As a former British colony
But besotted with those darn Americans
We are just so very confused
Us poor contemporary English-speaking Indians

Is it an exercise in collusion
To add doubt and Bollywood vernacular
To a language widely spoken
Making it quite uniquely peculiar

When “realise” with an “s”
Is now perfectly acceptable with a “z”
Only, to us desis*, “z” is not “zee”
It still rhymes with red, bed and head

When we’d go to a restaurant
We’d finish eating and ask for the bill
Now it’s also “May we have the check?”
So we call it what we will

A cheque is what we write
Checks are what we wear
My spellcheck gets frustrated
Autocorrect makes me tear my hair

Dialog ends with “ue”, colour retains its “u”
And there’s an extra “s” in Maths
Our cars, automobiles, whatever
Run on petrol or diesel, not on gas

Yes, we drive on the left
And try and keep away from the footpath
And when we’re dirty and sweaty
We don’t shower, we have a bath

And except at fancy places
We still call an elevator a lift
Our money is counted in notes not bills
Just so as not to give our former masters short shrift

A street is nearly always lane
It’s the ground floor, not the first
Soda is the club kind (mixed with whiskey)
Not any fizzy drink that quenches our thirst

The potatoes we eat with burgers are fries
Otherwise they’re called chips
What the English call crisps are wafers
Which we eat noisily with a dip

Biscuits are the salty ones, cookies are sweet
Their wrappers go in a rubbish bin
OK, that’s also a trash can
It’s a different matter we don’t throw them in

Our halls have sofas, no one calls them couch
And lorry and truck are the same
But shrimp are nothing but prawns
And mum is mom called by another name

It’s definitely ass over arse
When talking about our butt
But as for “tom-a-toes” or “tom-aah-toes”
Both still make the cut

Soccer’s now replacing football
But an iced lolly is still candy
Via is pronounced with an “i”, but Iran an “e”
And program, as written, is suffixed with an “me”

A line is a queue
“Jewelry” is “jewellery”, vive la difference
A period is a full stop
Figure it out – it makes no sense

Silly it is and it’s getting out of hand
We need an Anglo-American dictionary to better understand
I could go on and on, the examples run into dozens
We’re paying for the foibles of two North Atlantic cousins

desis – what we people from the Indian subcontinent call ourselves


  1. Gettin the American view point here. My auto correct doesn’t use proper English, American English or any form of English either. Our language has more foreign words and pronunciations then us Americans realize or realise. Good read

    Liked by 1 person


  2. I read this the other day and meant to comment. I feel your pain as a former British colony and a copy cat American country. But no one can understand us when we say we are coming just now and that can from five minutes to a couple of hours 🙂

    Liked by 2 people


  3. Loved it! I once had a British room-mate and this reminded me of quite a few hilarious incidents.
    All of this is so true! 🙂 amazing control and knowledge of both (or rather, all 3 😉 ) languages

    Liked by 1 person


  4. I’ve read that the English language is one of the most difficult to learn. I was born and learned to speak it but I’ve encountered difficulties in teaching my kids that phone is really spelled with a Ph not a F. Yet there’s a type of tree spelled fone. I’m Canadian so we spell check completely different like this, cheque. It could be the Queen’s English I don’t know we’re fond of the letter u as well humour, colour, honour, etc. 😉

    Liked by 1 person


      1. Exactly, I’ve had my essays corrected for spelling mistakes when I add the extra u for eg: honour. I just have to laugh and say it’s my Canadian coming out in my writing. It’s all I’ve ever known though. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. For some reason, i refuse to adopt the new spelling – the one where the “u” is omitted.
        And, I plan to write to Oxford to officially change the spelling of phone to fone. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. In south Florida there are many people from the Caribbean and their English has so many differences. In casual Trinidadian spoken English there is no objective case for pronouns. It is all subjective(nominative) case as in “this is she book” and give it to she”. They call a wrench a spinner. Jamaican patios is real as trip as well. Thanks visit my blog.

    Liked by 1 person


  6. You should work on that dictionary , positively ! I have enjoyed reading your posts today . The first one that has so much humor and is light hearted yet so smart and full of wit ! Am mighty glad to have found you , K ji ! Your posts have added colour / color ( which one ?) to my not so bright day today 🙂
    Am going to learn so much from you !

    Liked by 1 person


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