Ghe-oon Taak!

The Delhi-ities sneer at us when they hear us, the Lucknowites turn their nose up (also shut their ears tight), and practically the entire north ridicule us for s%&**ing the Hindi bhaasha. No matter what the country thinks we Mumbaikars love our Tapori Bhaasha. It is like the tadka to dal, giving that special flavor to the matter spoken about. The Tapori style of speaking Hindi is a mixture of many languages spoken by people in Mumbai. It has words adapted mainly from Marathi, and some from Kannada and Tamil. It also has a few Hindi words spoken by people of Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh due to heavy migration of these people to Mumbai city.
For those who are not familiar with the language here is are some basics to start with:

A for Aila
(A Marathi exclamation made famous by Sachin Tendulkar in a Pepsi ad when he says ‘Aila, plane’)

B for Bhendi
(A mild expletive or abuse. The ignorant might think this is local lingo for a vegetable (okra). The tapori knows better)

C for Chindi
(Some say it means insignificant. For others it denotes tight-fistedness. Eg: ‘Bindi is chindi. She won’t even pay for the trip.)

D for Dhasu
(It means great or fabulous. Like what a ‘dhasu’ idea it is to read this tapori talk)

E for Ekdum
(Not that hard to figure out. Ekdum means absolutely. So ekdum bekaar means absolutely useless)

F for Fadoo
(Good, fabulous or beautiful quite in the same vein as Dhasu. A fabulous broom might be explained as a ‘fadoo of a jhadoo’)

G for Ghanta
(Means rubbish or nonsense. If a politician claims: ‘I will eradicate corruption’, the janta comprising Santa-Banta might say Ghanta)

H for Hatke
(Hatke actually means original or slightly different. Not to be confused with ‘hat gayi hai’, which means he’s lost his marbles)

I for Item
(Used to refer to a sexy girl — Kya item hai. These days girls also use the word to describe a handsome man )

J for Jhol
(A common word for a scam or a bungle. Examples: What Jhol is all this?; Sounds like some jhol to me, yaar; Solid jhol in this poll)

K for Kalti
(This means to give somebody the slip or not keep a promise. It may also mean a turnaround. Example: Usne aaj kalti diya)

L for Lafda
(Fairly common usage for a squabble. The lafda can also have sexual connotation — Are they having a lafda (affair)? )

M for Maal
(Dial M for money. That is what maal stands for. It’s also a derogatory slang for a woman — Kya maal hai! )

N for Nastar
(This means bad omen or what is more commonly known as ‘panvati’.Or also means atheist)

O for Ookhad
(The word is used rather combatively. Two men in a skirmish might growl at one another: ‘Ookhad kar phek doonga’)

P for Punter
(It means source or informant. Yeh dekh punter aaya, is the way it is said)

Q for Qeeda
(This rather strange word means a person who is always up to something, some mischief or is posing as a major irritant)

R for Rapchick
(More commonly pronounced as ‘raaapchick’, it is used to refer to a sexy, curvaceous woman)

S for Sumbdi
(This stands for a rather secretive person or somebody who is clever enough not to reveal all. Not to be confused with shy or reticent)

T for Tapori
(These are roadside rowdies. Tapori talk is becoming more mainstream and losing its stigma)

U for Ungli
(A rather obvious obscene interpretation. It also means to bait or rile a person and try to get a rise out of them )
V for Vaat
(Means this is the end of you today. It all means the end, khatam, finito — Aaj toh vaat lag jayega)
W for Wohich
(It simply means him and him only — Wohich hai, aur doosra kohich nahi)

X for Xhun
(Xhun is used to describe the sound of a slap. Crack. Xhun se laafa maara)

Y for Yeda
(Also known as veda in Marathi. It means mad and used in a derogatory tone)

Z for Zandu
(Zandu stands for Lallu (not Prasad Yadav) or Mamu, one who is spineless. Apologies to Zandu Chawanprash)

Out of the Blue restaurant in Khar will hold an art exhibition-cum-sale from August 5 onwards called Tapori Art.
The restaurant’s gallery will have around 20 paintings ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 9,000 on various aspects of tapori life.So if you thought paan stains were ugly, they might soon be sophisticated enough to hang in your living room.

Restaurant owner Rahul Bajaj says the exhibition is an offshoot of a chameli and mawaali theme party held at Out of the Blue on July 21. “We had these tapori paintings on the wall and then decided to make a full fledged art sale.”

Artists Umesh and Yogesh Patil and Rohit Bhanushally of the L S Raheja School of Art have made the paintings. “It is a different expression of this side of Mumbai life,”says Umesh.

7 Comments so far

  1. Mitesh (unregistered) on July 26th, 2007 @ 12:05 pm

    lol…good collection there…enjoyed reading it. bole to Jhakaas. especially the use of rhymes like “Santa-Banta might say Ghanta” :-) btw, I am from mumbai, but I have never used or heard other ppl say zandu! Also, wasn’t Aila made famous by Aamir in Andaaz Apna Apna first?

  2. Jinal Shah (unregistered) on July 27th, 2007 @ 1:25 am

    This was great — I’ve noticed most words haven’t changed and I haven’t lived in Bbay since 6 years now.

  3. Viewer (unregistered) on July 27th, 2007 @ 11:09 am

    @mitesh: Well I will agree that ZXandu is not that popular but I hv heard ppl use that word :)

    @Jinal Shah: Even though the city has cahnged drastically the language and the attitude is pretty much the same :)

  4. IdeaSmith (unregistered) on July 29th, 2007 @ 3:44 pm

    Aila, yeh to ekdum dhasoo collection hai! Like Mitesh, I’m coming across some of these words for the first time as well, despite being a thoroughbred Mumbaiker. Perhaps some of them are more localised?

  5. Viewer (unregistered) on July 30th, 2007 @ 10:37 am

    @Ideasimth: Guess I am total tapori :)

  6. arZan (unregistered) on July 31st, 2007 @ 11:35 am


    Very nice post.

    Infact one of the first posts on Mumbai Metblogs was about the Mumbai Dictionary. Its also an all time favorite post on MB Mumbai…and is linked to wikipedia pages too.

  7. Viewer (unregistered) on August 1st, 2007 @ 9:57 am

    @Arzan : wow dint know that:)

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