In Praise of the Vernacular – 1


Now that Bengaluru has turned into a Cherrapunji -it has rained all night and shows no signs of letting up this morning – there are two words of our ‘kasturi kannada’ that come to mind. ‘Kole’ and ‘Koche’. Typically used together in a tone of complete disgust and followed up or prefixed with ‘Tchah’ or any such exclamation, the line would go “Aiyyo. Yen Kole. Yen Koche. Tchah!”

 Why these two words? Well, because I can’t think of any other words in any other language that so precisely describe the slush that mars the roads and footpaths of the city after a spot of rain. The onomatopoeic Kole and Koche cover the ‘Kach’ sound that happens when you put your foot in the mix of rain, clay, waste (of human, animal and plant origins), urine, somebody’s spit out paan and various other things and manage to convey the crawling icky feeling that starts where the wet mush hits your toes and continues up and up till every hair on your skin is standing up and every inch of your skin is crawling with ick.

Note: The e in both words is pronounced so its Kole as in Kolay and not coal.


One response to “In Praise of the Vernacular – 1

  1. reallly well-written!

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