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Proverbs

Rôchlai, Deva, Pôs

One good turn deserves another Translated literally, it says: “God, you have created me, nurture me”, though the exact sense it conveys is: God, you have created me, now how about taking care of me! Rôchlai, Deva, pôs — just three words — and so pious they almost articulate a sublime prayer! But they are loaded with some connotations and associations. The proverb is meant to describe … Continue reading »

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Valichea niban mhôsgak udok

A case of piggybacking Valichea niban mhôsgak udok means that the drumstick tree gets hydrated in the process of the creeper being watered. This is apparently a simple expression, but is open to somewhat differing interpretations depending on the motivation of the parties involved. Val means a creeper, any creeper; nib means an excuse; mhôsgak is the dative … Continue reading »

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Khakêk asa cheddo, sôdta sogllo vaddo

In her arm is her child In search of whom she wanders through the wild A number of proverbs focus on unexpected yet not too infrequent interesting natural occurrences. Khakêk asa cheddo, sôdta sogllo vaddo is one such. Khak (fem.) is an armpit — khakêk being its dative form — and vaddo (masc.) is a section of … Continue reading »

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Mezailem kellem diun filiad zôddlem

Giving away honey with somebody else’s money Mezailem kellem diun filiad zôddlem literally means that one won a god-daughter by giving away a banana from the table, that is, belonging to somebody else. It is a reference to a favour one does, and takes credit for, without having to pay for it oneself, for instance by giving … Continue reading »

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Tor for, Mhojem ghor

There is no place like home Tor for, mhojem ghor , is perhaps best expressed in English as “My home is my home”, despite the latter’s apparent tautology. As we all know, a home has two important qualities. First, it is a place where you are free to do what you like — of course within limits. There is a … Continue reading »

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Hokol khaina ghore, bhiknnamnim bhorlem van!

The young bride abhors all cookies and sweets; whence came the candy wrappers beneath her sheets? The literal meaning of Hokol khaina ghore, bhiknnamnim bhorlem van!  is “The bride eschews jackfruit arils; (but) the mortar got filled with jackfruit seeds”. Now that calls for a great deal of explanation. First, the Konkani word for jack fruit … Continue reading »

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Mãi-paigêr asat bara zotam, punn hanv bhik magun khatam

My father commands the royal fleet, but I’m a beggar on the street Mãi-paigêr asat bara zotam, punn hanv bhik magun khatam  literally means, “My parents have a dozen yokes but I beg and eat”.  The English word “yoke” here means, “a pair of animals yoked together” (Oxford Dictionary) and that’s the exact meaning of the Konkani … Continue reading »

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Fest kôrta ganv, pirjentichem nanv

The jubilee is celebrated by the village, but to bask in the glory is the president’s privilege”      The literal translation of the proverb would be: “The village celebrates the feast; the ‘president’ gets the name. ” When the people from a village celebrate their feast, someone from the village either volunteers or is … Continue reading »

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Donui vhoddeanr pãi, ekai vhoddear nãi

If across two boats you stay put, you will end up on neither foot Literally it means: “If you plant your feet across both the boats, you will find yourself on neither”. Life’s choices are often limited. It is certainly frustrating not to have the object of your desire. But if there are two equally … Continue reading »

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Mãi nasleleak bara mãiô

A motherless teen has mothers umpteen “Mãi nasleleak bara mãiô” literally means “one who has no mother has twelve mothers”. However, the number twelve actually means “numerous”, and is  more or less equivalent to the words “umpteen” and “zillion”  in English usage. We see the word bara used in in a similar way in the proverb … Continue reading »

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