I like India.  I spent a month there five years ago, and I’d go back in a heartbeat.  The people I met were uniformly polite, even the policeman who politely tried to shake me down for some perfume for his wife.  He was so nice about it that I didn’t understand what was happening until afterwards.  I didn’t have any perfume on me, and he wasn’t so crass as to ask for money.  There are virtues in ignorance, sometimes.

I have friends in India.  I work with Rahul and Abhishek daily, know their personalities, and appreciate them.  Others I have worked with in the past – Kuldeep, who I went to part of a movie with – I remember fondly.  And I have been in the houses of Durgesh and Dharma.

Hanu is a special friend.  He was my guide during my trip, and was wonderfully helpful.  He’s friendly

We did a 10K run together

and went to a wedding together

I met his wife and son

(His wife is a lawyer. Their son had not yet had his first haircut.)

and I invited him to my hotel room, returning the hospitality

One of the things I enjoy about my time in India was learning the language.  Yes, English is one of the official languages of India.  Just like Britain, though, we are two countries divided by a common language.

In American, we say tomorrow night, and so does India.  But where we say tonight, they say today night.  It’s logical, but it’s not how we do it.

We say do what is necessary to get something done.  They say do the needful.

I was reminded of these things when I read a story about the number of people killed by elephants in India.  It’s about one every five days.  Surprisingly high.  Also surprising are the little glitches in the written word.  They are English, and very understandable, but they are just a bit off from the American voice.

He informed that from 2004-05 till date total 366 people have killed by wild elephants

versus my rewrite

He said that in the last five years, 366 people have been killed by wild elephants

Nothing wrong with the original.  It communicates facts.  If I were forced to read/hear it all the time, or to write that way, it might be disagreeable.

And there’s the thing.  To the Indian ear, American sounds just a little off.  We don’t say things just right.

Although reading this makes me smile:

Dr.Srivastava informed that several steps are being taken by his department to reduce the man-elephant interface.

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