Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A tale from Lulus

Last Thursday was expats night.

For those of you latecomers I should explain, Lulu's is a small 'girly' (in that the decor is gold, purple and hot pink rather than bavarian wood stylee) bar in Kettwig run by 2 non German women, a Texan and a Mancunian) and once a month they host an evening for expats (other drinkers are not disallowed entry but they have to endure lots of loud, fast English and jokes at their expense (although with the English being spoken so fast and so coloquially they'd need to have damn good language skills to understand the puns that fly)

There is a core of expats - me and Rebecca, then there's Ian and Kamesh who both work for RWE, and Anne & her husband (whose name escapes me, I'm dreadful at remembering names, always have been, honest, it's not senility creeping up) look as though they're set to become regulars also.

Last Thursday Anne asked all of us the question that we all get asked living here;

'where in England do you come from?'

When a German asks me that question I'm normally nice and polite and tell them Birmingham (which is not the truth, the truth and nothing but the truth. But rather a version of the truth) I always assume that most people who haven't actually lived in the UK will only know of London, maybe Stratford and possibly Birmingham, they will certainly not have heard of 'Abbots Bromley' seeing as it's a tiny one horse kind of village (except that as it is deep in the country there are lots of horses - pretty much only one bus per day though)

So back to Anne's question, we all answered appropriately apart from Kamesh, who despite speaking perfect Queen's English has never been to England, he's from Bombay (as he insists on calling it, as it was Bombay when he was born and so it shall remain - in his head at least) grew up in India and has travelled extensively but never actually been to England.

Which led to us having to explain to Kamesh that in the UK you would NEVER, on pain of death ask any none white English speaker where they came from, because the probability is that they are the 3rd generation of their family to be born in the UK, and the asking of that question is tantamount to saying to them 'go home, back to whichever remote part of the British Empire you've come from, go home'.

Something you just wouldn't do if you,
a) possess half a brain,
b) are even remotely polite &/or
c) want to remain in your current form.

Kamesh then took off on a highly entertaining rant about 'foreign' Indians, the possibly British born Indians who decide to visit their ancestral homeland and who can speak the language of the country they're visiting but effect a fake accent to make the point that they're not actually from India but from somewhere else.

They call them NRI or ABCD's.

NRI is actually a correct abbreviation for such people, its correct meaning is 'Non Resident Indian' except the residents know it as 'Non Reliable Indian'...

While ABCD refers to 'American Born Confused Desi' ( )

So while these expat Indians are proud to not live in India but happy to visit, the residents are lauging at them behind their backs.

You learn something new every day!

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