Tuesday, February 20, 2007

New Punjabi nonsense from Khushwant Singh

Many thanks to Khushwant Singh for his two (!) columns--and especially for giving us more nonsense. The following is from his Hindustan Times column:

Children of my generation knew a lot of nonsense verse by heart. It faded out of memory with the onset of years and we rubbed out what remained as too childish to be remembered. I tried to recall what I once knew by rote. The most popular one was as follows:

Akkar dukkar bhumbai bhau
Assee, nubbey, poorey sau
Sau mein laaga dhaaga
Chor nikal kar bhaaga.
Akkar, dukkar, bhumbai bhau.

Eighty, ninety, to a full hundred.
String the hundred by a thread
The thief ran out and fled.
Eighty, ninety, to a full hundred.

Some nonsense verse had educational aims. So we learnt the English alphabet:
ABC Too kitthey gaeo see
Edward mar gayaa
Pittan gayee see

ABC Where did you go
Edward died, and so
I went to beat my breast.)

For some reason when we had to cram multiplication tables when it came to nine into nine is 81, we put in verse:
Nau nai ikkasee
Booko teyree masee

Nine into nine makes 81
Your mother’s sister is a monkey.

Another entirely meaningless favourite was a meaningless jingle you could add to as you please:
Chal, chal, Chameli bagh mein / mewa khil aoonga;
Mewey kee daalee tootgayee / chadar bichhaoonga;
Chaddar ka phattaa konaa / Darzi Bulaoonga
Darzee kee tootee sooee / Loohar bulaoonga
Lohar Ka toota hathaura / ghora dauraoonga.

I can’t bother to transalate this one; none of these are in the book. It has many better examples taken from all our languages.

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