Mumbai Diary: Tuesday Tales

The city — sliced, diced and served with a dash of sauce

Miss take
We Desis are famous for misspelt signboards and nameplates, especially in English. "Child beer” for “chilled” is by now legendary, and you know the language has gone the extra mile when “puncture” becomes “pemchur” an Anglicisation of the Marathi mispronunciation by roadside tyre-fixers.

It’s a prahvate class, dahling. Pic/Uday Devrukhkar
It’s a prahvate class, dahling. Pic/Uday Devrukhkar

But when it comes to those who are supposed to make their living through education, and proper use of the language, one does expect a certain standard. Even when it comes to a sign painted on the wall.

This “praavate classes” business could, of course, claim that its wording which reads “private” without the “y” sound is a high-class pronunciation of the word. Almost American, one might think, if you say it as “prahvate”. However, we suspect that this is not the case here, and it’s just another instance of carelessness in spelling, writing, painting, typography all the myriad ways linguistic lapses conspire to infuriate us.

Seeing a pattern
The sixth Indian Ink Tattoo and Lifestyle Expo, held over the weekend at the World Trade Centre in the city, was a showcase of some extraordinary talent in the form of tattoo and body art.

This just might be the elusive rabbit from Alice in Wonderland. A detailed dragon depiction covers this young man’s back Pics/Atul Kamble

Tattoos may seem a weird fetish or a passing fad for most of us, but to a lot of tattoo wearers, they are an expression of their personality, very much a part of who they are. In some cultures, such as the Maori of New Zealand, tattoos are part of rituals and rites of passage, and many people, especially men, sport intricate tattoos even on their faces.

The expo in the city certainly showed us a glimpse of the visual delight that good, well-designed tattoos can be. Executed skilfully and with an aesthetic vision in mind, a tattoo can enhance one’s look and, at the very least, become a talking point in gatherings.

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