24th April, 2016
Assamese is one wondrous language for sure. With an enormously wide potpourri of words and phrases, it can make a silver-tongued person out of anyone, that too without draining you of your energy. In fact, one can easily make out the ever teeming creativity of Axomiyas just by observing or overhearing them speak in their mother tongue. Our knack of establishing a relation between two entirely unrelated words to forge a new word/phrase altogether is no ordinary feat and needs high imaginative powers. Just to give you all a glimpse of this innate talent that we all have, I present to you 10 everyday words and phrases which sound total fine in their usual metaphorical sense but can otherwise leave you in splits or even give you the creeps, if perceived literally.
Often used to warn someone of the possible repercussions of an act, this phrase is used all across Assam with utmost intensity and nonchalance. “Eikhon kar photo tur money bag’t, ha? Deuta’e dekhile Kolija Khabo tur.” But, hang on! Now, just imagine somebody pulling out your heart, putting it down on a platter and gulping it down like a pro. Heartbreaking, is it?
Effing popular among the younger lot, Kaamur dia is annoying or bugging someone to the very limit. It can also mean putting someone in an awkward position with your naughtily playful question.
“ Raati kar logot imanke kotha pato aajikali, bhaiti?” Reply – “Argh! Kaamur nidibi sun ba. Nijor kaam kor ge jah.” To all the sisters out there, next time your bhaiti says so, go that extra mile and literally bite him off.
You earn this spine-chilling phrase after making the speaker go ballistic with your unruly behaviour or activity. Widely in vogue among the elders, this phrase has been there since generations.
“ Bhale bhale sidha hoi ja lora. Nohole kintu soror kubot gaal singi pelam.” Whoa! Why take a risk dude? Get your act together. After all, you would look creepy with your cheek coming off from that blow, won’t you?
Often said sighing sadly, it involves expressing discontent over one’s fortune or destiny (kopal). Although predominant among the elderly, it’s fast catching up with the youth too who use it jetia senti phale.
“ Ki koribi aaru, kopalkhonei phuta kela! Bhal sakori eta napau’e.”
“ Kot nu be? Kopalkhon’t dekhun phuta’e nai tur, bas gham olop he aase.”
A light Axomiya rebuke, this phrase comes into play when you do something your guardians aren’t quite in favour of. Although, normally, you get off the hook without any serious damage, it’s better to keep your activities under check moving forward; unless, of course, you’re hopeful that your shenanigans would one day result in your feet growing longer, thereby increasing your height. Ha-ha!
Although bears a slight similarity with Kaamur dia, this phrase gains its individuality on the grounds of being a tad more serious in nature. When you drive someone insane and cause anxiety and tension in them, they say “Ei loratue mur matha khai dise dei.” So, boys and girls, if you fancy the idea of being termed as a cannibal who gorges on somebody’s head, just carry on! Otherwise, being a normal human being isn’t that bad an option. Bhabi saba.
What is that thing we simply can’t stop doing when Zubeen da or Papon works the crowd into a frenzy with their stellar performance? Tetu phali siyora, of course. But at home, when you scream at your younger sibling for messing your room up, in comes your mom’s voice carrying an admonishing tone, “Iman tetu phali kio siyoriso toi?” Relax! Why risk losing your voice box.
When someone betrays you nastily or deliberately puts you in trouble, tumar tez gorom hoi. So hot your blood becomes that if you nab that culprit and sprinkle a few droplets on him, his saal-bakoli would peel off. Hoi ne?
Okay, let’s not treat this with satire too as it already needs treatment being an eye infection. Conjunctivitis is too technical a term for all of us; so we keep it plain, simple and spot on – Soku utha. Pise, where does the eye climb up to? Anyone?
“Tur je ekebare pet’t kotha noroi, aajir pora eku’e nokou tuk jah!”, the speaker tells you distrustfully when you fail to keep a secret and spill the beans. Very prevalent among friends, this phrase does make you feel guilty, but only for a bit, as you soon cheer yourself up by saying – Pet’t khua bostubur tu roi nathake, tente etu nu kio robo!
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C’mon! Be thankful for this gift you already have in you and keep playing with words standing on your head (yet another metaphor, not to be taken seriously :). And like I said, it’s just a brief look into our talent. Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost!