Google says ‘Saaliya’, netizens from Assam say we want ‘Kela’

Aiming to promote the usage of mother tongue, tech giant Google introduced an Assamese word – ‘Saaliya’ – to the world.

“If you too are tired of saying ‘awesome’ one too many times, here’s your cue to learn a new word. ‘Saaliya’, isn’t it?” Google India said.

On the occasion of International Mother Language Day on February 21, Google posted about the Assamese word, asking people to use it instead of “awesome”.

“My automatic response when I see my bestie’s mekhela sador pics! – Saaliya!” Google posted.

The tech giant was “celebrating the words that speak the language of emotions”. “We’re celebrating words that speak the language of emotions. Share a unique word from your language, like this one in Assamese, using Gboard #SayItLikeItIs #InternationalMotherLanguageDay,” Google wrote.

Kela it is!

However, netizens speaking the Assamese language had a different word which they believe truly ‘speak the language of emotions’. The pop culture word – Kela!

“Please Google do some justice with Kela. We Assamese people are more connected with Kela. ‘Tumi maaltu bom saliya Kela’ means you’re very stylish Kela,” commented Dhriti Shree, which was liked by many.

“Kela is not a word. It’s an emotion of Assamese people,” wrote Raghu Nath Hazarika.

While many associate the pop culture word ‘Kela’ with vulgar cuss slang, others say its mere outpouring of emotion – a word which expresses anger, happiness, astonishment and what not!

The Urban Dictionary – a website that basically defines slangs and other words which was not typically found in standard English dictionaries – describes ‘Kela’ as a multipurpose word that can be used to express ones feelings of different sort, in different moments, to increase the gravity of the situation!

Remember when veteran American guitarist and metal legend Marty Friedman performed at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Meghalaya in 2019, the crowd made sure that the guitar god learns the popular Assamese slang. During his performance, when Marty Friedman asked the crowd to teach him a local word – in exchange of him teaching a Japanese word to the fans – the crowd screamed ‘Kela’. The legend later in a social media post thanked the fans for his first show in India, ending the note with the slang.

Replying to a Quora question about the meaning of ‘Kela’, Subodh Sarma wrote: “Kela is a very common, popular and age-old way of expression of emotions for the rural Assamese people. It is used to express anger, happiness, astonishment etc. Now a days there is a general tendency among the people of a particular section of the society to associate Kela as a slang word by giving it a different interpretation. But, in my opinion it is never so. It’s a word close to the heart and also common to the folks.”

Whatever be it, netizens thanked Google for introducing an Assamese word to the world – Saaliya isn’t it!

Saaliya Kela!

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