“Ah! Hyderabad” exclaimed a smart IT professional Shekhar. “To me it conjures up images of Charminar, Golconda Fort, and then of course, its famous Biryani, Haleem and last, but not the least, its famous humour. Hyderabadis are for as long as I can remember, famous for their unique style of humour and can come up with rib ticklers that will make you rock back with laughter for days put together.” That unique humour is still intact, still flourishing and still alive and kicking despite the influx of IT BPOs, Tollywood, Hitec City and of course, the chaotic traffic.

Like everybody else across the world, in today’s times of meltdown and terrorism, the people of Hyderabad have their own set of troubles. But all of these have not deterred their sense of humour and their ability to come up with wisecracks. As Dhurv Shankar, who works for Google India, puts it, “With the stupendous growth of our city, there are a lot of non-Hyderabadis in the city, today and core Hyderabadis such as myself are now faced with the task of converting them.

Hyderabadi humour has a way of growing on you and I’ve seen many people adopting it and loving it. It’s still very much there, but it’s just more active on weekends.” Raman Kumar, a long-time Hyderabadi resident and a marketing professional working for a reputed MNC echoes Dhurv Shankar’s views, “The times we live in are a whole lot different, life has become too fast-paced and more importantly people are caught up in the vortex of their lives bogged down by high cost of living and other fracas. That old style of humour may have got rusted with the passage of time, yet now and then it comes alive particularly during festivals and celebrations.”

When it comes to laughing at themselves and cutting jokes, Hyderabadis have always been a class apart and come second to none. In their inbuilt merriment armory, they have a big heart that throbs with cutting-edge deprecation, the unique lingo to boot and yes, tongues that come laced with the gift of the gab. As city-born filmmaker Kuntaa Nikkil, with stints in Hollywood films in Los Angeles and a celluloid venture called ‘The Angrez’ that has loads of Hyderabadi humour, to his credit, says, “Hyderabadi humour is distinct and earthy. The quintessential accent makes it all the more lovable. For an outsider, it can be a side-splitting experience.”

Dr Abid Moiz, the Overseas Editor of the popular Urdu humour magazine ‘Shugoofa’ and a famous humourist agrees with him. He points out, “Hyderabad and Hyderabadis have always had a superb sense of humour. I don’t agree that with the passage of time it lost its luster, but I hold the opinion that with time humour and wit changes. Humour is to some extent, time specific. The dialogues of famous Hindi film comedian Mehmood will make one explode into laughter even today as they use to in the past.

In the same way humour has changed. However, I agree humour has been given a little bit of a go by in today’s fast-paced world. Today people don’t have time to sit together, chat and sip tea and enjoy humour, but the new generation does relish humour on the net, through SMS and emails.” But he laments that not much has been done to encourage and promote the tonic of humour and says, “Apart from a few individual efforts to promote humour through media, there are no concrete efforts to improve and develop Hyderabadi humour.

There were many artists whose works have not been preserved. I remember Ahmed Jalees who used to present ‘Choti Choti Batein’ on AIR, Hyderabad. This program attracted huge crowds, but today, we hardly have any programs left. So is the case with many other humourists. The problem lies with the attitude of the people; humour still is not considered a part of our day-to-day living culture. It is still treated as a non-serious and unnecessary thing. We consider and take life TOO seriously and there is no place of non-seriousness. I quote one humourist who gave a good point to prove this – See the pictures of marriages, in spite of the photographer yelling ‘Smile’, very few faces are glowing while many are serious -. But fortunately Hyderabad or for that matter Deccan peninsula is fortunate to have had better sense of humour and despite difficulties of life, Hyderabadi humour still retains its unique luster.”

Popular Hyderabadi humourist and literary figure, Mujtaba Hussain believes that humour has evolved over the years and despite passage of time still has that spark. He pinpoints, “Humour grew in Hyderabad as a fine art. Hyderabad was a princely state. Life was slow and leisurely. People did not have the rush for living. The rich were rich but the poor were not so poor. People found time to laugh at small things. They did not have to refer to the books of jokes in order to make others laugh. Now life has become more calculative and matter of fact. About decline, it is a universal phenomenon and Hyderabad is no exception. However, in spite of such difficulties of life, Hyderabadis still retain their sense of humour.”

Hyderabadis have always had a unique and own style of speaking. Their clothing, their sense of humour; every thing has that “zara hatke” touch. Noted actor Shatrughun Sinha had famously said, “When I think of Hyderabad, I think of its famous Hyderabadi biryani. I lost some of my glamour and put on immense flab during my trips to Hyderabad due to my fondness for biryani. The whole country knows the Hyderabad brand of humour is honest, smart and in-your-face. Come to think of it, ace Hindi film villain of yesteryears Ajit (better known as Loin in Bollywood) and Johnny Lever, both belong to this city. I have addressed mammoth crowds across the country, but Hyderabad gives me a thundering applause for all my one-liners for the simple reason that their sense of humour is very mature. You need to have a sense of humour to understand humour. Thankfully, Hyderabad has it in the right proportion.”

