Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91

Vol. XXV No. 10, September 1-15, 2015

We’re like that only…

I know such English that I will leave the British behind. You see, sir, I can talk English, I can walk English, I can laugh English, I can run English, because English is such a funny language…
Amitabh Bachchan in Namak Halal…
What is your good name?
One of the most common usages, this simply means ‘What’s your name?’ Perhaps this is a direct translation of the same phrase in Hindi, Aapka shubh naam? Shubh translates to good and most Indians translate the phrase without bothering to make alterations.
I have a doubt.
While in the rest of the English world, to harbour a doubt is generally associated with doubting someone’s ability, in India it means you have a question about something.
Passing out of college
The normal world uses ‘graduation’ or ‘convocation’. Indian English makes it “I passed out of my college.” If you pass out in the US or Australia or the UK, you would probably be rushed to a hospital, not lauded.
Indians refer to anything they like or that is really good as being ‘first-class’. So anything from a movie to a pani-puri could be ‘first-class’ in the country.
Do one thing
Once again, literally translated from ek kaam kar, the phrase is used by Indians whenever they want someone to act in a particular way on their instructions. For example: Do one thing, cook cabbage soup for lunch today.
Out of station
‘Out of town’. I’m out of station means I’m on a vacation or not in town. It does not mean you are out of a particular station or inside a particular station, like Harry Potter on Platform 9¾.
What do you do when you do not want to postpone a meeting but reschedule it ahead of its intended time? Simple. You prepone it! Literally using the antonym for post-, Indians derived this simple way of stating something will happen ahead of time. (It is now in the Oxford dictionary.)
Mother promise, father promise, God promise
Used mostly by youngsters, these phrases offer a convenient way out of any tricky situation where the speaker does not really want to put himself/herself in danger by ‘crossing his heart and dying’.
Doing the needful
We will do the needful. Only and only the needful. Nothing more, nothing less. ‘Please do the needful’ is a common request which simply asks the person to finish the task.
Like that only
We might be punny or phunny but we are like that only! We only add only at the end of sentences. Or at the start of them. Or anywhere we want. So we will talk like that only. Problem much?
Rangaswami Badrinarayanan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *