Tag Archives: puns

We are Indian, and so is our English!

Only in India will you see ‘only’ as emphasis at the end of a sentence. This is one thing that the rest of the world will never get only. We are a quirky lot that way. Seriously, you will freak out if we told you how much we look forward to freaking out. A man can tell his wife he’s stepping out to catch a fag – or that he’d like to make a quick stop at the booth for an STD – and she won’t bat an eyelid.

It’s all been a part of our growing up. We give tests at the time we should be taking them, and we spend hours mugging in their preparation. Yes, in India, mugging is something only “good students” do. Unfortunately, it won’t help them when they’re being mugged by the “bad students.” One thing I guarantee you, however: whether you’re in India or in the US, mugging will almost always be followed by an eventful passing out.

An Indian student I know was perplexed when his friend asked him for a rubber to uh, “do” what he had to do. Understandably so. It’s counter-intuitive for an Indian to imagine how a rubber could be used to do, when its purpose – as we’ve always known it – is to in fact, undo. You could well argue that a rubber used for prevention is better than one used for cure – but come on now, don’t you wish rubbers in  the US could do the magic that Indian rubbers do – erase your mistakes?

Unlike your Lady fingers, you don’t want to discover our Lady fingers in a sinfully delectable Tiramisu – unless Tiramisu to you is Gumbo. In any case, our vegetarianism isn’t just limited to Gumbos – even our jokes could be veg. or non-veg. And mind you, we take our royal heritage seriously. Fun, sleep, bathroom all come to us.

We will ask you for your goodname, and introduce ourselves as “Myself, Goodname Surname.” We will be very eager to meet you – because you Goras are much cooler than us Indians (or at least so we all believe). In fact, we will even go so far as to do jugaad, take the long-cut, travel out of station, and even bring along a tiffin for you. And in case we cannot contain our excitement for too long, we might just ask to prepone our meeting.

Well, by now you must think we have mangled the English language beyond recognition. But alas, even when it comes to doing something wrong, we don’t quite get it right – Indian English is considered one of the official and recognized dialects of English. Most, if not all terms above have legal usage. No apologies, we’re Indian – and so is our English. What to do? We are like that only!

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Afterthought: I have a theory Indians invented the mathematical postfix notation “za”. As in, “two one za two; two two za four.” Unfortunately, some ignorant killjoy told me that it is actually “two ones are two; two twos are four.” I shall reserve my verdict till the fact has been verified. What a shame!

Edited 141209

If you liked this post, you could read my piece on Marathi English on the MacMillan Dictionary blog.


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To the Express(ive)ly Challenged

Dear Unspecified-designation Middle Manager with an MBA,

This post is dedicated to you. I hope you’re up for some object-oriented knowledge transfermy two cents on the phrases you overuse and abuse. I have no doubt that you have the bandwidth to process it.

There was a time your ludicrous flowery language brightened my day. But at the end of the day, there’s only so much Jargon Lotto (nee Buzzword Bingo) one can enjoy. Needless to say, this calls for a paradigm shift. Going forward, we need an action plan to revisit these phrases and downsize them.

From your side, you will have to be a bit proactive and push the envelope. Perhaps you should start thinking outside the box. But on second thoughts – if you want to be original, the best practice is to just stay put and think inside the box. Every other manager, his team and their mothers-in-law are busy thinking outside it.

Let me help you understand – originality is no rocket science. For that matter, even rocket science is not really rocket science – it’s aerospace engineering. But more on that another day. At this point, we need to remain goal-oriented and result-focused. For now, I’m even willing to pretend the two are not redundant.

If you leverage your skill-set smartly, you could actually come up with a grade-A synergy. And why, if we ever find ourselves on the same page, you could even explain to me what the hell that means.

While we are at it, there’s another thing we need to transition into – we need to stop verbing nouns. Especially nouns which don’t exist. For instance, you do not incent people. You pay them. It’s extremely annoying. Let me translation that for you – it really annoyances me.

You could use any method you deem best. You could parachute in with fellow managers, do some blue sky thinking, or even resort to old-fashioned brainstorming. Be informed that the lattermost might require a brain. I do not recommend thought showers, however. It might set our readers thinking on lines that have nothing to do with the real sense of the term. Too late, looks like they already are.

I’m certain you have noticed by now how ridiculous I’ve been sounding. Well, that’s how you sound 24/7. Don’t think any more. Just go ahead and pull the trigger. Else I will. The aftermath could be discussed during post-mortem.

We’ll touch base soon for a performance measurement. Don’t ping me, I’ll ping you. If you have anything to say about this, I’ll take it offline.

Edited 031609

Present Tense

present tense /prěz’ənt tɛns/ adj. Anxious about whether the gift you plan to give your sweetheart would be appreciated enough.

Usage: Crap. It’s that You-don’t-love-me-enough Day again. Always makes me present tense; I must love her at least $100 more this year.

Root: present tense


I put this up on Twitter the other day, and Naren came up with a very nice rejoinder. I’ve added Usage, Root and the IPA pronunciation:

gift rapping /gɪft ræpɪŋ/ n. Delivering a sharp blow with the knuckles to one’s beloved’s head for a pathetic present.

Usage: Crap, it’s the usual cheap fake diamond ring again. Honey, could you come here when you have a minute? There’s some gift rapping to do and I’d like you to be present.

Root: gift wrapping