Dhaka is now listed as one of the great megacities of the world, and similar to what happens in every huge, bustling, crazy and colourful city – we have managed to develop a vernacular that is uniquely our own. This week, we bring you a list of some of the weird and wonderful words that have been created at the heart of our urban jungle.
Pera: pe·ra, sounds like /pae'raa/
The origin of the word comes from the English word — paranoid, which means a person who is suffering from the mental condition of paranoia. Often used in a Bangla context, when referring to some problematic situation or an actual life crisis.
“Dost ki bolbo ar, etoh pera daye faculty ta!” or 'Tui pera nish na, ami achi toh.” We Dhaka people tend to use the word 'pera' as much as we can, in each and every conversation. Be it a heart to heart session with your best friend or an actual complaint about life in general, this word always puts some intangible weight into our statements, and intensifies the conversation on another level. The moment your friend uses this word, you know that he/she is experiencing a serious kind of difficulty or annoyance, at least in their eyes.
Nekami: ne·ka·mi, sounds like /nae'kaami/
To behave in a certain way that the person in hand might consider alluring and/or feminine, but is construed by the rest of the world as incredibly annoying.
We all have that one girl in our friend circle, or remember that girl in the classroom, who could not answer a question without saying 'Siiiir' in that high-pitched drawl that is sure to set everyone's teeth on edge. Add to that a generous dose of fluttering eyelashes and giggles for no reason at all, and you've got the perfect recipe for a 'neka' girl. While only the really extreme tend to be neka throughout the day, many (especially women) will employ this as a method to get their own way. Only the really gullible will give in, but the rest of us will just roll our eyes and move on with our lives.
Pinique: pi·nique, sounds like /pee'neek/
The origin of the word is unknown.
No, it does not mean 'picnic' and don't ever use the word when you're actually at a picnic! 'Pinique' has been used to allude to a whole new level of awesome, usually by the people who the cynics would claim find every mundane thing amusing, while the optimists would say they know how to enjoy the simple things. From the tong er cha to the road trip to Ashulia to a movie they really like, people who like using this word will be using it to refer to anything they find exciting.
Misscall: miss·call, sounds like /mees'call/
A telephone call that is deliberately terminated by the caller before being answered by its intended recipient, in order to communicate a pre-agreed message without paying the cost of a call.
Yes I know, everyone thinks it the first time they hear it – it's a 'missed call', not a 'miss call'. But try as you might, this endearing phrase has slowly seeped its way into our pop culture, starting from the stragglers hanging arround 'flexiload' shops to models enacting exaggerated scenes on telecomm adverts. Whether you like it or not, 'miss call' is here to stay. Although for the people who always seem to be on the receiving end of such miss calls, this trend can tend to be rather infuriating, to say the least.
Ajaira: ajai·ra, sounds like /ajaa'e'raa/
Said as a response indicating a reluctance to discuss something, implying indifference, skepticism, or exasperation.
This term tends to be used when someone finds something worthless/useless, and talks about it in a demeaning way. An 'alaap' (conversation) is ajaira when it really isn't going anywhere, and my goodness, do we Bengalis tend to have enough of those!
Faizlami: faiz·lami, sounds like /faa'eez'laami/
To joke about something, often at the expense of another.
Faizlami is still a step further than a casual joke, and has something of an impish connotation attached to it. A 'fazil' is a real joker, and you can't really ever decide whether you should be horrified at their jokes or hold your sides and crack up. At the end of the day though, it's just some light-hearted banter, usually with friends, and another everyday trend in urban life.
Part: pa·art, sounds like /paa'art/
To have or pretend to have a certain attitude.
No, the word does not mean a piece or segment of something. It is rather used to describe someone with a certain attitude, and is often used to poke fun at a person who is showing off. Whether it is the guy bragging about getting that girl's number or preening about that great new jacket he just bought, “uff part koto!” is a phrase that is ultimately designed to take them down a notch.
Mamma: mam·ma, sounds like /mam'maa/
A term used to allude to another, often as a token of respect, or as acknowledgement of their coolness.
This word probably started off as a term of respect to the tong er mama or the rickshaw pullers who are genuinely the pillars of Dhaka as we know it, but has slowly expanded as a term of friendship and respect to everyone within close quarters, especially if they happen to be seniors in age. If you've been called a 'mamma' once in your life, your life should feel accomplished, as this word equates to respect in Dhaka today. Unless you've been called this in too banterous a tone, in which case you're having your leg pulled about your 'mamma-like' attitude.
Manja: man·ja, sounds like /maan'jaa/
Dress in smart or formal clothes.
“Dost, etoh manja maira koi jaas?” You will be asked this question by at least one of your friends the moment you dress up, or even if you dress slightly differently to what you're accustomed to. Again, we Bengalis are clearly a nation of people who like their laughs, and it will often be asked in a joking manner, specifically to young men who are trying to change their appearance in the hope of appearing more appealing to the opposite sex.
Chambaaj: cham·baaj, sounds like /chaam'baaj/
Someone who is sneaky/clever.
This word is often used to refer the big, fat liars, and as much as we love this city, we know it has its fair shares of 'chambaaj' people. But nobody can mess with us get away with it, and we are always quick to call out the 'chambaajs' in our midst!
Chaagano: che·ga·no, sounds like /chya'gaa'no/
Lying around, chilling.
This might just be the favourite word of Bangladeshi youngsters of today. Aside from terrible posture problems (yes, we are aware we are always slouching), this word is the epitome of the relaxed, chilled out attitudes of many of us today. What should we do on a weekend? Chegano with friends. Back home after a long day? Chegano in front of the TV, or with a book. Holiday? Time to fly off to Cox's, and chegafy next to the beach.
But while we may enjoy lying around and taking things easy, don't for a second think that means we are lazy! The fact that we would come up with so many original words is proof of our creativity itself, and our indulgence in chegano only means we know how to take life in our stride, cut down on the tension and deal with the obstacles as we see fit, and on our own time. Happy weekend chegani everyone!