Vantage point

Friday, January 09, 2009

....and Nagpurkar

A couple of years back, I had translated two-thirds of P.L. "PuLa" Deshpande's essay "Punekar, Mumbaikar aani Nagpurkar". I translated just the Pune and Mumbai parts, and left the Nagpur parts for some enthu Nagpurkar. I don't know what connection Salil Bijur has with Nagpur, but he has gamely translated the remaining essay. So here are PuLa's views on Nagpurkars, courtesy Salil.

Do you want to be a Nagpurkar? If so, then it is very easy to satisfy this great desire of yours. Only one condition, is that you should not live in Nagpur. You can't show off your Nagpurness in Nagpur because everyone there is eager to show off, so who'll notice you? So it is possible to show off your Nagpurness staying in Pune or Mumbai. Wherever you are, keep saying you are from Nagpur and keep praising

How much ever ghee your plate might have, praise the Nagpuri Varhadi ghee. Even while eating biryani, praise the Nagpuri wada-bhaat. Even in a chilly winter, start praising "the Nagpuri summer, the oranges..." so much that the listener starts sweating in winter. Keep in mind you're miles away from Nagpur while saying this otherwise in Nagpur the reaction would be "Shut up! What crap are you talking
about?" Even if the person you're talking to is from a town like Ratnagiri or Dhule, start your conversations with "You Pune Mumbai people.." and proceed to show off your generousness. So while offering your guests tea, start off with "You Pune Mumbai people are so stingy.. Here have some tea."

Talk as if only in Nagpur can a person be passionate about food and drink. But be careful about the food items you talk about. Otherwise a Goan could list out 20 varieties of mackarel and you wont be able to talk about more than your wada-bhaat. In these moments while talking to a Mumbaikar, steer your topic towards oranges and cotton. Because a real Mumbaikar honestly considers orange as something swallowed with castor oil, and cotton as something that grows in mattresses and one day tears out of it.

If you want to show off you Nagpurness in Mumbai, make sure your victim is by the name of say Nadkarni or Dhurandare and start off in Nagpuri Hindi, because a real Mumbaikar doesn't fear ghosts as much as he fears Hindi. The real mother tongue of a Nagpuri Maharashtrian is Hindi and similarly the real mother tongue of a Mumbai Maharashtrian is English. However there is no similarity between this English and
the English spoken in England. (Pune's English, however, was born in the rivers of Mula Mutha and died on their banks.) A Nagpurkar does not need to worry about English. According to one language expert, Pune's English is Sanskritized, Nagpur's Hindi is Marathicized and Mumbai's Marathi is Anglicized.

It is a myth that it is necessary to eat paan to be a Nagpurkar. Everyone eats paan, but if you want to show off your true Nagpurness then at the next time you are visiting your Punekar or Mumbaikar friends, make sure there is no arrangement for paan and start off rudely with "No paan?" to humiliate them. "Can't order it from
somewhere?" The host don't know where to order from and is shamed again so more points for you. "No? Then can't you get some supaari?" Then the host brings some masala supaari. "Pah! This is masala supaari! Even the beggars in Nagpur don't eat this!" and you score a win. But in case the host manages to get paan for you, then spit out straight from the window and colour the neighbours' walls. Don't give
a damn, just make sure that your Nagpurkarness is made evident.

But despite your rudeness, keep showing how magnanimous you are. So even if you are in Mumbai and plan to stay there in your retirement, keep inviting others - "Some day come to our Nagpur... in the winter season... we'll have some nice oranges... some time checkout our rains". It is a different matter that since it is cheaper to buy oranges in Mumbai than to travel to Nagpur so no one will actually consider your offer.


Anyway, this was just an insight into our upcoming book on this topic. The book is ready, but whether the chairman of the book release function should be a Punekar, Mumbaikar or a Nagpurkar - that decision is a major crisis!