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The Indo-Caribbean experience


The Indo-Caribbean experience:

I virtually grew up by my Nani’s (maternal grandmother) spoiled to the core. My very first language, which was spoken at her house, was Trinidad English Creole. It was mixed with smatterings of Bhojpuri as expressions like “Māi kirīyā, ah go nak yuh dong” with the gesture of knocking her chest, and exclamation such as “Arey!”, “Hey mālik!”, “Arey maiyā!” and “Arey, bāp re bāp”. Sometimes, it would go into full Trinidad Bhojpuri with English loan words e.g. “Ashram ke māi toke phoo-am karelā.” or “Aye, toke jhāpař mārab!” For those who understand these, you would realized that they are charged expressions evoked by intense emotion. Simply because she’d revert to her mother tongue when she was upset and someone was deserving of a good tongue lashing or even a gauva whip lashing.

However, she spoke mostly in this language when she communicated with my Nana (maternal grandfather), his brothers, my Aajee (paternal grandmother) or other elders in the community. If something was to be kept secret but needed to be said, the likelihood is it will be uttered in Trinidad Bhojpuri so the one who needed to know in the room would get the massage and, it’ll still be kept a seceret to the ones who could not have understood the language.

The conversations of Trinidad Bhojpuri was quite frequent in her home. If you hear it, you’d notice that it is not characteristic of a Bollywood film dialogue or anything specifically you’d attribute to modern day India. It is uniquely Caribbean Hindustani, the speech still alive today, albeit on its way out. It is heard in Suriname and by elders in Trinidad and Guyana.

Here is a sample in this video for those who are unfortunate enough to have not heard it.


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