I am strolling towards the cafeteria, Adam Smith in mind and some ‘gham’ in my heart, when I bump into pretty Parashar. Bhatta accompanies her.
“Oye,” says Parashar.
“Hey” says me.
“Chal, Khunnas mat dikha!!” says Parashar.
I am jolted out of my ‘gham’ right there. ‘Khunnas?’ I look at Bhatta. She seems to have got it alright and is nodding her miniscule head vigorously. The closest I have ever come to this word was when I had some ‘Hummus’ some years ago at a Lebanese place.
“What?” I ask.
“Abey, Khunnus mat dikha…”
I am scanning my limited Hindi vocabulary in my South-Indian brain for anything close to this word. Maybe it is Iranian.
Bhatta, meanwhile is tired of us.
She jumps down the stairs, ponytail waving in the air and then turns back to me and says,
Paanchat? As in a chat made of Paan? Whatever….After endless googling and consulting the Baap of Mumbaiya slang, I’ve found out that ‘khunnas’ and ‘Paanchat’ are very much common words like ‘attitude’ and ‘Wierdo’. Meanwhile, Parashar, Bhatta, Kulkarni and Shirodkar are busy generating more words in their room. I sometimes hear cries of anguish from the third floor from fellow ignorant beings who are trying to decipher this hi-fi language. I sometimes feel like giving back in Tamil. But before I can transfer my thoughts to my tongue, this ‘bhai’ style gang has called me the choicest of slangs and dissapeared before I can say ‘Kill Bill’!
Then, if someone asks me why my mouth is open like a gaping fish. I only have to say,