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Fiona Fernandez's favourite picks are 'shaanpatti' and 'panvati'. Shaanpatti refers to someone who believes they are Mr/Ms Know-it-All, by being pretentious about their knowledge (though they might be the exact opposite). The species can be found everywhere. The word is mostly used by an observer while watching this smart Alec in action, showing off their chops: “Woh kuch zyaada hi shaanpatti dikha raha hai. Chalo, usse seedha kar dete hain.” While 'panvati' has a different connotation. From buzz in a pub and banter at work, to small talk with fellow commuters, this word was omnipresent. It is used to refer to a person who brings bad luck. But in the case of recent times, it indicates the not-so-happy aftermath of the pandemic. We heard sentences like “Umar bhar ki panvati, ek hi saal mein jhelna pada,”; now, a revisit looms. Panvati times only.
Sukanya Dutta's top word is 'off ho gaya'. She confesses that it’s morbid, but most of us lost loved ones in the past two years. The awkward part about death is breaking the news. “They left us/ they breathed their last.” Who talks like that? “Woh off ho gaya/gayi”, a phrase possible only in time-starved Bambai, provides a cheeky recourse. If possible, it even softens the blow by sneaking in a split second of humour. Next up from her favourite is 'load nai leneka'. Did you even live through the pandemic if you didn’t have a meltdown? The Bambaiya cousin of “take a chill pill”, “load nai leneka” has a more passive appeal. I warmed up to it thanks to my cook, who repeats it often to my frantic self. The results are better when you say it out loud, in Munna Bhai-style, as if to drop all the weight of that stress.
Sammohinee Ghosh's top slangs: 'pasara' and 'jhaad'. "My then landlady had used this word, pointing at my tiny cot in a shared 1BHK in Mumbai. I was delighted to have found a sobriquet to epitomise my predominant state of mind. Her trials at spurring shame failed; the pasara stayed. Since then, I’ve scoured for rhyming Hindi words — nazara, pukara and guzara. Such poetic possibilities, and yet, we use it for heaps of clutter!". She comments on the slang 'Jhaad': "Try telling a Bengali, “Yeh location woh jhaad ki dukaan ke aage hai.” For a few seconds, the person would be reeling under the thought of a shop manufacturing admonishes. That’s what jhaad means in Bangla. Here, it refers to plants. Not ped-paudha, but jhaad. Who could have woken up to a Rangoon creeper or raat ki rani and abrasively called them jhaad?!"
Shriram Iyengar's top slangs include 'bantai' and 'total damage'. Now, we know that Gully Boy was released a while ago, but somehow, we do not recollect the term, ‘bantai’ being part of our regular conversation before 2022. This year, we spotted casual conversations using the stylish term as a casual moniker for friends to up their lingo. Simple, slick, and with a dash of panache, this one we dig. He explains the nuance behind 'total damage': "Every year is filled with stories of friends bailing out of plans, missed trips and major bungles. This time, they were accompanied by the term ‘total damage’ that popped up in unlikely conversations. From corporates using it to describe Elon Musk’s (mis)adventures to friends using it as a hammer to bash yours truly, it remained consistent through the year".
Tanishka D'Lyma shares her favourite slangs, 'bassa' and 'chala'. "A soothing word to evade restlessness and settle the mind came with the Bombay iteration of the Marathi word for sit, bassa. The search for a moment for pause throughout this year was guided with ‘bassa’ and the mental image of the very Indian hand gesture of ‘wait, calm down’. Before a meal, too, bassa reminded me to eat with intention, and without haste. While 'chala' is the Marathi word for let’s go. It is on repeat in my head like an earworm after a pest slipped it in my direction. Instead of signalling departure, chala was uttered as an encouragement to start a difficult task or ease the anxiety of ending a good day, which always happened to be Sunday. Both were defining words for 2022, and they will carry me into the new year on a calm note."