y:Üen:v:es:ýXiz: Aaôf em:eS:g:n: OðNR ev:ej:üen:y:a
'Eating a beating':  m:ar K:a and other  K:a-expressions

       Like a sprouting pumpkin vine the verb  K:a has extended its meaning in different directions and put out runners of colorful idioms:  m:ar K:a 'get beaten up' (lit: 'eat a beating'),  X  kñ kan: K:a 'nag X' (lit: 'eat X's ears'),  Y  ki hv:a K:a 'be influenced by Y by living there' (lit:'eat Y's air'), and others:

1.  haðri eb:g:_a.  #aðD: Ab: ress:y:aú t:Ø_a rha T:a -- t:Ü Aaj: m:ar K:an:ð p:r l:g:i hØI hò.
     'That did it for Hori. His anger now was out of control: 'You are asking for a beating today.'

     (from Chapter Four of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)

2.  Es:kað l:ðkr m:ðrð kan: Vy:aðø K:a rhð hað ?
     'Why are you pestering me over this?'

3.  l:K:n:U ki hv:a K:a kñ t:Ü b:_a c:øX hað g:y:a hò g:aðb:r.
     'Gobar, your days in Lucknow have made you into a very clever guy.'

     (from Chapter Twenty of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)

Putting these idioms into groups will make them easier to understand and to recall.

      I. In the first group come expressions in which something other than food is consumed, usually money, and the  K:an:ðv:al:a benefits:  p:òs:ð K:a 'embezzle money';  erSv:t: K:a or  G:Üs: K:a 'take a bribe';  m:al: K:a 'embezzle goods':

4.  erSv:t: K:a - K:akr v:h m:aðXa hað g:y:a.
     'He got fat off the bribes.'

      II. In the second group are expressions in which assistance is received by the  K:an:ðv:al:a who in turn becomes indebted to the source of help: X  ka n:m:k K:a 'benefit from X's help; be a client or protégé of X' (lit: 'eat X's salt'), X  ki raðXi K:a 'make a living from (doing) X',  qz:ü K:a 'take a loan':

5.  ej:s:ka n:m:k K:ay:a us:kð s:aT: j:an: dðn:a hm: l:aðg:aðø ka D:m:ü hò.
     'It is our duty to die with the one to whom we owe our livelihood and support.'

     (from  b:y:an: Fifteen of Part Three of  K:*:i's  c:ndÒkant:a.)

6.  n:hiø dðn:a hò hm:ðø B:Üs:a eks:i kað.  y:haú B:aðl:i - B:al:i eks:i ka krz: n:hiø K:ay:a hò.
     'We're not giving straw to anybody! Nobody here is in debt to any Bholi-Schmoli!'

     (from Chapter Three of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)

       III. The third group, a much larger and more productive one, contains expressions like  t:m:ac:a K:a 'get slapped',  RaúX K:a 'get a scolding',  J:Xka K:a 'get a jolt',  B:Ül: K:a 'make a mistake; err',  p:Ca_ K:a 'get a shove backward; have a setback', or  ks:r K:a 'take or swallow a loss' in which the  K:an:ðv:al:a is forced to "consume" some act of violence or undergo a painful experience. He or she is always the worse for it. In such expressions the verb  K:a  is close in meaning to 'suffer':

7.  ec:e_y:a c:aðX K:akr B:i kÙC dÜr u_i,  ePr b:ic: D:ar m:ðø eg:r p:_i Aaòr l:hraðø kñ s:aT: b:hn:ð l:g:i.
     'Even though the bird was hit, it flew for some distance, then fell in midstream and began to be carried along with the waves.'

     (from Chapter Seven of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)

8.  m:òøn:ð ep:t:aj:i s:ð RaúX K:aI.
     'I was scolded by my father.'

     (from  hrdðv: b:ahri's  eS:x:aT:iü ehndi-Aúg:Òðz:i S:bdkaðS:.  See reference.)

