Two small phrases….
Kannadigas, in common with most Indians, do not saying a brusque "No" to one’s face. If invited to a wedding or any other celebration, we do not feel it is polite to openly say no. "I’ll see if I can make it" or "I’ll try to come" is the most frequent response, and from this, I have, over the years, learnt to understand that the invitee will not be able to make it. The affection and the "wanting" to attend are there, and that is made clear by the statment of intention, rather than the fact of inability.
But there are two lovely phrases that are unique to our city and to our State…and recently, one of my friends emailed me, "If I can get over my back problem, I’ll come along, otherwise, SAM".
"SAM"? I thought. What has the famous Uncle of the United States of Yumrika have to do with this? But it was nothing to do with the bearded, top-hatted icon drawn on cartoons and posters dealing with the US….this was an acronym for an oft-used Kannada phrase…."Swalpa Adjust Maadi" ("Please Adjust A Little"!).
This is used in all contexts. When we don’t have enough seats, or tickets, or samples to go around…SAM. When everyone cannot be appeased or satisfied…SAM. When someone’s work is falling short of what you want….SAM. When you have to share an auto with a total stranger…SAM.
SAM also comes with a sister phrase…PCO. This is used on all printed notices, all over the city. When you have to wait for a while for your order to materialize at an eatery…PCO. When you have to wait at a bank…PCO. When the queue is moving slowly…PCO.
PCO does not stand for Public Call Office, as used to be the case in the pre-mobile days…now it means…Please Co-Operate!
So, if you don’t like my post…SAM or PCO, as the case may be!