Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sweater? Swagger? What Banno needs most is a Swatter

There's that song again on television. Bollywood film "Tanu Weds Manu Returns" features a peppier version of a popular folksong performed at north Indian weddings. The lyrics have been updated to reflect the times, making present-day "Banno" an unabashed bride surrounded by people who find her sweater sexy.

"Sweater?" asks my colleague Anupriya.
"Yes, they are referring to Banno's sweater."
"It's not sweater," she sighs, rolling her eyes. "It's swagger."
"Swagger? But that doesn't make any sense."
"Banno tera swagger," she enunciates, marvelling at my talent for mishearing Bollywood lyrics. [I was initially under the impression the song Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan was about women who wrote a lot of letters, but that's a whole other blog post on mondegreens]
"Swagger?" I repeat, somewhat disbelievingly, until a quick Google search proves Anupriya right.

I am not happy. I could live with a sexy "sweater" but Banno had no business having a sexy "swagger". Well, she could obviously do so if the rest of the lyrics were in English, but "swagger" is violently yoked to the Hindi words "Banno tera", producing an effect akin to a teaspoon of vinegar in a Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino. It just doesn't work.

Not that "sweater" sounds better. It's tough conjuring up images of sweaty wedding guests getting jiggy on the dance floor while commenting on the bride's woollens. But at least it's plausible.

And there's nothing else that goes with it.

Sexy "sweeper". Nah, unless he sweeps Banno off her feet.
Sexy "sweetener". Nah, unless Banno has Type 2 diabetes.
Sexy "swatter". Hold on. "Swatter" isn't half bad. It's India and it's summer and a fly swatter might do Banno a world of good. What do you think?

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