Sunday, March 27, 2016


I love language. I especially love listening to the different ways that other cultures use English. India has been an endless supply of quirky phrases that form a kind of code among those of us who have spent time here. I assume with time, we'll phase out our use of these phrases, but in the mean time, we'll continue to amuse ourselves by using them.

Here are a handful of common ones that we love.

The oil was very less in the pot.
I am here only. 
On Thursday itself. 
Do the needful.
I am knowing.
I have a doubt.
They are having a marriage.
"Kay-gees" for kilograms.
Playing pool, my opponent announced which "port" he would sink the 8 ball in.

In a similar vein, we've very much enjoyed listening to people speaking in Tamil... with random bits of English included. E.g. Tamil. Tamil, Tamil, Tamil, ask the driver, Tamil, Tamil, Tamil, cannot do it, Tamil, Tamil, informally only, Tamil...

Finally... As part of a team building exercise, we were instructed to walk to separate sides of the room, depending on our answers to various questions. When the question, "Would you rather never watch TV again or never listen to music again?" came up, one of my local employees leaned over to me and asked, "How can you listen to music without TV?" I was pretty confused, until I realized... all popular music in India is from movies. The culture doesn't support bands, just singing actors. So in his mind, if the TV industry disappeared... so would popular music.

PS: That sign sure was "a Quality..." 

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