A couple of days back, my maternal Aunt Kamala appeared in my dream. We have a strong bond, among our relatives on my Mom’s side. Aunty expired when I was studying in college. She was very sweet to me, in my dream. I told my Mom about my dream and she began reminiscing about her life before marriage in Delhi. That resulted in this post – Kutta Janivar Hai.
Kutta Janivar Hai
Aunt Kamala was already married at that time and her daughter Pushpa Akka was about 5 years old when this incident occurred. I am not very good at humor. Mom is. She related the incident so well that we were laughing for a long time. If my post does not make even you smile, forgive me.
Kamala Aunty had studied in Hindi medium when Gran Dad was posted in Delhi. Her Hindi was fantastic. On the other hand, her husband my Uncle Nagraj had learnt a few words of the language and he had a way with words.
We are Brahmins and like most people of the community, our males wear the sacred thread. Every year they change their sacred threads around the day of Raksha Bandhan. Some Brahmin priests from the South had come to stay with my Gran Dad at this time and they were discussing about getting the sacred threads for all. My GranDad just mentioned that the sacred thread is available at the local grocers’ and left to have a bath.
The sacred thread is called Janivara in Kannada. Just then, a dog entered the verandah of the house and my Granny ran to chase it off. Nagraj Uncle went there and said, “Kutta janivar hai.” Granny stifled her laughter. Uncle’s comment was heard by one of the priests and he went to a grocery store to ask for a kutta, making the sign across his chest, indicating the sacred thread!
The grocer sent him to a nearby pet shop. At the pet shop, he was shown several dogs and he kept rejecting each of them, showing the sign of the sacred thread.
The shopkeeper asked him, “Pagal hai?” (Are you mad?)
The priest replied, “Yes, pagal hai,” thinking that it is some synonym of the sacred thread.
Soon, the shopkeeper got fed up of the whole thing and sent the priest to another shop. The owner of this shop was known for his fury. The priest asked him about the sacred thread saying, “Pagal hai”. The shop owner said, “Tu pagal hai.” Then, there was an exchange of “Tu pagal hai” and the shopkeeper looked at the priest and beat him up!
Back home, everybody asked for the sacred thread. He replied, “They already put it on me!” When the rest of the people were shocked and asked, “A sacred thread should not be worn without proper rituals. How did they make you wear it?”
The priest showed the purple marks on his body. When Gran Dad returned from the office, he said he would bring the sacred thread himself the next day. He also took the priest to the police station to lodge a complaint about the shop owner, who had beaten him up. The shop owner was made to apologize. The police officer warned all the shop owners, “If people not knowing Hindi come to your shop and you don’t understand what they are asking, just show a sign of the stuff not being there. You should not make fun of such people and/or beat them up.”
My GranDad asked the policeman, “What do you say about all the beating that the priest got for no fault of his?”
The policeman told the priest to beat up the shop keeper in front of him. The priest refused because he would be no different from the shopkeeper then.
Such an incident can happen to anyone. People should keep their cool and should be kind. Otherwise, humanity will be lost.