Thursday, January 28, 2010

Culture Shock 101 by Madama Sebastian

Yegg: What I would eat with bacon if I could find some in Chennai.

"I will kindly revert to you" Revert, Schmeevert..just get back to me.

"Tolet": What I thought were a lot of misspelled signs for public bathrooms were really missing-a-space words that meant "to rent" in "this building is to let." English that's older than me.

"Does it pain you?"...almost a better way of asking if something hurts.

Nodding "no" with head figure-eighting side to side actually...means "yes" or "I agree with what you are saying. In this situation I usually end up nodding right along with the person who is agreeing with me. Like yawning or throwing up, it's contagious.

Questions asked and assumptions made at my Indian job interviews and in some casual conversations:

"How old are you? How old is your husband? Where does he work? When's his birthday? Do you have children? When are you having children? How much money did you pay for your house? your car? How much is your salary? When are you moving to the US?" (Didn't I just get here?)

In India, what Americans call a a CV or curriculae vitae. Thanks for adding Latin to the many languages I now I have to know just to get by. When you do hear the word resume in India used in reference to work, it is pronounced like the American word resume which means to pick up where you left off.

"I am speaking English. Why don't you understand me?"...

My response: ...because it's not the English I know...the one that adds an idiom a day and drops two others in the same day. Indian English is highly influenced by the formal, old style British English. I am not Shakespeare. The communication twain shall meet but let's not make it a head on collision!

A lift is an elevator in India, but something a short man slips inside his shoe to make him taller in America...and even that's an old word.

The Indian term "ear bud" ...just sounds like someone forgot to clean them. We call them Q-tips in the US...ya know, like Kleenex tissues. The brand name becomes so popular that it ends up being....Ah, forget it.

Tata...from salt to cars, it's the big name of nearly everything in India, a family dynasty. I love the word, but as an American, for all the wrong reasons (aka bodacious tatas) It just sounds like something I used to whisper to my friends in 6th grade and giggle....tata...hee, hee, hee....

Fairness cream. How many years of baby oil with iodine, Coppertone, and bronzers have I invested developing this sorry excuse for a tan? I come here and bingo! Tan is out...fair is in. SO "in" that in the Indian personal ads (for matrimony) a prospective bride will list her skin tone almost before her educational credentials. Pale magna cum laude.

Communal water pitchers. I guess the reason is for sanitary purposes but in India, you will likely have one pitcher of water and one glass for an entire table of people. Folks take turns filling the glass and then holding it half a foot away from their mouths, streaming the water artfully south. I have yet to see one Dixie Cup but I also carry my own...because, let's face it, otherwise I would most likely drown.

Hair color. Take your pick. As long as it's brown, you'll get just what you need.


fixesign said...

my hair is black color friends.. hha..

JP Brandano Photography said...

lol pretty funny nice work you gave me a smile thank you. I am following you