You bloody baingan aka Brinjal!

Contributed by Citizen Sahasra Shatru, Hyderabad

People have peculiar attitudes shaped by the cities they live in, so much so that we come to see stereotypes – that are almost, always strangely true – of people with regards to certain attributes. A beautiful old-world charm used to pervade the city of Hyderabad, which was and is famed for its laidback attitude.

That attitude is celebrated to date, notwithstanding the advances in technology, businesses, pub culture and life in the fast lane. Yet, what deeply supports the laidback attitude — that is so proudly worn on sleeves by Hyderabadis — is the “Brinjal” Attitude. Now, let me elucidate.

Look at a few everyday encounters that an average commuter or bystander is witness to:

At signals, when someone is obviously jumping one
Person 1: “Arre Bewakoof, signal nahin dikhtha kya?.
Person 2: “Baingan kee meri Signal”……….vroooom….
(Yo, idiot, can’t you see the red light?
My bloody baingan to the signal!)

On the roads, where someone is liberally pee-ing on walls

Person 1: “Arre yaar, thodee hee dhoor mein public toilet hain naa?”
Person 2: “Baingan kee meri public toilet”
(Yo, there’s a public toilet at a short distance you know…)
(My baingan to the public toilet…)

Any given place when women are being letched at

Person 1: “Maal ke tamaatar dekha hai kya?
Person 1½: “Rapchik hai chichchaa…khaali thodee sadelee hain”
Person 2: “Abbe there ghar mein maa behan nahin hai?”
Person 1: “Voh tho hai, par theree behan ko kab bhijaaraa rey, baingan ke baal”
(Yo, haven’t you ever seen a tomato? Don’t you have your mother/sisters at home?)
(Of course I have a mom/sis; but when are you sending your sister over, you bloody brinjal)

In a Government office, obviously stuck at the red tape
Person 1: “saab, yeh kaam thodaa urgent hai, aaj sham thak ho sakthaa hai kya?”
Person 2: “Baingan hota”
(Sir, this work is important, can it be done by evening?)
(By evening? Right. My brinjal…)

In a queue, when someone’s obviously breaking the line
Person 1: “oye theree tho, kathaar nahin dikhraa kya?
Person 2: “thereko dikhthaa hai naa, thoo khade rah”
(Oi, can’t you see the queue?)
(Well, you can see right? So keep standing.)

At a market (with vendors) where stuff is obviously over-priced
Person 1: “uthnaa bhaav kyoon bhai, main ithnaa eech dethoon”
Person 2: “mere mooh pe baingan likhaa hua hai kya, chalo, giraak kaa time hua”
(Why is it so expensive? I usually pay a lower price)
(Er, do you see ‘brinjal’ written on my face? )

With auto driver, who is obviously refusing to budge
Person 1: “Punjagutta chaloge?”
Person 2: “ …..“ (the ‘baingan’ gesture)
Person 1: looks at his watch, the sky, and to the next autowallah
(Will you go to such-such place?)
(Makes the brinjal-finger-sign. No response)

It is that stoicism that I am in awe of that is so homogenously present with the display of this Brinjal attitude that kills any prospect of conciliation with the people that one has to interact with everyday.

The city lives on and grows organically as people move to other cities and exchange their ‘gifts’, the best export from Hyderabad being the Brinjal attitude, thanks to their strong rudimentary principles in the art of living. It is there deep in skin, bones, blood, and sputum, and some times only a dandaa will set them right, albeit temporarily. I keep fighting with the ‘Brinjals’, some times with upper hand, some times vanquished. What do you do with yours?

J Bo says: An eye for an eye, a brinjal for a brinjal?


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