Tuesday, December 19, 2006

a hundred percent khichdi

This post has been knocking about in my head for a little while, but know that I'm done with my Farsi exam, I'm relaxed enough to write about it. I'm still not back in the real world, though. This is, well, derivative from Farsi class.

I always thought that the expression used for percentage in news-channel and film Hindi (as in the expression sau fi sadi/a hundred percent) was derived from Persian. But it's not, or at least not all of it. The Persian expression of the same would be sad dar sad.

The 'fi' is from Arabic, as I discovered while having a drink with an Egyptian friend of mine after Farsi class. She speaks Arabic, I speak Hindustani/Urdu, so we both come to Farsi from divergent angles of bemused familiarity, which perhaps makes it a little more frustrating to learn that if it was completely foreign, which explains the drinks. 'Fi' is the the Arabic for 'in'.

Now 'sau fee sadi' is an (usually dramatic and declarative) expression of purity. And this little phrase is made up of a Hindi/Indic component (sau); an Arabic component (fi) and a Farsi component (sadi). So our desi expression of utmost purity is actually a khichdi, a mongrel, a hybrid. (Bruno Latour would love this!)

My friend shook her head and said, You guys are crazy.

Yes we are. Sometimes we're a little too crazy; but i miss the creative mish mash hodge podge over the top blend of life and language in Delhi. And reading Neha V's latest posts make me ache with missing Delhi in winter.

But in the inimitable words of Nida Fazli in that beloved mongrel tongue -

Naksha utha ke koi naya sheher dhoondiye
Is sheher main to sabse mulaqat ho gayee

Pick up a map and look for a new city
In this town everyone's already been met

So now I'm looking forward to nearly a month of quiet time, exploring New York. Last evening I was lent a copy of The AIA Guide to New York City. I have a feeling the blog is going to be rather active over the winter break. Stay tuned.
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