Trying to navigate the intricacies of Indian-English? Do you know your time-pass from your fundas? Farhad Merchant has kindly written a poem which clears things up.

"Indianisms" : Nice, no?!

Indianisms are aplenty,
Seek and thou shalt find;
Please “avail” of the platter,
It’s part of the daily grind!

Understanding all these “fundas”
Became a priority to be discussed;
With “enthu”, we scheduled to meet,
Hoping that you would “kindly adjust”. 

Then, we had to “prepone” our meeting
From “Today morning” to “Yesterday night”.
We looked very hard, so we could tell you,
But you were completely out of sight.

To get you up to speed on this,
We’ll soon “revert” with our notes;
For now we share what is (ab)used,
Whether they’re words or quotes!

When you hear “What is your good name?”
Don’t let yin-n-yang principles play havoc;
It’s just the polite way of asking your name,
So don’t go congratulating your naming luck. 

Passing your time without specific purpose,
Is shortened to an appealing “Time-pass”.
The movies you see, the games you play,
All fall in this category – en masse! 

An “encounter” takes on an ominous meaning,
Indicating a shootout with the cops;
While movies “bombing” at Indian box office
Are commonly referred to as “bollywood flops”. 

“Don’t eat my head” / “Don’t chew my brains”
Are “actually” not as sinister as they sound;
“Basically”, they just express an annoyance
Since “we are like that only” - in for a penny, in for a pound!



Avail: make use of an opportunity
Bombing: perform badly
Eat my head / chew my brains: annoy me
Encounter: a police shootout with a fatal conclusion
Enthu: enthusiasm/enthusiastic
Fundas: fundamentals
Good name: polite way of asking for one’s full name
Kindly: please
Prepone: the opposite of postpone!
Revert: reply or respond
Time-pass: an unexciting way of passing the time
Today morning: this morning
Yesterday night: Last night