Are you a native of Bangalore ? This is the question that I have been asked by many in recent times, possibly owing to my pretentious proficiency in speaking Kannada. I have been a willing animal of corporate jungle for so many years, I have inherited this simple technique. Never give a direct answer to any question that you do not want to answer. So my answer generally will be ‘I have been living in Bangalore for 20 years’ and the person who is asking the question answers something like this ‘Oh. You are a native of Bangalore’. I heave a sigh of relief.

Truth be told, Chennai gave me life and Bangalore taught me life. Despite being a believer in non-duality, I allow myself an exception for this and believe duality in this one aspect. Also, as Jim Collins so effectively put it in his book ‘Built to Last’ I am ok to embrace ‘The power of And’.

Let me come to the subject.

I wish to share some Kannada phrases that has a kind of profound influence on me. These expressions might sound colloquial to the purists, but for someone like me it has had a terrific impact and generally blends with the spirit of some fine Kannadigas that I have come to know over the years and possibly to all Kannadigas in general who are so much accommodative and seem to have that fine quality of ‘Being Happy in Making others Happy’

Swalpa Adjust Maadi

This roughly translates to ‘Please adjust slightly’, but I think the core meaning is be ‘More Accommodative’. I think this runs in the DNA of most Kannadigas and having observed many cities in India, I cannot find one city like ‘Namma Bengaluru’ that welcomes everyone so willingly and allow it to be made their own over a period of time. The application of this one phrase has reduced my GQ (Grumpiness Quotient) and sole credit goes to the people behind this one phrase. At times I do feel, did they ‘Thumba Adjust Maadi? (Did they ‘Adjust more than necessary’). Well, I think they are large hearted and it does increases my aspiration quotient to be ‘More accommodative’.

Nodi Swami Naavu eradhu Heege

This roughly translates to ‘Look Boss. We are like this only’. When I hear this, I realize I am dangerously close to affecting the moral sentiments of a forthright Kannadiga. While they would go all out to help me, accommodate me, make me feel comfortable and allow that space for me as well with them, there is a wafer thin line that I am not allowed to cross with them. Anything that affects their individuality or personal sense of integrity, with my unsolicited philosophy is bounced back gently with this phrase. I have liked that sense of authenticity and have been kind of struggling to adapt to that fine sense of individuality and authenticity. For someone born in Chennai, this takes ages to get this right.

Enjoy Maadi. Maja Maadi.

This roughly translates to ‘Have Fun’. The only purpose of life is to live a life of purpose, said someone and that purpose of a Kannadiga is ‘Absolute Enjoyment’. Not ‘Absolut’. My long time mentor, a moderate Kannadiga by appearance and a purist Kannadiga by nature, mostly signs off every mail with ‘Have fun’, even when everything around me is burning and I have shamelessly copied that line from him and adapted it to ‘Enjoy Maadi and ‘Maja Maadi’ and have made it my signature.


This roughly translates to ‘Not possible’ and might sound negative. I used to get worked up when every simple task I wanted to get done met with a ‘Agodhilla’. But when I reflect, I understand the impact of this statement. The expectation is set right from the beginning by the person uttering this statement. You will have a definite answer. It will be a ‘Possible’ or a ‘Not Possible’. Never leave anyone guessing. I wish I could use this word more effectively in all areas of life. Like Yoda who says ‘ There is no try. You either do or do not’.

There is one more friendly expression I wish to end with. I hear this often between close friends when consoling each other and I have as usual used this effectively. That is ‘Sayile Bidoo’. Though this translates to ‘Let it die. Leave it. Do not brood over it’, the actual interpretation for me is ‘Let it go’. This has taught me a profound sense of detachment and when I mess up something, which I manage with regular frequency, I just say to myself ‘Sayile Bidoo’ !

I apologize if these phrases has hurt some purists of the language, but I have generally found simple expressions carry deep meaning and I am thankful to the Kannadigas who have taught me life. I have learnt a lot out of this simple phrases.

On a lighter note, I have derived a simple phrase when I am caught on the wrong side of the law with a traffic police man. I start with a ‘Nodee Sir’ with an emphasis and stretch on the ‘e’ and if the police man says ‘Ennnn Sir’ with an emphasis on ‘n’, then I am on good wicket!

What about people who gave me life ? Well that shall be for another day.

I have some kind of forecast about myself. I am not getting morbid here, but I think the place that will take my life will neither be Chennai or Bangalore. I know it is a looooooooooooong way away, but prophecies are not the territory of Nostradamus alone. I too can predict at least for myself!!

Maja Maadi. Share Maadi.

‘Bai Bedi’ (Do not Scold).