Round about: Brand name Theka | punjab$regional-takes | Hindustan Times
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Round about: Brand name Theka

One knows well the Punjabi phrase ‘Vehrha shaguna da’ which in spontaneous translation would be a ‘courtyard of festivities’.

punjab Updated: Apr 18, 2016 19:29 IST
The well-packaged Punjabi nuptial extravaganza today has moved to resorts, five-stars, farmhouses and marriage palaces.
The well-packaged Punjabi nuptial extravaganza today has moved to resorts, five-stars, farmhouses and marriage palaces.(ISTOCK)

One knows well the Punjabi phrase ‘Vehrha shaguna da’ which in spontaneous translation would be a ‘courtyard of festivities’. The reference is towards the wedding celebrations in the central courtyard of old-style havelis where sweets and savouries would be cooked and women would sit together singing happy songs. The men folk would make it to the terrace or some room to drink their fill. Such scenes by and large have vanished, but for Punjab-centric movies high on a nostalgic trip ‘maujan hi maujan’ style. The well-packaged Punjabi nuptial extravaganza today has moved to resorts, five-stars, farm houses and of course marriage palaces. But the phrase ‘Vehrha shaguna da’ persists for old time’s sake.

However, I came across a curious coinage recently: ‘Theka khushian da’. Now a ‘theka’ or a liquor vend in the Chandigarh-Punjab context has hardly had a joyous outcome, yet it continues to be a subject of celebratory songs like ‘Theka pind wala’ and others.

A tragic-comic song was penned by a young colleague in Punjabi magazine that I worked for. It was quite desolate because his wife had moved for some time to her parents’ home and he had penned an unusual song. It went thus ‘Tu baih gayi peke ja ke, main theke bahinda haan!’ Well the end was quite happy because she came back and so destination Theka was abandoned.

But what interested me in this song was that the peka-theka rhyme was something new.

Theka continues to be a popular word in the Punjabi psyche even though its meaning in English is as prosaic like ‘contract’ or ‘tender’. Of late a young entrepreneur has built a whole range of ‘Punju’ souvenirs with this brand name, including ceramic beer mugs stating: ‘I am not drunk, I am just Ghaint, ‘Talli nai hundey; Awesome ho jaaida’ or ‘Drink Responsibly - means ‘Dullan na Deyo’!

Then there are hundreds of theka jokes, even though some may be irked at the habit of poking fun at Punjabis, particularly the Sikhs.

However, most of these jokes are actually Made in Punjab.

So here is a theka joke for the road of the inter-state variety: Bengali: My grandfather lived to be 96 but he never used glasses. Punjabi: True, some of my folks too drink straight from the bottle.