Chape, Chamdi, Chutiya: Three Words India Can’t Live Without

Social Commentary

Chape, Chamdi, Chutiya: Three Words India Can’t Live Without

Illustration: Akshita Monga

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s you travel the world, you realise one thing: People don’t speak English. It is strictly a business language. Across Europe, South America, South East Asia, the language of friendship, dating, love, expression is still local. But Indians have embraced English wholeheartedly. Young parents are embarrassed to speak to their children in their mother tongue – even if said languages are on their deathbed.

English has has always been the language of aspiration, but with inter-caste marriages on the rise (at least in urban India), the language spoken at home is also slowly becoming English. If you don’t speak it, you are a “vernie” and invite derision and snobbery. At the ripe age of 33, I have seen beautiful Indian names being reduced to single letters. Kunal becomes K and Sindhu becomes S. I’ve seen everything from laughter to birthdays wishes turn to a gross abbreviation.

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