“Witches will find housing but mother’s of small children will not” And Other Nepali Idioms

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My Nepali teacher Leena and her daughter Donna, thank you Palak Dudani for taking this photo!

बोकसीले बास पाउछ तर नानीको अमा पाउदैन।

Boksile bas pouncha tara nani ko aama poundaina

Witches will find housing but mothers with young children will not.

 In my Nepali class this Nepali idiom came up that means, “Witches will find housing but mothers with young children will not.” My Nepali teacher, Leena, laughed as she explained that a witch is preferable to a woman with a young child because the baby will constantly disturb the mother while the witch, while scary, will be a better a houseguest. Leena explained that in olden days people would walk very far distances and it was common practice to knock on strangers’ doors until one agreed to give the traveler shelter for the night.

I started asking around for other Nepali idioms, here are some of my favorites.

खाने मुखलाइ जुंगाले छेक दैन।

Khane mukhlai jungale chaik daina.

No matter how large the moustache it never stops the mouth from eating.

This idiom’s English equivalent would be where there’s a will there’s a way. It seems more applicable to a place like Rajasthan where men have huge moustaches but still funny regardless.

बोली गोली छुटे पछी फर्कदैन

Booli ra goli chhute pachi farkadaina.

Once released, speech and bullets never come back.

This seems like a good lesson in kindness and counters the “sticks and stones can hurt my bones but words can never hurt me” by acquainting the dangers of words and weapons.

नाचनु जानदैन अंगन टेरो।

Nachnu jandaina tara angaan tero.

You do not know how to dance but you blame for the courtyard for being uneven. 

I can’t think of an equivalent English idiom for this one but I appreciate the sentiment!

Yasin is excited to explore, live and work in West Bengal. Her goals are to gain a practical understanding of how to overcome structural inequality and provide sustainable public health services. Prior to AIF and after completing her MPH, she participated in an Urdu fellowship in Lucknow, India. She is excited to combine her Urdu/Hindi with Public Health.

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