Nepalis of the 21st century make do with a peculiar concoction of the original Nepali language that leaves occasional room for awkwardness. Some of them exist freely despite being part of everyday communication — Nepalis have just gotten used to mutually skimming over those bits in day-to-day conversation.
There is no better example of such a kind of awkwardness than the reply to dhanyabaad. It’s a standard Nepali word, and unlikely to die out any time soon — how could we live in a world without thank you’s? But somehow, we’ve managed to let go of the reply to this word in the past few decades.
Today, the word dhanyabaad is responded with a variety of awkward non-verbal parries and sideswipes that have simply become a part of the average Nepali vocabulary. We go to great lengths to avoid the need to say welcome because, let’s face it, no one knows the Nepali word for it anymore. So, what is the correct reply to dhanyabaad?
An interesting thread on r/Nepal discussed all the myriad ways Nepalis respond to this question, with some Redditors volunteering the right answer along the way.
The ‘kei chaina’
User r/Marketing-Deep came in clutch by sharing the most appropriate sideswipe to the dhanyabaad — just say, “Kei chaina.” The phrase allows you to immediately move on with your interaction, and end it if you wish, without seeming rude. If that doesn’t cut it for you, u/OkDifference suggested a more polite version, “Kei chaina, haha!” You have to admit — the simplicity just makes it work!
If you have severe social anxiety like u/Sad_Match_2394, then consider this option:
All these varied reactions to a simple dhanyabaad have arisen simply because Nepalis have come to forget the one word we have in our language for “welcome”. And that is, “Swagatam.” A number of users showed up in the comments section with this answer, but it seems the word has been left so far behind that a few people responded with incredulity.
It is, however, quite interesting to see just how many ways Nepalis have come up to jump across a common hurdle in the language. Given that the swagatam has mostly phased out of the language, young Nepalis smile, giggle, nod, or simply walk off, depending on the person. A few respond to a dhanyabaad with another dhanyabaad. It’s a glorious linguistic salad that only adds beauty to the Nepali language!