A few years back when the Brit left us, some of us were still in awe of them. Out of respect for them for leaving our lands in our hands, we found several ways to thank and glorify them. One of them was taking on English as the most respectable language of communication.
All of us would have read this famous quote somewhere or the other –
Be who you are and say what you think; because the people who mind, don’t matter and the people who matter, don’t mind
Now, we Indians are creatures of emotions. We are driven by feelings. Any person who doesn’t cry at the death of the once-hated, littering, barking and biting street-dog, is considered heartless. Sometimes even temples are built out of the sudden-love for the dead (and once hated) dog.
Coming back to the topic, a few days back I attended a mandatory training in my office. The topic was – ‘Assertive Communication’. This classroom session became one of the most funny and enlightening classes in English I had ever had. A few excerpts of how the Indians warp English language to suit and stress their emotions into it –
1. I have to convince my Manager for a 15-day vacation because it’s my sister’s wedding :
Sir, please understand. It’s my OWN sister’s (like people have rented/borrowed sisters as well) wedding and I have responsibilities to take care of.
2. When stressing about some activity not happening :
I have told him a 100 times now. He is not going only (Only? Oh, you mean, he is not going at all?)
3. We pronounce the letter ‘W’ as ‘double-you’. The actual pronunciation is ‘dub-ya’.
4. When asked about your native place :
I was ‘born-and-brought-up’ (like your parents literally brought you up from where? Must be some deep pit) in Bangalore.
5. How many alphabets in English?
(Very confidently, beaming with enthusiasm to answer) Mam, there are 26 alphabets. (Radiating unbearable sunshine)
I bet not all of our teachers taught us this correctly – In English language, the alphabet is a system containing letters from A to Z. Thus, there are 26 letters in English alphabet.
6. A recent trend of introduction on phone (for us this happens in calls with the clients when people try to sound as modern as possible)
Hi, this is Bala (and the listener could look at the receiver in his hands and think,’O, even this receiver has a name!)
Another version –
Myself, Bala (O yes, there is one and only one Bala which is you. You who is Bala which no one else is)
7. If the client asks, “Do you have any relatives here in U.S.?”
Yes, yes, my cousin-brother/cousin-sister (A new phrase discovered altogether!!!) lives there