Thursday, 29 October 2009

Kabayan Buntis or Pregnant Horse


I was surrounded by four different languages while I was growing up - English, Tagalog, Punjabi and Urdu. When I went to secondary school French was added to that as we had to learn it whilst at school. and then in second year (now called Year 8) we were allowed to choose a second foreign language. I remember the choices being German, Spanish, Italian or Urdu. We were meant to put our first two choices down in order of preference. My first choice, according to my parents, had to be Urdu and that's what got put on the form. I didn't want to learn Urdu. I wanted to learn Spanish. And so, with help enlisted from a friend, she changed the choices so that the first choice was Spanish and the second Urdu. I just told my parents all the places for Urdu had been taken up. I did this for two reasons. The first was because I really did want to learn Spanish and the second was because, at the time, I thought learning Urdu was uncool. How I loved those Spanish classes. In fact, for me, second year at school was much better than the first. I had three lessons I was passionate about: Spanish, Textiles and Steel Band.

Half way through second year, we left for Pakistan. It was such a culture shock for me that as part of my "rebellion" against my parents, I refused to learn Urdu properly (which to this day I cannot speak properly). Anyhow, I digress.

The reason I love languages so much is that each one has it's own beauty, rhythm and idiosyncratic phrases or words. Take the title of my post for example. Literally translated from Tagalog, kabayan buntis means pregnant horse. Ammi says it whenever she drops something or does something she wasn't meant to. It's her way of saying "Oops". I always find it hilarious when I hear her say it because it just doesn't make any sense.

A Spanish friend of mine once saw a very cute guy and said "Es como un queso." Again, literally translated that means he's like cheese. For me, that made complete sense. If you love cheese as much as Spaniards (and myself) do then you'll understand. Another phrase I absolutely adore is "meeti churri" which is Punjabi for sweet knife. It's a way of describing someone who is nice to you and then stabs you in the back. "Awaragardi" I recently learnt is the Urdu word for going about town and enjoying yourself. The list goes on.

The only trouble is with languages is this: so much gets lost in translation.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Almost one

The Boogster will be 1 year old on 5th November. One year old! How time has flown! A while ago I bought a diary so I could note down all the new things he does in it and then give it to him when he turned 21. It still lies with the price tag on it on my bookshelf. I will get around to it one of these days.

One of his teeth has finally made an appearance after months of teething pains, drooling and waking up at night crying (and I forgot to mention the chewing on my face). Its the top one but I think one of the bottom ones is soon to join it. He's taking it quite good naturedly. The Teetha powders help too. A friend suggested Ashton and Parson's powders which I think do the same thing.

He also has a new favourite song. It used to be Kanye West's Amazing which his dad used to play him all the time and he would jig up and down to. Now my mum has him hooked on Nusrat Fateh Ali's Mustt Mustt. I think it's the tablas that get him moving!

Other new things he's started doing: pointing to things he wants and say "Oh, oh", making a beeline for the laptop whenever he sees me or his dad turning it on and then proceeding to find all sorts of shortcuts we didn't know existed and waving bye-bye.

Watching him grow up and learn new things everyday never ceases to amaze me. It's such a pleasure seeing his not-so-toothless grin when he's worked out how to take the lid off the Vaseline tub and other such discoveries. At the moment he's fast asleep snoring. Little baby snores because he has a blocked nose from a cold that he's had. Since this is his first cold, I went out and bought everything I could to make it easier for him - Nasosal saline drops, Olbas Oil, Karvol Vapour rub, a nasal aspirator (which he won't let anywhere near his nose), the works. The only things I found of use were Vaseline (to ease the sore nose) and the Olbas oil. I did this in the beginning too...buying things I thought I would need and then discovered I had no use for. I'll leave that for another post though.