Thursday, June 23, 2011
Hilarious Conversation - Indian Tourism Board
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.
A: Sure, it's only three thousand kms, take lots of water.
A: What did your last slave die of?
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. In-di-a is that big triangle in the middle of the Pacific & Indian Ocean which does not.. oh forget it. ...... Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Goa. Come naked.
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.
A: Indiana is a state in the Unites States of...oh forget it. Sure, the Indiana Pacers matches are played every Tuesday night in Goa, straight after the hippo races.
A: You're a British politician, right?
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from. All Indian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.
A: No, WE don't stink.
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.
A: Only at Christmas.
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first
A: As long as you are not blind, you can see it anytime.
A: No, we use sand paper. (we have different grades)
Thursday, June 16, 2011
10 classic Indianisms: 'Doing the needful' and more
By Daniel D'Mello
Daniel D'Mello currently lives and works in Mumbai, where he enjoys reading, writing, planning trips, taking photos, attending gigs, catching up on films and T.V. and taking a keen interest in animal behavior.
We are a unique species, aren't we? Not humans. Indians, I mean. No other race speaks or spells like we do.
Take greetings for example.
A friendly clerk asking me for my name is apt to start a conversation with, "What is your good name?" As if I hold that sort of information close to my heart and only divulge my evil pseudonym. Bizarre.
I call these Indianisms.
Which got me thinking about a compilation, a greatest hits of the 10 most hilarious Indianisms out there. And here they are. The most common ones, and my favorites among them.
1. 'Passing out'
When you complete your studies at an educational institution, you graduate from that institution.
You do not "pass out" from that institution.
To "pass out" refers to losing consciousness, like after you get too drunk, though I'm not sure how we managed to connect graduating and intoxication.
Oh wait … of course, poor grades throughout the year could lead to a sudden elation on hearing you've passed all of your exams, which could lead to you actually "passing out," but this is rare at best.
2. 'Kindly revert'
One common mistake we make is using the word revert to mean reply or respond.
Revert means "to return to a former state."
I can't help thinking of a sarcastic answer every time this comes up.
"Please revert at the earliest."
"Sure, I'll set my biological clock to regress evolutionarily to my original primitive hydrocarbon state at 1 p.m. today."
3. 'Years back'
If it happened in the past, it happened years ago, not "years back."
Given how common this phrase is, I'm guessing the first person who switched "ago" for "back" probably did it years back. See what I mean?
And speaking of "back," asking someone to use the backside entrance sounds so wrong.
"So when did you buy this car?"
"Oh, years back."
"Cool, can you open the backside? I'd like to get a load in."
4. 'Doing the needful'
Try to avoid using the phrase "do the needful." It went out of style decades ago, about the time the British left.
Using it today indicates you are a dinosaur, a dinosaur with bad grammar.
You may use the phrase humorously, to poke fun at such archaic speech, or other dinosaurs.
"Will you do the needful?"
"Of course, and I'll send you a telegram to let you know it's done too."
5. 'Discuss about'
"What shall we discuss about today?"
"Let's discuss about politics. We need a fault-ridden topic to mirror our bad grammar."
You don't "discuss about" something; you just discuss things.
The word "discuss" means to "talk about". There is no reason to insert the word "about" after "discuss."
That would be like saying "talk about about." Which "brings about" me to my next peeve.
6. 'Order for'
"Hey, let's order for a pizza."
"Sure, and why not raid a library while we're about it."
When you order something, you "order" it, you do not "order for" it.
Who knows when or why we began placing random prepositions after verbs?
Perhaps somewhere in our history someone lost a little faith in the "doing" word and added "for" to make sure their order would reach them. They must have been pretty hungry.
7. 'Do one thing'
When someone approaches you with a query, and your reply begins with the phrase "do one thing," you're doing it wrong.
"Do one thing" is a phrase that does not make sense.
It is an Indianism. It is only understood in India. It is not proper English. It is irritating.
There are better ways to begin a reply. And worst of all, any person who starts a sentence with "do one thing" invariably ends up giving you at least five things to do.
"My computer keeps getting hung."
"Do one thing. Clear your history. Delete your cookies. Defrag your hardrive. Run a virus check. Restart your computer... ."
8. 'Out of station'
"Sorry I can't talk right now, I'm out of station."
"What a coincidence, Vijay, I'm in a station right now."
Another blast from the past, this one, and also, extremely outdated.
What's wrong with "out of town" or "not in Mumbai" or my favorite "I'm not here"?
9. The big sleep
"I'm going to bed now, sleep is coming."
"OK, say hi to it for me."
While a fan of anthropomorphism, I do have my limits. "Sleep is coming" is taking things a bit too far.
Your life isn't a poem. You don't have to give body cycles their own personalities.
"Let's prepone the meeting from 11 a.m. to 10 a.m."
Because the opposite of postpone just has to be prepone, right?
"Prepone" is probably the most famous Indianism of all time; one that I'm proud of, and that I actually support as a new entry to all English dictionaries.
Because it makes sense. Because it fills a gap. Because we need it. We're Indians, damn it. Students of chaos theory.
We don't have the time to say silly things like "could you please bring the meeting forward."
Prepone it is.
There are many more pure grammatical "gems" in what we call Indian English. Perhaps in time I'll list some more. And perhaps in the near future, we'll get better at English.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Last Saturday, I finally went to visit my doctor- something I had been putting off for some time. My list of complaints included a rasping cough, an irritating cold, a painful earache, a fugitive fever, and various other aches and pains.
My doctor is an elderly gentleman who's always immaculately dressed in crisp whites and has an endearing bedside manner. He's above seventy-five and he enjoys a conversation with whoever passes by his chamber. He takes time to listen, to sympathise, and even ask about your parents and how your job is going. This time I found him talking to a young fellow - a school teacher as I came to realize as he spoke about his sore throat and headache. The doctor nodded as he listened attentively, asking the occasional question and making the correct noises to express his understanding and sympathy. I loved how he calmed down the young man, made him feel appropriately important about his scholarly status and then instructed him not to yell too much at his students. A few minutes later, I received the same attention and care. The visit itself seemed to work some part of the cure.
While I was waiting, I happened to notice the old fashioned door knocker/ring handle on the door. I couldn't resist slipping out my camera for a quick shot. What a find it was - a simple thing but with so much character from years of peeled paint and weathering.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
I hope to someday see Van Gogh’s masterpiece “The Starry Nights” in reality, within touching distance. See the cracks and whorls and the magical way the blobs of paint come together to create a fantasy… but till then, thank you Google for making it possible to see my favorite paintings up close and personal.
Experience the awesomeness at http://www.googleartproject.com/?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=HPP&utm_campaign=artproject