Tonight I had planned to embark on an amazing night of FABULOUS grocery shopping at SPAR here in Bangalore but my cat Jolie decided to fall ill instead so my trip was cancelled. I realize that it may sound a bit dorky to be quite so excited about going shopping at SPAR. But I happen to live in Bangalore’s smallest town so needless to say my local Spenser’s (in the next town over) has just one brand of toilet paper, one brand of paneer, no brown sugar, etc etc. So trust me, SPAR is a pretty exciting excursion, haha.
And so begin tonight’s journey and the chain reaction of events surrounding accents and A LOT OF CONFUSION. Jolie is ill, so no SPAR. No SPAR so no food. No food…haha, well, there is basically no food in my flat. And since it is raining outside I don’t feel like walking to the Au Bon Pain around the corner. So my choices are limited to either eating tomorrow’s lunch that Lakshmi cooked for me now as tonight’s dinner, or eat cereal, or order in. And since I am going to the gym lately and don’t feel like ordering from Pizza Hut (where I am already very conveniently registered), it is once again time to play the “what the hell are you saying” game on the telephone with a new restaurant. I really hate this game even more than I hate forgetting to turn the geyser switch on and having to take a cold shower in the morning, haha But okay. Here we go!
You know, when I came to India I imagined that it might be a bit of a challenge to understand certain Indian accents. And it is, trust me. I don’t know how many times I have said “sorry” or “pardon” since my arrival in order to ask someone to repeat what they have said. But I was 100% unprepared for how difficult it would be for my accent to be understood by people here. It never even occurred to me to be honest. I don’t mean that to sound arrogant. What I mean is that as American standards go, generally speaking, I don’t really have an accent. At least not like some people do in the south (like my family in Georgia) or on the east coast (like a tough New York cop from a Hollywood film) or even in the mid-west (think Wisconsin and the movie Fargo!). And after living in Europe for the good part of the past 18 years and with having so many mates from the UK, my accent is actually pretty neutral (I think). I even enunciate my words like a good girl and I try to never go “valley girl” when I am talking…except to joke around of course. But I have come to learn that my accent actually really does SUCK here! haha I mean, it sucks BAD!
I decided to ring Empire on Mosque Road in Frazer Town for some (hot as bloody hell spicy) chicken and a sweet lassi (a yoghurt drink) delivered to the flat. But of course there were funny complications. First, they needed my name. This is not as easy a task as you might think. Telling them just my first name took about 60 seconds and 3 spellings to perfect it. You know, I really need to learn how to say my Indian A-B-Cs like a native because this spelling thing is really going to kick my ass and it is actually something that I could learn quickly. ((Note to self, learn A-B-Cs with an Indian accent))Next, we needed to register my address so they could actually deliver my chicken. Now this wasn’t simply a problem of my accent or his accent. The address dilemma was special. For starters, I still haven’t learned the format for addresses here or how to give out my address in the proper order. So when the poor guy was asking for my apartment number, I was accidentally giving him my street number. Then of course the accent sinks back into the equation and I misunderstand him. So I start to spell the WRONG information to him, haha.
In the end the Empire guy understood probably 1/3 of what I said. I probably understood about 1/3 of what he said. What a nightmare for the poor guy at the other end of the telephone. And for me. Yet at the same time I have to admit that it was all actually really, really freaking funny too. When we were done, I had a laugh with the guy on the phone to shake off the insanity a bit. Well, at least I think we were having a laugh TOGETHER? To be honest, who knows though! Maybe he was really laughing AT me 🙂 Hmmmmm…
And in case you were curious, Jolie seems to be fine now, which I am happy about. Maybe I can finally hit SPAR tomorrow 🙂
XOXO from Bangalore
© Angela Carson, Angela’s Adventures in Bangalore blog and photos, 2011