Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bas, Sab Badhiya

It only takes hearing your dad say, “bas, badhiya sab” multiple times on the phone for you to know that it’s an unsafe time for you to move out of the comfort of your room. But no; you will stroll outside with your brain in switched off mode, right into the middle of a sentence that sounds like, “yeh lo, *insert your name here* se baat karo”. Follow that with a game of charades with hand gestures asking for who it is, lip movements telling you that it’s some relative you don’t give two hoots about and then a thirty second eye-expression marathon which says, “what in frig do I talk to her about” and “shut up and take the phone right now; she’s on hold”.

If you have to start a phone conversation with “Namaste”, you are most likely talking to one of your parents’ cousins, whom you meet only at weddings. The fate of the conversation is as predictable as the statement, “haaye, itna bada ho gaya!” being the first thing said to you every time that you meet them. It will always take the course of you being asked a number of questions, the only reply to all of them being various combinations of the words “bas, sab badhiya”. For example:
“Aur, kya haal hai?” “Bas, sab badhiya.”
“*insert brother/sister’s name* ke kya haal hain?” “Bas, sab badhiya.”
“Mummy bhi theek?” “Haanji, bilkul badhiya hai sab”
“Papa?” “Haanji, bas theek hai sab”

By this time, you begin to wonder how difficult it is for someone to understand the scope and extent of the word “sab”, and a full moment of awkward silence to say that sentence in your head follows. This is time for you to take a deep breath and prepare yourself for the innumerable times you will then have to say “haanji” while the lady talks about a time in the seventies when she would get to meet all her cousins every week and now no one has the time to visit anyone.

Aaj kal sab hi itne busy hain, kisi ke paas time nahi… bache bhi saare bade ho gaye, kaam karne lag gaye… pehle kaunsa TV pe kuchh aata tha, ek Chitrahar hota tha bas…  hum sab garmi ki chhutiyon mein ek doosre ke ghar pe pade rehte the… aaj kal office se waapis aaye, toh phone pe lage hain…

The pauses act like little cues for you to fill in the “haanji”. There is no way for you to make them understand that the respectful yesmanship does not signify approval and willingness to hear more, but just the fact that you’ve heard all of it innumerable times already. The only way to make the conversation interesting is to replace “haanji” with “bilkul”. Also, using both the words together as “haanji bilkul” brings in a little more variety, making you sound like less of a repetitive idiot in front of your dad sitting beside you.

While you move around the house trying to look for your younger sibling whom you can pass on the phone to, like the father passed it on to you; run a few more laps of the relay race conversation which again steers towards “aur bata, sab badhiya?” I mean, in which part of the world do people use the word “sab” in a conversation to refer to a C-grade Hindi channel that telecasts ridiculous shows with names like “Taarak Mehta ka Oolta Chashma”. The return of the question makes absolutely no sense because the only reply you will have to it is a “haanji, sab badhiya”. The very fact that you could not start the conversation with your usual “Yo, what’s up?” or “Wazza suckaaaa!” is enough evidence that you will have zilch to contribute towards the dialogue.

You realize that your sibling is in the washroom and the only way to survive the conversation is to look for your mum and bear a few more “aur bata’s” with hurried “hmm’s”. You should know that you have to find your mum right in time before you are expected to reply to something on the lines of “chachi/mami/bua se milne bhi aa ja kabhi… ab toh khud bhi aa sakta hai… pehle toh chhota tha…” so that you can be quick to pronounce “yeh lo, mumma se baat karo”, play a little game of charades with your mum, look at her scrunch up her nose and then put the phone to her ear.

As you walk back towards your room, listen to the words “bas, sab badhiya” slowly fade away in a loop in your mother’s sweet voice. Ab, sab badhiya!

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  1. Haha! So nicely expressed! :P And what details. ;) This happens so much. :D

    PS- Taarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashma- I used to just dislike hearing the name but when the family started watching it, I saw it's good. And I like it too. Not an every-day-follower but mostly I seem to enjoy it. It's fun! :)

    1. Thank you :)

      Really? I've never watched it. I just get annoyed by the sight of this feeble old man with disgusting teeth if I ever happen to click on the channel while surfing.

  2. @@@@@@@
    rofl rofl :D
    eid ki chhutti ka full utilization

  3. happens all the time with me.Hence,I usually avoid picking up the phone after having a look at some familiar numbers or I just vanish away when my dad is talking to some relative like this(you know the closer you are to the situation,the more vunerable!!).If by chance,I still get victimized(after taking so many precautions!)I just hate to answer all those long list of questions-Kya kar rhe ho?ab kya socha h? ye kyu nhi krlete? wo kyu nhi krlete? and the answers to all of them-haanji!!

    Typically annoying situation right from childhood till now (and would remain same forever for me!) :P

    And @@@@ jalebis for this post!Hope some parents , uncles and aunties read this post and realise the situation soon!!

    1. Did I tell you that I really love long comments on the blog? Thanks, Prerana :)

  4. From where do u bring such humorous n unique ideas.......give me d address;-) an awesum article again with many " same thing mje b jhelna padta h" moments!
    4 jalebis 4 u@@@@ as I ate the last one reading this n yeah try 2 watch "tarak mehta ka oolta chashma" its realy a good comedy serial and not like d ones wich have fake laughter after every dialogue;-)

    1. Now a lot of people have been telling me that it's nice. The only Sab TV show that I have ever liked is Office Office. I think they took it off air a few years ago.

  5. Haha...punjabi life.this is it,very much it.
    I wonder if you are tolerant of punjabi-ness or you actually like it.
    Are you critical of your community,Ahujaji?
    How integral this punjabiness it and how much is acquired?


If you had 5 Jalebis, how many would you give me for writing this post?

None = You don't deserve any >:O
@ = Soggy and stale! :(
@@ = Stale! :|
@@@ = I'll need a samosa to digest this with! :P
@@@@ = Sweet and Crisp! :)
@@@@@ = I'm opening you a Halwai Shop! :D