1. Respectable & Not So Respectable People making kissing noises : To me if a random stranger was pouting and making kissing noises, it meant the obvious – He was being a creep. In Mumbai I realised that its a call for attention and substitute for excuse me. Imagine my horror as I stood talking on the phone and a guy with a big carton on his shoulder kept making that noise and moving his head to one side, it took me half a minute to realise that he wanted me to move and wasn’t being creepy. I have seen regular people like me do that to taxi guys, or others to ask for directions! Left me stumped!
2. Tu, Tum or Aap – What’s that??? : We grew up referring to everyone as aap – elders, strangers. Tum was if you were talking to people your own age, Tu was simply disrespectful and considered terribly downmarket. Realisation dawned here after many instances of thinking that “How disrespectful – why would my dietician tell me – “Tu yeh khaa” or someone on the phone or the cabbie would refer to me as Tu. Now I know that they mean no disrespect and thats how they actually talk & its perfectly normal. Thought its quite difficult to unlearn 30 years of Aap – so really I’m the freak here.
3. Woh Off Ho Gaya – While we battle with the politically correct term – expired, he’s no more, demise the locals have come up with the very easy and eloquent “Woh Off Ho gaya” I’d heard of this term but only found it amusing and difficult to believe that people actually use it, until my cook called one morning and said – “Bhabhi aaj mein nahi aa rahi, Meri saas Off Ho Gayi” . After that I don’t know how I can be sympathetic, cos I’m still recovering from a person being treated like a switch!
4. No Concept of U Turn; Auto / cabbie guys don’t know U turn. That’s simple you just have to tell them Full right or Full Left! No reason, that’s just the way it works
5. The SMELL : When you go to Bangalore it smells green, Chennai smells of incense and jasmine, Delhi smells dusty and Mumbai just stinks!!! When I would come here on work for a few days the smell would hit me like a hurricane. Now I dont notice it either. The smell of dried fish and garbage just permeates through the city and then you are so used to it you don’t even notice it anymore!