Education and Lakdi Ki Kathi

I completely forgot about this mild horror story from last year. I met a kid in a lift who did not know Lakdi Ki Kathi. Don’t ask me how I found out. But the kid had never heard of the song. Not even heard the tune. He didn’t know what the term meant. And this was in Delhi. (Go on you Delhi bashers, tell me how small towns/ Bombay type cities are better!). Such travesty!

Back in my day, it was part of compulsory training, especially getting the Tak Bak Tak Bak Chak Bak Bak part right. If kids can’t even sign the first verse of Lakdi Ki Kathi, I shudder to think what kind of an education they’re getting. I wish I could gather desi kids and get them to learn this song by rote, and make them run around in circles singing it.

I should have done my dissertation on this topic.

18 Comments

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18 Responses to Education and Lakdi Ki Kathi

  1. I’ve never seen the video before untill I was in Xth. But the song was something we learnt in kindergarten! I thot it was like the other nursery rhymes we learnt. Only later I knew it was a film.

    ‘mannu bhai motor chali pom pom pom’, was another of such songs we were taught.

    I guess the ignorance is due to the posh international schools where hindi or any other regional lang is sacrilege.

  2. With a sleeping nephew by my side, I ended up watching the whole song on mute. It looks surprisingly natural and not stilted at all! It helps that they aren’t wearing coordinated horrors like Yaadon ki baraat.

    The quick camera pans following each kid skipping in the garden is really lovely – hadn’t noticed that before. Also the mooli! Hadn’t noticed that either until this muted-viewing session.

    If kids today don’t know Lakdi ki kaathi, what hope is there for Nanha munna raahi hoon?

  3. Oh! Even I knew the song sitting in Madras!

    These days nothing’s quite like it used to be. *at the risk of sounding very ancient* :\

  4. Hehhhh

    What’s the difference between the ghoda and the gadhi-who-shall-not-be-named-but-is-nearing-panic-stations ?

    One goes chak bak chak bak, and is daud-ing.

    Other is bak bak, bak bak and making no progress.

    (Thank me, I was gonna put this on Flickr and then saw that you decided to post this here).

  5. hmm that certainly is disturbing. This younger generation…

  6. Iya

    Hey Neha, my first on your blog.. These days its more”in” for children to not know the desi stuff. In school as well as at home more of the focus is on teaching this child Do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti rather than the good ol’ Sa Re Ga Ma…Alas..

  7. This was my growing-up song. My first alphabet, my first song. First song that I loved with all my heart and soul. Song that stuck. Stuck so bad that I and my bast frand actually danced to it in front of some 50 neighbours at a Diwali celebration in Delhi (in our defense, we were only 6 and 5 years old respectively).

    I’m glad I was born THEN…in the glorious early 80’s, horrendous fashion sensibilities notwithstanding. Pity that kid who doesn’t know what she/he’s missing!

  8. Neha

    I think it was 2005 when a Tam-Bram friend of mine – he of the great singing voice which we are all hoping their son will get – said: there is a fashion of singing Hindi lyrics in angrezi accent nowadays. He sounded so antique :-) But then in their car, he played some of the songs he said illustrated the trend. He didn’t play it but whenever I hear Fanaa (amazingly AR Rahman’s diction is very clear and good, the female backing vocals are all angreznis! Even Alisha Chinai has improved her Hindi diction.) I think of that remark.

    This song ‘Lakdi ki kathi’ benefited from Gulzar’s earthy lyrics and Urmila M/ Jugal H’s etc non-film-world-influenced innocence and non-precociousness. Nowadays kids in Inja are very affected and brand conscious. No wonder songs like these do not work for them; Beedi on the other hand is something else ;-)

  9. Well, kids today do have ‘Jame Raho’ and ‘Bum Bum Bole’!

  10. mumbaigirl

    Excuse me, I learned the song in Bombay! But I hadn’t seen the video. We didn’t have a television!