What makes Hyderabadis come up so successfully with dosages of humour? Perhaps it could be their laidback style and a relaxed way of living or perhaps their genetic makeup that can make Hyderabadis eject, now and then, humourous quips. This is particularly noticeable in areas that still evoke a whiff of Nizam era like most parts of Old City, Abids, Mozamjahi Market, Masab Tank, Mehdipatnam, etc. With passage of time, these areas too have lost a little bit of that flair for coming up with humourous quips, but still that ability to come up with humourous quips lurks within the Hyderabadis living in these areas.

Fitness Consultant Zareer Patell agrees and says, ”The fact that Hyderabadis always had a lackadaisical attitude, and a laidback life style, which, in turn promoted this kind of entertainment – it continues to be so even today.” Masood Ali, a graduate from Hyderabad and a citizen of the USA, with stints in music colleges and direction schools perhaps sums it up well, this eternal spirit of Hyderabadis ability to make people laugh. Asked why he is hell bent on choosing comedy as the theme for one of his movies, he said, “The world is ridden with tension, frustration and all kinds of problems and I want people to forget their worries for at least two hours and simply have fun. With my films my basic aim is to carry Hyderabadi lingo to the world map.”

Long time Hyderabadi, one-time Chief Secretary to Government of Andhra Pradesh, a noted historian and writer, Narender Luther who knows a thing or two about Hyderabadis and their sense of humour, having been witness to eras of Hyderabadi life, gives a lucid insight into what makes a Hyderabadi tick. He says, “Although it is not possible to grade any region for its humour quotient, some regions in the world have become famous for it. Hyderabad is one of them. Firstly, their spoken dialect, Dakhni by itself, lends itself to humour naturally. In Hindi films its accent has been made use of for creation of humour.” Legendary movie legend Amitabh Bachchan used it like a pro, Mehmood’s original take left you in splits and Govinda simply gyrated to it. Bollywood movies over the years used the Hyderabadi humourous style of speaking to the hilt and made it truly memorable. So a ‘kahan ja rahe hain?’ becomes ‘kaan ku ja re’ in Dakhani.

Hyderabad and humour go back a long way. The spirit still lives on; is best summed up by the fact that Hyderabad is one of the few Indian or world cities that has an exclusive magazine devoted to humour, ‘Shugoofa’, an Urdu monthly magazine that has a sizeable number of avid readers across the city, particularly in older parts of Hyderabad. Brought out by a literary organization, Zindadilan-e-Hyderabad and edited by Syed Mustafa Kamal, ‘Shugoofa’ is a rare magazine dedicated to humour and satire.

In an era when magazines are finding it tough to survive, ‘Shugoofa’ has completed 40 years of publication and is now in its 41st year. What distinguishes it from other magazines is the fact that all the articles and verses are purely literary with a tinge of humour and satire unlike most other magazines with popular humour. The very fact that it has stayed strong for over 40 years makes it difficult to find such a standard literary-humourist magazine in any other language. Generally, a few years after the launch, the standard of magazines that are solely devoted to humour deteriorates and become cheap, losing the very luster that has helped pulled it up in the first place. Humour makes an entry but this is not the case with ‘Shugoofa’.

During its lifespan of over 40 years and still continuing, ‘Shugoofa’ has brought out over 450 issues including voluminous annual number (comes out in January every year) and souvenirs and has so far published over 30,000 pages of humour. It also follows the tradition of dedicating special sections and editions to prominent humourists, both poets and writers. A considerable number of such issues have been brought out; some of the great authors for whom the special numbers were published include Mujtaba Hussain, Narender Luther, Ibrahim Jalees, Taqallus Bhopali, Bharat Chand Khanna, Rasheed Ahmed Siddiqui, Kanaya Lal Kapoor and many others. In addition, ‘Shugoofa’ has also brought out Hindustani Mizah number in which Indian humour was dealt with. Not just confined to India, it has also published Saudi Arab and Khaleej numbers in which humour writers residing in Saudi Arabia and Gulf participated.

A monthly magazine, it has articles, ghazals, nazms, travelogues and all literary genres. Its overseas editor is Dr Abid Moiz, based in Saudi Arabia. When quizzed about the magazine, Abid Moiz said, “Shugoofa is the only Urdu wit, humour and satire magazine that is being published regularly since the last 40 years. Other languages have very few magazines that cater to wit, humour and satire. PUNCH was the famous English magazine that ceased in 2002. ‘Shugoofa’ has many special issues, annual numbers and souvenirs. I don’t know whether any other Indian language has magazines, weekly or daily catering to wit, humour and satire. We do have comic magazines and comic strips but I am talking of literary humour.”