9.  Aøt: m:ðø c:aòD:ri n:ð us:ð z:aðr s:ð p:iCð Zkñl: edy:a.  p:Ønn:i D:Vka K:akr eg:r p:_i.
     'Finally Chaudhry pushed her hard. Punni staggered backwards and fell.'

     (from Chapter Four of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)

To be included here is the expression  j:Üt:ð K:a, literally 'eat shoes', which denotes a particularly humiliating form of physical abuse:

10.  b:at: b:` g:y:i Aaòr g:aòri m:ht:að n:ð p:n:ehy:aú ut:arkr m:T:Øra kað Q:Üb: p:iXa. . . .  b:ðc:ara p:c:as:aðø j:Üt:ð K:akr B:i kÙC n: b:aðl:a.
      'Things got more serious and Gauri Mahto, taking off his shoes, used them to beat Mathura. ... Taking dozens of blows the poor man still said not a word.'

      (from Chapter Twenty-four of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)

Another  K:a-expression which draws on local conceptions is  Yaðkr K:a, 'suffer a setback' (lit: 'eat a stumble'):

11.  Yaðkr K:akr hi t:að hm: s:av:D:an:i kñ s:aT: p:g: uYat:ð hòø.
      'Only when we suffer defeat do we (learn to) tread carefully.'

      (from Chapter Four of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)

Members of this group may be created by using  K:a with just about any noun that denotes an act or instrument of physical, verbal, or psychological abuse:  D:aðK:a or  c:km:a or  d^:a K:a 'be scammed, taken in',  g:al:i K:a 'be sworn at',  G:Ø_ki K:a 'be browbeaten, bullied',  c:aúXa or  T:pp:_ K:a 'get a slap', haT: K:a 'get hit', G:Üús:a K:a 'get punched',  l:at: K:a 'receive a kick',  dØl:e¶:y:aú K:a 'be struck by a horse's tail',  l:aYi K:a 'be hit with a stick',  kað_a K:a 'be whipped',  J:a_Þ K:a 'get hit with a broom',  v:ar K:a 'take a blow or cut',  g:aðl:i K:a 'get shot' (lit: 'eat a bullet'). Bladed weapons, however, are not included: ( * CØra K:a,  * K:øj:r K:a 'be stabbed', etc. )
      Note from  kÙs:Øm: j:òn::  Belonging to the third group is the expression X  ki hay: K:a 'receive the curses of X' which is used as a roundabout way of saying 'torment X':

12.  un:ki hay: m:t: K:aAað !
      'Do not torment them!' (lit: 'Do not eat their cry of blame!')

      IV. The fourth group (possibly a subgroup of the third?) is comprised of expressions like X  ka T:p:ð_a K:a 'bear the brunt of X',  b:l: K:a 'get a twist or kink',  Q:m: K:a 'bend; bow',  c:Vkr K:a 'spin; wind; bend',  t:av: K:a 'oscillate, shimmy' (kite-flying term),  J:aðøka K:a 'catch a gust' (said of sails and flags),  D:Üp: K:a 'be warmed by the sun, bask',  g:rm:i K:a 'suffer from the heat',  YNR K:a 'be affected by the cold',  l:Ü K:a 'be affected by the "lu" (a hot wind)',  p:al:a K:a 'be damaged by frost',  ^:aðt:a K:a 'dip; founder; sink',  rg:_ K:a 'be rubbed; scrape against',  X  s:ð XVkr K:a 'collide with X; ricochet off X',  s:il: K:a 'become damp or musty',  D:Ül: K:a 'gather dust',  dim:k K:a 'be damaged by ants',  G:Øn: K:a 'be damaged by flour bugs',  PPÜúd K:a 'get moldy',  z:øg: K:a 'rust' denoting reactions or responses to natural forces:

13.  haðri n:ð Aan:nd kñ s:ag:r m:ðø RÙb:eky:aú K:at:ð hØO kha -- s:b: Aap: ka As:irb:ad hò,  dada !
      'Gently bobbing in a sea of bliss, Hori said, "It is all thanks to your blessings, Dada!"'

