Bubble in the desert

A blog I started whilst on a GE "Bubble" assignment in Nevada. I'm back in Cambridge (UK) now but still miss the desert and my friends out there.

Friday, December 08, 2006

An Indian Experience & My New Friend Radhika

Radhika is a new person at work, a contractor working for Satyam. She came climbing with us last night. I've worked with a lot of Indian people but they often don't talk much about India. Radhika, it turned out, was over here to redress that balance and talked a whole lot about India, which was fascinating. She knows a whole lot about Yoga, which in itself was very interesting.

Tonight I dropped her home after circuit training and we went via Bollywood, the Indian restaurant in Carson City. She's from South India and most dishes on the menu were more Northern but she picked out some nice stuff and then showed me the proper way to eat when you are from South India. I had heard before that eating with your right hand is sometimes the normal way to do things and indeed this is typical in South India. It took only a little persuasion to get Radhika to show me how it is done. We started with a small pile of rice, added some dhal and then mixed it in with the fingers of the right hand (the left hand is not used but you can use it to drink luckily, since the right hand is quickly covered in sticky stuff). When mixed you scoop up some of the rice and Dhal with your fingers, in a kind of shovel shape, and then patt it down a bit before gracefully sliding it in your mouth with your thumb. Of course, this is only graceful if you have been brought up this way, otherwise it just looks a bit grim.

Ultimately we switched to chappatis which also have to be manipulated with just the right hand. You seem to anchor things with your thumb and then break off bits of bread with the fingers.

I think another 10 years and I might get the hang of eating this way.

It was really great to hear lots and lots about India. About how people live, politics, business and all sorts of things. It sounds like quite a place.

Radhika also showed me her name written in Hindi and then in 4 other Indian languages. There was no decernable similarity between any of them. They all looked amazing and so so foreign but I think I liked Hindi the best. She then showed me what my name would look like in Hindi script - very cool! My favourite Hindi word of the evening was Bhindaas, which means cool.

I was very surprised to learn that English is the language of business in India and people talk English when they go out to bars and suchlike. Radhika explained that she sometimes speaks Hinglish - a combination of Hindi and English. I felt very ignorant not knowing that Hindi is the national language of India (partly because I know there are a lot of languages in India). Though I was less surprised by this than I was to discover that English is so commonly used.

An excellent cultural evening!



At 9:43 pm, Blogger radhika said...

Aaha! Ok Bindaas guy that was cool…. u wrote so much about the little I told you Indian experience...
May be you should come for wedding to India and see the big fat Indian Wedding and write about that as well ;-)


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