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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My pain is my destiny and I can't avoid it

One of Amitabh's specialities is his ability to speak both Hindi and English with EQUAL elan. I am stressing upon the word equal. वो जब बोलते हैं तो ऐसा नही लगता कि किसी भाषा पर एहसान कर रहे हों. And that in my opinion would be a perennial difference between Amitabh and all the other superstars who came before or after him. His ability to deliver fantastic Urdu/Hindi dialogues is well known, but you should watch out for the English nuggets that he throws in. He still pronounces the English words properly - as an English native speaker would. So here is a famous Amitabh line in English.
Dr Sudha (Raakhee Gulzar) is a doctor who is committed to serving in areas where medical services normally do not reach easily. Hence she is working in Dhanraj coal mines. Vijaypal Singh (Amitabh Bachchan) is a worker in the mine. One day he is injured in an accident and brought to Dr Sudha's dispensary. She looks at him and says that since a lot of coal dust seems to have entered his wounds, cleaning the wounds would be very painful and hence she would administer local anasthesia. Vijay says that she can go ahead and bandage the wound without the anasthesia. Now the brilliant interaction. Some people use English while speaking in Hindi to assert supremacy or to try and close the argument. It is as if, now I have said this in English and hence this is the last word. Dr Sudha (probably unknowingly) does that. She says
"Why don't you understand?"
Vijay lets go of his brooding demeanour to explode for a moment and says
"Why don't YOU understand Doctor. My pain is my destiny and I can't avoid it"
He says it in such chaste English (much better than Raakhee's heavily accented English anyways) that Raakhee knows that it brooks no further argument. She goes ahead and dresses the wound without anasthesia.
Now you must be wondering where the hell can we use this line. You certainly do not want to tell the doctor to dress wounds without anasthesia. It will pain like hell. Believe me. you don't want to do that. But I have used this line so many times. I normally do not pop a pain killer whenever I am in pain. I bear it patiently. I have had many solicitous colleagues ask me why don't I take a painkiller. Lo and behold. Pat comes my answer
"My pain is my destiny and I cannot avoid it"
And you thought this line could not be used in daily life.

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