When I was five years old, I moved from Vashi to Pune. There, I came across a strange word – ‘girlie’.
If you didn’t know a girl’s name (yes, I went to a girls’ school), you would say, “Excuse me, girlie, what is your name?”
The word felt awkward in my mouth.
Girlie.What would I call a boy I didn’t know? Boyie?
It was incomprehensible and most confusing.
But, aged five, I wanted to fit in. So I started saying ‘girlie’.
Excuse me, girlie, could I borrow your pencil?
Excuse me, girlie, you’re sitting in my place.
Excuse me, girlie, I put my bag there first. It’s my bench.
By the time I was twelve, we were laughing at girls who said ‘girlie’.
“Yuck. Who says ‘girlie’?” Giggle, giggle, giggle.
“Girlie!” Giggle, giggle, giggle.
And now, rummaging through my memory, I wonder, do girls still say ‘girlie’ when they are five years old and then mock at the word when they are 12?