Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Da Problem 

At least three people referred to me as "Da" on my blog over the past few days. For the "Bengali unaware", the Bengali man is often referred to as "Da". Though the callers often term this trend as a mark of respect, "Da" literally means "Elder brother" and is a sweet way of saying you "You're old". So for starters - "What in my past few posts have made people feel that I'm old?" :((

My mom realized this problem at an early age. Given that my Dad's hair grayed fast, he became a "Da" at quite an early age. Not that Mummum minded it - the sight (or is it the sound) of young girls referring to your husband as their elder brother is indeed reassuring. However, you can't call a guy "Da" and his wife by her name at the same time. The protocol demands that the wife be called "Di" too - which means "elder sister". So, to protect her husband from lecherous damsels, Mummum became an "early di" - a phenomenon that ensured that she took early preventive measures for her children. The "Da" "Di" syndrome is infectious - it starts with one person giving you that "added respect" and before you know your whole social circle joins in. And if you're a girl and they call you "Di", the aunts will soon come down and say, "She's getting old - have you considered getting her married?" - a phenomenon I like to call as "Di Important Issue".

So as I was saying - Mummum acted early. Both Pummy and I were given funky names by which our cousins addressed us - names which had uncanny resemblances to those of dogs (I'm called Jinku by many) but avoided any classification in terms of age. Pummy never referred to me as "Da" either - something which led to the complete lack of reverence lil sis has for me :) Whenever a young family friend broke the protocol Mummum used her trump card - "Calling them Da or Di would distance them and harm their friendship. So call them just by their names," she'll say. And so they did. Prefixes - nay! Suffixes - nay!

All this was working just fine till Avinash Modi started calling me "Shaggy Da" for some strange reason. Soon other juniors from Pilani joined in. From "Shaggy" (yeah that's what all my friends call me) I became "Sagnik Da". I ran, I hid, I gelled my hair, wore grotesque clothes and started using "Wassup" to greet BUT the old was found by the bold. You people found me! You left a few unsuspecting comments that made me happy and then dropped in "Da bomb" :(( Why why why? Sigh sigh sigh! Bye bye bye :)

That, My friend is "Da" whole issue huh??? ok... I would call u Happy from now on (NO connection to Happy Singh)

BTW, dont u think that the name Shaggy is disgusting??? I think it is... especially because of two reasons:

(a) It reminds me of Scooby Doo...

(b) Shaggy has an unnatural uncanny feeling that people believe we are incapable of mating (If ya know what I mean ;)) Hint: Shag

My friends call me Shaggy too, and I detest it...

Oh, and BTW, if u think that Da is bad, savour this:

In Mumbai, people think Bhaia is a poor term to use, since Bhaia is generally used for Biharis (whatever thats supposed to mean!!) Therefore, kids at the PG that I stay in refer to me as Sunny Uncle (I am 22, if that makes ya feel better)...

Therefore, my friend/compatriot/fellow Jacobean/Funny Man

Chahe Koi tumhe Dada Kahein,
Kehne ko Ji kehte rahe,
Tum ho baccha to kya kiya jaae,
Rona Dhona Bandh Kijiye!!

BTW, I just made that up... Sorry for the reeeeeeallly bad PJ, but I coldnt resist it!!!

Love, laughter n keep the faith

I got it,now one, I'll call you Sagnik Da and no more Sagnik Sr. ;)
Or maybe Da Sagnik ...now thats more hippie !

And Sagnik Jr...pst pst..I can feel your pain. In Hyderabad,kids next door used to call us, (bunch on girls in early 20's) as Aunty.
For a lady, thats a big insult... don't you think so ? ;)
@namesake - thanks for the discete hint :)) but i have to be honest that i like my name - it still have a certia uncommon trait to it - and it's ironic when i mention that to you :)

@debalina (imagine a melodramatic tone) - why why why - why will you do that?
X actly!!

he he...


Ask and thy shall find...
Why Kids Call thy Aunt:
The Kids must be having Mommas
Who hasnt known how to wear them a Pant!

Meaning thereby, that the kids must be having mommas younger to u!!

he he...

