Definitions of Falling In and Out of Love – Rati Pednekar

मिळ‌ण (Milna)

Language: Marathi

Meaning:

Verb. To find. You were five and couldn’t find your favourite teddy bear. You entered the hall, right in the middle of your parents’ argument. Your grandfather took you by hand and helped you search – a soft, blue bear with a bow tie. He hummed a song as you both upturned pillows and blankets, but it didn’t block out your father’s shouts or your mother’s sobs. Laukar milel, he said when you started to cry. 

दीदी (Didi)

Language: Hindi

Meaning:

Noun. Even as an eight year old, you knew there was a line between you two. She would drop and pick you up from school, hold your hand during the entire rickshaw ride. She cooked your lunch and asked you what you learned that day. When you had a bad day she’d make kheer and you’d want to hug her around the waist. But that line shimmered in the way again, put in stark contrast when your mother paid her monthly salary. Instead you just smiled and said thank you, Didi.

छत्री (Chatri)

Language: Marathi

Meaning:

Noun. A curved sheet held up by crisscrossing metal lines, under which you have never been closer before. He smiles, stammers a thanks and you hold the umbrella higher so it doesn’t bump his head. The bus seems to be taking a while but you don’t mind even though your socks are wet. You make eye contact and quickly look away, but there’s only so much space. So you try asking about the class assignment but the patter of the rain is too loud. You both say ‘huh’ at the same time and burst out laughing. The red roof of the bus appears at the end of the road. Chal, udya bhetu? A quick peck on your cheek and he runs off, already vanishing into the crowd.  

पाळी (Paali)

Language: Marathi

Meaning:

Noun. The first time you wear lipstick, you think about your first period. The dark, glossy red matches the red you found in your underwear. You remember bustle in the house and significant smiles that were thrown your way. ­Tu mothi zhaali, you’re a woman now. You just wanted to continue playing video games. But now, wearing this red Maybelline lipstick makes you more aware of your lips than ever before. They are heavy with the weight of attracting attention. It feels like seeing their curves for the first time with the perfect little dip in the middle. You can feel the edges of your mouth, how it moves when you speak, how the corners lift when you smile. Standing in front of the mirror, you think, this is what it is to be a woman.

दूरी (Doori)

Language: Hindi

Meaning:

Noun. The gaping chasm between you and your father across a small table at his favourite Iranian café. You were always okay without a father. Aai never left scope for you to feel otherwise anyway. You don’t understand why he is here now, trying to get to know the person you have become. How is college? Which degree? Aage kya karna hai? He is trying, you know, but the interview like questions fail to bridge the gap in between. You felt for him, once. But you are both different people now. It’s okay,you think. Not every distance needs to be covered.

मंज़िल (Manzil)

Language: Hindi

Meaning:

Noun. You and your best friend stand on her building terrace, leaning against the ledge with bottles of ‘Sprite’ in your hand. You clink them and say cheers to the end of college, cheers to Bageera, her new dog, cheers to the tattoo you secretly got on your back. Cheers to Raju bhaiya for giving you both free pani puris on your birthdays, cheers to the saath-chalees ki local which is always 5 minutes late and just in time for you, cheers to all the bad decisions you will continue to make, the bad boys you will continue to date and to the road that will take you to whatever your god damned manzil is. Arm in arm with her, you have never felt so ready for whatever the world has in store for you.

तो (Toh)

Language: Hindi

Meaning:

Conjunction. So? The word she spits out carelessly when you’re on her bed and her hands are under your shirt. In all your 23 years you’ve never felt this way, energy crackling through your nerves. The exhilaration, the fear. This is wrong, you think. We should close the curtains, you say. Kyun, she asks, the sound is muffled and lost in the tangles of your hair. Someone might see, you manage to get out. She lifts herself, her dark eyes bore into you the same way they did when you first met. Haan, tho?

पदर (Paddar)

Language: Marathi

Meaning:

Noun. You pay your own rent now, clean the ceiling fans every two weeks but still, here you are in a hotel washroom, your mother adjusting the lengths of a saree around you. The pleats that slipped through your hands stand straight in hers. She comments on your dark circles and you peer at your face in the mirror. She pulls the cloth around you so it hugs your waist. Have you been working late? Some days. And skipping dinner? No – Tell the truth. Ugh, maybe. I’ll send some parathas tomorrow. Thanks, mamma. She fastens the saree paddar firmly to the back of your blouse with a safety pin and says sleep early tonight.

आठवण (Aathvan)

Language: Marathi

Meaning:

Noun. Years later, you’re helping your mother clean out the house and you find it. The blue is nearly brown with dust but you’d recognize that bow tie anywhere. The teddy bear reminds you of your grandfather and his thin, wrinkly hand for some reason but you can’t remember why. Memory is fickle, but emotion endures. It’s been years since he passed but you send up a little prayer for his soul anyway, for the person who taught you to count the number of flowers you saw on the way to school and every little blossom and each little petal made a difference, even after you’d long forgotten them.      

 

Rati Pednekar is a content writer based in India with an MA in Creative Writing. She wears mismatched socks, loves coffee and is a hoarder of sentiment. There’s a lot of words floating around her head, sometimes she writes them down. 

Read more of Rati Pednekar’s work here: https://aloka-magazine.com/2020/04/22/misplaced-confidence-rati-pednekar-poem/

5 Comments

  1. This is really well written, I love the way she has used the different phases of life and related them to the words and love .. very different style of writing … personally I didn’t connect with the lipstick and the love bit .. but the rest were simply great

    Like

  2. Very well written .wouldn’t have thought of writing on all the issues,but I’m absolutely thrilled to read them.Fantastic Rati ….keep it up!

    Like

  3. So sensitively written!
    For someone so young she takes us through the whole gamut of emotions and feelings.Unusual to be able to
    express at this age feelings and emotions that you get a grip on .later in life. She will go far.It would be interesting to follow her work. Keep it up Rati.

    Like

  4. It’s beautifully written. Never though that a story could be told this way and felt extremely engrossed with each paragraph. Brilliant work and enjoyed it thoroughly. I liked the the way umbrella is defined, I loved ‘toh’, ‘manzil’..I think all of it. And the way the starting and the end has been connected, its absolutely another level. Brilliant!!!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s