Come early morn on 19th March, there I was at the Vadodara railway station being received by my one and only sis, yes the one who bit me. Catch me foregoing a chance to mention about the time more than four decades ago when she, a two-year old bit me, her elder sis, just above the belly button, leaving her mark. Oh no I did not have any trepidation as I alighted from the train and was warmly received by her that she would go for a repeat performance. Having once been the Aggressor, in subsequent years she had transformed herself into Benevolent Protector coming to the rescue of yours truly when that unwelcome roach had to be squished or the unmoving wall of people breached so as delicate darling moi could step down from the overcrowded city bus.
The day dawned bright as we chatted away. Soon the maid was there, followed by the woman who collected the trash. Each time I was introduced with much fanfare.
“Didi aayi hai gaon se” (Elder sis has come from native place)
They would smile and I would grin back, oh yes, the light glinting off my silver capped molars as always. A wider grin you couldn’t have asked for. I watched these women talking to my sis. I couldn’t get the whole of it as their language was a closed book to me. I thought I caught the word ‘mota’ (fat). She looks like you, they seemed to tell her, only thing she is fatter. Ooops. Oh ha ummmm…. I squirmed mentally under the scrutiny and the conclusion thereafter. Yet, I grinned good-naturedly back at them. After all I am fatter than my sis and these simple folk were only speaking their mind unlike slicker ones who might deliver the unpalatable truth sugar-coated. Oh for some sugar-coated words! Oh sigh, never mind.
Then it happened yet again. There was someone repeating that offending word, ‘mota’ Oh sigh, not again. Ahh well, what’s the use of sighing now?? Have I resolutely shaken my head and said ‘NO!!’ in no uncertain terms when that second or third helping of ice cream has come my way?? Sadly not. So I might as well grin and bear it when people throw words like ‘mota’ liberally around to describe me. But why ‘mota’? Wasn’t that the wrong gender? Did I look masculine or what?? Oh bother!
But what’s this?! The woman was pointing to my sister and jabbering away, her sentence liberally interspersed with one ‘mota’ after another! This had me nonplussed aggrieved and piqued as well. I know I did not enjoy being described as ‘mota’ but I had come to look on the term as my personal property and had sort of developed an affinity to it. And here was this woman pointing to my sister and saying ‘mota’! I felt affronted. My title was being conferred on someone who was not even in my class Gosh, was the woman blind or what?? I looked at my sis quizzically. Has she taken leave of her senses, my look conveyed.
That is when my sis burst out laughing. Oh yeah, you have to hear her cackling laughter to know how it goes. It would probably give the geese a complex.
‘Mota in Gujarati means elder!’ she told me still cackling.
Realization dawned on me. Good God, these people were speaking in Gujarati and I had just assumed the word ‘mota’ meant the same in Gujarati as it did in Hindi. All the while the term was being used to ask whether I was the older of the two! And this particular woman was telling my sis that she looked the elder of the two on account of the few strands of grey she sports.
Oh ha ummmm… Oh ok alright, now I got it. Sigh, but the fact remains that I am mota (or rather moti to use the correct gender!) either way, be it Gujarati or Hindi, elder and fatter. Sigh. Oh Gym, here I come.
Venugopal Unnikrishnan said:
ha ha ha
Shivaja shouldn’t have told you the meaning of mota, would’ve promptly got back to the gym for your workout
This one’s kind of funny Shail ^_^… though it focused on the power of language – the misinterpretation on one hand and the realization on the other. A lesson I can get from this blog is that, one factor to consider to be confident in one place foreign to us is knowing one’s native tongue in order to understand the situation at hand. In a way, charged these moments to experience. And oh! by the way, this is also a blessing coz without this, you won’t think of going to the gym…he he he…^_^
It left me in peels of laughter ‘Oh gym here I come’.Btw you are not moti when compared to many women your age but I like that will power to go n exercise which usually never interests many women
Thats vintage stuf, Shail. Loved it , even though i figured the climax, agreed only a lil before you revealed it yourself , but it was wonderful read from the first letter to the last.
Juz go thro these Funny Misinterpretated Ads.
1.Dog for Sale : eats anything and is fond of children
2. Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it.
3. Stockup & Save. Limit: one
4. Used Cars: Why go elsewhere to be cheated? Come here first.
5. Wanted : Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink.
6. Our experienced Mom will take care of your child. Fenced yard, Meals and snacks included.
7. Illiterate? Write today for help.
Enjoyed reading your experience Shail Mam! Superb Narration.
hahaha this does indeed bring out the humour in the situation, well.
and i can vividly imagine the cackling laughter :P:P
No mmmeehehehehe for once :P:P
Bob Hoff said:
A funny, funny story in which, once again, your wonderful writing ability has transported me closeby to you as I observe you in another “human situation” that not only delights and touches the heart, but leaves a lesson as well.
The number of incidents in which “I think I know what somebody means” (for sure) and it turns out that I don’t are many, varied, and spread behind everywhere I have walked on the earth. WE must always clarify, but many times we don’t and then we think someone is calling us fat instead of older. In retrospect, we laugh. At the time, the thought of strangulation feebly appears at the boundaries of our thought processes, huh?
Great job as always. By the way, I saw a cute title for a child’s book on writing at work–“A Beginning, A Muddle, and an Ending.” I have muddle development near perfected.
I stand and I applaud your writing talent.
Venu: Welcome to my space! …and don’t you worry! I will be back at the gym with my hair in a braid!! 😀
Richette: Yeppers. One should know the language and not jump to conclusions!! Lol. And oh yes I am going back to the gym!! 😛
Lahari: Hmmm.. will power I do have in reasonable amounts I guess!! 😛
Ganesh: Glad you liked it. Hmm… considering you are staying somewhere in the vicinity you should be knowing a little bit of the language too, enough to know what the climax was going to be!! Lol 😛
Vikram: Gosh, they are really hilarious!! Had me laughing! Thanks for sharing.
Prabod: You betcher you can imagine the cackling laughter! 😉 You have been hearing it pretty long now. Hehehe…
Bob: Your long comments are a delight to read!
*takes a bow for the applause* BTW what a cute name for a children’s book!
heheheheheeee i guessed so (the language problem):-)) Oh my chweet mumma… you just look plump-a-sized or may be sweetly chubby and who on earth calls you FAT? Nah… these are not sugar coated words.
Arggghhh you shld believe… I am definitely not sugar coating the words. I love the way you look… I seriously do. Don’t ever try to go thin… huhuhu please… for your molooty’s sake. I am definitely not against you gyming… You shld be gyming for it would keep you fit and fine… but don’t try to loose weight and go slim. Please don’t 😦 Lub you and i just loved the way you narrated this. 😀 Big hugs to you!
U sure looke younger, of the two (from the photo)…
its like naak in hindi and malayalam.
in Hindi “naak” is nose
and in malayalam naakk(u) is tongue!
my hindi sir always used to tell us this…
also the “pasu” meaning in hindi and malayalam,which is animal and cow respectively….
but “mota” thing is VERY NEW to me…(as though i know the a,b,c,d of Gujarati !!!)
LMAO! This happens to quite a few..