Occupation: Corporate Healthcare Lawyer
Residence: Los Angeles, California
Date of Performance/Collection: April 20, 2021
Primary Language: Gujarathi
Other Language(s): English
Informant: “Another saying translates to “after the whole Ramayana is over, she’s asking who is Ram and who is Sita.” The Ramayana is a super famous story in Indian culture and history, and is also very long. Ram is the main prince character, and he is also a god reincarnated, and Sita is his wife. So basically you are saying you just heard this long story and now you’re asking who the main characters are.
My informant is a practicing lawyer in Los Angeles, California. She is of Indian descent, and her knowledge of Indian folklore comes from her father.
Informant: “It’s used in situations where someone asks a really obvious question after hearing the whole story, which they would have known if they were paying attention.”
I have studied the Ramayana before. I know how intricate and complex the stories are, and I am familiar with how long they can be. Having researched and learned about the Ramayana, this proverb was something that I can understand and laugh at, which is why I enjoyed this proverb.
I have heard variations of this proverb before in English. But clearly, the English version does not reference the Ramayana. This shows that a proverb can be translated into more than one culture. In other words, proverbs can be cross-culturally valid. But during the translation process, certain key elements are changed to make it more culturally relevant and accurate. In this case, the Ramayana would be substituted for another work. In the English version, I have heard Harry Potter used instead of the Ramayana.