Some fun moments at work revolve around FF’s conversations. FF is gregarious and loves getting to know people, words, customs. These days, his close crony is Tea-and-me (TNM)…you guessed it, the canteen-boy. TNM is fascinated by the ‘phoren mulga’and FF on his part, loves chatting him up. TNM speaks halting hindi and ‘chaan marathi’ while FF drawls Americanese and ocasionally ‘Indian’.

Me: Kitna hua?
TNM: Tera.
FF: What’s ‘tera’?
Me: Oh, thirteen.
FF: *Poring over the Hindi-English manual I’m compiling for him* Mai tera hoon!
TNM: Huh????
Me: Oh, very romantic! Look, now you’ve scared him away. We’ll get tea with poison in it now!
FF: What’d I say? I was telling him my age!
SNC: No, you said “I am yours!”

After a long discussion on the nuances of the Hindi language and its proper usage we get back to work. An hour later…

FF: So…how do I say “I want this?”
Me: Mujhe yeh chahiye
FF: Mujhe toom chahiye!!!!
Me: ???????
SNC: Hahahahhaha!
FF: Did I just say “I want you”?
Me: Yeah, but it sounds more like “I want to kidnap you”!
FF: Great, how do people ever get romantic in this country??????

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