      (from Chapter Four of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)
14.  b:aús: kñ rg:_ K:an:ð s:ð dav:an:l: sv:y:m:Î l:g: s:kt:a hò.
      'A wildfire can start spontaneously from bamboo trees rubbing against one another.'

15.  ekt:ab:ðø dim:k K:a g:I T:iø.
      'The books had been damaged by white ants.'

      A rather abstract member of this set is X  s:ð m:ðl: K:a 'to match X':
16.  Es: qm:iz: kñ s:aT: y:h c:ØÀi m:ðl: n:hiðø K:at:i.
      'This cunni does not go with this qamîz.'

      V. In the fifth group are expressions like  kan: K:a,  j:an: K:a,  m:^:z: K:a (lit. 'eat brain') and  es:r K:a in which the possessor of the direct object (the owner of the thing "eaten") is being nagged, pestered, or harassed:

17.  m:ØJ:s:ð us: dav:t: kñ s:arð ,p:O v:s:Ül: kr el:y:ð Aaòr haðXl:v:al:aðø kað Ok p:aI n: di,  v:h m:ðra es:r K:a rhð hòø.  m:òø Es:ð ev:Sv:as: G:at: s:m:J:t:a hÜú.
      'You collected all the money for that banquet from me and didn't turn over one cent to the restaurant owners, who are now hounding me. I consider this a breach of trust.'

      (from Chapter Thirty-one of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)

      VI. The sixth group of  K:a-expressions is less easy to relate to the sense of 'eat' and may reflect loan translations from Farsi. (That might explain the frequent infelicity of  K:a-expressions formed by replacing Perso-Arabic elements with their  t:ts:m: counterparts. See the starred items that follow.) These  K:a-expressions cluster around the notions of either 'performing' a verbal act ( X  ki qs:m: K:a 'swear by X',  X  ki c:Ø^:l:i K:a 'tell on X') or 'exhibiting' a behavior ( B:av: K:a 'put on airs', X  ka el:haz: K:a 'defer to X; show respect for X',  S:rm: K:a 'behave modestly' [but * l:jj:a K:a], X  p:r t:rs: K:a 'have pity on X' [but * dy:a K:a] ) or an emotion ( ^:Øss:a K:a 'be angry';  dhS:t:,  B:y: or  Rr K:a 'become afraid' ):
18.  t:Ü qs:m: K:a j:a ek t:Ün:ð hira kað g:ay: ki n:aúd kñ p:as: K:_ð n:hiø dðK:a ?
       haú,  m:òøn:ð n:hiø dðK:a,  qs:m: K:at:a hÜú.
       b:ðXð kñ m:aT:ð p:r haT: rK:kð qs:m: K:a !
       m:òø b:ðXð ki qs:m: K:at:a hÜú ek m:òøn:ð hira kað n:aúd kñ p:as: n:hiø dðK:a.
      '"Do you swear that you did not see Hirâ standing near the cow's trough?"
      "That's right. I didn't see him. I swear it."
      "Put your hand on your son's head and swear!"
      "I swear by my son that I did not see Hîrâ near the trough."'

      (from Chapter Nine of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)

19.  EVkð v:al:ð . . .  kB:i rah c:l:t:ð p:òdl:aðø ki AaúK:aðø kð n: haðn:ð p:r t:rs: K:at:ð hòø . . .
      'The ekkâ-drivers . . . sometimes commiserate with pedestrians over their inability to see . . . '

      [from Part One of  us:n:ð kha T:a. Used (ironically) in context.]