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When asked about the background of Hyderabadi humour, Abid Moiz answers, “In the subcontinent there are two places famous for humour, one is Punjab in the North and the other is Deccan in the South. As such people say that the people of the subcontinent are serious with less sense of humour. Punjab is famous for Sardarji jokes, but Deccan doesn’t have such kind of jokes. However, Deccani language is targeted in Indian films. In both the places, people formed famous organizations like Zinda Dilan (which means light-hearted people) Hyderabad (ZDH), Punjab (ZDP) to promote humour. In addition, there is a ZDH in Lahore, Pakistan too.”

According to Mujtaba Hussain, “Osmania University which was established in 1918 with Urdu as the medium of instruction played a major role in the intellectual as well as humourous development of students of those days. The atmosphere provided in the University campus then was full of joy and pleasure. Many writers and poets were very witty and jovial, like Makhdoom Mohiuddin, Mirza Shukoor Baig, Ali Sayab Miyan, Nazeer Dehkhani, Ajaz Hussain Khatta and others, all of whom were prominent humourists at that time. After 1948, Osmania University changed its medium of instruction to English and political changes took place in Hyderabad resulting in some lull in the city’s cultural life.

This passage of lullness departed when in the late fifties and early sixties ‘Zinda Dilan-e-Hyderabad’ (a voluntary organization of humour lovers) was formed with the efforts of Mohammed Himayatullah, Sarwar Danda and other friends. It revived Hyderabadi humour and holds regular public meetings of humour and satire. The jokes and humourous articles and poems recited in these meetings gain instant popularity.

Hyderabadi humour is so infectious that it takes in its fold non-Hyderabadis also. Late Bharat Chand Khanna, Narender Luther and Doulat Ram are outstanding examples. It may be noted that the first ever world humour conference was held in Hyderabad in 1985. Zinda Dilan is still active and holds meetings almost every year. I must also mention ‘Shugoofa’, a monthly magazine, published regularly since 40 years that’s full of humourous articles and poetry.”

When asked about the decline of humour in today’s Hyderabad, Syed Mustafa Kamal rejects the assumption and says, “I don’t agree with this fact that with the passage of time the Hyderabadi famous style of humour has lost its luster and Hyderabadis have lost that famous wit touch. In the pre-independence era, there were a number of humourists who were writing humour and satire in the form of essays, poems, novels, columns in newspapers, etc. Each humourist had his own style and punch. After Hyderabad was merged in the Indian union in the year 1948, the pace of development as well as of Fine Arts and Literature, humour and satire declined.

This phase continued till the formation of Andhra Pradesh in 1956 due to police actions that stifled the atmosphere and suppressed the progress of humour and satire. Normal life was also badly affected during this period of eight years. With Hyderabad becoming the capital of the then new state of Andhra Pradesh, the famous Hyderabadi culture, humour and literary traditions once again began to bloom and flourish and the background of the eight years of bitterness was put aside. Since then Hyderabadi humour and satire has evolved and still to date, it remains so, but at a different level maybe due to change in the pace of life in the city.”

To keep alive this unique flavour of Hyderabad, Zindadilan-e-Hyderabad was formed in the year 1962. Till date, this fine organization that also functions as the literary organ of the famous city-based Fine Arts Academy keeps alive the traditions in music, dramas, skits and other stage-related factors. It has successfully organized several mushairas, prose and jokes sessions and has the privilege of having IAS and IPS officers as its President or patron. Giving further insight into this fine organization, Narender Luther says, “A humour society called Zinda Dilan-e- Hyderabad (Lively Hearts of Hyderabad was inaugurated by me somewhere around 1963.

Holding its first annual event of humour then, it has since then bloomed and every year a concert is held in Urdu, in prose, poetry and session on jokes where the audience could also participate. Its biggest event was in 1985 called ‘World Humour Conference’. Some 14 countries and representatives of 22 languages of the world were represented in it. All the verbal and non-verbal media were covered in it. Now sadly, it is not so regular and only national events are held in Urdu. However, its monthly Urdu magazine ‘Shugoofa’ has survived longer than any humour magazine in India, been around 40 years and still flourishing.”

Before we unmask the meaning of what exactly constitutes a sense of humour, let’s ask ourselves as to why this subject pops into our brain? Isn’t there anything else to talk about?

For instance there’s so much happening around the world, that’s newsworthy. The dip in oil price after its beguiling roller coaster ride into what seemed to be a never ending record-breaking price jump spree. Then the dawn of a new era in the United States of America in the form of Barack Obama, the first African American black man to be President…. The historic violence-free Jammu & Kashmir elections which saw a record turnout and ….. The list goes on. So much and I’m now getting a sinking feeling that we, as a country are turning into just spectators. Is this what the future brings? Are we becoming a nation of big bores, only good for sitting in front of the TV or the computer or having Garam Chai in a roadside restaurant?

