A video that found its way into my inbox is one in which certain lady students of a prestigious Indian management institute are captured on film,walking down the street shouting obscenities at a rival college during an inter-college fest.
Some people are shocked at the language coming out of the mouths of students of one of the nation’s premier centers of learning. Some people, who are not so naive as the first group, are still dismayed that some of the corporate leaders of tomorrow, pursuing an advanced degree, would so “give in to the moment” fully cognizant of the fact that they were being recorded and that there exists the very real possibility that one of the persons watching this video may be a current or prospective employer/professor who may take a dim view of what he/she just saw? For most people however it is the fact that humanoids who remind us of our ma-behen are speculating about the anatomies of other people’s ma behen that is the most disturbing—-what has the country come to?
What would Nirupa Roy have done? Subject to the most terrible of depredations would she have said “Seth Dharmdas, tune ek widhawa ko beghar kar diya, uske beton ko bheekh maagne ke liye majboor kia…..teri maan ki….”?
While I personally admire the girls’ college spirit, what disturbs me is the unimaginative nature of the expletives. Surely the best minds of the nation, who shall master the art of boardroom machinations, can do better than that follow the standard template of the “khisti” (which is “Bong” for expletive)—the done-to-death juxtaposition of one or more words that refer to particular parts of the human anatomy dealing with the ejection of bodily fluids, names of close relations usually female, names of certain species of animals and several action verbs. Surely there must be more innovative ways of deflating the opposition, pumping up the home team and letting loose the beast inside?
Let me offer two examples that will hopefully explain what I mean when I say “the right way to giving gaalis”.
A golden day in spring. The month of March. The green fields of Jadavpur. A soccer match is going on between two engineering departments. The goalkeeper is standing, knitted-brow. Concentrating. Right behind him stand supporters of the opposing team, ceaselessly barracking him. He blots them all out like the great sporting warrior that he is.
A bit of disturbance in the ranks of those assembled. A teenaged female beggar, notorious in Jadavpur for her persistence and the expletives that would rain from her sailor-like mouth if the alms did not meet her expectations, starts pulling at the shirts of the assembled students with her monotonous “Dao na dao na” (Give give). Someone gives her 10 rupees and tells her to do something.
A few moments later. The beggar girl is pulling at the jersey of the goalkeeper with her trademark insistence as he tries to concentrate on the feet of the advancing forwards. And that’s not all. She is shouting “Baba baba” (Dad dad), while laughing along with the crowd, as the red-faced goalkeeper keeps trying to move away.
While some may find the use of a beggar in this context heartless, the larger point here is how the opposition is humiliated and distracted all without the utterance of any obscenity. The expletive however is conveyed with none of its power compromised. Like the silent fart which wreathes havoc noiselessly, leaving behind no proof. Proof like an Youtube video.
And finally Exhibit 2. Note again how the expletive, despite being brutal and to-the-point lacks the cliched trappings of the conventional.
A cricket match between Mechanical and Chemical at Jadavpur University. I have to say beforehand that despite being in Computer Science, my heart was with the Mechanical boys. A department almost exclusively male, these people were about as macho as you could imagine (after all “macho” and “mechanical” sound so similar) . While the chemical boys did pretty colors in their beakers, the electrical pansies tinkered with wires in the “power lab”, the computer sissies did pitter-patter on keyboards the mechanical men would be in the workshops, scraping metal, making sparks fly all the while sweating like adult movie stars in full cry.
The Chemical batsman is thrashing the Mechanical bowlers with precise slogs and the occasional square cut. The Chemical girls are cheering, doing little jigs, and the Chemical supporters shouting “Baagher baccha” (The son of a tiger) each time the batsman hammers one to the boundary. The Mechanical crowd sits silent.
But as luck would have it, one delivery presently beats his swirling bat and disturbs the stumps.
Immediately, a Mechanical boy breaks the silence, a huge booming voice that seems to have come from the heavens.
I have one question for the “Baagh-er baccha”. Did his mother go to the zoo or did the tiger come to his house?