Shifting Gears

Shifting Gears

I admit, the title of this post is a little misleading.  I wanted it to be catchy, and what's that thing that everyone is talking about now - clickbait?  I should probably do a little more research before I start spitting out techie terms.  I'm not shifiting gears, so no, this is not some sort of an announcement about how my blog is taking a different direction/approach.  Now that that's out of the way, moving on to the real topic!

When I moved to India (more specifically Kolkata) (I also feel like now would be a good time to do a catch-up post - like re-introduce myself for new readers so everyone knows my story - I'll add to the list!), I was convinced my 'lingo' would definitely not change.

A lot of people even asked me, ‘Do you think your accent will change?  Do you think you’ll talk differently? Do you think you’ll start talking with a head bob?’ (yes, some people actually asked me the last one).

Well, honestly, I didn’t know the answer to their questions.

5 years in, my accent’s still the same.  And my phrases have definitely changed.  So, I was half right.  I’ve touched on how I randomly catch myself saying quite Indian-y phrases sometimes.

I’ll fill y’all in on a few more examples:

Instead of saying ‘When did you MOVE here?’, I now say ‘When did you SHIFT here?’

'I gotta go' has turned into 'I’m just rushing’

I’m on it —> I’m just doing it

Where do you LIVE? —> Where do you STAY?

I haven’t received it (yet) —> I haven’t received it as of yet

on the phone: bye —> tik hai (translation: ‘okay' - no one really says bye here, just ’tik hai’ and hang up)

I’ll be there in a sec —> Just coming —> Just be there

Someone gave this to me/gave this to me as a gift —> Someone gifted me this

I called him yesterday —> I ‘tho’ called him yesterday (‘tho’ is a Hindi/Gujju/I’m sure some other Indian dialect filler word)

Noticing a trend with ‘just?’  I don’t know why, but this word has become a part of my daily vocabulary - you add it in front of almost anything and it works!

Some of these come with a disclaimer: I only use them when I’m speaking to local (business) contacts, because I assume they’ll relate to/understand me better.  But sometimes they do spill over when I’m talking to my sis or parents :)

It’s interesting though - how you take on all aspects of a place - or in the case of some, how you maybe also don’t.  I personally feel like you have to adapt and change your habits to fit in better and make the people around you more comfortable.  If I speak in a pure American accent/style, people will automatically keep calling me out and asking me where I’m from.  They probably won’t give me the same level of respect, and they’ll most likely take advantage of the situation/charge me a ridiculous amount (because they think I’m clueless).  When I’m stateside, my southern accent automatically surfaces, (and I secretly love this!) - but you know, it makes me feel at home, I connect to people on a slightly deeper level, and it just feels right.

I’ll be completely honest - I do get a little embarrassed when the Indian tendencies appear, and I immediately become that middle school girl who made fun of her parents and their accents.  Then, I take a step back, grow up and think ‘What’s the big deal?  As long as I’m getting my point across and not offending people in the process, right?’

Oh, and I have to add one more - ‘nothing doing’ - totally Indian, and I still haven’t started using this one…I think it’s the equivalent of ‘no worries.'

We’ll give it another 5 years and see where I’m at then…and if I’m still blogging :)


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    • Avatar
      Aug 17, 2016

      Hilarious yet so true! I do the straddling of accents every time I visit home (Chennai and Mumbai) and then I come back to the US and have to recalibrate :)

      • Avatar
        Aug 20, 2016

        Haha totally get what you're saying, Ruksana!

    • Avatar
      Aug 19, 2016

      Such a fun post. It's so interesting how similar meaning are said in different ways in different countries. I always remember my parents use to say the phone is 'engaged' rather than busy and sellotape rather than scotch tape.

      • Avatar
        Aug 20, 2016

        Thanks, Salma! You're right! Yup, those are also on my list - experience the use of 'engaged' and 'sellotape' on a daily basis!

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