You could say, “Could be all of the above” Is that all? Let’s say a guy has all of the qualities listed above, and then the tendency to poke fun at other people in an insensitive manner. He makes personal remarks and mocks at their language skills, accents, dress-sense, etc. (Note: Here we are not mentioning the politically sensitive stuff like race, religion, gender, etc).

Does he qualify to be called a humourist? I’d say NO. For those qualities qualifies him to be an insensitive boor – but definitely not one who has a sense of humour. A vital dollop of sensitivity is required in order to have a fully rounded sense of humour. Do jokes or humour have to be personal like we saw in the blockbuster Hindi movie ‘Om Shanti Om’ where Bollywood Badshah Shahrukh Khan poked fun at yesteryears actor Manoj Kumar, which as we all know did not end up well and only created a ruckus. Manoj Kumar lambasted SRK as well as Farah Khan. So it’s wiser to deliver humour or cut jokes without getting on the nerves of someone’s personal life or career. Humour can and should always be impersonal and equally effective.

Narender Luther agrees on this. When asked what exactly is sense of humour, he said, “A sharp sense of humour is an offspring of acute intelligence. A humourist sees new unusual relationships in ordinary events, which others miss. A good humourist debunks established mores. He can create a smile or laughter and thus refresh minds. Humour is described as on of the nine rasas in the Indian treatise on aesthetics, called the Natya Shastra. Good humour is always self-depreciating rather than laughing at the foibles of others.” Adds Dhurv Shankar, “A sense of humour is a quality itself. How do you look for a quality within a quality?”

Famous English poet William Shakespeare still retains his popularity among the people across the globe despite tremendous passage of time. Why is it so? Because, his humour was something unique; his wit and wisdom remain unparalleled. His fun with pun and repartees with rhetoric were not momentary utterances but monumental achievements. He excelled all University wits by virtue of his great sense of timing. All eminent men had tremendous tendency to sparkle with humour. Scintillating jokes they cracked are remembered even today. They are fondly quoted not for their words of wisdom but for their lines of laughter. They lived long as they did, not age with rage.

Clean and sparkling humour is what makes the subtleties of Mullah Naseeruddin, the fables of Aesop, the parables of La Fontaine, the anecdotes of Birbal and the like cherished even today. They accelerate the alchemy in our being in an unconscious way. If we think of deriving happiness only by a particular accomplishment, we close other channels forever. Zareer Patell agrees and says, “Humour should be intelligent and some times naughty.” Intelligent and naughty, that makes for a good mixture and can be a lethal medicine for helping people get rid of their worries and tensions. Mujtaba Hussain pinpoints, “For a person to be called a good humourist, he/she must have the ability to laugh at oneself. Also, humour should not bear ill will and should be said without a trace of malice. The humourist should not be a hypocrite. These are a few qualities; I look for in a humourist.”

Dropping all the notions about life is a prerequisite for becoming blissful. The secret of life lies in transforming wail into a smile, tears into laughter and agony into ecstasy. A big joke and a belly laugh could put everything in proper perspective.

One should always learn to laugh and rock back again and again. Hyderabad has produced many humourists who were truly world-class, with unmatched flair for conjuring up the wackiest of jokes supplemented by an innate ability to make people laugh. Despite passage of time and despite the times we are living in, Hyderabad still coughs up talented humourists.

Why, there are many unknown Hyderabadis who come up with far better humourous quips than even the known expert humourists. Mujtaba Hussain who has had several brushes with both known and unknown humourists across the globe agrees and says, “It is impossible to give a list of personalities related to humour and satire. There are so many who do not write essays but their general talks are so hilarious that one would like to be in their company for hours together.”

Himself a person who has carved a niche for himself in the hearts of people over the years, his columns, caricatures and essays have stood the test of time and are popular across all strata of society. When asked about his works, he said, “I have authored two dozen books and have received a number of prestigious awards including ‘Ghalib Award’, Urdu Academy Awards and also the Padma Shri award by the Government of India in 2007.” When quizzed about famous city based anecdotes, he said, “It is difficult to mention one or more humourous anecdotes. Humour loses its punch and spontaneity on translation. Interested readers may refer to certain souvenirs which were brought out on Zinda Dilan’s conferences.”

Narender Luther is another, renowned for his wit and humour and whose quips still evoke howls of laughter among people who have savoured the same. His matchless ability to douse tense situations with wacky quips are too numerous to quote here. Asked about prominent city based humourists, he said, “Amongst prose writers, I would say, it’s Mujtaba Hussain, myself, Abid Moiz. The first named was awarded the Padma Shri in 2007. Amongst poets Mustafa Ali Baig, Himayat, Khamkha Hyderabadi, Talib Khundmiri, etc. This group has been invited to grace several events abroad many times. I myself represented India in the Bienelle International Festival of Humour in Gabrovo in Bulgaria in 1985.”

