Thankless to thankfulness

Arshid Malik
Led to wonder after noticing the signboard that read “Hustle ‘n’ Bustle” on a shop in uptown Srinagar my boss happened to exclaim, “Dear what do you think is the exact Kashmiri phrase for hustle ‘n’ bustle”? “It is “vuasi drusi”, I replied. “Right on target”, my boss said. Holstering on this pivot, a conversation started about the Kashmiri lexicon and phraseology between me and my boss. Veneering through the greys and blues of Kashmiri language that led to quite a handful of belly aching laughs, we landed in troubled waters over one certain exclamatory remark which revolved around the subject of saying thanks in the local lingo.
It is quite understood that when one ventures into learning a foreign tongue, one of the first phrases one picks is how to say “thanks”, besides “hello”, “sorry” and “how do you do?” By all means, I am given to understand, “thanks” is one of the most powerful and influential words one would come across and eventually end up using in any linguistic territory of the world. So, how do we say “thanks” in Kashmiri? We do say “shukriya”, but that phrase is borrowed from Urdu. There are other such phrases and words, but none of them actually belongs to the Kashmiri lexicon. In fact there is no appropriate Kashmiri synonym for the expression “thanks” in Kashmiri, I am led to believe. Could that imply that we comprise a culture of “thankless” people? I am not entirely sure, but that is a conclusion I don’t hesitate from drawing.
Well, one missing word from our local lexicon could mean a weight-full lot. If we really do not have a word for “thanks” that tells us that we never needed one and not needing one bespeaks our perceptions about the values we attach to a general and broad based understanding of humanity.
I personally carry a lot of affinity and affection towards the word “thanks”. It really lightens one up when one thanks somebody for something, don’t you think, and conversely it lightens up the subject to whom this ever wonderfully benign expression is addressed. I use this word more than often, while of course compensating through the use of foreign words all the time and feeling sorry over my inadequacy in terms of being able to mumble out a pure Kashmiri word in its stead. In fact I feel that I really do not mean to “thank” people when I do not have the right word for it. I hope you understand what I mean.
Now coming back to the basic issue, concerning the implications and inflictions of the much felt absence of this certain important word from the local lexicon, I truly wonder what all could have gone wrong since we did not have the word to express the basic feeling of “thankfulness” . Did we indeed metamorphose into a lot of “thankless” people and if we did then we might have lost the much-coveted posture that “thankfulness” earns one at the end of the day!!!  Taking recourse to recent Kashmiri history my apprehensions are solidified.  

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