This is a transcript of an email recently received by a friend of mine who works for a multi-cultural non-government organisation which will remain nameless but which begins with ‘U’ and ‘N’:
As you may be aware, I was blessed with a baby child with her full of innocence and beauty, which must keep me in joyous mood forever. Prior to show her elegance and leadership in this world, she is definitely going to render tinkling of her bangles and anklets in my life. Hence, I would share a few hour joyful moments of my life-time celebration with you all. May these celebration hours be at 5.00 pm of today as a part of our […team meeting…].
Hence, this is my benign invitation to all of you to join today in our […] party at 5.00 pm at our […] office. See you all at 5.00 pm.
With warm regards to all of you.
[Name removed to protect the benign)
Now, I haven’t posted this as an easy way to poke fun at anyone else’s English. Oh no, my Hindi, afterall, is nonexistant, so I’m in no position to mock.
It was more that I love literal translations from one language to another – especially when the cultural differences between the two are so great.
I mean, how completely, poetically, evocatively marvellous is the phrase “…she is definitely going to render tinkling of her bangles and anklets in my life.”
On a related(ish) topic, I had dinner with a friend last night who recounted the following:
She went to visit her nephew, Max, who is 4 and is going through a Batman phase (a phase which follows the Thomas The Tank Engine phase, apparently). They discussed Batman for several minutes – my friend rapidly running through her stock of Batman-related facts, which was not extensive given that she’s a girl and not a nerd-girl – then Max The Nephew thankfully changed topic.
“I have a rabbit”, he announced, proudly.
“Oh, that’s exciting!” said my friend. “What’s your rabbit’s name?”
*A look of utter contempt at the seemingly boundless stupidity of adults crosses Max The Nephew’s face*
“Bat-Rabbit of course”