The invasion of the Lahori relatives

Published: October 29, 2016
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With this lot it’s just a natural progression from salam to sugar to goda gittas.

There are times when one must write. The alternative is to burst – which would be messy. Because they came today, the rellies (relatives), while I was playing Scrabble on Facebook in a pleasant state of mindlessness.

Have you ever played Scrabble? It can be exciting but right then the game was slow. I had just played ‘qi’ which, short as it is, often gets well over 30 points but this time I only got 22. Then my opponent somewhere in Australia played ‘hick’ which got him 18. Obviously he wasn’t having a good day either. Then I played ‘koi’ and he played – ackackack – no, that wasn’t his word; it was the rellies entering the door and that’s what they sounded like.

Relatives are fun. Many of them. But this is a branch of the family in which each individual talks at the same time as the other; very loud, very fast, and very, very much. It’s fair to indulge in a spot of onomatopoeia to say that the general effect of any contact is the equivalent of an attack by an ‘ackack’ gun.

This is also a branch of the family in which each person considers it a point of honour to prove that she (we’re talking about the shes now) is iller than anyone else in existence, ever, before or ever again till the end of time. I’m not sure if ‘iller’ is even a word, but you can judge the residual effects, they linger for a while; the effects that is – the rellies didn’t. Not beyond 56.5 long minutes. It could’ve been more, but for the grace of God.

So they came in and settled down. After the initial greetings were over it had to be established who was worse off than the other, health wise, since they last met (a month ago). They all ‘have sugar’ so that was a no brainer, but one of them had an edge over the other with levels of 400 as opposed to 350. The third however won the day by describing the time she almost died when her levels dropped to 30 or something. She had obviously used the month to obtain an unfair advantage, I thought.

The second bout consisted of a comparison of the state of individual ‘godas’ and ‘gittas’, one each on this leg, one each on that, three persons, so six godas and six gittas in all which makes 12.

You might not know what godas and gittas are if you’re a Karachiite. I didn’t until I moved to Lahore, since when, to quote Mr Bennett when speaking of his wife’s nerves, I have developed the utmost respect for them because they have been my constant companions for the past 10 years and I have learnt not to bring them up, in conversation I mean, or suffer the consequences. I didn’t bring them up now either. With this lot it’s just a natural progression from salam to sugar to goda gittas.

And I still haven’t explained what goda gittas are. Everyone has godas and gittas. They’re always mentioned together without the ‘and’, and always in capitals, which illustrates the reverence they command. It’s what knees and ankles are called in Punjabi, so we all have them. But the goda gittas of people in Lahore have a life of their own. They’re swollen, they’re red, they’re more painful than anyone else’s, and they shriek if they don’t get parathas. Okay, just kidding, but its close. It’s why Lahoris can’t walk. It’s why they don’t walk. It’s why five separate doctors told them not to walk, although it’s a moot point; which came first – the pain or the not walking. I have my suspicions but I try to keep them to myself.

So anyway, sugar covered, goda gittas exposed and it having been established that each individual was worse off than any person living, now or before or ever again, and certainly drastically worse than any person in the room, the rellies settled down happily to not being able to eat any of the kebabs, cakes, samosas and cookies that had been served. Except this one time.

It’s been a couple of hours since they left but I can’t bring myself to play Scrabble just yet, although I spot an ‘aargh’ on my stand but I don’t think that’s a word; though, it really should be.

Anonymous 345

Anonymous 345

The author wishes to remain anonymous.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • MR.X

    I am a pindi a boy..And i know what ‘godas’ and ‘gitas’ are..This just shows your mentality the way you are using this word..British left long ago..Recommend

  • Parvez

    Linking all that with Scrabble was perfect…..and you’re right, I’m a Karachiite and had no idea of goda gitta ( neither does this tablets stupid spell check ).
    This story I must tell because its about Lahore and it easygoing people : once when I was in Lahore for work I went down to the hotel breakfast area and ordered my standard tea, toast-butter-jam, cereal with a little fruit and one egg……my waiter very seriously asked me if I was sick. When I said I was fine and enjoying Lahore he smiled and said you must be from Karachi…….as my friend later explained that a Lahore style breakfast means paratha, haleem etc etc all done in desi ghee.Recommend

  • Aman K. Chandran

    Hilarious! Punjabis are the same this side of the border too Recommend

  • Sami

    So the whole crux of the story is that you are so called High Class Urban Urdu speaker and unfortunately you have some Punjabi relatives too ( May be because of Marriage or something else).. They are paindoos in your eyes since they speak Punjabi at times and you despise and hate them, you are so called Karachite.

    The whole article reeks of hared you carry for one region, your relatives and one particular language.

    Many Karachites despise the village life as they have never seen one. f they would then they will be longing for it. Also they live in so called sense of entitlement where they are better than the others.

    Your whole article is reflecting the same sense of entitlement which I have seen in many so called Karachites. No knowledge but pride upto the point where they are considered to be the most civilized on the planet.

    Get out of this complex. Punjabis are more educated but you guys stereotype them to have a feel good factor. Keep living in your artificial life. Go and play your scrabble.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Kindly read the piece again with an open mind….nowhere does the author disrespect or even criticize the Punjab or its culture.
    On the other hand your comment reeks of unfair bias.Recommend

  • Rabia

    Thank you, Parvez, and Aman Chandran across the border. It never pays to kid about something as inviolate as goda gittas as you can see.Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    the article reeks racism and sexism towards Lahoris.
    Please we all one. When will we understand this? Karachiites should learn not to be racist and sexist towards people of Lahore.
    I condemn this article and urge others to do do as well.Recommend

  • Humza

    I think you are reading too much into an article. No one I know honestly looks down on the majority native population of Pakistan who are Punjabi and still lives in Pakistan. Why would you ? After all how can anyone dislike the majority race in the nation you have moved to if you are a Karachiite whose ancestors came from India? Ditto for Sindis, Pashtuns, Baluchis or Kashmiris – why would anyone want to move and live among them if you dislike them. The myth of any high class Urdu culture has long been shattered by the burgeoning middle and educated classes of Pakistan who derive largely from the native peoples and do not speak Urdu as their first language. I do not speak Urdu as my first language nor does anyone in my family. I have learned Urdu and I am more comfortable in English and my native language. If anything, I value my culture more than any culture from a region in India which is the general sentiment in my family. Thanks to media and access to education, we all know the reality of how people live in India and we have seen images of people in Utter Pradesh and such places live without toilets and basic amenities. The myth of some high class culture in India is only in their mind. If someone from there wants to call native Pakistanis Paindhoos or anything else, I would just laugh at them. I go often to my village although I live in the city but you should educated yourself and your family not to have such thin skin. Also be fair, I am sure your family has its share of negative things it says about Hindustanis.Recommend