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5:35 AM
Q: What is the original of the Saadat Hasan Manto short story translated as "Rude"?

verboseI have been reading Saadat Hasan Manto's Bombay Stories, a compilation translated from the Urdu by Matt Reeck and Aftab Ahmad (2012; New York: Vintage, 2014). Alongside the English translations, I've been reading the versions translated into Hindi (or transliterated into Devanagari; for the most ...

2 hours later…
7:06 AM
Q: What is the meaning of "to go buy oil" in Manto's "Mummy"?

verboseToward the beginning of Saadat Hasan Manto's short story "मम्मी" (mammi / Mummy), the narrator and his wife find themselves abandoned to the tender mercies of a friend's slow-moving servant: मुझे और मेरी बीवी दोनों को प्यास लग रही थी। उससे पानी लाने को कहा तो वो गिलास ढ़ूढ़ने लगा। बड़ी देर के बाद...

@Bookworm Seduced by the magic of the HNQ
2 hours later…
9:13 AM
@Bookworm Arrested for seducing HNQ.
9:49 AM
@Tsundoku It's not a jinx if it's 2 hours later :-P
2 hours later…
11:39 AM
@Randal'Thor I wasn't trying to jinx anything, though.
5 hours later…
4:28 PM
Q: Unraveling the Meaning Behind Langston Hughes' "Dreams"!

Samispoetry lovers, I've been captivated by Langston Hughes and his ability to weave complex themes into succinct, powerful poetry. "Dreams" is a poem that has particularly resonated with me, especially the verse: "Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly." Hu...

