My team and I at the party.
So, on Friday Innopark celebrated their 7 year anniversary. Quite amazing actually, the company has grown from a few people to 200 since the inception. Everyone was invited to celebrate at News Cafe, a restaurant/pub/club in the Inorbit Mall. It was a good time. Starting off with a presentation from one of the founders; food, drinks, cake, socializing, music, pictures, and dancing followed. There was a theme for wearing Innopark's colors, so most were dressed in black, red, or white. I enjoyed the night out with my colleagues, they're pretty entertaining. I've gotten complements from co-workers on my India dressing, apparently I wear India clothes well! That seriously makes my day when I hear that. And I learned at the party that house lizards can lose their tails as a defensive mechanism, and then re-grow them (speaking of which had a couple of these guys on my wall last weekend). Really hoping I don't find tails in my room...
Many of my colleagues have told me that Hyderabad has really undergone quite a rapid change over the last 5-10 years. Many of the shopping malls have been built very recently, and the culture is becoming more Westernized. It seems that this has also had a dramatic impact on India's culture in the major cities. It's very normal for people to wear either traditional Indian dress or Western clothing. The rural areas I am told are still very different than urban. It is hard seeing the kind of poverty that some people live in, which I've never experienced before in America, and the trash on the streets. It's very common to see dogs, chickens, and cows feeding on a garbage dump area that I walk past on my way to work, and the smell is not so pleasant.
I'm attempting to try not to worry as much about things when they aren't going according to my plans, which can be difficult when things get more complicated than I think they should be, and yeah, it's not fun, it can really suck, but that's life. And when something doesn't go right in a foreign country, it's just that much more difficult to deal with because I'm not as knowledgeable about how to go about resolving an issue. But, I think it's making me a stronger person, and I'm learning I have some really awesome people here who will support me in whatever I'm going through.
I thought I would list a few common phrases that I hear all the time that I've gotten used to. So, here's my cliff notes version of Indian English mixed with Hindi:
1) "Cool." Used a lot like sounds good. Everything is cool.
2) "Good, good." Also, "acha," which means means good in Hindi.
3) "Sorry?" Said a lot when you need something repeated or you don't understand something.
4) "Theek Hai." Hindi for OK. Hear this all the time.
5) "Haan" and "Naheen." Yes and no in Hindi.
6) "Kyaa?" What?
7) Answering anything with a side to side bob of the head.
I also seriously think Indians speak more English slang than Americans do. And, though I keep mentioning Hindi, I should point out that there are many other languages people speak here besides. Telugu is very common, as the state language, but I know people in Hyderabad that speak other languages such as Urdu, Bangalore, Oriya, Marathi, and more that I can't remember. It's just that usually Hindi is the commonly used alternative language to English that I've heard in the office. On a random note, someone mentioned they were a Bong the other day, and then clarified that it meant they were a Bengali (a part of India), yeah, I didn't know what to say at first to that. If you're American you'll probably understand my confusion.
The following are the top questions I always get:
"Where are you from?" (People always wonder if it's the US or UK)
"How many people are in your family?" (4, in case anyone is wondering)
"How tall are you?" (a little over 5 feet 7 inches)
Last week we were sharing some jokes in the office, and I taught a couple famous American jokes. I'll mention one: Q: "What's black and white and read all over?" A: "A newspaper" (when telling the joke the confusion is that everyone will think "read" is the color "red." I also had to teach what a knock-knock joke was, because people thought all that was to it was "Knock-knock, who's there?", and that that's all the joke is! So, I felt it was my duty to set the record straight. Here's an example of a knock-knock joke:
Person A: "Knock-knock"
B: "Who's there?"
B: "Boo Who?"
A: "Don't cry, it's just a joke!"
Okay, kind of stupid, but anyway, you get the point. I still like them.
On another note, people here get upset with me when they ask me if I know certain American singers/movies/celebrities, etc, and I say I've never heard of them. They're like, "What? We need to educate you on your own culture!"
Thought another temperature comparison would be interesting, so I included both F and C temps for Hyderabad and St. Paul, Minnesota. It's already getting chilly in MN, and this is nothing yet! Hyderabad is still quite warm, hot summers but nice winters.
Well, that's about it for now.
"Rule number one is, don't sweat the small stuff. Rule number two is, it's all small stuff." ~Robert Elliot