Monday, November 20, 2006

Heard on a bus to Kurla

This is what I heard while travelling to Kurla from Andheri on bus. A perfect example of Bombay's Mack English (Mack English is the one spoken by Goans, East Indians and Anglo Indians in Bombay. Parsis speak a variation of Mack English which should probably, hm, be called Pack English).

"Then whaddappen, no?, I told him not to do this that, and he says, it's all urgent, no?, like that, like that."

"Yeah, I told him only, don't do it, but he wont' listen only, no?"

When I am with Macks I do talk their English, I do confess. Now, some people mistake Mack English for the real English English and sometimes go to ridiculous extents to copy the style and intonation.

"What men [don't say man, it's always "men"], not to be seen only these days, no?"

"What men, you are the big man, carrying big bag, executive-bixicutive, forgetting poor, khadka, single phasli, like myself, no?"

"Hey what men, khali fokat, don't take panga with me, eh?"

"What you will do? This your dada's property, or what? Big man, coming, coming."

"Hey men, joking only, men."

"I know men."

Both laugh.

"I know your are good at making fun of myself, no?, too bad men."

"Whaaat men? simply teasing, teasing."

"Arre, I went to ask that bar fellow no? that baldy, he won't give me quarter only, men. He *$#@ said he wants fifty rupees, no? I say mother****ing devil, I will **** your arse."

"Then what he did?"

"Silent, men. Like that only. Shut him up only."

So went the conversation. Most of the above is my own invention, but serves to illustrate the way Mack English is spoken.  Here's a song I have written to Mack English:

Mack English

Mack English is spoken,
Though it is at times broken,
In Bombay and in Girgaon,
In Goa and in Konkan.

Grammar we know none,
Speaking Mack is fun,
We talk like this only,
For we are like this only.

Father forgive don't hate,
Mass and confession can wait,
It's feni and fish we crave,
Before the call of the grave.

Johnny play the bongo,
Michael sing the Fado,
Together we will dance,
And Rosy we will romance.

Fado is a Portuguese song.

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