It was an odd day and like always was walking to my design studio through the market street. In a crowded market one cant help but overhear talk as one walks by. “Garam hai loha, maar do hathoda” ( Strike now , the iron is hot ). The person was passionately discussing with his companion about the future course of action of the 26/11 incidents.
Walking a bit ahead a pair was shouting in raised voices & by the time I reached the spot one of them had finished with speaking and caught the other by the scruff of his collar. Before anyone could intervene he had whacked the other with a brutish slap and the guy collapsed. A voice came from the background “Chhod do thakur” (leave him be). After all he is your brother, brothers should not fight so. The man furiously turned on him and said “Kishan bhagwan ne Arjun se kya kaha thha? Haath mut kaanpne do, bhaichaara mut dekho. Bhai hua to kya hua, Isney chori ki hai apney hi dukaan me, sirf sabak sikha raha hu.” ( Lord Krishna in Mahabharat on the battlefield counseled the brave warrior Arjuna whose hand shook on his bow. Your duty now is to shoot arrows not look whether the man on the other side is your brother. Here there are only enemies. There is a right and a wrong.He has stolen money in our own shop. Wrong doers must be punished)
Walking still further a woman was hitting a man who was obviously drunk. She screamed at him for having cast aspersions on her character. “Main koi Sita nahi, ki koi dhobhi ke ilzaam pe chali jaoongi aur chup rahungi. Saaley fod dalungi. Khud daru pita hai aur mujhipar ilzaam lagata hai?” ( I am not like Sita to quietly accept an allegation and be leave my own house. Creep, I shall retaliate. You drunkard, you have the gall to call me names). Very naturally a crowd had gathered. All of them were enjoying the free entertainment being provided. Not one even ventured to sort it out.
In an earlier instance, had been the mute witness to an irate manager complaining about the owner of the company siding with his son in a dispute. “Andhaa Raaj hai” ( The ruler is Blind) . This was an all too popular comment on the blind King Dhritarashtra from the Mahabharata. In the same office the tea boy who had a darker complexion was summoned jocularly “ Arrey o kaaliya, chai to pila”( Hey blackie, will u serve us some tea?). He coolly asked back " Kitney aadmi hai?"
Epical comparisons spices up mundane situations & creates a sense of grandeur and fun in the repartee. It inflates our sense of self and the extra spice takes the conversation to a different level. Notice though, that the more unimportant the issue, the more flamboyant would be the quote. The Greeks have their Iliad and the Odyssey, and the conversations are liberally speckled with Homerisms . We too have our own works and their influence has percolated deep into our everyday conversations. We use them quite unconsciously, its just an observation.
Our very own Indian epics,The Ramayana,The Mahabharata and Sholay ;-)