3 hours later…
7:04 PM
@CDR re your comment, tel lene gayaa does not mean "he has gone to get oil." It specifically means he has gone to buy oil. Simply get, i.e., to acquire or fetch or retrieve or procure, without the implication of exchanging money, is tel laane gayaa.
You're in good company, though. One reason I translated the passage myself rather than use Reeck and Ahmad's translation is that they too translate tel lene jaanaa as to go get oil, which strikes me as imprecise. Another is that they mix up singulars and plurals: gilaas kahaa.N hai.n" is translated as "where the glass is," but that would be *gilaas kahaa.N hai.
With the nasalization, it's definitely plural and not singular: "where the glasses are."
I mean, yes, in English, "to get" can mean "to buy," but in Hindustani the lene/laane distinction is precise.
Why would your cousins leave Bombay after a mere two years? Inquiring minds wanna know. It's a fantastic city.
7:33 PM
Manto's take on Bombay:
> It was a blow to have to leave Bombay, where I had lived such a busy life. Bombay had taken me in, a wandering outcast thrown out by even his family. She had told me, "You can live here happily on two paise a day or on ten thousand rupees. Or if you want, you can be the saddest person in the world at either price.
> Here you can do whatever you want, and no one will think you're strange. Here no one will tell you what to do. You will have to do every difficult thing on your own, and you will have to make every important decision by yourself. I don't care if you live on the sidewalk or in a magnificent mansion. I don't care if you stay or go. I'll always be here.
> I was disconsolate after leaving Bombay. My good friends were there. I had gotten married there. My first child was born there, as was my second. There I had gone from earning a couple rupees a day to thousands—hundreds of thousands—and there I had spent it all. I loved it, and still do!
7:58 PM
@CDR huh, interesting. I'dn't've thought of Lucknow's polished diction as having anything in common with Bombay slang. My grandfather was from there, and I've visited the city. Even the barber who cut my hair addressed me in the chastest Urdu: aadaab, janaab. tash_reef rakhiye. sab Khairiyat to hai? kahiye, kyaa huk_m hai?
By contrast, when I absent-mindedly referred to a rickshaw driver in Bombay as aap, he accused me of poking fun at him.
8:11 PM
It's hard to think of two cities more opposed in Hindustani register than Lucknow and Bombay!
@verbose - yeah, you're right about the translation, of course. I was just as imprecise as they were...
My cousins live in Delhi; they moved to Bombay for a few years, but came back to Delhi because the colleges are evidently better there, at least for their subjects. (They are 17 and 21.) tbh I don't think they liked it that much, although I loved it when we visited them. I guess their good friends were not there.
ha, I think that has more to do with the mutual distaste Delhi and Bombay denizens have for each other (think LA and NY) than anything else. I once saw a hilarious YouTube video which was basically a compilation of folks from Bombay saying "Delhi?" in various tones of disgust.
As for Bombay v. Lucknow, idk. I've been to Lucknow once (for a wedding), and Bombay once (to visit my aunt/cousins), but I didn't really interact with the locals. I'll take your word for it, as I frequently do. FWIW, I find it impossible to refer to anyone as tum or tu...
@CDR This is what I'm saying. When my late husband was learning Hindi, we went for dinner with his teacher and classmates. The rule was, all conversation had to be in Hindustani. A very nice lady (Caucasian American married to a Southie desi), trying to make polite conversation, wanted to ask me what I did for a living. She said: tuu kyaa kar_taa hai? I was quite taken aback. The cheek!
Don't take my word for stuff, I frequently make things up / am wrong.
May I ask: did you grow up in India, and if so, where? I assumed you were Tamil or Telugu speaking.
8:29 PM
My mother speaks Hindi, and my father speaks Tamil, but he often tries to use his very poor Hindi. One day, he asked my grandfather, tu chai lega? It was the height of tehzeeb...
To answer your question...
well, there you go. I'll take that as a point to me.
I was born in America, but my parents taught me their languages; that said, I'm gradually forgetting my Tamil.
ouch. (about asking a Hindi-speaking gentleman, tuu chaai legaa?) I hope gramps laughed rather than took offence?
He did not laugh. He's a humorless man, and was in a bit of a mood for a few weeks. So was my mother.
And you? From my chat-lurking, it looks like you grew up in India, but where, precisely?
Also, I'd be curious to know how/why I come across as Tamil/Telugu. Did I write an answer or comment or question that implied so?
I grew up in Bombay. I'm a mutt; dad was Bengali speaking, mom Marathi speaking. Spoke four languages growing up (English and Hindi in addition to the others). Went to a college run by TamBrams: South Indian Education Society's College in Sion, Bombay. Consequently, I got to the point of understanding very rudimentary Tamil (not much beyond "are you hungry?" or "hello!"), thanks to my friends' mothers, who took great delight in addressing me in that language.
That said, I've lost whatever facility I had in Tamil.
Five years of French in high school and college, because the alternative was Marathi and it was easier to get good marks in French.
@CDR good question. I think I assumed that on the basis of the initials. Most Indians I know who construct their names as initial + initial + given name are from the South. P B Srinivas, M S Subbulakshmi, T N Krishnan, etc.
And all the Indians I know who go by three initials are from the South: KVN, MGR, etc.
@CDR A few weeks?! I mean, when clueless American lady addressed me as tuu, I blinked, but rolled with it, merely answering her question and then asking in turn, aur aap? Of course as soon as we left the restaurant, I drilled it into husband that he should never use tuu as a form of address except to God or very small children.
Or of course in Bombay, where everybody addresses everybody as tuu, yaar.
8:51 PM
Oh. Nice! That's a decent point. Tangentially related, I remember reading something in Tharoor's Show Business about how all politicians were blessed with snappy three-letter-initialisms...
I lived in TN for a few years, from when I was 4 to 8, so I thought that my South-Indian-ness had leaked into my idiolect somehow.
On the subject of tu_/_aap, I've noticed that aap is dying in Bollywood, as far as I can tell. Old songs are full of aap and respect, whereas the newer films are just tu, tu, tu. (I cannot imagine anyone addressing their beloved as banda-parwar, as heard in Anpadh.) If the film industry reflects real India, which it probably doesn't always, people like me must sound very quaint and old-fashioned when we visit.
Most Bollywood seems to be in Punjabi rather than Hindi these days! That was another rule I set for husband: "if you want to watch movies to improve your Hindi, they have to be black-and-white. I don't trust the diction of these newfangled color films."

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