Mumbai’s spectacularly twisted Hindi has always left visitors baffled. On a not-so-recent trip to the city, a cousin from Delhi asked for directions to a restaurant. He was told, “seedha jao, pehla left maro aur doosra right maro”. (Go straight, hit left, then, hit the second right turn). My cousin, priding his “pure” Delhi Hindi, turned and asked, “theek hai, par marna kisko hai?” (Ok, but who do I have to hit?)
The eccentricities of the city’s usage of the language don’t end here. Read on for a list of phrases and sentences that’ll bewilder you, make you cringe, and laugh your ass off.
Directive: “Left maro, right maro”
Literal Translation: “Hit left, hit right”
Actual Translation: Don’t think of these as instructions for boxing or UFC. This is how we give directions instead of simply saying “left lena (take the left turn), right lena (take the right turn)” – which is also just another messed up pun.
Directive: “Yahan khada kar dena”
Literal Translation: “Make it erect here”
Actual Translation: Of course, there are nicer, sexier ways to say this to a SO. But in conversation with the cabbie, we really just want him/her to “pull over here”.
Directive: “Ladki ko uthana hai”
Literal Translation: “Pick up a girl”
Actual Translation: This is no kidnap attempt, nor are we trying to pick up a girl at a bar. We’re just informing our drivers in advance that we’re “picking up a girl friend”.
Directive: “Woh khula hai”
Literal Translation: “He’s flashing”
Actual Translation: Creepers alert, hells no! This is to point out when a gate, bar, restaurant, anything (except someone’s zipper) is open.
Directive: “Side par daba de na”
Literal Translation: “Squeeze (something) on the side”
Actual Translation: We don’t invite people to squeeze anything on any side. Instead, this is another way of asking the drivers to “squeeze the car into the one remaining parking spot” in this ever-crowded city.
Directive: “Building left par giregi”
Literal Translation: “The building will fall on the left”
Actual Translation: Definitely not an opinion on how dilapidated the structure may be, rather, it’s more about which side of the road the building stands on.