What’s the good word?

My daughter is 11 and has this small but cutting edge dictionary which is English-Marathi-Hindi. She had this crazy overloaded end- of- the- year homework, where they had all been asked to complete the entire workbook over the weekend and I was roped in to help.

We got stuck at the opposite of ‘sheetal’ so I started to look for ‘Gentle’ and of course the first word on that page was Genital, which caused me to choke. What was worse was that the word Gentle did not feature at all in the G section.

We somehow found the right word and moved on to another exercise when she suddenly asked me—Mom, how does one change the gender? Uh oh I thought. What does one say now?? Just then, luckily, she continued—For example, what is the female of ‘julaha’?

“Who the @*%$# knows? “ I thought to myself, but at least it did not require me to launch into explanations of psychological counseling, hormone treatment and surgery…………

From ‘julaha’ we went to ‘kunjadiya’ which I think the book said is the word for ‘greengrocer’. I spent my childhood in Delhi but I do NOT remember calling the ‘sabziwala’ such a weird name. Come on!! Can you imagine SRK making a movie called “Kishore Kunjadiya”?? ( ref Billu Barber, later changed to only Billu…….)

We then proceed through a list of words which sounded like we were a four wheel drive on a rocky terrain—‘bhadbhunja’, maniharan’ etc etc. 

Then again a word search. I kid you not, but I opened the page for L and the top word on the left hand side was ‘Lesbian’. Now, we are talking about a small, concise dictionary for 3 languages which is on the school book list. Why?? WHY? WHY is this dictionary filled with genitals and lesbians?? Does the RSS know that this is what is driving the women to the pubs? Doing their kids’ school homework??

I will now leave you with the grand finale—the meaning of ‘lesbian’ is given as ‘aurat’ in Hindi and ….unbelievably as ‘gruhini’ in Marathi!!

Yes, Freddy Mercury, all the Marathi housewives are waiting to break free……


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