Freshie Guide: How To Speak “Insti”


By Sharanya Haridas

 Picture Courtesy: Arbit
Picture Courtesy: Arbit

Cocooned in their island, the students of IIT Madras have over the years managed to develop their own language, one T5E hereby christens “Insti”. Insti was documented in 2004 when Evelyn Richter, a visiting German student from the Chemnitz University, made it the subject of her M.A. thesis. The highly developed lingo is an exotic masala of atrocious English and “Madrasi” (especially ‘Gult’) with a bit of Northie and godknowswhatelse thrown in. It’s not unusual for freshies to feel scared and bewildered by this unaccustomed tongue so we have very kindly decided to compile a hotlist of the most frequently used words to get you started. Regular insti speakers are welcome to leave comments giving better examples or adding other words not mentioned in this list:

1) Ra, da/dei, machaan/machi: In-house variation of “dude”, used without regard to gender
Eg: “What, machaan?”

2) Gen: general, nothing particular

3) Put versus Pack

Put: To do something (and therefore can be used as a substitute for any verb)
Eg:”Let’s put Tarams, da” (Let’s go to Tarams”), “Are you putting anything for Shaastra?” (Are you doing anything- usually participating or being a coordinator- for Shaastra?)

Pack: To not do something
Eg: “Let’s pack mess tonight and put Bessie instead”, “I’m packing Shaastra this year…going home”

4) Mug: To study

5) Funda: Fundamentals or basic principles of something.
Eg: (Night before an endsem) “ I haven’t started mug, da, but Ramaswamykrishnamacharya said he’d put fundaes”

6) Cup versus Crack
Cup: To fail something or do badly. (Origin: The fail grade “U”, which looks like a cup)
Eg: “Ramaswamykrishnamacharya put me fundaes the night before but I still cupped Quant, machaan!”

Rape/Crack: To ace something, or do brilliantly (no relation to the act of rape or to the illegal drug)
Eg: “Ganga raped footer again this year”

7) Pain versus Peace
Pain: Anything difficult, undesirable or annoying. Opposite of peace which easy and not troublesome. (can be used as a verb as well)
“XYZ is such a painmaxx course.”
“Really? But I’ve heard the Prof doesn’t pain and is peaceful with grading.”
“Oh! If that’s the case then peeaaace!”

8) Kuntry versus Pseud
Kuntry: lacking in class.
Pseud: high-funda, fancy, awesome.
Eg: In insti, being kuntry can be pseud and “putting” pseud (trying to act pseud) is uncool.

9) Sli: frequently used, meaning varies. As pointed out by Sutta, if you’ve mastered the use of ‘sli’, you’ve mastered Insti.

Other commonly used words:
Arb/Arbit: arbitrary, random
Ob: obviously
God/stud: someone who is brilliant at something
GAJ: abbrvn. for Gen Arbit Junta
Also note that the Student Activity Centre and Open Air Theatre are pronounced “sac” and “oat”. To refer to them as “S-A-C” and “O-A-T” is considered pseud-putting.

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