I do not use my surname. Surnames are used to identify one’s caste & i do not want myself bracketed into any caste. So a simple question to me like what’s your name can sometimes get a bit tedious
tumcha naav kaay ( whats your name ?)
majha naav arjun ( My name is arjun)
But the question does not end there & is immediately followed by another….
aaad naav kaay ? (Whats your surname ?)
Then i have 3 choices either i change the topic, look away or actually say my surname, which anyway nobody will even understand !
Here the husband is referred to as a “maalak”…. meaning owner, So vimal cha maalak (owner of Vimal)… is her husband Prakash. So, like owning a car or a house, here a woman is owned & possessed by the men. The same logic is carried on further & unfortunately i happen to be introduced to local people as Prakash cha maalak (owner of Prakash). Now isn’t that plain embarrassing & i am out of my depth on how to break this kind of thinking & lingo.
Or for example one happens to ask about someone’s family & how many children they have etc, the answers can be bewildering…. for eg :
So how many children does Ankush & Geetha have ?
No, they do not have a son
I am asking you how many children does Ankush & Geetha have ?
Oh, they do not have a son & unfortunately have only 4 daughters.
So, are daughters not children ??
Another example is when we need to call some people to help us for any specific task, the term used is “gadi” (meaning farm servant). The terminology is shocking.
Tumhala kithi gadi laagnar aahe ? When translated into english it will be How many servants do you need ?
Once in a month for 3 – 4 days i see Prakash going to get our drinking water & do some cooking etc, while Vimal sits quietly in one corner of the house. Apart from being seen as impure for those 3 – 4 days, she also has to remove her mangal sutra. While I find this practice disgusting, the positive element to it is that Vimal gets a few days of rest.
I wonder what the people in the village would be talking about us ??