After many years I was revisiting Hyderabad and I couldn’t believe my eyes. The city had undergone a metamorphosis. Huge glass paneled commercial complexes, posh apartments, malls galore, wide roads and westernized looking street crowd that could be from Mumbai or Bangalore. I was just taking the shock in while looking for a certain house. I stopped and asked a local person for directions.
“Bhaiya, yeh Shivraj Apartments kidhar hai?” I asked in my Bambaiyah Hindi.
“Seedha jaku left mudna. Boleto 5 minute mein pahunch jayenga.”(Go straight and take a left. You will reach in 5 minutes)
I heard him speak and realized that Hyderabad has not changed at all.
The same language, the same confidence with which they give directions and the same 5 minutes distance which could be anywhere from 10 meters to 10 kilometers. They just do not follow the same clock the universe follows! If a Hyderabadi tells you, he has been to a place the day before, it could be anytime between yesterday to last week to last month or even last year. I call it the Hyderabadi telescopic effect. If you tried reasoning with a Hyderabadi, the typical answer would be, ‘Ami logaan aisaich bolte’ (We people talk like that only!)
Lucknow and Hyderabad, both are cities of Nawabs. Lucknawi language is so polished, charming and graceful. You feel like you are listening to a melodious poem, softly whispered to you. Hyderabadi Hindi, on the other hand, is a strange amalgamation of Hindi and Urdu with influences from Telugu and Marathi. It has taken on a rawness, directness, and roughness. Hyderabadi’s don’t mince words or gift wrap them, things are said directly and ‘as they are’.
Hyderabad is famous for its hot and spicy food, especially Biryani. It is famous for pearls and bangles in Laad Bazar near Char Minar. You can’t miss to visit Karachi bakery if you are in Hyderabad. The fruit biscut (not biscuit) here is unique. People are known for their hospitality and love of feeding and eating. But the most entertaining aspect of Hyderabad is their language. Both in terms of vocabulary and accent is so distinct that you can spot a Hyderabadi anywhere on the face of the earth.
I saw “Well done Abba” a movie in Hyderabadi Hindi. It is a black comedy about releasing funds for building a well which gets built only on paper as the funds are spent on bribery. Finally they lodge an FIR with the police for a stolen well to get a real well dug! The choice of Hyderabadi Hindi was the best thing about the movie. It kept you in splits all the way through.
In this dialect, simple ‘Haan’(yes) becomes ‘How’ and ‘Na’ (no) becomes ‘Nakko’, with that extra emphasis on the last letter.
The way they make the plural of every object is by adding ‘aan’ instead of ‘s’. Many bottles are ‘Bottlaan’. People are logaan and so forth.
‘What do you want’, is simply ‘Kya hona’? – Crisp and direct.
Me and umbai Tapori’s have made these words their own and a lot of Bollywood movies have used this lingo. Some other words that have moved to Bollywood from Hyderabadi Hindi are, Potti (girl) and Potta (boy); Khali Peeli (meaning simply); Bheja Sarkna (Get angry or crazy); Dabake maarna(Hit hard); Tumku (to you) or Usku (to her or him); Hallu hallu (slowly); Dimag kharab kiya (Irritated me)
There are a few words you will get to hear only in Hyderabadi Hindi. Baingan (literally meaning Brinjal) but Baingan is used to mean crazy. Hawla is another word for stupid or idiotic. You start a discussion on their language and a Hyderabadi will certainly say “Hameto aisaich bolte.”