Archive for August, 2011
The last time somebody said they will take a rain check on the dinner date, and seeing it wasn’t raining I landed at the restaurant only to realise the person had no intentions of joining me for dinner. I knew it was time I did something about my idiotic sorry idiomatic knowledge. Google came to the rescue. A few key strokes and nano seconds later I was on http://www.idiomsite.com/ Having understood rain check really means “an offer or deal that is declined right now” I quietly paid the bill and walked away never to speak about it.
A recently concluded client meeting saw the excessive usage of ‘selling refrigerators to an Eskimo’ and the familiar discomfort rose. This time I did not go to idiomsite. I decided to create my own set of Indian idioms. So then, what would Selling refrigerators to an Eskimo sound like if it was Indianised? Selling chaya to a Malayalee? Oops I don’t want to be hauled by the culture police or called a racist…. So how about selling heaters to a maammy in chennai! Sounds a lot better… Now that we got to the maammies in Chennai can we go straight to your wallet?
A lot of idioms involve currency. It is usually the pound and the penny that find their place in celebrated idioms. How about replacing that with the rupee and paisa? It is a crore-rupee question. ‘Being penny wise and dollar foolish’ automatically becomes ‘being paisa wise and rupee foolish’; ‘costs a pretty penny’ becomes a ‘costs a pretty paisa’. Rupee for rupee, you can’t coin a better term!
What about all those Toms and dicks… it is high time we retired them! All the Kuppans’ and Suppans’ have started using them! The next time you choose, why don’t you just ‘Rob Ram to pay Lakhan’, glare at the ‘peeping Krish’, dump the ‘Dear John letter’ in favour of a ‘Dear Devdas letter’ and then go in search of your ‘Plain Paru! ’.
The pie, the porridge and the pudding seem so alien in our diction. Why don’t we just ‘makkhan both sides of the roti?’ ‘Eat humble dosa’ and ‘And save ones kabab?’ Hah, if only such blogging could become my dal and chaval!
I often wonder how locales never seen or heard have become part of our diction. Why do we have to ‘carry coals to Newcastle’ anyway?! Why not carry some to Bellary? Let us be Mumbaikars, when in Mumbai. Did Ravana play the veena, when Lanka was burnt? We also have a fascination to give Western identities to our cities. Why not call Venice as the ‘Alleppey of Europe’; or, Manchester as the ‘Mumbai of England’; and, Switzerland as the ‘Kashmir of Alps’?
Many a time, I see phrases in French and Latin being used ad nauseam to give normal banter an intellectual feel. Why French? Doesn’t ‘Khora Khagaz’ sound as sophisticated as ‘carte blanche’? A ‘Bete noire’ will be rechristened ‘parama ediri’ or ‘Chudail’ and the faux pas will be ‘sodhappals’. Why do all debates in our Parliament lead to it being adjourned sine die after a lot of ‘sandai’ (fighting in Tamil) It all anyway sounds Harappan to me!!
Now… now, before all of you, my dear readers, and especially my ‘blue stockings’ or should that be ‘blue salwars’, get bored, let me sign off! But let this not stop you! I am starting a project of collecting Indian Idioms. Send in your version of idioms as comments and who knows, we may have just started a new currency in the corporate world.
Until then ‘Say paneer!’ No! Cheese still sounds better… I get cheese in my neighbourhood super market…locally made!
The season of the ‘Best Employer’ surveys, ‘Employer of Choice’ awards, and ‘Service Excellence’ galas is back! While a survey is good and provides insight for employers & customers, we perhaps do not need a survey to tell us everything. Here is a tale of survey overload and some self-proclaimed ‘timeless ideas’ to get feedback and use it too
Read on, and leave your comments…
Do you think you have someone in your team contradicting everything your team is doing, openly dissenting, and even throwing tantrums when their viewpoints are not addressed? Has their presence become overwhelmingly difficult to handle? My article in today’s ET is about effectively dealing with these dissenters.
Here is the link. Let me know what you think!