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Regarding prominent anecdotes, he says, “That will make a long essay and I am not in a position to recount those jokes here. Some of them are recounted in my books on Hyderabad. Interested readers can get them through two books, the first is ‘Hyderabad – A Biography’ published by Oxford University Press. There is a reference in it to Jamaluddin who was the Superintendent of Public Gardens in late 1930’s. I have called him the wit-laureate of Hyderabad in an article published in ‘The Hindu’ newspaper about ten years ago. The other is a small book ‘Hyderabad’ published by the Publications Division and available in Hyderabad also. To appreciate Hyderabadi jokes you have to know Urdu/ Hindi.”

Dhurv Shankar feels Hyderabad has a number of people who are commoners, but possess far greater sense of humour than prominent humourists themselves. He says, “I have had several brushes with such folks and swallowed many a humourous quips that have been a privilege to savour and have a rollicking laugh. One prominent one I can recollect is – I was going home in a company cab once. As is the practice in all companies, the cabs are searched by security before they are allowed to leave the building. As the driver pulled up the gate, the guard rather rudely told him to open the boot.

The guard had a very brusque manner about him and was being unnecessarily rude to the driver. He looked inside the boot and found a blanket rolled up in a corner. Acting overly suspicious and almost accusing, the guard poked at the blanket with his baton, yelled at the driver and asked, ‘Dicky mein, kya hai ye?’ The driver was unfazed. He took a quick look inside the boot and replied, “Madam hain. Lothkunta utarte katte”. Everyone in the cab burst out laughing and the poor security guard was left looking very sheepish indeed. Khaleel bhai, the driver was an instant hero.”

Hyderabad always had a strong theatre culture and is known for hosting some of the finest humourous plays. Who can forget the legendary Hyderabadi Babban Khan’s play, which ran for weeks together and created worldwide impact with its stirring, yet humourous depiction of an ordinary Hyderabadi man trying to manage a huge family with his meager earnings? Now the question is that whether such kind of plays today really help in keeping the famous Hyderabadi humour alive? Will it succeed in maintaining the unique aura of Hyderabadi humour alive and thrive better in the days ahead?

Mujtaba Hussain believes it would and answers, “Humourous plays, completions of jokes, books and magazines – all are required to keep humour alive. Much more than that a congenial, peaceful and carefree atmosphere is required to keep humour alive.” Narender Luther also is positive on this count, but decries the changing trends. He says, “Now verbal humour has gone to TV. There is not much written humour. In speech however, people are still capable of showing wit and a sense of humour. However, I am saddened to say that the pioneers have grown old and have not been joined by younger people. Perhaps it is because of the competitive society in which they live. I don’t see any future for the organized, institutional projection of humour.” Dhurv Shankar sees the future in stand-up comedy and asserts, “We need to slowly incorporate this form of entertainment into Hyderabad.”

A Hyderabadi has many avatars. So many that it is not possible to decipher which one is the real mask that can decipher the real and actual Hyderabadi. Perhaps one of them can be plucked and used to decipher the real Hyderabadi. And that he is a person who makes you laugh till you fall, your stomach starts to burp and you weep with tears of joy (Is it crocodile tears???).

There is a popular Hyderabadi joke about the famous Angrezi poet William Shakespeare. “Agar William Shakespeare Hyderabad me paida hua hota to uska kya naam hota? The answer is “Socho Socho”…..

Just log into blog. It offers a peep into what can be termed as some of the wackiest Hyderabadi humour you can ever think of. It discloses that a Hyderabadi doesn’t hesitate to use words like ‘baigan ke’, ‘Hau’, ‘Nakko’, ‘Hallu’, ‘Bole to suno miyaa’, ‘Kaiku’ and ‘Kate’. If one fails to hear such words on sojourns across the city, then one must have come from planet Pluto.

It also gives a hilarious description about a Hyderabadi’s lifestyle that’s simply out of this world and many more worlds. Maintain your composure and get ready to keep your throat as clear as pure air.

Okay! here we go:

He sleeps around 1 am and wakes only after 9:30 am. He drinks half-a-cup of tea at least six times and buys only one gold flake cigarette.

If they do not eat rice at least once a day they will die. For them the only good dishes on earth are Hyderabadi biryani, Nahari, Haleem, Khatti daal, Tamataun ka saalan, Bhendi ka sherwa, Dhai ki kadi, Paalak ki bhaaji, Aaloo baigan, Gawaar ki phalli, Kheema aloo methi, Khaagina, Khichdi, Boti ka saalan, Khadi daal, Bagaara khaana daalcha, Mirchiyaa bhajiye, Khubaani ka mittha, Kaddu ki kheer and Fruit salaad. To this you can add Mirchi Bajji and Aloo Bonda and of course, the favourite drink Ganna Juice.

Two out of three are Shahrukh, Aamir or Salman Khans. He feels offended if some one looks at him and says, “Kaiku ghoorra miya??”

A typical Hyderabadi male only wants to become an Engineer or a Doctor or do MBA or MCA. For most of
them US visa is a million dollar dream and Saudi visa a triple blessing.

