Warning: Suggested profanities. Reader’s discretion is advised. Part 1
Swearing is common to every language. Although my parents rarely swore in front of us, it was quite common in my native village. Once during summer vacation when I was quite small, we had stayed in my father’s village for more than a month. Swearing was quite common and rampant and in no time, I picked up quite a few bad words. My family comes from Konkan, the costal part of Maharahstra and the language is very similar to Marathi. It can be called a dialect of Marathi although people may not agree.
So Konkani is a very beautiful language, sounding different and beautiful to the ears. More beautiful are the bad words in that language. It was no big surprise that I picked up the bad words quite easily. The good part was I did not know the meaning of the bad words and people did not take me seriously because of my age.
My point here is, actually the whole line is that, language plays a very important part in swearing. We Indians have a big fascination for swear words in English. As I mentioned earlier, I studied in a convent school and some boys were Christians. Although not everybody swore, but swearing in English was certainly a cool thing.
It is still cool to swear in English. If I say a bad word in Hindi or Marathi, everybody would look down at me but I say a “F**k” and nobody bats an eyelid and actually termed as cool. Consider “Omkara” which had a lot of bad words and it was termed not to be fit for children because of its language but then consider “Die hard” which is watched by many children because it’s an action movie even with the numerous “F**k” and “s**t”. Then it was cool to say “F**k” then to say “Ch****a”
Try this! Go to a mall or those upmarket multiplexes and stand where people can hear you and say “F**k man! This sh*t sucks” People would not bother much. Really!
Then go to another part of the same mall or multiplex and just say the following “Kya ch*****a tha re who g****u. Sab bh***** main gaya”
Compare the two reactions and you know what I mean. The second line would invite an angry glance from everybody around you. Everybody will look so down at you that you will feel like the lowest of low. The first would just make you a part of the yuppie crowd or some college going cool kid
But then people would debate that why use those bad words in the first place. A valid point but I am not supporting or opposing using swear words. I am just observing and I observe that the reaction to English word is of sophistication rather than disgusting. Pretty good discrimination I must say.
Staying on discrimination, reaction to men swearing is different from reaction to women swearing. A man swearing would be termed as natural but a woman swearing would label her as being characterless or having no shame. People are shocked when they find women swearing. I was surprised myself when my friend had an angry outburst and used the choicest cuss word in her email. After the initial shock, I can term it as natural reaction. The same I always have. Being a woman does not make her less angry and she is allowed to express her anger as much as me.
When people start learning a new language, they always want to know what are the bad words in that language. Why? Simply they find it amusing to know what a bad word in their language is known in that other language.
Sometimes these words become a part of normal conversation that you stop thinking them as bad words. Take for instance “chayala” in Marathi. It’s a Marathi slang but I wouldn’t think before I use it in normal conversation. I wouldn’t think twice before using “Sh*t” in my conversation either. And still a “baap” appears a slang while dad appears respectful.
Swearing or bad words are for fights, the primary reason they were made for. It can get really ugly because of the bad words or we have instances of fights starting because of the swearing. At this time, the swear words are used to insult the opponent. This can get very ugly and are a reason for many years of rivalry/enmity. I have seen friends becoming foes because of the cuss words. I have seen fights erupt on the street. Although women swear less than men, the swearing is targeted at women in the family namely mothers and sister. As swearing increases in a fight, logical reasoning is thrown out of the window. Its just a contest how much you can swear after that and how low you can go. Some fights and quarrels have really turned ugly because of swearing.
Most of the swear words are of insulting type. All this rant raises the question that why bad words are actually bad? I mean we accept these words as bad but who categorizes them as bad. Why is a “f**k” or a “ch****a” termed as bad word? I guess that they hurt and anything that hurts cannot be termed as good. After all it is said that words hurt!
So if you want to swear, go ahead but don’t attach hate to the words. Don’t make me feel guilty about it. For those who don’t swear, I am sorry. I still don’t know why I swear. Fun, habit or nature? I cannot even tell you why those countless people swear but they do.
But remember, just as beauty is appreciated because you have ugliness for comparison, good words are good because bad words are bad.