      VII. There is a seventh "group" of  K:a-expressions (so far only two members have been identified) in which the noun component denotes an emotion or action that is hidden or suppressed by the  K:an:ðv:al:a:
20.  n:ari ka D:rm: hò ek ^:m: K:ay:.
      'It is the duty of a woman to suffer in silence.'

      (from Chapter Four of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)

21.  v:h b:at: K:a g:y:a.
      'He kept silent.'

      With  eK:l:a (lit: 'make eat; feed') it is possible to form ditransitives from  qs:m: K:a and  hv:a K:a as well as from many of the  K:a-expressions in groups I, III, and IV:

22.  m:òø un:kñ haT: m:ðø g:øg:aj:l: rK:kr Adal:t: m:ðø qs:m: eK:l:aUûg:a.
      'I'll put Ganges water in his hand and make him take an oath in court.'

      (from Chapter Twenty-one of  g:aðdan:.  See context.)

23.  m:asXraðø !  Aap: Ag:r Ca*:aðø kað b:ðøt: eK:l:an:ð s:ð b:az: n:hiø AaOûg:ð t:að Aap:kað j:ðl: ki hv:a eK:l:aI j:aOg:i.
      'Teachers! You'll have to quit caning students or you'll be sent to jail.'

      This collection of idiomatic senses of  K:a may be seen as forming a "radial category". That means that some  K:a-expressions are no longer related by one common feature of meaning to all of the others even though, historically, they are probably all connected. See Lakoff 1987, pp. 91-114. This matter is complicated by the influence on Hindi-Urdu in the past of parallel expressions in Farsi and Altaic languages (viz, Chagatay). Further reading on this question is available here.

      Further observations (from  kÙs:Øm: j:òn: ):  a. Some  K:a-expressions when used in the singular refer to objective events that occur in the physical world but when put in the plural take on metaphorical meanings.  For instance, X  ka T:p:ð_a K:a and X  s:ð XVkr K:a mean 'bear the brunt of X' and 'collide with' or 'bump against X' whereas  T:p:ð_ð K:a and  XVkrðø K:a mean 'suffer setbacks and defeats':

24.  div:ar s:ð XVkr K:akr g:ðød m:ðri T:al:i m:ðø Aa eg:ri.
       'The ball bounced off the wall and landed in my plate.'

25.  ez:ndg:i m:ðø b:hØt: XVkrðø K:aI hòø us:n:ð.
       'He's had his share of tough breaks.'

       b. There is a set of  K:a-expressions whose subjects are intangible or abstract entities:

26.  b:ðXi ki S:adi ki ec:nt:a K:aO j:a rhi hò.
       'We are worried about (arranging) our daughter's marriage.'

       c.  K:a j:a can be used with a location X as subject to mean 'disappear into X' or 'go missing in X':
27.  m:ðri Oðn:k y:hiø rK:i T:i.  khaú g:I ?  Vy:a m:ðz: K:a g:I us:ð ?
       'I left my glasses right here.  Where did they go?  I can't find them anywhere on the table.'

None of these expressions allows replacement of  K:a with  eK:l:a.

To exercise on  m:ar K:a and other  K:a-expressions.
To index of grammatical notes.

To index of  m:lhar.

Drafted (with input from  kÙs:Øm: j:òn: ) 1 April 2001. Posted 2 April 2001. Checked by  t:hs:in: es:¸iqi  2 April 2001. Linked to  g:aðdan:  9 Apr 2001. Checked by  kÙs:Øm: j:òn: and augmented 10-11 Apr 2001. Augmented again on 26, 27 & 30 Apr 2001. Further notes from  kÙs:Øm: j:òn: drafted 4 June, posted 5 June and corrected 7 June 2001. Further additions 10 June, 21 June, and 15 July 2001. Additional links 8 Mar 2002. IE enabled 3 July 2004. Further additions  (with thanks to  Aan:nd e¾v:ðdi,  m:ðhr fa-qi,  and Griff Chaussee) 4, 10 & 24 Nov 2004.