  11. that song was always my favourite, and is now so much a part of the daily rhythms of our house…here’s how:
    when a friend gifted athri (now 21 months) his first ikea-rocking-moose, i naturally began to hum and sing lakdi-ki-kathi to the tune of him rocking. and even today – at least three weeks after the moose came home – he simply refuses to sit on it until both praveen and i start singing this song!
    am so proud of my bollywood bachcha ;-)

  12. maxdavinci: Well, they do have their own songs I guess. And maybe it’s a generation gap – but at least we knew how to sing Eechak Dana! :)

    varali: That was such a soothing image. Someone watching the video on mute because a kid is sleeping. I read your comment last night, and found it almost calming.

    rads: I think we’ve earned our right to get all misty eyed about times gone by. What is the point of being older if we can’t crib about a thing or two no?

    Hehhhh: Seruppu Adi.

    Thendral: I think I am at a suitable age for doing the whole “these younger folks” thing. God knows I’ve been doing it ever since I turned five.

    Iya: Do-Re-Mi instead of Sa-Re-Ga?? Not that one is better or worse than the other. But one can’t help but wonder about the need to go all English.

    shimmeringmercury: I wish the internet was around then. Some wise person would have shot that on video and posted it online on youtube. :) Wouldn’t that be a treat!!

    Shefaly: I detect an obsession with ‘Beedi’ here! Yeah, the corruption of the accent bothers me. I’ve seen that in Bollywood films. Increasingly, their inability to pronounce words properly puts me off. I think the other attractive thing about this song is that real kids seem to have sung it, as opposed to adult female singers singing for children.

    Meira: Absolutely agree. But they don’t compare with Lakdi Ki Kathi I think. That song had that sort of spinning imagination that doesn’t stop anywhere. Without quite babyfying the song itself.

    mumbaigirl: No, no. I meant that things may be different in Bombay.. but that’s how they are becoming in Delhi!

    radhika: Awesome! When do we get to see a video of this? Ever replaced that camera.. (I remember the tale of the camera being stolen so vividly. Was it stolen or broken?)

  13. NOT.

    Thank GOODNESS for the Eighties!

  14. @ Neha:

    Agree on all points you mention.

    “I detect an obsession with ‘Beedi’ here!”

    Haha! I was wondering when you will notice ;-)

    Two reasons. One – I only managed to see the film in December 2007, on DVD, house-bound in Boston. It is funny in how it is filmed. Vivek Oberoi looks properly drunk. And someone then described Sunidhi Chauhan as ‘LMC behenji from DU’ which forced me to listen more closely to her superb Hindi diction. Then I bought the song on-line.

    Two – Gulzar – yet again – does write a visceral piece of poetry. To some, the song is a raunchy number. To others, who have lived a bit in UP, it is a lot more; a sad portrayal of the life of the poor, often indebted and bonded farmer and fieldworker in the villages.

  15. Hope the kid wasn’t me. :-( Have never heard of this song either….

  16. This shocks me! But I had this even worse experience some time ago, when I was talking to people some three years younger than me, and I made some reference to DDLJ and NRIs, and they stared at me blankly.

  17. @ aandthirtyeights:

    I understand this kind of people… I rarely watch any Hindi films and a few years ago, was the only person in a dinner party who had to ask who Katrina Kaif was.

    It _is_ possible not to know pop culture references, especially if they are coming at you from all directions and growing like topsy..

  18. chinchu

    Gosh this brings back so many memories, sweet ones. Juggal hansraj and urmila matondkar look so angelic. I remember watching this on DD and catching it on binaca geetmala. I don’t see it appealing to the younger lot, they have no fond memories to attach to it.
    “Go on you Delhi bashers, tell me how small towns/ Bombay type cities are better!”
    there is , will be , only one bombay city, no types/clones. its the one and only real thing baby!
    grew up in bombay, in case you did’nt guess ;)