mungbean in india

Category Archives: Language


So here we are then.  I’m now a Dilliwala—a resident of Delhi. The past 3 weeks have been a bit hectic and complicated, given that I started a new job while living in a hotel, and meanwhile had to find a new apartment within 14 days and register the address at the Foreigners Registration Office.  But I managed it, and this time it’s an order of magnitude easier than when I first arrived in India 2 years ago, when I […]


It’s Independence Day in India today, my second one since arriving here, and a national holiday.   I’ve now been here for 1 year and 8 months. Assimilation is probably too strong a word, but I joked that I was fully assimilated when I bought a pressure cooker for my maid to use a few weeks ago.  I had never used one before, but the communal hissing of pressure cookers joins the sound of grass or twig brooms sweeping tiled floors […]

A Little Bit of Progress

The doorbell rang at 7.50 this morning, and there at the door was a woman I didn’t recognize.   She said she had come to work, which puzzled me, but I pointed at the number on the door and suggested she had come to the wrong apartment.  She didn’t seem convinced, and asked if I needed any work doing.  “Not here”, I told her.  She asked again, and I told her the same thing.  After a few minutes of back and […]

Festive 50 Part 4: 20-11

So I started a “Festive 50″countdown just before Christmas, but didn’t get to the end of it yet… mainly because I’ve been working absolutely flat-out at college since the start of January, and I’ve just been utterly exhausted. Plus I couldn’t decide on the categories for the last 20… :P Anyway, after Birds, Words and Food, here comes Part 4…  LIFE. Here are 10 of the most notable ways in which life has changed since moving to India. #20: Weather A […]

Festive 50 Part 2: 40-31

And so, from Birds to Words. As a foreigner, one of the things you notice when moving here is that the English language has followed its own evolutionary path since the time of “British India”.  This can bring amusement, bemusement or confusion, but usually joy of some sort.  As someone who’s interested in languages anyway, I love it. Anyway, here are 10 words and expressions that I’ve encountered so far — again in no particular order. #40: Lakh (and Crore) […]


  Learning a new language gives me a special buzz that’s hard to describe… somehow it feels like a different kind of learning to most other things. There’s a lot of memorising (alphabet and vocabulary), systematic understanding (grammar) and some skill in pronunciation and comprehension. To me it feels similar to learning a musical instrument in many ways.  But you get to try it out on random strangers and communicate with people who otherwise might be out of your reach. […]


I bought a kurta recently, and yesterday I took it to a tailor’s shop to be altered. Two guys were working at treadle sewing machines in their bare feet. There was only just room in the tiny shop for them to fit in, but there were racks of clothes hanging up on the back wall. Obviously, business is good. I paid my Rs 60 and told them I’d come back the next day. When I went back to collect the […]