Tag Archives: India

Stop beating around the mulberry bush and do the needful- Indian complaints

Dear Sir, It is with great agony that I wish to bring to your kind notice the callousness shown by some employee of your deptt.

What a way to begin a complaint! It certainly grabs my attention. This is a letter on the Indian Consumers Complaint Forum addressed to the passport office in Jaipur. And what is this callousness which caused the writer so much agony?

 In my passport they have changed my surname spelling.but i filled surname spelling correct in my forum.currently In the passport surname is ..AR… but it should be …RA… my passport no is … and file no is …

It is difficult to belive that such thing should have happened under your efficient control.please get the needful done at the earlist.

The ending is as accomplished as the beginning: “It is difficult to believe that such a thing could have happened under your efficient control.”

I am a great admirer of Indian English. I believe they will be the last country to continue to speak what I consider to be real English, which separates nouns, adverbs, adjectives and verbs into orderly clauses, something which is increasingly slipping away in Britain and America. In a hundred years’ time when everyone else will be conjugating the verb to be, as follows:

I mlike You rlike He/She/It zlike We rlike You rlike They rlike

Indians will still be using am, are and is.

It is true that they use phrases which are slightly different from what I am used to. I once used to translate at a committee which was chaired by an Indian gentleman who  used to say things like:

We are beating around the mulberry bush

We are sweeping everything under the carpet and the carpet itself is getting bloated.

I see Norway with his flag up, impedimenting progress as usual.

Read more…

The Businessman’s Kit

BKoutside This is something which I picked up in India once while interpreting for a rather unpleasant group of people. Luckily we had a very cheerful driver whose mood remained bright and sunny despite the black clouds which continued to settle inside his car.

I can’t remember his name, but I have come to think of him as Mr. Chatterjee, a name which conjures up his bubbling personality to me.

Once he turned up ten minutes late and the head of the delegation told me, “Ask him why the %$*! he’s late”. At which I said, “Mr. Chatterjee, is there any special reason why you are late?”

And Mr Chatterjee, wiggling his fingers and twinkling his head, with seeming glee, loudly exlaimed, “Oh! Communication Breakdown! Information Gap!”, a formula which I have taken to using myself as an excuse for almost anything. Read more…

How to say “extinction” in Chumyl: “The Linguists”, a film.


If you are interested in language and languages you might like to see the film “The Linguists”.
The film, presented as “a very foreign language film”,  is about David Harrison and Gregory Anderson, two researchers who travel the world to document vanishing languages. Most of the action takes place in Siberia, India and Bolivia and focuses on the Chulym, Sora and Kallawaya languages. In one of the first scenes one of the linguists says that one reason to study language is to “figure out the possible ways the human mind can make sense of the world around it”.  Read more…

Not for the chapattiless, Indian astrology

Looking back

Recently, I came across an Indian astrology website. It was not something to get involved with unless one was willing to make an effort.

Here, for example, are some of the things you needed to do to make sure the future turned out right.

To ward off evil impact of malefic planets for smoothing your life perform astral remedies given below.
Offer one sweetened chapatti or bread to the birds daily for propitiating malefic Rahu. OR Offer some part of your income to some old age home.
Offer one plain chapatti or bread to a stray dog daily for appeasing malefic Ketu.  OR Offer service or donation to orphanages.
Offer fresh water to birds daily for all malefic Venus.
Do five minute meditation daily in the morning for malefic Mars.
Offer water daily in the morning to the Sun for malefic Sun OR Service to the old aged persons or father in law.
Offer salted chapatti laced with mustered oil for malefic Saturn. OR Take care for poor and needy employees. Alternatively, you can offer some part of your breakfast (vegetarian) to birds and stray dogs daily as in case you are short of time for performing of these
Avoid the following colors: dark black, dark brown, dark steel grey, pink, sky blue and variegated in clothes, home, office for malefic Rahu, Ketu, Sun, Venus & Saturn.
Offer some yellow colored sweets to birds daily for malefic Jupiter
Offer some green food to the cow twice in a week for malefic Mercury

I was rather distressed by this. No problem dealing with the birds, I am surrounded by pigeons, seagulls, crows and sparrows, and I can certainly muster some oil,  but where would I find a cow to give green food to? Actually it says the cow, so I probably need to buy one (or rent one two days a week) and where shall I keep it? – where my neighbours keep their bicycles?) Where would I find a stray dog to share my breakfast with on a daily basis.But, considering that another website “Free Astrological Predictions of the Future & More! ” listed the following days as bad for the coming month –

3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 19, 20, 25, 27

  • I decided that there was no point standing around aimlessly.

-and so I loaded  a vehicle with mustered oil, green food, yellow sweets, sweetened, plain and salted chapattis and went straight out to distribute it to any birds, stray dogs and cows I could find.