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Jat's the way things are

Compliment a Haryanvi and things could get a little hairy.
Hindustan Times | By K Rajbir Deswal
UPDATED ON FEB 08, 2012 10:56 PM IST

However genuine they may be, compliments are never accepted in earnest by Haryanvis. If compliments are given to a Haryanvi in a 'foreign language' - and that includes Hindi for the hardboiled Haryanvi - they will invariably have a negative effect on him. If they are extended in his own dialect, the fate of their reception will still be unpredictable.

Also, a Haryanvi can never be pampered, as it amounts to some kind of ready acceptance of the other side's endeavours of being recognised and it is not a Haryanvi habit to oblige someone with this pleasure. So if you tell him, "Congratulations, you've got a hefty crop this time!" The response could be, "Ujaar de! (Uproot them!)"

A burly Jat - remember all Jats are not Haryanvis and all Haryanvis are not Jats - travelling in a bus was told by a co-passenger that his turban's long end (turrah) was of a bit longer than desired. The Jat retorted, "Don't you know this turrah is my maror-ka-dalha (a branch of my ego)?!" At this the fellow traveller quibbled, "But Chowdhary, I have seen many of your likes being bashed up badly for such gimmickry." "Oh well, I've been beaten up also many times, but my maror (ego) has kept pace at double the speed," came the reply.

Perhaps the reason for compliments going to waste with Haryanvis is the lack of comprehension on the part of the person being complimented. Or maybe the Haryanvi is too keen to quickly retort with banter rather than accept a compliment. If you begin talking to a Haryanvi with a prefixed nicety like, "Maaf karna, bhai sahib… (Excuse me, sir…)", the chances are that even before you complete the sentence, you will receive his reply, "Kar diya. Bol! (Excused. Now tell!)"

Haryanvis, so goes the theory, aren't good when it comes to begging.If he tried his hand at begging, he would most likely tell the lady of the house, "Ghaallai sai ak chaaloon? ("Do you make the offer or do I move on?"). Which essentially is not asking for alms, but threatening for it.

A polished Urdu-speaking man once addressed a Haryanvi as 'jenab'. The latter had no idea that he was being addressed respectfully. So he retorted, "You fellow, you'd better hurl this abuse and call yourself, your father and your grandfather 'jenab'!"

Haryanvis are not kind to English as well. Try and call their women 'madam' and you will get it. Or tell them, "See you later" and you'll invite the retort, "Pachhai kay? Ibbai dekh lay! (Why later? See me here and now!)"

For the regular Haryanvi, speaking in English is 'angreji kaatna'. Remember the famous joke about Kurukshetra University? A scholar from South India, assuming that the rickshawdriver may not understand him if he asked him to be taken to the 'university" said, "Amko vishwavidyalaya jana" (I have to go to the university)". Pat came the reply, "Angreji kyoon kaatai sai, nyoon bol ak 'unabishti' jana hai!" (Why are you speaking in English? Just say that you have to go to the unabishti)".

At this the scholar said, "Thank you" and our friend retorted, "Thank you koni, peesay lyoonga, baith! (Thank you will not do, I will have my price, now be seated!)"

K Rajbir Deswal is a Chandigarh-based writer. The views expressed by the author are personal.

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