India is a country that has its own unique identity and this distinct identity shows itself in the culture, lifestyle, attire and of late, even in the language of Indians. The funny thing is, the sense of Indian-ness is not just seen in the national language Hindi, but surprisingly, even the English language in India reeks of Indian-ness thanks to the various Indianisms that have come to become a part of the English language in this country. Admitted, the unique fervour of Indian English may give you a sense of belonging and the much repeated statement we are like this only, may have even for a second filled your chest up with pride. But all is not good… Well it’s okay when we spike the English language with Indianisms while speaking with our Amma, Appa or cousin brother and sister (excuse the pun)! However, if you wish to be a good writer, it becomes important to avoid these Indianisms in your work. Take a look at some of the most common Indianisms that may just creep into your works of literature unknowingly:
1. Cousin brother/sister: Let’s admit it. This Indianism must go out of the window. And coming to think of it, what is a cousin brother? Either you have a brother, sharing the same parents, or you have a cousin, sharing the same grandparents. One single person cannot be your brother/sister and cousin at the same time! Enough already.
2. Now only: “I now only got off the phone with your cousin brother Vikram. Yesterday only I asked you to call him, no?” Sounds familiar? Story of our lives right? So what is now only? Does adding the only to it give the sentence a greater sense of urgency? I would think not. And of course, the famous no. Every sentence in India ends in a sing song question. We have surely had enough of that no?
3. More better: Ok fellow Hindustanis, it’s time to get back to grade five and revise degrees of comparison. Good better best. And you compare using better. That’s it. How can anything be more better? Double comparison much!
4. Good name: Yes yes, we are a respectful people. But what exactly is a good name. Are there bad names as well? A name is a name. Nothing good or bad about it.
5. Are you having this book?: The present continuous for everything! Nothing defines Indians more better! Why not just say ‘Do you have this book?’ and finish it off?
6. Out of station: So here’s the thing, people do not live at stations for them to be in or out of them. All you need to say is that the person is out of town, or on vacation. As simple as that.
7. Prepone: The ultimate favourite. Oh wait… I forgot, Preponded is the ultimate favourite. How can anything compete with that. Not only have we created a new word altogether, but we have also given it a past perfect tense. Yay us! The list of Indianisms goes on and on. And just when we think we have finally managed to deal with them all, trust us to come up with something new. So if you are an Indian and you want to be a writer, a good writer, keep your ears open and attentive, for you never know, when these Indianisms may just appear in your literary works.