Language is a puzzle whose pieces take years to put together. It’s a monumental feat to learn a new one, and it requires many paradigm shifts along the way, from giving up the attachment to subject-before-verb sentences to learning to source sounds from parts of the throat you didn’t know existed.
Language is as much a part of culture as clothing and rituals, and even if you can’t find the time to learn a whole new tongue, knowing a few phrases can really help to discover different facets of a foreign society.
Here are just a few vocabulary words that are meaningful to Anchal. Understanding them gives some insight into our philosophy and traditions.
Anchal – edge of a sari used to provide comfort and protection for loved ones.
Anoothi – an adjective meaning unique, extraordinary and exclusive. Anoothi is also the name of Anchal’s partner based in Ajmer. Their objective is to generate funds to benefit the
thousands of rural women living in poverty simply because they do not have a support system to empower them and help them realize their true potential. Check out http://www.anoothi.org
Choli – a midriff-baring blouse shell garment in the Indian sari costume
Kāli – “The black one.” Kāli is the name of the Hindu goddess associated with empowerment. She is also considered the goddess of time and change. Anchal’s partner New Light is headquartered in the same neighborhood as one of the most sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites, the Kali Temple (as well as Mother Teresa’s Home for the Destitute and Dying). www.newlightindia.org
Kantha – a type of embroidery popular in Bangladesh and in West Bengal, India.
Naari – woman
Namaste – derived from Sanskrit and is a combination of two words, “Namaḥ” and “te” (a
shortened variant of “tubhyam”). Namaḥ means ‘bow’, ‘obeisance’, ‘reverential salutation’ or ‘adoration’ and te means ‘to you’ (dative case of ‘you’). Therefore, Namaste literally means “bow to you” translated as “I bow to you.”
Sari – a strip of unstitched cloth, worn by females, ranging from four to nine yards in length that is draped over the body in various styles
(Explanations of vocabulary via Wikipedia and Anchalproject.org)