May 18, 2007

The bikini in Verna

Over several days, we drove Bombay-Goa and back, and Goa-Dandeli and back, not forgetting plenty of driving within Goa, all while listening to an interesting collection of music.

From the soundtracks of Ta Ra Rum Pum and Swades to Rampal playing Scott Joplin; "Little GTO" by both Jan & Dean and the Beach Boys (but not by Ronnie and the Daytonas) to Asha Bhosle singing Marathi songs ("Ruperi Valut" and "Chandani Shimpith Jaashi" among others); Abba to "Dum Maro Dum" by Celia Samaroo; "Chantilly Lace" by the Big Bopper to "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" by Sha Na Na; Georgia Satellites to George Thorogood to Pavarotti singing "La Donna e Mobile" to Luka Bloom to "Meet Na Mila Re Man Ka" from Abhimaan ...

... all that, even more than the aromatic stuff at 47+ rupees a litre, kept us going through 2000+ km.

My ears are sort of ringing, still. And that tune that's tumbling around in my head, I'm having trouble deciding: is it Asha B? Or is it Lou Ann Barton?


One of the delightful things about this coast is that when you travel along it, you keep running into the villages and towns that have turned into familiar names for people.

In southern Gujarat, it's a host of names where Parsis settled: Udwada (Udwadia), Surat (Surti), Bharuch (Bharucha, Broacha), Sanjan (Sanjana), Ankleshwar (Anklesaria), Bilimora (Bilimoria).

In Maharashtra, it's places like these: Zarap (Zarapkar, where are you my friend Tejas?), Salgaon (Salgaonkar), Savarde (Savardekar), Dabhol (Dabholkar), Dahanu (Dahanukar).

In Goa, you'll find: Sanvordem (also Savardekar), Curchorem (Kudchadkar), Margaon (Madgavkar), Manguesh (Mangeshkar), Loutolim (Lotlikar), Verna (Vernekar), Pernem (Pednekar), Salaulim (Salaulikar), Veling (Welingkar).

In Karnataka, they often don't suffix place names: Bhatkal, Mudbidri, Ullal, Ankola, Murdeshwar, Mangalore (Manglur, also Kodiyal, which is another name for Mangalore), Kagal, Hemmad (Hemmady), Padbidri, Hosangady.

What about other towns? In some cases, of course, "-wala" is a suffix: thus "Jhunjhunwala", "Karachiwala" (any more?). But are there names derived from Itanagar, Bhatinda, Joda, Siliguri, Loharu, Tharangambadi, Gangaikondacholapuram, Barabanki, Sravanabelgola?

And what about other countries? Are there people out there called "Hemangini Sydneykar", or "Paul Harareman", or "Isabella Desdetoledo", or "James Boisedude" or the like?

Any contributions/suggestions/speculations, as always, welcome.

And I should tell you about Rifleya and Biscuit and Britishya. Another time.


Surya said...

why hasnt Modi been blamed or "safforn" brigade not yet blamed for the blast in hyd.?
i amsure we shall see "Remember Mecca Masjid - 1 year on" soon

km said...

Ahem. You *don't* listen to Jan and Dean on a drive. Ok, not "Dead Man's Curve", at least.

(And Sha Na Na sang that song too? I only knew the Brian Hyland version.)

Most interesting, this naming etymology business.

Why did some parts of India go with the "village/town" naming convention while others took the first name-last name (with father's name as the middle initial) approach?

The Western world seems to have found identity in professions, not places. (the wiki has a fun entry on "given names" but it's a little short on "place names")

Have urban parents in India completely switched to adopting names from pop culture (or desired personality traits?) Are the Gods now out? Oh we're all going to hell :)

Anonymous said...

All over Andhra Pradesh and to some extent in parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, people have used place names/village names as surnames - without adding a prefix or suffix. Through out Andhra you'll find people with surnames such as "Yadlapalli", "Boddupalli", "Pendyala", etc. all of which refer to villages. In Tamil Nadu it is common for writers/poets/artists to take on their village/town names - such as the famous violinist "Lalgudi" Jayaraman, or the vocalist "Semmangudi" Srinivasa Iyer, but not so common with the average person.

stup!d said...

dear, dilip.

i (intentionally) stumbled upon your article in archive on
it was very interesting how the whole episode that took place was

ironically(?!), then student Madan Nagargoje, center of the article
has now been selected in UPSC-2007 from Maharshtra cadre. he is ranked


there was an interview to local daily newspaper, he was congratulated
and followed by mention about this Chate class v/s Anil Deshmukh
episode. thought to touch upon the _sensitive_ issue and began my
search around this name - Madan Nagargoje! and hit your article.


would be interesting to read your follow-up.

with best regards,

Anonymous said...

A number of Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi poets and singers have had place names as part of their names. Usually as sort of noms de plume though. It seems to have been a fashion with the artistes of the 30s, 40s and 50s. Some examples: Shakil Badayuni (Badayun in U.P), Khumar Barabankvi (Barabanki in U.P), Shiv Batalvi (Batala in Punjab), Qamar Jalalabadi (Jalalabad - where?) Majrooh Sultanpuri (Sultanpur in U.P), Kaka Hathrasi (Hathras - U.P), Gemini Haryanvi (named after a state, if not a country), Hullar Moradabadi (Moradabad), Shakila Bano "Bhopali", Gauhar Kanpuri....

A number of Punjabi surnames are place names - Khanna, Barnala, Longowal ..

Another interesting nomenclature is where surnames seem to be derived from professions. Especially prevalent among Parsis and Gujaratis - e.g., Tobaccowala, Daruwala, Engineer, Doctor, Tirandaz (a favourite of mine), and the inimitable Sodawaterbottlewala (is this indeed a real surname??).


Dilip D'Souza said...


Thanks for that list. You left out arguably the most famous of those ... Sahir Ludhianvi!

I cannot confirm Sodawaterbottlewala (nor Sodawaterbottleopenerwala and Sodawaterbottleropenerrepairkitwala). But I can confirm Sodawaterwala, Icewala, Icecandywala, Icecreamwala, all listed in the telephone directory.

Seeing you here reminds me that I need to resume a certain "Lines" series...

Anonymous said...

Yes Sahir.. How did I leave that name out?

An aside: If there is Screwwala, is there also a Screwdriverwala?

Time to revive "Lines" I think.


Dilip D'Souza said...

stupid (must admit I don't like using that name!): thanks! When I saw his name in the UPSC news stories, something rang a bell, and I just found out that I had one written about him before. Let me dig about a bit more and then see.

Unknown said...

Sodawaterbottleopenerwala is true - I can confirm it as a real surnavme from my time in India in 1980-1981. Unfortunately, I do not know the geographic origin or the family´s own story.