Vikram Seth - some more problems

carolyn-b-brown at carolyn-b-brown at
Thu Oct 31 16:17:10 UTC 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

>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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