We see the world through the language we use. Many feelings and experiences go unnoticed, unregistered, unfelt because we don’t have a word to address them. This is a humble attempt to show how rich our life could be if we pick expressions from other languages and other times which relate to those bastard feelings and vague experiences we dismiss every moment for want of a word to describe it.
Join us on our trip to the crannies and crevices of the world to pick words which not only shed light on the strange cultures of the world, but also on the unlit terrains of our mind.
Let us begin from old times.
Tell me. Have you got the habit of leaving a little in your house remain messy, or tossing a tiny hair out of place, or placing that black spot on the cheek of your baby? You are in good company.
Talk about cleaning, we all do a bit of scurryfunging from time to time. Scurryfunge is the hasty tidying of the house between the time you see a neighbour coming and the time she knocks on the door.
These are the main stages.
First, make sure that the missile(your neighbour) comes in your direction. Yes, she is! All hands to the mast!
One shoe flies under the cot, a pair of socks hurries towards the wardrobe, a newspaper flap its wings towards the table, the table cloth stretches, a bed sheet wakes up startled, a couple of books crash-land in the Ruelle – all in a sec.
“Ding Dong”, the calling bell rings. Open the door with a smile, stifling the panting lungs under the grind of your teeth.
“Hi! What a surprise!!!” Kalli.
Did I use the word, Ruelle somewhere? Oh yes.
Ruelle is that annoying space between the bed and the wall. As a child you imagined all sorts of creatures popping up from there, didn’t you? How many times have you rolled on your bed only to emerge from that dark abyss with a bulge on your head?
Ruelles were handy, occasionally. We threw comics into the dark chasm, whenever we heard mothers stomping in during our study time. And fished out sweets we had stashed away from the prying eyes of our brothers, neighbours and friends.
See. It is 5:30. It is well past the time your friend has promised to turn his devilish head up. You impatiently go outside again and again to check whether he is coming.
Wait. Such friends who are always late do not have a name, but your impatient deed does have.
Consult the innuits who could have also waited long for their friends; they had a word for it – iktsuarpok. It means ‘to go outside often to see if someone is coming.’ So the next time your friend fails to keep his word, stay cool; you can at least put a name to your obessive action.
But it is the Russian word dozvonit’sya, which wakes up the child in us.
You were on your way back from school and you saw the front door of your home, closed. Can’t help being naughty. You won’t take your finger off until you hear the bolts falling on the other end.
The naughtiness grows up along with you and takes over the telephone.
You won’t hang up until you get an answer from the other end. So persistent! So obsessive! Pal, this is dozvonit’sya. Enjoy it.
I have a friend who is an engineer. Our times together are wonderful. The moment he sees me, he unleashes all his engineering exploits. My face lumbers through all those technical terms while my mind curls up in some happy isle far away sleeping.
At the end when he gets tired I begin my exploits of the writing career. Poor boy, he soon switches off all the lights in his upstairs, but pretends listening.
Happy friendship, neither of us listens. The French do have an expression for it: dialogue de sourds (dialogue of the deaf).