Bawa International: The Hilarious ‘Parsi Bol’ Is A Phrase Book For All Communities

Thingooji Thus (Meaning: Short one).

Thingooji thus (Meaning: Short one).

Parsi parents often complain that younger generations don’t speak Gujarati. Perhaps they should gift their kids a copy of Parsi Bol 2 by way of encouragement. The book is a collection of humorous Parsi idioms compiled by filmmaker Sooni Taraporevala and writer Meher Marfatia. Upon reading it, the young’uns might realise they’re missing out on a language rich with amusing colloquialisms such as “Leedoo apee neh eedo leedho” (literally ‘Give a goat’s turd and ask for an egg’; figuratively ‘Give nothing and take much’). Why say “The man had a toothy smile” when you can instead say he had a “Fuskaila darum jhevoo dachoo” (literally ‘Face like a cracked pomegranate’; figuratively ‘Grinning widely’)?

In 2013, Marfatia and Taraporevala published the first volume of Parsi Bol. The latest edition is a combination of all the 715 phrases in the first book with 343 new idioms. The thousand-plus humorous expressions, illustrated with cartoons by Hemant Morparia and Farzana Cooper and categorised according to themes such as ‘anatomy’, ‘sarcasms’, ‘money’ and so on. The book also comes with a CD of idioms voiced by actors such as the pair of Dolly and Bomi Dotiwala, popular Parsi theatre performers in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, and Hindi film star Boman Irani.

In the book, each phrase has been published in Gujarati along with an English transliteration, a literal translation and the meaning or the figurative translation. We picked 23 loopy phrases from among the new additions:

Chuttees no aankdo (Meaning: Number 36; never getting along).

Chuttees no aankdo (Meaning: Number 36; never getting along).

Surrah chhuh noh kato
Hands of the clock at 6.30

Kemps Corner ver avee guya
Reached Kemps Corner (Doongerwadi)
Near death

Furniture gothvech
Arranging furniture
Man fiddling with his private parts

Rokra Sathe Vehla Pudharjo
Come early with cash

Kuturyoo bhareh apvanoo cheh
Upper storey to be let out

Vengna khada
Ate aubergines
Fell sick

Nuseeb ma doodhee
Cheap pumpkin in your destiny
To achieve nothing in life

Futteh karo (Meaning: Be victorious).

Futteh karo (Meaning: Be victorious).

Aafat pur eeda
Problems over eggs
Added woes

Tuttu puppu

Lollo puppo

Chiao miao
A baby

Pochchu puryoo
Fell soft
Soft in the head

Nakh noh nuttho
Without a nose

Tumacho mareeneh gaal lal rakhyo
Slapped one’s cheeks to keep them looking red
Kept up appearances at great cost to oneself

Furniture bahr
Furniture outside
Show of cleavage

Pontiac jehvoo nakh
Nose like the front of a Pontiac car
Beaky nosed

Ghuno na chukav nahi toh chhapra pur jai neh besee juseh
Don’t fly him like a kite, otherwise he’ll go sit on the roof
Don’t wind him up, otherwise he’ll get too puffed up

Bhes noo poochroo pukree neh chalya kureh
Holding the bull’s tail and walking

Baira master
Master of women

Kuhya chana na jhar purthee kudko maryo?
What gram bush have you jumped from?
What big thing have you achieved?

Parsi Bol 2, published by Good Books and 49/50 Books, Rs500. The book is available in bookstores as well as on and

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