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God can speak English you know!

Friday, March 09, 2012

I have always found it rather amusing that most fervent of all prayers is in the most effusive of urdus. The man considered best to lead a prayer is the man who can speak to God in God's own language - urdu....

Moslem. No no muslim. No no no no musalmaan. There that's the right way to say it. Otherwise we are not muslim.

whispers: But God can speak English you know .....

I have always found it rather amusing that most fervent of all prayers is in the most effusive of urdus. The man considered best to lead a prayer is the man who can speak to God in God's own language - urdu. And the most soul-lifting of prayers is intensely urdu. An urdu so incomprehensible that it's arabic. It's filled with the "aats" and "qus" and "deeds" and words start getting hypenated and eventually everything sounds like the name of a Mughal monument or the title of a persian saint.

That's how it works in our India. The most religious man has the longest beard and even longer kurta. But most of all, he prays in the most incomprehensible speech possible. The less you understand - the more beautiful it is and more knowleadgable he is!

whispers: But God can speak English you know ... and is not so unfond of T-shirts either! 

So let's take our typical gathering. A fatiha. A Quranic reading. At the end of it all comes our group prayer. We all stand around. One hand on the other. Eyes crinkling close in concentration. The more seasoned ones glaze away their gaze. And here's the funny thing - the more irreligious people are -- the more they will pour all their mind and soul into this final prayer. Hanging on to every word being utterred by the prayer man or woman. Some don't even understand most of what is being said -- but they will be waiting for that lilt of wavy God's language to halt so that they can solemnly utter -- aaaaaameeeeen. One will even turn to the other with "there, i knew when to say it and you didnt!" looks.

"Ya Allah, hamare jo bagal me amal hai, unke talaffuz me tabdiliyan la, unki aulaad ki bebunyaad faryaad ko qubool farma. Unki nasl ki fasl betalab muftajab qutbak, ajab gajabe ajabe azeem o shaan shehensha"

aaaaaameeen.

errr...whoooa ... what? Whisper to khala: "what is talaffuz?"  "what is muftasub?"

Ammi: "Shhhh.....bas your guftaghu, beadab, namakool, shahfool khanum"

ok ok. cool cool.

Utters aloud: BUT GOD CAN SPEAK ENGLISH YOU KNOW

And so do potential in-laws!!

My mom - man her urdu starts sprouting when a marriage proposal comes along. "Ji, aapke shohar kya mulaazimat me the?" "Ji aapke farzan ki taalim kahan se hui hai" "Ji meri beti qabil mukammil naseebo wale azeemo shane shahensha. Talafuz, mulasuf, guftagub.

Khoob khoob.

But in-laws can speak English you know!

And so can God.

SHOUTS: GOD SPEAKS ENGLISH YOU KNOW.

Aaaamennnnnnnn.


5 comments:

Shefali Tripathi Mehta said...

beadab, bekhauf, ladki! stay this way :) loved this.

Nikhil said...

You're getting married? God bless you! I hope he/she heard that and comprehended it.

Just curious. Pun intended in the last line? I noticed that aameeeeen became aamennnnnn. [No, I don't understand Urdu]

Rabia Fathima said...

He he, shef!

Nikhil -- thanks ... but no I am not getting married! There is a pun in the last line ... but nothing to do with men :) ... Aaaamen is how the christians would say it :).

Anonymous said...

LOL

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