A mélange of Hindi, Urdu, Telugu, English, bits and pieces of Tamil and Marathi, the colloquial language of Hyderabad popularly known as Deccani has undergone a change, just as the city of pearls itself. But, the one thing that hasn’t changed a bit is its charisma.
The beauty of it is such that a Hyderabadi can nonchalantly start a conversation in Hindi, switch to Telugu or English and end it with a choice of cuss words conveniently borrowed from Tamil, Marathi or just about any other language under the Sun.
Much like its many names such as aubergine and eggplant, the brinjal, oops! The vegetable that is ‘world famous’ in Hyderabad – baigan has a varied usage and could mean anything but itself. The most versatile vegetable in the city ever, baigan is used as per convenience.
Kya baigan ke baatan karre?
Baigan mein milgaya, baigan ki meri, baigan nahi and the list goes on.
Another food item that has found its way into the lingo in the last decade is ‘biscuit’. The very popular ‘biscuit’ is used as an expression while busting something fake and, mind you, that’s not all about it! If you have a hidden Saleem Feku in you, you are most likely to often hear the term ‘cream biscuit’ as a response to your antics.
While hallu, hau, nakko, aatun, jaatun, abich, yeich, kaiku, kya hai ki, etc., have been in use forever, the creativity of Hyderabadis reached a whole new level when an offering to the dead – called ‘pindalu’ in Telugu – was used as an expression with a slight modification. A substitute to the ‘baigan’, the word ‘pinda’ is as versatile as the former. Pssst… let’s tell you a secret, the Cubans know it too and they use it to cuss!
‘Paanch minute mein aarun’ – meaning ‘would be there in five minutes’ is the lie biggest lie in the history of Hyderabad. Don’t start judging the Hyderabadis already… they are not late, just timeless. Don’t believe it? Here’s an example: ‘Parsoonich mila’! Strikes a chord, doesn’t it?
The word ‘parson’, which translates to ‘day before yesterday/day after tomorrow’ could well refer to a time period of a couple of days, a year, a decade or an eternity in Hyderabad, proving that Hyderabadis are just timeless and not early or late!
If there is a word that makes an outsider pull his hair, it has to be ‘nakko’. Though the word is a cliché in Hyderabad, not a lot of people know how it came into existence. Hyderabad-based historian and heritage enthusiast Ghaiasuddin Akbar explains that the clichéd word has come from the Persian and Hindi words ‘na’, ‘nahi karo’.
He also tells us that the word ‘aiyyo’ is nothing but an expression which came into existence by combining the words ‘arey’ and ‘aai’ – meaning mother in Sanskrit and Marathi. “The lower strata of Marathwada who came to Hyderabad to work for the nobility here used the word ‘aai’ to express pain or discomfort. The locals picked it up and replaced the phrases ‘arey ma’, and ‘arey amma’ by adding ‘aai’ to ‘arey’ and making in ‘áiyyo’, he explains.
Akbar also explains how Deccani has contributed to English. “A vessel used to boil water for tea, called ‘ketli´ became ‘kettle’ and, similarly, a phrase used to express awe after witnessing a beautiful structure or a building – ‘dekho re shaan’ became ‘decoration’,” he adds.
The younger generation, on the other hand, has coined words like ‘kiraak, biscuit, OMG, lite le, lite teesko, and advance kaama’.
Unlike the older generation which mostly addressed people using the words like ‘bhai, bhaiyya, yaaron, chicha, kaka, or mamu’, the current generation widened the list of words like ‘machi, macha, dude, ya, pilla, and bro.’
Be it the language used earlier or what is being used now, it has always had a special place in every Hyderabadi’s heart. Not only is it an identity of sorts but it has, over the years, become a popular dialect to make films. Many movies like Angrez, Hyderabadi Nawabs and FM which were made in the Deccani language have done good business, not only in Hyderabad but across the country.
With people from all over India settling down in the city, the language is sure to see more change in the years to come. But much like the attitude of Hyderabadis, the sheen of the lingo is never to fade, because ‘hum to hum hai, baaki sab paani kum hai yaaro!’
- Cop, tasthri for cup and saucer
- Langotiya yaar for childhood friend
- Mamu log for traffic cops
- Ainakchi for chashmish (someone who wears glasses)
- Biskoot for biscuits
- Naashta for breakfast
- Dhakkan for a stupid person