Language inside the sabji market
Times have changed. Various vendors, even the illiterate and the barely literate, choose their words with care especially in front of customers. Seems marketing techniques have entered their minds and they know how to present themselves. I am talking about the vegetable market or the sabji mandi as we call it, and funny though, the […]
Times have changed. Various vendors, even the illiterate and the barely literate, choose their words with care especially in front of customers. Seems marketing techniques have entered their minds and they know how to present themselves. I am talking about the vegetable market or the sabji mandi as we call it, and funny though, the colloquial statement also comes out as “I am going to the sabji mandi”. But long back the mannerism scene was different. And now we hardly go to those mandis.
I remember going to the local sabji mandi as a kid with either the ladies of the house or with one of the servants sitting on the front bar of the cycle or maybe on the carrier behind. Before leaving from home, if going with the servant, there used to be a number of instructions for me and the servant both. These used to be about being careful on the road and also about ignoring the language of the ladies selling vegetables in the mandi(the servants were instructed very strictly to put their hands on the ears of the child if and when any fight occurred in the sabji mandi). These ladies are referred to as ‘kunjdi’ (कुंजड़ी) in local language. These ladies were famous for the use of abusive terms for just anything and everything. In fact if I say that their day started with abuses or the usage of fowl words, I will not be wrong. Indecent words were the ‘haajme ka churan’ for their bulging bellies which was a must first thing in the morning.
The flow of typical local terms or the “gaalis” have been the prefixes and suffixes round the clock for these people. In the sabji mandi, the rates of vegetables used to be of high importance and the reason of fight between these kunjdis. If one kunjdi sitting in the same row sold a particular vegetable for a rupee less, the other kunjdi in that row would create a havoc hurling insults and cursing the entire ‘khaandaan’ of that kunjdi for going against the rules of the market. Taking a rupee less was like back stabbing the others and avenging something that happened in the morning or the night before regarding the man of the house or property issues.
The words used were like molten lead to the ears of the middle class man who would never even dream of using those words. The fear of children learning such words was enough to stop parents from sending them to the sabji market. They were not just the regular gaalis, but much more than that. One word of insult from the kunjdi and your senses would flare up giving you the urge to either shoot her down or bang her head on the wall.
But such episodes always made people leave the market for the purpose of their own peace of mind.