“But K, this is not a June 9 entry. How can you say it is?”
As I sat and tried to figure out which June 9 entry Mr. M. was referring to, he went on about how there were other entries that didn’t seem to be June 9. The sheet I had in front of me had only a single entry for June 9 and it just didn’t make sense. Inside my head was a recurring scream, Which June 9 entry are you referring to, you crazy finance man?
Finally, B, his assistant took pity on me and whispered softly, “He means genuine, not June 9″. It took me a full 5 minutes to comprehend what B was saying and the only response I could manage was a semi-hysterical giggle. Laughter of any denomination was not wise at that point, so I frantically excused myself and ran out of the room just so I could let myself go.
We live in a country with many languages, many accents and many, many variants of spoken English. And with these variations come moments of unexpected hilarity. I remember a new-to-India firang friend calling me up frantically from a restaurant one night because one of the businessmen in her dinner party kept insisting she try the ‘Snakes’. He wouldn’t take no for an answer and she didn’t know what to do. You told me these guys were all vegetarian, she wailed.
There’s nothing quite like our fabulous Indian accents. A shop assistant asking if you want your gift ‘raped’ doesn’t so much as raise eyebrows any more. Only in India does a Doctor tell you need a ‘chaste’ x-ray; while a friend responds to your wishes with a ‘Shame to you’. Then there’s my cousin asking me to please pass the ‘choss’ that makes me giggle like a crazed idiot every single time.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that English is not a first language for any of us Indians, or even a second. And because of the diversity of mother-tongues we start out with, we’ve all ended up with accents and pronunciations that are unique and sometimes, unwittingly funny. In some instances it’s helped people get famous even.
I’m sure you all have ‘lost in pro-noun-ciation’ stories. Do share them with me. It would be ‘zimbly aamacing’.
P.S. This post is a result of a series of tweets exchanged with my friend RAT. He’s also the first non-family person who told me I should keep writing. He thinks Indians are non-violent by nature. So if you don’t like my stuff, find him on twitter and get ‘voyelent‘.