I am a keralite who came to mumbai in my mid forties. i knew no hindi 'cos i did most of my schooling in tamilnadu at a time when anti hindi sentiments ran very high there- so landed up in mumbai with fifteen words. believe it or not I managed beautifully with them. with fifteen words and kathakali mudras, I could even gossip with my domestic help! but my first attempt at communication with my first domestic help was disastrous. wanted to tell her she isnt doing her job(cleaning the floor) well- so found out the word for’ dirty’ - gandhagi, my neighbour told me it was. i memorised it and waited for the help to come. she came late and i forgot the word but remembered the first sound. as she started mopping the floor, suddenly the word came to me and i blurted out - bahoot garibi, I said. should have seen the expression on her face!!!!!
u must b wondering how i got hold of 'garibi'? well, i grew up in the heydays of mrs indiria gandhi and her populist vote catching slogan - GARIBI HATAO! the term surfaced from somewhere deep in my sunconscious mind.i instantly realised my mistake but how was i to explain to her with my fifteen words?
she didnt come aftet that day.