Delhi Belly had restarted a debate on abuse and boy am I glad. I was fast becoming one of the last few souls who still abuse. Most of my friends were turning away from using the F,B,C,M,G and L words.
My first gaali lesson was from my little brother. He came back from school one day and blurted it out. It sounded something like screwing a buffalo. It did not seem to make sense although his friends were using it in school and having fun. Many years later I realized it was actually about screwing someone else.
I remember an assistant of mine was shocked when he heard me abuse on shoot. He thought it was an exception and let it pass. But pretty soon he realized that was not the case. I was at it everyday. And I did not seem to bother if there were women around. So one day at lunch break he sat down and looked deep into my eyes and asked – Aap itna gaali kyun dete hain?
I started by explaining how gaalis encapsulate the frustration one feels in certain situations. How gaalis help us take out that anger. How there should be a law in support for giving gaalis. How gaalis help reduce violence. And how the study of gaalis should be regular subject at school where children should be awarded marks for creating new flowery gaalis.
He never spoke to me on that subject again.
My experience is that Delhi is streets ahead on this. When working briefly in Bombay, I remember people accepted any kind of behaviour in colleagues and friends. Stuff that could be considered immoral elsewhere. Two timers, three timers. You name it. But you could not abuse. They had actually invented words like “fish” and “fuch” so that they did not have to say the real thing in public.
In the gaali universe, there are two kinds of people in this world. Actually three. One who give gaalis. I am talking about Hindi stuff. Then there those who do not give gaalis. But given time they can be converted. And then there are those abuse in English only.
The last set of people are the silliest. The F word is no match for the C,G or B word. You get the drift. English abuses are mostly short. They do not let you stretch your emotion. Whereas gaalis let you take out the entire anger you are feeling at that point.
There should be credible research hidden somewhere in Europe that abusing in your mother tongue is actually better for your health. Just make sure the person you are addressing it to is five feet away. And shorter than you. Better still you should be in a car.