Love, laughter n keep the faith

Sagnik Jr.
hhm so, the rakhi and the bhai phota details( namely, wet pan pata, lakme kajol,de freezable chanfan, evergreen ghash and the dubious dubba and the veritable dhup kathi etc) by western consortium phota transfer is definately out, huh?
and my id isn't really unique... its a Fossils song title...( bangla rock band)....
@ tritiyo bishyo

Hehe… Well I think this whole ‘Da thingie is really because you have become the Big Brother of the Blogging world, da seems appropriate!
Though, it reminds me of my first day at work when I sent a mail to a Bong gentleman in the Kolkata office asking for an explanation on something and referred to him quite brazenly as Dear Parimal. A minute after I had clicked on send, my boss of shrill voice fame shrieked to get attention of all in office with her, “What have you doneeeeeeeeeee?”. As a lowly Management Trainee, I walked up to her with visions of being sacked one hour into my first job, she said, “How can you call him Parimal? You have to say Parimal Da! You know how particulars these Bongs are!” and rolled her eyes.
Needless, to say since then I have made mental note to refer to all Bong men as Blah Da! Unless, of course I meet a Stud-Type-Bong I-Banker (even if he sounds like a mythical creature to some!)
By the way, in Tamil also we do the da reference, pronounced differently of course, as an expression of fondness and is unisex!
Jinku Da... how much more cuter can it get..
as also in mallu...
Da means a loved one... a Big bro...

huh Shaggy Duh???

He he :))

Love, laughter n keep the faith

Shaggy-dada, can I call u Sagnik-da from now on?
@sagnik jr: my ex-tamilian-roommate used to use the -Da word so much that he was later renamed -Da...and his tamilian girlfriend as -Di...
there was no love involved in it..he used it because of lack of vocabulary on his part.
Unfortunately, I know of too many cases where a girl started off by referring to a guy as something-da, and then ended up in a very non-bortherly relationship with him. If you remember the little ditty we were so fond of in school -

Din mein bhaiyya, raat ko saiyyan.
Din mein sister, raat ko bistar.

With apologies to all the REAL bhai-behens out there.
X got married to Y da, is common in every para ...and I happily go n enjoy the marriage party :D
@tritiyo bishyo - thanks for the explanation of the name. i left Kolkata before the band culture picked on and since then i just hear abt it from my sis :( as far as real bro and sis is concerned my mom knowing how difficult it'll be to get me married says "You have a real sister - so you dont need to go and make any more new ones" :))

@Soup - I faced a similar problem where as a kid I refused to call some girl who was older than me Didi - it was something quite scandalous I remember

@divya - please, let's just hope that no one other than you and me ever hears that :))

@namesake - i spent 4 years in BITS - familiar with exactly what you are talking abt - entra da?

@Arijit - don't mke me call you names in public that i call you lovingly over the phone :))

@Ani - eeeeesh! I remember that - and can you beat it that a teacher of mine (a guy called A. Ray who became notorious for very diff reasons) once mentioned this poem (?) to me. as far as the "Da" to "tumi ki shueet" transisition my apt mate is one of them - it' hilarious.

@debalina - have you noticed that in all these marriages there is some "Da" who has nothig to do with either sides who mintiors everything. "the food is not ready? ask tukuda na ..."
Reminds me of a song by Aqua -

Dum Di Da Di Da... Roses are red

Also brings to mind the Tamil/Kannad Da/Di phenomenon as mentioned by others here. Of course, a girl can call a guy Da, but a guy cannot call a girl Di, in Tamil.


I totally relate to your point about "growing up" of course. :) Even if I don't speak a word of Bengali (other than the bit that Amitabh Bachchan taught me in the song - "Angrezi mein kehte hain ki I love you", and of course I'm sure I even mispronounce that).

I wrote about it, long, long ago, so long ago, that I don't even remember how long ago, at Uncle???.

Sorry for the shameless self promotion :) You do enough of it for me already :)
Mr.Nandy must be one confused DaDi.
Anuj _ay said this to you!! I hope you escaped with your modesty intact.
@Rajesh - yes! I remember that post :) and btw - you dont need any promotion (if you wer a girl this is the point where you would think i am flirting :)

@Sanketh - the granny of all puns :)

@Ani - oh no! even you know abt Anuj - I thought it was just a local secret. Sheeesh! I should post abt him sometime :))
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