A Marathi in Ladakh
While holidaying in Ladakh, I had to call home to tell them that I had reached Thikse, the Gelugpa monastery
where I would be staying for the next few days. The only phone booth in the vicinity, available to tourists
from the ‘mainland’, as the locals liked to say, was in a nearby army camp. The phone was out of order. Losing
patience, I gave it some fruity endearments like “Tuzya aicha gho!”, “yeda lavdya!” in Marathi.
The phone operator (a soldier) heard this, and called out to me. It turned out that it was the first time
in several months that he'd heard his native Marathi. While he fixed it, we learned about each other's
village names, family background and professional woes. He confided that he wasn’t due leave for several
more months. Though my Marathi may have been profane, I think I earned some good karma. For a few moments I
dispelled the loneliness of a soldier thousands of miles away from his home.
Raamesh Gowri Raghavan
deep into the night
a koel's call