Saturday, September 03, 2016

Abuses in the Air

A homesick friend of mine who grew up in Kanpur, but settled in another corner of India jokingily told me that how he felt at home while talking to his brother over the phone. No, it was not due to affection but the expletives he could overhear while his brother talked and walked through a crowded street.The 'orators' who blurted gaalies in their usual chatting  were from rickshaw pullers to students to govt employees. I'm taking my city as a sample, but most of the cities of the North Indian are eligible. Abuses are mostly targeted at female relatives of the receiver.

In the movie Jab We Met, Kareena Geet Kapoor vents out  her anger and pain  while she scolds and curses her tormentor over the phone.  finally, at the height of her rage, she gains super salvation when  she utters an abuse indicating his mother. Indo-Pak cricket matches witness exchange of abuses between most admired players. Don't know how their moms n sisters feel watching them mentioned in this way, live!  One evening I heard a group of people shouting in unison. First I thought that Ganesh Puja is round the corner and some chanting is going on, till a man in uniform told me to take a U turn as there is an altercation( using a mild word)  going on between two groups. No, they were not illiterate youth from the two religions but college going kids. Blurting what they have learnt outside the classroom. Swear words often help in venting the anger out, this is the only way to justify this practice. But using these words as adjective and conjunction cause disgust.

 I was buying fruits at the local market when a boy stopped his motorcycle near me and gestured  an another boy to sit pillion.The moment he tried to sit, the bike moved a bit and he stumbled and casually said the common curse related to mother.Whom did he address? He addressed the motorcycle!!

Some years ago a colleague was looking for a house to buy in the city. Everyday she used to update us about her search. Finally they zeroed on a particular flat but then did not buy it. "So, why did u reject that flat?" We all asked curiously. Instead of feeling bad about it she couldn't stop laughing and could barely reproduce what her businessman hubby had said, "Flat to accha hai per #$% toilet bahut chota hai." The flat is fine but #$% toilet is very small. This was the height of personification.

Living here in Manchester of East, I am sure that all the abuses men hurl on living/non things are harmless and should not be taken literally. I, who hate this Gaali culture couldn't suppress my laughter when at the Apple customer care centre, a man who looked well to do, was arguing to replace the charger of his phone. It seemed that he had to come to the centre more than twice and he was asked to come again after two days.  Looking at the other customers to gain support, he fumed ,
" **** this is the state of things here." So, not only inanimate things but circumstances can also be cursed.

As a teacher of nine year olds, I talk to my little girls about 'good and bad touch' and to be very careful in this big, bad world. And when boys, my little heros are around I urge them to respect women and not to use these curse words when they grow up. I hope they would obey their teacher the way they do now.