Most of the Hyderabadi lads spend their super precious time at “Gali ke nukkad pe”, “Chabootre pe”, “Hotelon mein”, playing Gulli Danda, Kabbadi, chit chatting on mobiles or Internet chat having chaat, squandering parents hard-earned money and of course lighting maroing cute girls and hanging around in and around the boundaries of sundar pottiyan colleges. “Her ladke ki Amrika ki koshish chalte rehti aur side mein Landan ki bhi ya phir Bhaunai Saudi se visa bhejne waale rehte”.

If she is not studying at “St Francis or St Ann’s or Villa Marie” then she is not studying at all, Shadaan or Old City College is a compromise. For chicks, Begums is the most preferred beauty parlor. Also, most of the gals would not like to wear sharaara for the second time, for “Her shaadi mein nayaa sharaara chaahiye”. AND Most of them say “Main kapde sirf Neerus OR Meena bazar se hi leti hun”.

Marriage Bureau deals almost all the cases. A team of a dozen goes to see the girl (WHAT FOR?? To eat pastries, bananas, milk and fruit biscuits). When they return home after seeing the khubsoorat potti, someone from the family says “Badi se manjli ke aankh naak ache hai nai”. Her kisi ko gori ladki chahiye, if they want to reject they say “Ladki ka khad aur rang kam hai, hamare bachhe ki height achi hai” (5’6″).

They say “Ladke ku family visa bhi hai”, even if he makes 3000 riyals and “Ladke ka kafeel bhaut acha hai, tanqaa badaataun bola shaadi ke baad”. “Inter fail ladke ku bhi Graduate ladki honaa”.

Almost all advertisements say, “Ladki soum aur salaah ki paaband hai” and “Shaadi mein jaldi hai, ladki ke bhai baaher se aaye hue hai”. Advertisements sometimes clearly mention, “Ladke ku kaarobaar bhi lagaa ke denge” OR “Azad visa bhi denge” OR “Ladki ke naam pe jaaydaad hai” (500 gaz ka plot, makaan ya phir flat).

Hyderabadi parents only look for US/Canadian Immigrants or Gulf settled – Deen ki nisbat pe rishte karne waale aaj kal bahut kam honge. After all, isme so paise ka mamla hai na!!!

If there is no dinner a lot of them are disappointed, they say, “Kya jaate miya gaadi ka kiraya daal ke, kheench nai hai”. Many still take “Jode ki rakham” and if you ask Dulhe raja, the poor blushful (is it blissful??) chap will say, “Mereku nai maloom, Ammi Abba baat karliye, main toh nakko bola sheikh”.

These days nikaah takes place at masjid but the jahez (dowry) reaches grooms home late night when neighbours are deep in sleep. Invitations clearly mention that nikaah is at 7pm but Dulhe raja arrives at 8:30 pm, 9 pm, 9:30 pm and soon after nikaah, people are desperately waiting for someone to announce “Aaiiye” (call for dinner).

They are crazy about chicken “Poori dish undal lete mauka mile to”. Pehle Haleem khaate fir chicken fir biryani fir chicken aur fir chicken fir qubani ka mittha fir kaddu ki kheer aur fir aakhri mein he puts some dahi ki chatni on his palm and starts licking it.

When he is done with khana (or food as they say in Angrezi) he asks for a FAG (popularly known as cigarettes), then only the stimulating discussion on the quality of food starts.

Ek doosre ki taang kheechte rehte wahan per. Nayaa nayaa jo bhi aata usko bolte “Kaiku aaye miya, kya hai yaan pe, sab khatam hogaya, sirf khurchan baaqi hai (lower level of cooked rice), waipe kuch bhi kerlena tha”.

Brace up for more rib-ticklers from the Hyderabadi:

If you ask for directions to a place, you get the answer ‘Seedha chale jao’ (keep going straight –mind you, you will keep going straight, straight and still straight) whether it is to Malakpet, Masab Tank, Malkajgiri or Moosapet or the world famous Balanagar and its most popular Halwa Ka Place Raju Colony.
If you give a piece of good news to someone, you get the resultant lightning throwback, ‘Dawat kab hain?’ (When is the party?) Arre Chal Mere Bhai!!!
If you talk of an event which took place 10 years ago, you get the answer, “Yeh To Parsoon ki baath hai.” (This is yesterday’s talk).

Hyderabadis are famous late lathifs. Suppose a Hyderabadi tells you that he will back in a minute saying “Abbhi aaya” (I will come back now), you can expect the chap to be back either after a couple of hours or not back at all.

When you are fibbing or talking your head off, you can expect a Hyderabadi to say, “Phekh rah miyan; bolte jah, mei lachche maraun” (Are you bluffing? Friend, Shall I crack more lies). You must know that you are not taken seriously. Lacche Maarte Raho, Beta. (Keep cracking more and more lies).

