards a couple of my friends, rather nonchalantly. This led to a conversation, somewhat historic:

ARNAB: দেখ্‌ সৌগত, ষাঁড়টা কি স্বাস্থ্যবান্‌! (Hark, o mighty Saugata, and cast your eye on this wonderful creation of God; isn't it a really dandy one?)

SAUGATA (very politely): না অর্ণব, ওটা ষাঁড় নয়, গরু। (Tarry, o learned Arnab! It isn't an ox that you mention - it's just the female of the species.)

ARNAB: বললেই হল ওটা গরু? (O enlightened, you daresay claim that my assessment of its gender is erroneous?)

SAUGATA (even more politely): হ্যাঁ অর্ণব, ওটা গরু। (O educated one, it, indeed, is a female; your assessment of its gender is entirely at fault!)

ARNAB (agitated): বললেই হল ওটা গরু? দেখেছিস্‌, ওর কাঁধ কত চওড়া? (O masterly one, how do you assert so confidently that it is a female of the species? Have you not cast an eye at its broad shoulders?)

SAUGATA (polite to the extent of being dulcet): দেখ অর্ণব, যদি দেখিস্ কেউ ছোট করে চুল কেটে, ছেলেদের পোষাক পরে হাঁটছে, সে ছেলে না মেয়ে বোঝার জন্য তুই কি তার কাঁধ দেখিস্‌? (O elite one, if your eyes fall on a human being in masculine attire, with short hair - how do you tell its gender? Do you cast an eye on its shoulders?)

অখণ্ড নিস্তব্ধতা।
The silence of a graveyard.

5 comments:

  1. what kind of upbringing makes one so blissfully unaware of the defining characteristics of a female mammal? food for thought.

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  2. How could I forget that conversation! It has always been one of my favourite Saugata stories! Its kinda freaky - just the other day I was remembering these. Remember the Rajhdhani Express attendant one - sishu ki nichu mein towaley hain?......hahaha......I can almost imagine his super serious expression when he delivered that! And the trail of thoughts went on to the "cow conversation" and the "fish market" incident and a host of other memories.....good laugh - they are always!!

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