This post, and more so the comments on it, reminded me of my own puzzlement with Indian English, when I moved here twelve years ago.
I was sixteen when we moved from Nigeria, right after my grade ten (and yes, we called them grades one to twelve. NOT classes one to twelve, NOT standards one to twelve. *Grades*) board exams. Owing to the bubble environment we'd grown up in, I spoke a strangely stilted Hindi, and very fluent, but very weirdly accented English. It wasn't Nigerian English and it wasn't Indian English. The closest I can come to describing it is, as a cross between Indian and British, with a touch of American thrown in for good (or maybe not) measure.
"But why should you have any of those accents?!", you ask. "I have NO idea", I say.
Hey, I didn't make The Bubble, I just lived in it.
The accent was never really a problem though. At least, not as far as making myself understood was concerned. Getting people to stop thinking I was snooty bitch because I wouldn't (I couldn't dammit) speak in Hindi, was of course, another issue altogether.
But I'm rambling again.
The first time I was let in on the gossip going around in school, I was told in hush-hush tones that persons x and y were 'going around'.
Me: "Going around? Going around what??"
Random Girl in Class: You know... they're having a love affair!
Me: A LOVE AFFAIR?! But..but they can't have a love affair! They're in school!
See, till then, the only time I'd ever come across the words 'love affair', were in Mills & Boons novels and heavens! Love affairs were things that grown-ups had. They were, you know...sordid and occasionally even featured (oh fetch me my smelling salts!) *sex*!
So yes, I was quite scandalised, much to the puzzlement of the RGiC, who began wondering whether Indians in Nigeria were like, really backward, 'cos y'know, like, everyone goes around dude.
When V and I started dating, I proudly informed RGiC that we were 'going out' (by which, of course, I meant that we were seeing each other).
RGiC: Going out? Going out where??
Me: We're not going anywhere, we're just, well...he's my boyfriend now.
RGiC: Ohhhh! You mean you're going *around* now!
In Indian English, it is understood that when you use the word 'parlour', you mean a beauty parlour (or 'salon', if you prefer).
So I'm on the phone with n and she asks.
N: Haan, so where are you right now?
Me: In the parlour.
N: (after three seconds of confused silence) Isn't this your ghar ka phone number?
Me: Hunh? Yes it is. Why?
N: Tera parlour tere ghar ke paas hai?? Do you have an extension there?
Me: What on *earth* are you talking about?! Parlour ghar ke andar hota hai shaayad? And this is the main phone line...the extension is upstairs.
N thinking: MAN these Nigerian Indians are a weird lot!
Me thinking: MAN this woman makes lesser and lesser sense every day!
And all because English is a very funny language.*
*Part of this dialogue from an old Amitabh Bachchan movie, Namak Halal.