Monday, April 03, 2017

Boketto and Bohni

The Japanese (Arigato gozaimas, citizens of the Land of the Rising Sun - that's thank you in Japanese, never let anyone say I am not grateful) have contributed yet another word to my vocabulary. 

This one is called Boketto, and it stands for the act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking.

You might think that the English language already has a word for it, and that the said word is called daydreaming, but Boketto is not the same as daydreaming.

Daydreaming implies that you are building castles in the sky. Conjuring up images, in your imagination, that do not exist, that do not even have a reason to exist. But the truth is that building castles in the sky is hard work, and should be acknowledged as such. I have been an avid daydreamer all my life and resent it when people dismiss daydreamers as if they were wastrels, and all their effort merely hot air.

But Boketto is something else altogether, and in my time, I have indulged in it too.

Boketto is just staring, without thinking. Total absence of thought. It does require effort, of course, because it implies that the mind has been emptied for a purpose. Because only when the mind is completely emptied, can we fill it with something else, right?

Hope you don't look down on the act of Boketto.



Bohni (pronounced bony) has nothing to do with the skeletal system or our bones.

It is the Hindi and Marathi (two languages from India) word for the first sale of the day. This first sale has a lot of auspicious connotations tagged on to it, and shopkeepers and small town business owners are known to be infused with fresh vigour once the Bohni is completed.

The first sale, no matter how small, helps the business defy the tyranny of the empty till, and that is why almost all of them are more than eager to incur a minor loss just for ensuring a bohni.

If English were to borrow this word, we could stretch it figuratively to mean that first critical gain, which puts you squarely back in the game, makes you a solid contender. 

The first time I saw my name in print as a byline for a 400-word piece I had written, I knew what bohni meant. 

As far as I was concerned, I had opened my account. 

I had arrived.



So you see, it's nice to Boketto and even nicer to land a bohni, but if you mean business, you had better keep them both separate. Anybody caught going Boketto at the time of striking a bohni will do so at his/her own risk.

Do you remember any significant bohni in your life?





22 comments:

  1. Such a fun theme! And I love the idea of bohni. I remember by first paid gig as a storyteller. It would be hard to forget :)

    Weird Things in Folktales - Magic dog vomits any liquor required of him

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    1. I'm so glad you liked my theme. I'm an avid collector of words, so this is something I've wanted to do for a long time. A to Z gave me the opportunity.

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  2. Wow! I love wordplay and learning the Japanese word for daydreaming is just stupendous for me- I shall try to incorporate this in my writing somewhere.
    Bohni- is a very known word and I will admit, I have often taken advantage of it to strike a bargain on my travels ;-)

    Cheers
    B is for BodyArt #atozchallenge

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    1. Shalz, so glad you like Boketto. May the tribe of its admirers increase.
      As for Bohni, good to know it has proved its worth to you.

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  3. Boketto and bohni two words amazing selection. Bohni word also used in Tamil language.First bohni is always touchy to shopkeepers they brush it with their eyes.

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    1. So Bohni is Tamilian too. Something that is uniting all of us together. There is a lot of superstition attached to bohni too, and, for business folk, the first sale is to be treated with reverence.

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  4. Hi Cynthia - a complete 'another' world to me - fascinating to read about ... both words. Boketto - sounds like meditating clearing the mind of things ... Bohni - that makes sense. The first happening does lead to a good day doesn't it ...

    Great A-Z are these! Thanks .. cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/b-is-for-british-breeds-introduction.html

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    1. Boketto is very therapeutic, Hilary. And bohni, the first sale, that's another kind of soothing.

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  5. Definitely guilty of boketto over here! ALL the time. And then i come round and am all confused. It used to happen the most back when I was at school, probably during maths lessons!

    Also 'ohayo gozaimasu' is actually a polite way of saying 'good morning' (instead of just 'ohayo')
    'Arigatou' would be thank you, or 'arigatou gozaimasu' to be polite :)
    I hope you don't mind me saying.

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    1. Mind you saying? On the contrary, I am grateful to you for correcting me. At least now I will be properly grateful.
      WIll correct it in the post too.
      Thank you, Jodie.

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  6. I have indulged in many a Boketo - highly recommended. Enjoying your words and learning too :)

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  7. Thank you, Suzy. Great minds always boketto.

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  8. Well, I don't daydream. It is actually boketto. Who knew?

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  9. I definitely have my moments of boketto. Nice to have a word for it. =)

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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    1. Oh yes, it's a word whose value I appreciate too, in full measure. Thank you, Patricia.

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  10. I love to day-dream. Boketto definitely seems to involve more effort.

    Loving the wordplay!

    Cheers,
    Anjali

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    1. Oh yes, Anjali, Boketto involves a lot of effort. Daydreaming is still my personal favourite.

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  11. Bohni, it is the same word in Tamil as well(borrowed?). Boketto might not be as easy as it sound!
    C for Crafting A Business

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    1. You said it, Namy. Boketto is very difficult. There's always a stray thought trying to creep in. Keeping the mind empty is the hardest job.
      Bohni seems to be a pan-Indian phenomenon. We all appreciate our first sale.

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  12. I'll definitely remember bohni. I do a lot of art shows, and all the artists feel a great sense of relief at the first sale of the weekend.
    Alphabet of Printmakers

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    1. So true, Anne. It must be a huge relief, a vindication of one's work and talent, when the first ka-ching makes itself heard.

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