In midst of all this unfurling of my loss, I realised many of you haven’t had the chance to meet your grandparents. I offer my grandmother’s home remedies. To do them justice, these are written in my mother tongue, Marathi.
Remedy: Kapus lao
English: Put cotton on it
Intrinsic meaning: Light a silver lamp using home-made ghee as fuel. In case you don’t have home-made ghee (you must be a very lazy home-maker. Tch. Shame on you. Wonder how your family survives. They are probably riddled with lice and eat off the floor), use Samantanche (Samant’s) sazook tup (pure ghee). Burn the cotton, blow off the flame and while the embers are still glowing, press it on the wound and leave it there. Have the men of the household hold the victim down.
Remedy: Pinzar lao
English: Apply lead-oxide solution
Intrinsic meaning: Make a solution using sindoor powder and soak small piece of cotton in it. Ondva kar; chaddit ghal (Turn the child over and put it in the underwear. Precise translation: SHOVE IT UP THE ANUS. Leave it there)
Remedy: Zhara/kaltha lao
English: Apply spatula
Intrinsic meaning: Heat a steel spatula till it turns red and let it make contact with the offender’s lips.
Remedy: Chatka de een
English: Will burn you, slightly
Intrinsic meaning: Will heat kitchen utensil made of steel and burn you slightly.
Remedy: Kanpadhat maar
English: Slap him/her
Intrinsic meaning: Hit strategically behind the ear so as to tear the ear drum. A slight variation of kanakhali lagaun dein (will apply unbearable force with speed under your ear) or kana khali petveen (will light one under your ear).
Remedy: Pankhyala ulti tangune khalun laal mirchyanchi dhuri de een
English: While hang you upside down and make a bonfire of dried red chillies underneath and force you to inhale the fumes
Intrinsic meaning: Didn’t have the opportunity to find out.
Refusal (to do something because of health or religious reasons)
Remedy: Tangdazch todun theveen
English: Will break your leg
Intrinsic meaning: Think you’re well enough to go to work? De-mobilisation will crash your assumptions. Won’t get married because your heart is broken? A broken leg will speed you to the mandap. Refuse to give me grandchildren? Want a broken leg?
Tan, pimples, psoriasis, ugliness, scarring and other facial skin related diseases
Remedy: Snow lao
English: Apply snow
Intrinsic meaning: Afghan Snow gave all cosmetic-derma creams the generic name of Snow. The one my grandmother was talking about is Vicco Turmeric, which is not a cosmetic. We are not vain people. The tube is yellow and the cream is a pearly yellow so it’s obviously got turmeric, which means it’s medicinal. Not only medicinal, it’s Ayurvedic. Repeat after me: Vicco Turmeric, Nahin Cosmetic. Vicco turmeric AYURVEDIC CREAM.
Malaria, fever, cancer, depression, physical handicap, AIDS, mild international conflict
Remedy: Sudharshan kadha ghya
English: Take the tonic called Mahasudarshan (a bitter, foul tonic that looks like tar and smells like cat vomit).
Intrinsic meaning: None. Ata goli pan milte, hanh (Now available in tablet form).