You’re not a KHANTI (true) Odia from our generation, unless you follow the following 10 commandments.
1. You have been chastised, some affable and adorable, some not so much – “GADHA” (donkey), BALADA (Bullock), “GHUSURI” (pig), GANDA MURKHA (Diehard moron), CHORA (Thief) and CHANDALA (Uncouth one).
2. Your staple food is BHATA and DAALI (Rice and Dal), taken as dollops of GUNDA (a mound of rice and dal blend) liberally tossed into my volcanic, open mouth using fingertips.
If from Puri background, RUTI (Chapatti) and DALMA (Dal mixed with hard veggies) is our standard dinner – with occasional milk or milk based sweets thrown in the menu.
2. You are not an Odia, especially of Puri origin, unless you follow the 4 golden principles of
SANGA (A circle of friends)
BHANGA (A conciction of cannabis consumed in evening assures you a sound sleep followed by a flawless bowel movement next morning)
SANGEETA (Love for music)
3. “BUJHILU, BHALA PATHA PADHI BHALA CHAKIRI KARIBU. DAKTARA, ENGINEERA, IAS HABU. AMUKA RA PUA PATHA NA PADHI CHHATARA, BAZAARI HEI GALA”. (Understand, you need to do well in studies to get a good job as doctor, engineer or an IAS. So and so’s son didn’t study well, turning out to be a girl chasing, free roaming vagabond). Academics is the only passport to success, where failure is not an option. Any job beyond doctor, engineer or IAS is unacceptable, with the soul exception of the POLISI CHAKIRI (Police job).
MACHHA KHAIBA ILISI
CHAKIRI KARIBA POLISI”
“Hilsa is the fish you should cherish;
The job you should do is Police”.
4. Tulu, Bulu, Kalia, Babuli, Kuna, Kuni, Nina, Mini is the nickname your friends and relatives prefer to address you. Behind your back, it’s often a combo of your nickname and last (sur) name or an alias. Examples – Bunu Panda, Muna Sarangi, Lulu Patnaik and so on. A la Newton’s law, here goes the Odia law of Names – Nickname overrides first name, with the last name remaining constant.
They come juxtaposed to form an alias, such as MOTA, MOTU (he fatty), MOTI (She fatty), PETA (potbellied), POTALA (Rotund), PENA or PENI (He or she Nincompoop), DHAIN (Useless), GEDA or GEDI (He or she shorty), LAMBU, DENGU,(He tall), DENGI (She tall), TERA or TERI ( He or she squint), MIAN or PATHANA for Muslims , e.g. PETA Bulu, GEDA Gopala, Haq MIAN, PENA Prafulla and so on.
5. Our concept of beauty – A tall, lanky girl, however pretty may be is written off a DENGI GHODI (Tall Mare) vs a Plump, fair, stocky girl being a DAUL DOWL (Chubby) beauty – the fair complexion rules the roost.
6. Combo of CHUDA KADALI (Parched rice squeezed with Banana) with NADIA (especially in Puri where ample coconuts are available) is our breakfast, BARA and GUGUNI (Lentil donuts soaked in chick pea curry) is the evening snack. Dinner before 9.30 PM must be frowned upon. PITHA (Rice based cakes) is a must for festive occasions.
7. A siesta is much sought after, post a stomachful, sumptuous lunch of PAKHALA eaten in our unique way – Rice soaked in water chaffed out from the mix, followed by lifting the bowl to the lips to suck off the TORANI (The leftover water from PAKHALA, the more BASI or stale it is, more sleep it induces).
8. Come Sundays, come lunchtime, it’s mutton time (Goat meat day). BHATA MANSA, BHOJI BHATA. Any celebratory occasion calls for a FEESTI (feast) of Rice with goat meat curry, a sorta status symbol, goat being the costliest meat in town.
9. HAIRE KEMITI ACHHU (Hey, how are you ?) will always be greeted by “HA BHAI CHALICHI” (Yes, bro. Just going on). LAZA KARENI, PETA PUREI GANDE BHATA KHA (Don’t feel shy, Eat a stomachful of rice, no food other than rice can get you a sense of fulfillment). A MISSI CALL (Missed call) on a phone must be fast returned, lest it earns the anguish and wrath of the caller.
10. For us Odias, the unit of measurement of distance is not miles, but minutes. No one is ever more than 5 minutes in away. “ARRE KOUTHI ACHHOO?” (Hey, Where are you ?) is invariably followed by an imprompu response – “BHAI AU MANCHA MINTI RASTA” (Bro, Another 5 minutes away). It’s another matter, an hour before I heard the same “BHAI AU PANCHA MINTI…”