If a Hyderabadi orders for Garama Garam Chai at an Irani café or a standalone Chai ka Adda, you can expect the Hyderabadi chai wallah to say, “Ek Chai Ek Empty aur ek pauna.” Humpty, Dumpty, sit on a wall, you can say back.

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If you are flirting with a hot chick, you can expect a Hyderabadi to say, “Kis ka chakkar kis ke saath chal ra” (who’s going around with whom). Arre Bhai, my to Pyar me hoon. (My brother, I am in love) .

If you think that you are born stylish with a hint of dash, speaking stylish Angrez with some wacky quips, you can expect a Hyderabadi to say, “Chubbe saale , mooh dekh aine mein, tere ku kaun pat thi, pataaney waala tho main Hoon or simply Bas be Gandu or Badkau.”
If you are searching for a job and don’t have a girl friend, you can expect a Hyderabadi to say, “Naukri Mila, Chokri Pattaya.” (Searched for a job, Hooked a girl).

Hyderabadi way of speaking Hindi and English is downright hilarious. What’s interesting is that most people speak it without knowing that it is a language which has a rather rich history. There is an interesting story of an auto driver, Mallana Anna, born and brought up in Hyderabad, who spoke Hyderabadi Hindi without knowing what it’s really called, “Isko kya bolte? Yeh to Hindiich hai?” (What do you call it, it is Hindi). But auto pilot a little further and he says, “It’s Nizami Hindi.”

As he hands over the change, he obliges you with a little more information, “Isme sab mixing hai. Hindi hai, Urdu hai, Telugu hai. Ye mast hai. Hau idhar sab longan yeich bolte.” (It has Hindi, Urdu, Telugu. It’s fun. Yes all people here speak it.”) But no he doesn’t know its Dakhani. Paap Beechara, he was in cloud nine thinking he knows all when he did not know all.

Khader Bhai, who’s been in the city for 30 years and runs a canteen in a hospital, speaks the same language without knowing what it’s called. “No, it has nothing to do with Nizams. Those people used a lot more respect. This is a language we all use to converse. It’s a mixture of Hindi and Urdu.” To an extent, both Mallana Anna and Khader Bhai are dead right, yes, it’s a language that is a pleasant mixture of all languages, a language that was born before Urdu and Hindi got their respective names and before the word language was invented.

”Dakhani,” say experts was born as early as 12th century when Sufi saints from north India brought with them Khadi Boli, a language that was common to most people in those parts. Says Dr Naseemuddin Farees, a lecturer of Urdu in Hyderabad Central University, “When it went to Gujarat, it became Gurjari, when it came to south of India, it became Dakhani. “When Mohammad Bin Tughlak shifted his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad, the same Khadi Boli, Dakhani got a lot of Marathi words with it, a reason why the language has a lot of Marathi words.

In fact if you wonder why some words sounds so much like Mumbaiya Hindi, there is a simple explanation. “The ch sound in Dakhani has come from Marathi. So words like ‘idharich’ (here itself) has come from Marathi,” says Dr Farees.

So, you have seen it, what a Hyderabadi’s humour is like??? Don’t you feel your tummy aching with laughter pains? Are you not trying to suppress your laughter unable to digest the riotous quips as above? I know you are laughing your head off and I also know that you have got swept away by the magic called Hyderabadi humour. That’s why I call Hyderabadi humour, a humour without parallel in the world, it’s top of the perch.

Okay! But are there any cities that can match up to Hyderabadi brand of humour. From Los Angeles to London, Lahore, Mumbai, Caribbean islands, Sydney and so on, do any of them hold a candle to mana Hyderabadi humour? It’s a spine chilling experience to learn about the same from stalwarts who know a thing or four about the match. Asked about which other cities have a great humour culture, Dhurv Shankar answers, “I found people in the UK to have a fantastic sense of humour.

The Americans also have a good sense of humour but the Brits are a ton of fun. From great puns to downright silly slapstick, I’d say people in the UK know how to have a good laugh.” Narender Luther who has traveled the world over and has had encounters with humourists galore from all walks of life, points out, “Gabrovo in Bugaria used to have a biannual event. In America humour events are held. Joel Goodman has been running an annual session for the last 20 odd years. In India some places have local societies which hold meetings.”

Cut, action, what are we talking about???? Is the famous Hyderabadi humour on the wane? Is it in danger of being obliterated by passage of time and today’s danna dan pace of life? Is it in the danger of being relegated to the sidelines by today’s stressful day-to-day living problems? To some extent all of these could be true. But the underlying fact remains that the famous Hyderabadi humour still remains intact from top to bottom, though in a more refined version and a bit less open.

Russell Peters, a well-known comedian in most of the English-speaking world whose parents are Anglo Indians from Kolkata and Mumbai with connections to Hyderabad, says, “I was born and bought up in Canada. I live in Los Angeles. Contrary to popular perception, I feel Indians are funny and have a great sense of humour. Humour in India has been underrated a great deal. It is a fallacy. Indians takes jokes and jibes very sportingly. The Indian ability to laugh at their communities, social and economic problems is quite amazing.”

