Daily Prompt – JusJoJan the 2nd, 2022 – Gobbledygook

It’s been a while since I took part in Linda’s JusJoJan month-long prompts, but, since I vowed to be creative, here goes!

Today we have the 2nd prompt for Just Jot it January 2022, and it’s brought to us by Dan. Thank you so much, Dan! Please be sure to visit his blog to read his post and say hello. And follow him while you’re there, if you’re not already following him.

Your prompt for JusJoJan January 2nd, 2020, is “gobbledygook.” Use the word “gobbledygook” any way you’d like. Have fun!

I’ve always loved the word, gobbledygook.

It covers a multitude of things.

I’ll take you back to a little example of my experience with gobbledygook.

I’ve grown up in a family with several tongues vying for first place as home language.

Punjabi, because that is heritage-wise, our mother language.

English, because that is where we were born, and where we live.

And, Swahili, because Kenya is where my parents were born, and brought up, and so, Swahili was, for them, what English is to my brother and me.

Obviously, Swahili doesn’t have the same place in our lives as it would have had for my parents, but it obviously had its uses.

We were never proficient in Swahili.

Sure, we knew how to say hello, how are you, please, thank you, that sort of thing. I can even still sing the Jambo song, but don’t ask me what it all means! But, besides that, not much more.

So, it was a great little tool for my parents to use when they wanted to talk about something a bit sensitive, with little ears around them.

We’d be sitting in the back of the car, and they would spout off this gobbledygook, with the odd name or word that we might recognise, but they would put the world to rights, and we’d be none the wiser as to what they were talking about.

But, we weren’t totally clueless. (Or, maybe we were!) You see, because of that deep-rooted Kenyan connection, Swahili even filtered its way into our day to day language, with words being used, that I had no idea were actually not Punjabi!

And I had no reason to question their origins because the whole of my family spoke this mishmash of languages.

Punglihili, I call it. (Yes, I have blogged about it before!)

Until I went to university and was finally surrounded by lots of other Indian faces, none of whom were related to me. At my school, there has been very few, too so, besides my family, I had no other Indian connections.

There I immersed myself in my British Asian-ness, busting out the home lingo with pride. Until one of my friends stopped me, in midflow of asking for the iron (we were going out). I repeated that I needed the pasi.

She looked at me as if I was a nutter. “What’s a pasi?”

“You, know, the iron!”

“Oh, you mean the press?”

Cue lots of laughing at me.

Apparently, in her part of India, they had taken a word from the colonial Brits and called the iron a press. (But you have to say it in an Indian accent to get the full flavour of it!) The actual Punjabi word, which mum finally told me, was istri.

I was confused for a while, until she explained that I wasn’t wrong, but that pasi was actually the Swahili word for iron. And that many of the words I had always thought were Punjabi, were Swahili. So I really knew more than I had ever realised, before!

The words for vegetables, meat, the rubbish, a knife. All Swahili!

Then I got married to a man whose family were from India, not Kenya, so I had to make sure I learned the proper words, or else they would think I was speaking gobbledygook, too!

I spoke to a cousin’s wife about this whole thing, one time, and she sympathised, but she had it the other way around, marrying into a Kenyan Indian family, and not understanding some things her mother in law would say to her!

Still, we live and learn!

22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Leanne
    Jan 03, 2022 @ 23:44:10

    Wow! Very interesting! I must have missed your post(s) involving Swahili and your parents from Kenya. Super cool!

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Carol anne
    Jan 03, 2022 @ 02:57:26

    Lol! Thats pretty funny, ritu! Loving the humour! xo

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Sadje
    Jan 03, 2022 @ 02:37:57

    Language is such an interesting heritage. I enjoyed your story a lot Ritu

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Jennie
    Jan 03, 2022 @ 02:02:00

    Ritu, I love this post! Children are so adaptable, no wonder you knew the languages but it was gobbledygoop. Tomorrow I start a unit on India! I’ll be singing the days of the week in Swahili. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


  5. revivedwriter
    Jan 03, 2022 @ 01:24:12

    Wow, thanks for sharing that!

    Liked by 1 person


  6. beth
    Jan 02, 2022 @ 21:57:59

    somehow we all find a way to communicate

    Liked by 1 person


  7. lssattitudeofgratitude
    Jan 02, 2022 @ 21:09:30

    What a terrific post. I can see how the mixture of languages would be your norm. I never learned multiple languages but picked up some Yiddish that I assumed everyone knew.

    Liked by 1 person


  8. scr4pl80
    Jan 02, 2022 @ 21:02:17

    Wow, yes, that is gobbledygook for sure! We used to spell the things we didn’t want the kids to know about but that didn’t last long.

    Liked by 2 people


  9. Shivangi
    Jan 02, 2022 @ 21:00:23

    Istri it is for us too… with Bihari background. Great post😀👍

    Liked by 1 person


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