I have always been interested in the myriad uses and applications of the English language, adjusted and adapted to suit a particular ethnic or cultural group, or a particular purpose, or simply for the convenience and clarity the adaptation conveys, never mind the grammatical or phonetic liberties taken by those more familiar with their own vernacular.
My very first experience with such happy permutations and combinations of a particular word, altered to fit the accents of the speaker and hearer, was a complaint by our cook in Lucknow. She had gone with her family to have a photograph taken in a studio, and the photographer refused to part with the ‘naketi’ which meant she couldn’t go anywhere else for extra copies even if they were cheaper elsewhere. It was around the same time that I first heard people talking about red and green singals at crossroads and am surprised at the number of literate people who confuse the letters in this simple word.
Have you noticed the small scooter and car mechanics proudly including ‘pumcher repairing’ among their services? My driver would sometimes have to drive me to work in a different car because the ‘shabzer’ in my regular vehicle had to be replaced, you know, that thing that cushions your rear from bumps and potholes. Indeed, private taxi drivers have a colourful vocabulary which is a source of enjoyment to someone like me. The last driver praised the orderliness of the street layout in my colony, because once I directed him to my house by telling him to take the second ‘ainu’ (which crossed the second main road unlike the other avenues) there was no conjushion in his mind about reaching my address.
Once in a year, when we get the air coolers serviced, delays are bound to occur if a particular spare part peculiar to that make of cooler is not readily available.
According to our mechanic one year, the reason he had temporarily disappeared from the horizon after dismantling our coolers, was because the ‘chuch’ wasn’t available anywhere in town and he was told to try in a neighbouring town for the right kind of switch.
The greatest examples of Hinglish as understood by all can be found in any standard menu displayed by the standard roadside eatery : egg hamlet, bone 65 if the same in chicken is beyond your pocket, even adventurous Chinese preparations like chicken masooriya or a veg chopsi. And where best to eat these delectable dishes than in that ‘multi-cushion’ restaurant that I passed by in Koramangala, Bangalore, a few years ago!