Saturday, January 24, 2009

Railway Slang

Travelling by train has its own advantages. And if you are a lover of new and strange discoveries, it can be the best mode of transportation. This is one of the reasons why I still prefer train journey than going by Air (as per some, wasting so many important days of my life!).
Have you ever noticed the hawkers who accompany us in every train journey? Be it clothes, pen drives to nail cutter or chocolates they can sell everything present on this planet. Sometimes I really wonder if they posses some supernatural power to accomplish this task! Jokes apart, they have lot more to give us than we actually think. Their language, dressing and gestures represent the culture and land they come from. One of the most obvious ways to recognize their roots is through the slang they use.
On my way back from Guwhati to Bangalore, I was on the peak of boredom as was travelling alone (like always!). To kill the tediousness I decided to note down the terms vendors were using. And guess what, I did the most amusing and interesting discovery of my life!! Each seller was calling his/her product in a unique way giving each article an altogether different identity. This was attracting passenger’s interest more than otherwise possible.
Hmm…bored of my more than required description? So let me share some of the examples for better understanding! If you listen carefully to the hawkers, each item has some subtraction or addition to their name. And to my surprise many of my co-passengers were also calling them with same name. A ‘shawl’ is always ladies shawl and ‘blanket’ is garam kambal (as if there are cold blankets also!). The most prominent of these railway slangs was the chabi ring which they used to sell extra- glittering, bright-coloured ‘key chains’. ‘Water bottle’ seems to be known only by the name of paani bottle. Along with these, ‘wallet’ attracted the maximum number of names, varying from ladies money purse to purchasing bag and money bag. If you are thinking twisted jargon is their only way to attract customers, think again. They have also developed tag line for each of their product. Double Bed Ki Chaadar- Bed sheet is one such line most commonly used by hawkers in the train.


  1. What the? I didn't even know you had a blog going on!