The Crotchet’s Corner

My perspective about all things inconsequential

Chutney English …

I was scheduled to catch the 6:00 am “Loh Path Gaamini”, and was hoping to grab a good night’s sleep beforehand. One “Gunjanhaari Manav Rakt Pipasu Jeev”, however, had kept me awake all night by singing in my ears. Finally, in frustration, I got up, switched on the “Vidyut Prakashak Kanch Golak”, brushed my teeth, and proceeded to have a cup of “Dugdh Jal Mishrit Sharkara Yukt Parvatiya (pahaadi) Booti”.

 

Before you assume that I have suddenly gone off my rocker, let me translate :

 

I was scheduled to catch the 6:00 am train, and was hoping to grab a good night’s sleep beforehand. One mosquito, however, had kept me awake all night by singing in my ears. Finally, in frustration, I got up, switched on the light bulb, brushed my teeth, and proceeded to have a cup of tea.

 

The preceding paragraph might be an exaggeration, but Indian words have made steady inroads into the English vocabulary, something that would have horrified the pukka sahibs of the days of the Raj. The venerable Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries have adopted several of these words into their publications, and the usage of some of the words is widespread.

 

Mahatma Gandhi might have rejected English during his protest against British rule, but the language has come to be accepted, and sending children to English speaking schools is a matter of pride for millions of Indians.

 

Slowly, at first, but at a dizzying pace later, Hinglish has caught on, and uniquely Indian words/phrases such as “air-dashing” to a destination, “issueless” couples (those without children) and people “preponing” (bringing forward) meetings, have become commonplace.

 

queenshinglish

 

A trip to the bazaar to buy vegetables is referred to as “going marketing”, while travel to another city is termed as “being out of station”. And, being asked “what is your good name” does not imply that there is a bad name. It is just the way the English language is spoken.

 

Homegrown India-isms have crept into the language, with the “pure” English being considered as a relic from a bygone era.

 

Which is why it is not uncommon to see official letters starting with “Dear Sir, with reference to your above see my below”, or a sign that innocently states, “Entry from backside only”, an allusion to the rear entrance of a building.

 

Chutney English? So what? As long as you can understand what I say, what’s the big deal?

 

As they say, “Yeh dil maange more”

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March 15, 2009 - Posted by | About this and that | ,

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