The “Maa-Behen” Of It All

Every civilization the world over is characterized by a word or phrase that immediately places it in a class by itself and uniquely identifies it. For 21st century India, it’s “maa-behen”. For the Hindi-challenged, it literally means “yo’ mama & sista”.

It all started with the “gaali” (cussing). If you ever want to swear (which may be more often than you want if you’re in India), you have the maa-behen gaali, which is an evolved and eclectic class of invectives that includes the Indianized version of “mofo” or “mutha-fucka”.

Pound for pound, a maa-behen gaali is the meanest badass when it comes to linguistic intimidation, achieving in a short volley what other words struggle to do even with increased decibel levels and aggressive body language thrown in. Because it hits where it hurts the most – below the belt.

So, let’s say your buddy ditches you for a late night romp with his current flame, who do you take it out on? That’s right. The poor sap’s mama. A “teri maa ki…” (your mama’s…) settles scores quicker than your buddy can remember his mama’s name. Those three innocent-looking dots there? Use your imagination, silly! Effective, no?

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