He has a word of advice for people who aspire to crack jokes and make people laugh, “Humour is not the easiest of roads to take. There are many people, who would try a hand at comedy, because their friends feel that they are funny. The tragedy is, no one else thinks much about their funny side. Originality in both presentation and style remains the key to success. You cannot become successful, if you copy another person’s joke and his style.”

Zareer Patell rubbishes the notion that the Hyderabadi humour is on the downhill slide. He points out, “You will be surprised. Even with our busy lives and work pressures of today, we still make it a point to enjoy ourselves during the weekend. A time and place where we can unwind the week’s tensions. Be it at a party, pub, or else where, these social gatherings form a perfect platform to showcase our entertainment skills, be it jokes, or simple conversational since stimulants like music, interesting faces, and above all – downing a few single malts surely bring our the best in all of us.”

About six months back, the popular Radio Channel Radio City had launched a hunt for the country’s first ever on-air Fun Jockey and Hyderabad’s Radio City 91.1FM officially crowned Mohammed Asif as Hyderabad’s and India’s first ever ‘Navvula Don’. Hugely successful and competitive, several gifted funsters wooed the audiences with sheer wit and humour and the contestants were challenged to tickle the audience’s funny bone with a series of non-stop jokes.

Commenting on the activity, Rana Barua, Executive Vice-President, National Head – Programming and Marketing, Radio City 91.1 FM said, “With Radio City ‘Navvula Don’, we started off the hunt for a Fun Jockey for Hyderabad; one who is original and spells sheer ‘Whatte Fun’ with his refreshing takes on humour. Today, Hyderabad has chosen its ‘Navvula Don’ and we are proud to present Asif – Hyderabad’s first ever Fun Jockey!

We are thankful to the Judges for stepping forth to help us find our Fun J from the five finalists. We thank Hyderabad for the tremendous response and support to ‘Navvula Don’ and promise to present more such clutter-breaking and entertaining initiatives for Hyderabad Radio Cityzens.” This event reveals that Hyderabadi humour, if tapped and encouraged properly will maintain its vibrancy and only get better.

Chetan Mallik, a city blogger believes that Hyderabadi humour will remain intact and come out in more riotous style during the most mundane of occasions. Despite rack up pressures and day-to-day living blues, he is immensely optimistic that the legacy will only get better though in a little bit refined fashion. He pinpoints, “Hyderabadis always have had a great sense of humour. You need to sample them while watching movies at cinema halls, they make full use of that while watching movies. During one of the shows of Mangal Pandey at a theatre in Musheerabad area, when Toby Stephens asked the widow Jwala her name in his anglicized accent, pat came the reply from a member of the crowd, “Abe Yeh Amisha Patel Ku Nahin Janta.” But please, don’t ever watch a horror movie in Hyderabad. There will be more than one noise haunting you in the theatre!”

Also, how much of humour is still alive in Hyderabadis can be masked out from Matrimonial Ads in websites or newspapers to daily encounters with the man on the street. An ad in a matrimonial site reveals a Hyderabadi lass’s search for her dream man. It said, “While I am very friendly in general, it takes time for me to be comfortable with someone, to the point of letting myself be ME. Humour is very important to me, as I believe that laughter is the best medicine……… I would describe myself as an intelligent and quick-witted, easy-going, fun loving, creative person, I seek a man who challenges me intellectually; also a well-rounded individual, happy, intelligent with a great sense of humour; who shares the same values and principles I do; who respects and believes in love and commitment…..:”

Humour is something that’s timeless, matchless and borderless. It thrived in the past, continues to thrive in the present and will continue to thrive in the future. Despite a litany of problems ranging from poverty to recession blues, terrorism, traffic terror, roadside urinating saga and so on, humour will have its slot left untouched and still retain its immortal ability to make people laugh without a care in the world. Hyderabadi humour likewise will stand tall now and in the days ahead as it used to in the past despite influx of problems from time to time.

Abid Moiz sums it up well when he says, “Humour is time, culture and language specific. In this context one has to see the humour. Hyderabadi humour is certainly very popular among Hyderabadis and also among non-Hyderabadis. It has several grading or you can say classes, the Hyderabadi humour shown in films is different from the humour delivered on stage programs. This kind of humour is different from the humour produced in literary circles, again here – there are proses and poetry divisions, both are in a way different and these forms of humour are different from the humour produced by Hyderabadis on streets.

Overall, all these forms of humour cater to the needs of different classes of people. One common thing is that humour fulfills the basic need of stress busting. Humour does this job efficiently. The 21st century will be the century of wit, humour and satire. The popularity of humour will take over all other forms of literature and arts.”

Who said Hyderabadi humour is on the wane? Never say it again!!!!! “Light Lelo, Yaaron.”  #KhabarLive