The disembarkation card the pretty airhostess of Tiger Airways handed us over when the aircraft was preparing to land at
This time I was not lucky on either count. No typos, no similar words. They I decided I could try learning some Viet Namese words. '
Soon, it was touchdown time. Presently, we were in the terminal building. After the immigration and customs formalitis which took an unduly long tme, as we waited for the carousel to bring our registed baggage, I thought I could go to the loo. Proceeding in the general direction, I saw two doors adjacent to each other bearing the words NU (with the picture of a woman) on one and
Then it struck me: the two words - the words for year and man in Viet Namese - are the same! I know there are a few words in most languages which have two or more meanings (Without them, life would be hard for the punsters!) but usually they would be used in only one very commonly understood sense. Like in Sanskrit, Raatri (or nisha, rajani or nisheetHini etc) means night, but all of them mean turmeric too. It must be tough, I thought.
But surprise was yet to come. A couple of days later, I accompanied my son Hari to the vegetable market in Buon Ma Thuot, the capital of
I wondered: If someone wanted to say in Viet Namese that a man had lived in the South for five years, what would he say?
That was not the end. We were in an upmarket cafe in Da Lat that serves coffee in different forms - espresso, mocha, cappucino, cold coffee, chocolate coffee, cafe au lait, etc. I opted for coffee with milk and a lot of ice and Bhawani for hot coffee. Hari translated our choice for the benefit of the attendant: 'Ca phe sua da for him and ca phe nam for her.'
It is a testimony to the strength of my mind that I did not faint when I realised that '