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Saturday, October 08, 2016

Aiyah! You too are English now

In 2012, Marathi director Sachin Kundalkar made a Hindi film called Aiyyaa. It did not work. Some say it’s because of the title, which was too colloquial to register among the public. Kundalkar was ahead of his time. Now, two variants of the exclamation word –‘aiyah’ and ‘aiyoh’ are part of the Oxford English Dictionary. Its official!

‘Aiyah’ and ‘aiyoh’ or its different variations are predominantly used in south India to reveal a range of emotions, from irritation, disgust, surprise, to dismay, pain, lament, and disappointment, all depending on how a speaker uses it.
These two are among the 1,000 odd words included in the latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary in September. Every quarter, the Dictionary editors include a certain number of new and culturally relevant words and make it a part of the canon. The Dictionary is 150 years old and has over 600,000 entries.

Other interesting entries in this year’s list include ‘yogasana’ (no explanation needed!), ‘Yolo’ (you only live once), ‘moobs’ (unusually prominent breasts on a man) and ‘Westminster bubble’ (insular community of politicians, journalists and civil servants out of touch with wider public). Even the wise Jedi from the Star Wars universe, Yoda, has place in the list.

This being the birth centenary of the beloved British author Roald Dahl, the dictionary has also added ‘Dahlesque’ (resembling the characteristics or work of Dahl) and popular words used by the author such as ‘splendiferous’ and ‘scrumdiddlyumptious’.

Monday, September 19, 2016


On the occasion of the 89th birthday of the doyen of Hindi poetry, the Master, Kunwar Narain, this is a treasure I discovered at the poet’s CR Park residence the other day – a selection of Kunwar Narain’s poems in Assamese translation. The book, Kunwar Narain-r Kabita, has been translated by Prayag Saikia and has been published by Krantikal Prakashan, Nagaon in 2011. It was a matter of personal pride to have discovered the book at the residence of poet. As someone who has read Kunwar Narain’s poems both in original Hindi and English translations, and has heard the poet read his own work, I can vouch for the Assamese translation – they are indeed very good. Do read!

Wishing the poet a very happy birthday!