Vikram Seth - some more problems

Carolyn Brown carolyn-b-brown at uiowa.edu
Thu Oct 31 11:17:10 EST 1996


One answer and three suggestions for Jan Dvorak:

>kamini - this should be some bush or tree, probably sort of Jasmine

kaminii (in Bengali) is a plant with sweet-smelling flowers; the word is
also used for "woman" or "wife"  (jasmine is cameli--pron. chameli)


>chüautha- in the context like: I will die two days after you, therefore I
>          will not attend your chautha - apparently some ritual performed on
>          the fourth day after a death - is this correct?

Perhaps this is (also Bengali) chüa (cuya with the "u" nasalized), which
can mean smelling badly, like smoke in particular) + uTha, to rise or
ascend.


>Rat    - In the beginning of a letter to her beloved Kabir, Lata writes:
>         'My sweet Rat, my sweetest sweetest Rat' or something like this,
>         the capital R is correct. My Indian informant told me: "this must
>         be the English 'rat'", but I hesitate.

rat is "night" in Bengali--might, then, be a term of endearment for a lover?
>
>chanderi - Late wears 'green chanderi sari'. Is it cundri? (I mean the
>           method of dying)?
>
If the term comes from Bengali, it would suggest either "moon," if the "ch"
isn't aspirated, or "fashion," if it is.

Carolyn Brown
International Writing Program
Univ. of Iowa






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