Tuesday, June 3, 2014

"J" is for "Jhappi" !!!!!

I know. I know. A very unusual title. But the letter 'J' was tough on me. I could have gone with 'Justice', but that was mundane. Then 'Jealousy' came to mind, but certain folks would think I am writing solely about them.

So then "Jhappi" came up. A panjabi word -- literally meaning "Hug". I'll take this as an opportunity to throw a spotlight on some fun aspects of "Panjabi culture". A lot of credit for this post goes to my cousin in India, who provided the details and the fun-facts!

First of all, the word in question -- 'Jhappi'. Actually the complete phrase is "Jhappi te Pappi"-- literal translation is "Hug & Kiss". And the kiss here generally means a peck on the cheek. This is the traditional way a panjabi would greet a dear friend. So expect a bone crushing hug. It is considered rude if you try to escape this loving death-embrace!

Another fun aspect of our culture is that for us, no celebratory event is small. So no matter what, we will be loud. The amount of alcohol that flows can probably fill up a small reservoir. And there is enough food to feed a small country. After a few rounds of drinks, everybody swarms to the dance floor for "Bhangra". The phrase "Burn the dance floor" was probably invented at some cocktail party in Batala!

We have originated our own slang. Some examples - Puls (police), Bult (bullet), Knayda (Canada), Nyoda (Noida), Kloney (colony) etc. And then of course our "repeat slang" -- Dinner-shinner, Party-sharty, Mutton-shutton, Daru-sharu, Joke-shoke and so on. 

But one thing we kept simple, and that is our names, lest there be any confusion! Jas, gur, preet, deep, har, prabh, inder, jeet, meet, pal, bir -- mix up this suffixes or prefixes in various permutations and combinations with some words, and you will have literally covered more than 90 percent of all panjabi names in existence.

Panjabis are also your 2 AM friends, probably because you are out with them at that time anyway, in their fully loaded, extended SUV, listening to songs at volumes that will rattle your ear-drums.

Jokes apart, Panjabis are a proud people -- energetic, boisterous and hard-working. And I am proud to be one. And I am sure everybody has stories and anecdotes unique to their own culture, and everyone is equally proud. Our heritage is the accumulation over generations, of beliefs and customs, that define our culture, and eventually us.

Why are we so drawn to our roots? Probably because to understand 'Today', sometimes we have to search 'Yesterday'.

"Remember your history. To forget is not to belong." ~ Charlotte A. Black