Hi everyone! Yumi I’m glad to hear your business dinner with the Americans went well, I knew it would. It's always a good idea to have a killer view on hand to provide a source of conversation! That’s too bad that your boss couldn’t make it, but then maybe that was a good thing in the end? With all this entertaining you’re doing I think you deserve a promotion!
So you might be asking yourselves, what’s a wallah? Well it’s a very useful Hindi word that you can combine with all sorts of things to talk about a person who does a particular job or who comes from a particular place. For example, people who are from Delhi are called ‘Dilli-wallahs’, while people who drive taxis can be called ‘taxi-wallahs’. It’s basically just a suffix to show that you are talking about a type of person.
When we first moved to Delhi I was fascinated by all the different wallahs who walk through our colony each day plying their trade. What was even more interesting, is that each of these different trades-people have a particular noise that they make as they walk up and down the streets. For example, the fruit and vegetable wallahs shout to let you know what nice fresh vegetables they have. The kavadi wallahs also shout, but this time it’s “Kavaaaaaadi! Kavaaaaaadi!’ Some of the others use things like a horn or a bell or a little drum, but they always make the same sound so you can hear who’s around without having to look out the window or go outside. Handy!
Well I promised that I would talk a little bit about using the word ‘even’ as Yumi and a couple of our readers have asked about it. So I thought I’d make it a bit more interesting by combining it with a little description of some of the ‘wallahs’ who work in our colony each day. Read this next bit carefully and then I’m going to ask you a couple of questions as the end for homework.
Well as you can tell by the name, the flower-wallahs sell flowers. They cycle around with a cart attached to their bicycle, full of beautiful fresh flowers. They’re not really around during the summer months but in the winter we see them everyday. Even though the flowers are more expensive than if we bought them from a big market we still buy them because it’s so convenient.
Yep, you guessed it, these guys sell fruit and veg. They push hand carts through the streets with all their wares arranged in incredible displays. Sometimes they even polish the vegetables and fruit to make them look more appealing. They’re always there – pushing their carts of fruit and vegetables around, even if it’s raining cats and dogs.
You might be wondering what I mean by ‘pressing’ – well, it’s kind of an old-fashioned word for ironing. They use amazing huge irons which they pile full of hot coals – I still haven’t quite figured out how they control the temperature but our ironing is always perfect. They don’t move around but there have little stalls set up at various places in the colony, each with a few pressing--wallahs hard at work. We always take our ironing to the same place. They even deliver it at the end of the day!
Here’s a photo of some people having a laugh at the pressing-wallah we go to – you can see one of the irons on the edge of the table:
These wallahs are really something special. Basically they recycle everything. When you’ve got a whole lot of recyclable stuff, you can call one of these guys into your house. They sort out all the things they want to take (like newspapers, cans, glass jars, bottles, etc.) and then they weigh it and then they even pay you for it!!! We were completely blown away the first time this happened. In the UK in some places you pay for your recycling to be collected and taken away!
The monkey wallahs cycle around with one or two monkeys on the back of their bicycle, usually dressed up in little costumes. They’re looking for people to pay them a bit of money to watch the monkeys do a little show, while the monkey-wallah plays his drum.There’s one monkey-wallah that I see quite often. He doesn’t even let you glance at the monkeys without asking you for some money! I don’t really agree with making animals perform. Even so, I sometimes sneakily watch from my terrace when my neighbours over the road pay him to make the monkeys do their tricks.
All right, hope you enjoyed that – now for the questions:
1) How many different uses of the word ‘even’ can you find?
2) What can you tell me about the position of ‘even’? Which part of the sentence does it normally go before?
Okay – just got time for the vocabulary and then I’m off to bed. I’ll write some replies to our readers’ comments tomorrow.
Good luck with the homework! Answers on Tuesday…
Colloquial: informal – usually used to refer to language or words
Flummoxed: completely confused
Movement: a group of people working together who share the same ideas
To put someone off: to make someone dislike or not want to do something
Jargon: (I forgot to put this one in the list!) language that is used by a particular group of people that people outside that group don’t understand
To convey: to communicate
…and more new words and phrases
To make something (*see context)
To rain cats and dogs
To figure out
To have a laugh
To be blown away
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