People of Ryde presents Kedarnath (Kedar) Pagaddinnimath
Published on 10 June 2020
G’day Mate! Welcome to Aussieland
I remember landing at Kingsford Smith Airport in the mid-80s. Raj, my best friend, picked me up and drove me straight to the city for some shopping. Sitting in his new Mercedes, I felt like royalty and had an immediate sense of belonging to this beautiful country. On our way into the city, Raj gave me a few shopping tips about what to say if approached by any sales staff.
We landed up at the then Grace Bros. store (now Myer) and the first thing I noticed was how huge it was and how beautifully and systematically the merchandise was displayed. After browsing awhile, I was approached by a sales attendant who asked me if I needed any help to which I replied with much consternation that I was right thank you, just as Raj had insisted in the car. I really couldn’t see why I had to say ‘right’, when nothing was wrong in the first place.
Managing a dry-cleaning shop in my early days and dealing with customers every day across the counter gave me great insight into the unique Australian lingo. Being new to the country, at first it was very difficult to understand some of the customers.
“G’day mate, how long you been in Straaaya?”
But before I could ask them to speak clearly, the customer would already have moved on—Oh never mind.
“I need these clothes in a jiffy, this arvo ok? See ya.”
I stared at Terry my co-worker, who would then patiently explain all.
I also remember the time a lady dropped her clothes off and happened to address me as ‘spunk’. I was insulted, so I went and asked Terry what she meant. He explained and suggested she might be making a pass at me. I was flattered and the next day when she came to pick up her clothes, I was all smiles and gave her some special discount coupons. Strangely enough, I never saw her again.
A few years later I had my first country NSW experience when I visited a farm belonging to my friend’s dad at Danglemah near Tamworth. Reaching the farm, Michael told me that it was not a farm, but was referred to as a property, which stretched thousands of acres as far as my eye could see. There were hundreds of sheep and cattle grazing against the backdrop of lush green hills, which looked like a picture-perfect postcard.
The next day, we went to a country pub and I saw guys in jeans, striped shirts, boots and Akubra hats. It looked like a scene from the Wild West, except with no gun holsters. After settling in comfortably with some Aussie beer which Michael bought for us, I heard someone say, “Mate whose shout is it now?” I was a puzzled as to why one has to start shouting for drinks, until Michael explained.
He also introduced me to person sitting next to us as Warren. Michael said Warren was a shearer and a top bloke. I asked, “What’s a top block?” Michael straight away corrected me and said "Bloke not block! A good man.” Warren told me he was Aboriginal and that his ancestors were the First People of Australia and that he belonged to the Kamilaroi tribe. His accent and his colourful language fascinated me. As it was raining outside Warren had said that it looks like weather for the ducks. I just couldn’t see ducks anywhere. When I asked him about his work, he said he was flat out like a lizard. I quickly jumped up to see if there were any lizards under the table. It was time to leave the next day and I took with me many wonderful memories.
Gee whiz—nearly 32 years have gone by and now I am an expert on Australian lingo. Fair dinkum what a rich experience it’s been, Aussie Aussie Aussie !!! Oi Oi Oi !!!
Written by Kedarnath (Kedar) Pagaddinnimath