Wednesday, September 17, 2014

For bhaujaai. Happy Birthday.

Picture a dainty pahadi beauty stepping into a not-so-dainty Bihari household. As a bride. And the question that follows, yet unanswered, is who changed who more. The bride the family or the family the bride?

She is sweet tempered. As a result of which conscious effort in made by old residents (most of all her better half) to maintain sobriety even when raw impulses are dying to be heard. She loves eating out. In a majority which, when thrilled, prefers to sprawl on the floor and snooze. Her dishes are generously spiced up, which leaves the writer, who is still accustomed to baby food, to grow up her taste buds. When she mentions shopping and finds not a single soul echoing her excitement, she is reminded, as a solace, of her other sister-in-law who shares similar tastes, but alas, is away. Her eyes widen as she hears शुद्ध हिंदी words bandied around with unfamiliar ease, and how each member has not even a passing acquaintance with shyness. They break into a dance, a song, a poem, a dialogue, a anything, at the drop of a hat!
yes, that's our star

Among best thing that these eccentricities have taught her, is unabashed and out-of-box usage of Bhojpuri words. Take this – if and when she doesn’t like something (including food, object, movie, person, any noun for that matter), she has a ready adjective to denigrate it – सरंडी. The literal for rotten in Bhojpuri. The family bursts into peals of laughter at her new found play-word, especially since it is delivered with her trademark innocence. Incidentally, it slipped out of her tongue twice at her workplace. Leaving her mates puzzled at her changing countenance. Now she also knows that frayed old clothes are to be called फतूही. It is another matter that, being a person of good taste in clothes, she write down a lot of stuff considered decent by regular biharis as फतूही. Initially, she was shocked to know that Buddy (her good name is Lakshmi), could be addressed as लछमिनिया by outsiders. With time, she can tell you the funda in straight words. If you are a Bihari worth your salt, add वा or या at the end of each word. You can see, she is learning the tricks.
a happy birthday gift for the gifted one

It gets better. She has mastered that one Bihari word that has enabled generations to pretend to know more than they actually do. That one magic word in Bihari vocabulary, which is joker card for any word/ concept/ idea/ revolution, is अथी/ एथी. My dear bhaujaai exploits that word. I remember my mother making us scamper like rats searching for एथी. Until we realized we didn’t know what we are searching for! Bhabhi does the same. She orders Buddy in a queen-like fashion, एथी के लिए एथी बनाओ, leaving the poor girl to question her very basics, while Bhabhi doubles up laughing as do we.
Trivialities aside, Bhabhi has added a soft and beautiful touch to our house. With genuine love and care at her heart, and the knack to express it with sheer sweetness, she is such a pleasing addition to this family that even my heart aches for the folks who now don’t get to see her every day. Understandably, she is her dad’s favourite. Understandably, her brother can’t get enough of teasing her. Understandably, she is the star for her nieces and nephews.

One more thing to be grateful to life for.
bhabhi aur एथी 

Happy birthday Sapna Bhabhi. Let me express everything in one word – thanks. May you grow, prosper, live fully, happily and continue to shower your love and receive ours all our lives.

Never mind the vegetarian food. From, Buddy and me.


  1. An apt ode to bhabhi!!! :)
    wishing her all the best!!!

  2. What a wonderful way to wish your bhabhi on her birthday! We all join you in wishing her a very happy birthday and a very long and a happy life ahead.

  3. Thank you dears. Will surely convey your wishes to her. Thanks again.

  4. बड़े प्यारे और मज़ेदार अंदाज में लिखी पोस्ट । बिहार में इतने दिनो रहने के बाद भी मैंने सरंडी और फतूही शब्द पहली बार सुने आख़िर अप्रवासी बिहारी जो ठहरे । जन्मदिन की शुभकामनाएँ उन तक पहुँचायी जाएँ। भाभी ननद व ''एथी'' का पारस्परिक प्रेम यूँ ही बना रहे।