“बोलता को बोलता नहीं बोलता तो क्या बोलता??”


wasp‘Bolta’ is ‘wasp’ in bengali. One of my bengali friends at my workplace was telling me this story about his childhood (and I’m sharing because somehow I found it hilarious; hope you too)

Once on a school picnic trip, where these guys were enjoying in the outdoors, some wasps got annoyed (perhaps correctly thinking that the place belonged more to them than to some hullabaloo-causing children) and tried to chase these guys away (or rather, as I understand, they were just flying around to scare them and these guys started to run, as if they were really being chased, further, as if, they could beat the chase had had those little-yellow-stings decided to kiss them!) Now, amidst this panic, one girl decided to run upto this school security guy who was resting under a tree near-by. He had accompanied them perhaps to handle the kind of pressing problems these kids were right then in. Our security guy happened to be a nepali (no offence meant, but no prizes for guessing either 😉 and other than his mother-tongue, he could understand bits of hindi, but not in the least, bengali. This girl wakes him up and says, (now imagine a little girl, short-of-breath, saying to this non-bengali guy), “Okhane onek bolta udeh berachhe” (it would roughly translate to: ‘Many wasps are flying out there.’)

Not only this guy did not understand what the little girl had said, he also gets confused to hear the word ‘bolta’, which in Hindi language is a derivative of ‘to say‘. Bolta, thus has an entirely different meaning and usage in the hindi language. Obviously then, he got no clue to what she was trying to say and kept asking her, “kya bolta, kya bolta???” (‘What is it’?) Finally, when one wasp flies past them, she points to it and says, “bolta” !! On realising that a wasp was the subject of her panic, he says, “Arre!, tab se bolta bolta bol rahi hai.” (Oh! What have you been saying then for so long)

This girl, exasperated and irritated, says, “बोलता को बोलता नहीं बोलता तो क्या बोलता??” (What else do you call a wasp but a wasp??)

I found it so amusing, even touchy..

Also, beyond the humour (clearly caused by a seemingly-weird sentence construction), there is this under-current psychology here in play too: The girl herself knew the meanings of ‘bolta’ in both the hindi and the bengali languages (otherwise she would not have said the last statement, where she employs both the hindi and bengali meanings of the word ‘bolta’) but in the panic that she was in, she could not think or understand or convey anything in a non-native tongue (which she otherwise was conversant with)

The humour, while loud on the exterior, has a subtle intelligence to it too.

Hope I was able to convey the same, in part at least. Any kind of comments or experiences are welcome ..


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4 Responses to ““बोलता को बोलता नहीं बोलता तो क्या बोलता??””

  1. The Chickengoddess Says:

    That’s a really cute story. I like language tricks, even ones without interesting stories. In one of my early Japanese classes, we learned the phrase “Ima ima ni imasu” which translates to “I am in the room now”. Not something most people say, but interesting all the same and a good lesson on how changing pronounciation changed the meaning of the word.

  2. Amit Says:

    That is an original cute story. I have a Bengali friend and the gender related mistakes are really funny.

  3. garima Says:

    really cute one…it brought smile on my face when I read the line “बोलता को बोलता नहीं बोलता तो क्या बोलता??”…:)

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