Notes for Anita Desai's Baumgartner's Bombay

by Paul Brians

Page no.

German

English

2

mein Gott

my God!

     
 

was ist dann, wie kannst du

what is it, how can you?

     

3

Meine kleine Maus, Mein Häschen, Liebchen

My little mouse, my little rabbit, lovey.

 

Meine kleine Maus, mein Hugo, Geliebter

My little mouse, my Hugo, beloved

     

4

Mutti

Mommy

     

5

Blutwurst, Leberwurst, Bratwurst--was willst du?

Blood sausage, liver sausage, bratwurst--what would you like? All pork sausages unavailable in Bombay.

     

6

Coelho, Da Silva

Portuguese names, the Portuguese settled early in Bombay; the others are typically Indian names.

 

du Dummkopf

stupid!

     

7

baksheesh

alms

     

9

sahib

Sir formal term of respectful address for a foreign man

     

10

masala

spices which cats would not like

     

11

his god Zoroaster

Farrokh, like many of his neighbors, is a a Parsi, a follower of the ancient Persian religion taught by the prophet (not god) Zarathustra, whose name is usually rendered "Zoroaster" in English

     

13

sacred thread

worn only by Brahmin men, the highest caste

     
 

say they love Buddha

Although Buddhism began in India, it almost entirely vanished from there centuries ago, with only remnants being absorbed into Hinduism.

     
 

ashram

center for meditation and worship

     

18

piscine

fish-like

     
 

juice-wallah

"Wallah" often means "vendor," as here

     

19

burnoose, chador

typical male and female costumes of Muslims

     

23

Zigaren, Zigaretten

cigars, cigarettes

     

25

Hopp, hopp, hopp,

Hop, Hop, Hop,

 

Pferdchen lauf galopp

Little horse run galopping

 

Über Stock und über Steine,

Over sticks and over stones,

 

Aber brich dir nicht die Beine!

But don't break your bones!

 

Hopp, hopp, hopp,

Hop, Hop, Hop,

 

Pferdchen lauf galopp.

Little horse run galopping.

     

26

chaises-longues

couches

     

28

Kommt ein Vogel geflogen,

A bird came flying,

 

Setzt sich neider mein Fuss,

and landed by my foot,

 

hat ein Brieflein im Schnable,

he had a note in his beak,

 

von der Mutter ein Gruss.

a greeting from my mother.

 

du kleiner Affe

you little ape

 

so ungehorsam

 

29

Lieber Vogel, flieg weiter,

Little bird, fly away

 

Nimm ein Gruss mit, einer Kuss,

Take a greeting, a kiss, with you

 

Denn ich kann dich nicht begleiten

Because I cannot go with you,

 

Weil ich hierbleiuben muss

For I must remain here.

 

Gib mir dein kleines Pfötchen

Give me your little paw.

     

30

loden

A traditional type of very heavy coat made of boiled wool

     

31

Welt am Abend

The Evening World

     

32

O du lieber Augustin

Oh, beloved Augustine,

 

alles ist hin!

Everything is gone!

 

Geld ist weg,

Money is gone,

 

Beutel ist weg,

Purse is gone,

 

Augustin liegt auch im Dreck,

Even Augustine is lying in the filth,

 

O du lieber Augustin,

Oh, beloved Augustine,

 

alles ist hin!

Everything is gone!

     

35

Hoppe, hoppe, Reiter,

Hop, hop, rider,

 

wenn er fällt, dann schreit er gleich.

If he falls, he will quickly cry.

 

Fällt er in die Hecken,

If he falls in the hedges,

 

fressen ihn die Schnecken,

The snails will eat him;

 

fällt er in den Klee,

If he falls in the clover,

 

schreit her glich: O weh . . .

He will also cry, Oh, woe!

 

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree,

 

Wie grün sind deine Blätter!

How green are your needles! Original words to the popular carol.

     

36

Klein

the name means "small"

     

37

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf!

Sleep, little child, sleep!

 

Da draussen gehn zwei Schaf!

Outside two sheep are going by!

 

Ein Schwarzes und ein weisses,

A black one and a white one,

 

und wenn das Kind nich schlafen will

And if the child won't go to sleep,

 

dann kommt das Schwarz und beisst es.

the black one will come and bite him.

 

Schlaf, Kindlein, Schlaf!

Sleep, little child, sleep!

     
 

language Hugo had never heard before

Hebrew

     

38

Hänschen klein, geht allein,

Little Hans, go all alone,

 

in die weite Welt hinein,

out into the wide world,

 

Stock und Hut stehn im gut,

his stick and hat will suit him well,

 

ist ganz wohlgemut.

He is quite cheerful.

 

Doch die Mutter weinet sehr,

But his mother weeps bitterly,

 

hat ja nun kein Hänschen mehr . . .

because she no longer has her little rabbit . . .

     
 

Es tanzt ein Bi-ba-butzemann

A bogeyman dances

 

in unserem Haus herum, didum,

around in our House,

39

es tanzt ein Bi-ba-butzemann

A bogeyman dances

 

in unserem Haus herum, didum,

around in our House,

 

Er rüttelt sich, er schüttelt sich

He rattles and shakes himself,

 

er wift sein Säckchen hinter sich,

he draws his little sack behind him,

 

Es tanzt ein Bi-ba-butzemann

A bogeyman dances

 

in unserem Haus herum.

around in our House.

     

40

Berliner Zeitung

Berlin Times (newspaper)

41

Shabbos

Sabbath

42

Eija, Popeija,

Hey, Popeja!

 

Notes by Paul Brians, Department of English, Washington State University, Pullman 99164-5020.Corrected by Mario Menti.

Modern South Asian Literature in English
For more about Anita Desai and other South Asian writers, see Paul Brians' Modern South Asian Literature in English .

Version of March 31, 1999.

This page has been accessed times since March 29, 1997.