Things I say now – that I’ll probably still be saying back in the States…
- “Here only” – Meaning: nearby (vaguely speaking). Used: Often enough for me to need to use it to be understood. Example: “Where does Neela Miss live?” — “Here only” (with an arm outstretched referring to somewhere in the nearby vicinity).
- “Itself” – Meaning: only. Example: “Where are you from?” — “Bangalore Itself”.
- “Injection” – Meaning: shot/vaccination. Used: In search of a clean hospital (clean enough) for round II of V of the anti rabies series. Side note: Vitamin “injections” are quite common here.
- “Just 5 minutes” – Meaning: please sit down and wait. This could take anywhere between 15 minutes and a few hours… Used: Far far far FAR too often.
- “Shifting” – Meaning: moving (houses). Example: “We just recently shifted to this side (see below)”.
- Go “left side” – Meaning: it’s on the left. Example: “Go that side”.
- “Native place” – Meaning: hometown. Example: In the recent flurry of vacating our flat (“shifting”) when asked where we were going. The one and only answer — “to native place”, of course.
- “Auntie”/”Uncle” – Meaning: NOT your mother’s sister or brother. Used: when referring to an any elder. Example: a 3-year old or small children on the street might call out and address me as “Auntie”. If I was Indian, I would most likely address an older man working at a shop as “Uncle” before asking him a question.
- It’ll take “some time” – Meaning: any amount of time between 2 hours and 2 weeks (or 2 months…). Used: once again, far too often.
- “Opposite” — Meaning: across the street. Used: when giving or receiving directions anywhere. Example: “The landmark for the meeting point is opposite the Delite Cinema”.
- “Parcel” — Meaning: doggie bag. Used: at most street food stalls and any restaurant.
and last but certainly not least….
- “nim’ma upahāra hondiddavu” (“ootay-aytha”) – Meaning: Have you had your lunch? Used: EVERYDAY and asked 12 times per day as a polite greeting or conversation starter. Example: Best when adapted by your security guard at 11pm and asked in English, “Have you had your evening breakfast?”.
Things I do now — that I’ll probably never ever do again…
- Smash coconuts as hard as possible on the outside balcony or outside apartment wall until you hear the crack and the water starts to seep.
- Buy brilliant block printed fabric, visit the tailor, and have handmade clothes ready the next day.
- Get cooking gas from a 2.5 foot tall red cylinder, drinking water from a filter, hot shower water from a geyser, and milk in pouches (YES just like 2nd grade!! Except no chocolate…:(.
- Design library furniture, hire carpenters, and carry storybooks around in suitcases.
- Receive coconuts, bananas, biscuits, and odd assortments of fruit as a gift when leaving someone’s home.
- Shove cake in people’s mouths on their birthday.
- Be on a first name basis with the internet man, whose number is also on speed dial. His name is Danesh by the way.
- Throw colored powder at people while cracking eggs over their head and wishing them a very very Happy Holi.
- Eat mango pickle, chapatti with ketchup, parrota with curd, lime soda with salt, coffee with chicory, or curd rice IN GENERAL. Never ever again.
- Travel via luggage rack…. Exhibit A:
Things that happen — that (for the most part) I gosh darn hope aren’t new fads back home…
- Driving, motorcycling, auto rickshawing in the wrong direction (sometimes down the shoulder, sometimes not), typically out of convenience and sometimes necessity as entry to the correct lane from a particular point has not yet been built… ie. Leaving our apartment headed towards the city center.
- Men doing that obtuse spit aggregation mouth hurl thing, of course followed by the shameless public spit, clearly planned for just as you step on the exact same spot.
- Bus drivers stopping their fully loaded bus (public or private) on the side of the road to pray at a roadside temple or to have lunch at the stall “opposite”, while all passengers remain seated on the bus.
- Trash up in flames on the side of the road, in the middle of the road if there is bandh (strike), anywhere really… and ALL the time.
- Old men on the public bus trying to steal your freshly baked cake by the fistful. Ok ok. You were in the process of sitting down without falling while searching for exact change and helping your roommate with her person-sized backpack while putting a cover on the damn cake. The old man was of course just curious and had no idea why you and Nina laughed until you reached town.
- Bringing clothes for ironing requesting that they be ready for 3 days later. Returning 4 days later to find untouched and un-ironed clothes…. Minus the ironing, fill in the blank here…
- Muslim men with flaming orange hair — the product of fluorescent mehendi hair dye and a fear of greying.
- Men holding hands on the street (best of course when it involves the cutsy “pinky lock”). Teenage girls doing the same (albeit, less “pinky” and less open canoodling compared to their male counterparts)…
I could go on. But we’ll keep it light😉