Mix English and Hindi/Tamil (a language spoken by a very large population of Indians living in Dubai) and you get an interesting version of English.
I hear/see these phrases on a daily basis.
1. What is your good name? – I was asked of my name in this manner during my first day of work.
2. How are you? – Don’t expect they are really asking you how are you doing by answering, “I’m fine”. It actually only means, “Hi” or “Hello” in Dubai. Don’t get upset if no one even listen to your reply of “I’m fine, thank you”. Save your energy and simplify your life by giving a nod or a smile.
3. Kindly do the needful. – A popular closing greeting in the office email. It means “do whatever is required”.
4. Not on his seat/out of station – Be alarmed when you’re looking for someone and you get this response on the phone. The meaning ranges from the person you are looking for being out for 5 minutes to being on leave for 6 months!
5. Itself – “The guests will be coming over tomorrow itself” or when you need to get something done and ask when you’ll get it, you’ll often hear “By today itself” which means forget it, there’s a 99% chance that it won’t be ready by today.
6. Only – I can’t explain why they like to put this word in almost every sentence when being interrogated.
“Where were you?”
“I was here only (why you didn’t see me)” or
“For that (referring to getting married) only he will go to India.”
7. Full stop – Once at work, my colleague dictated and I typed: “The elevator of xxx building services 50 floors FULL STOP.” He panicked, “Not FULL STOP full stop!! End of sentence, end of sentence!”
After a short brain freeze, I got it.
I did not type “END OF SENTENCE”. My collegue meant the punctuation mark called “a period”! Silly me.
8. Yes, tell me! – When you personally approach someone for help or call them on the phone, you will hear this.
“Yes, madame, tell me!”
It usually means, “I haven’t got much time, whatever you want, spit it out, immediately.”
9. No problem. – Translates to “no worries” for THEM but for you, it could mean a lot of trouble! Nothing gets done quickly here, this is the place where tomorrows never end, remember? If you ask for something and get a “No problem”, be sure to follow it up every hour, if need be!
10. Same-same – I ask, “How hot is India in summer?”
“Hot but not same-same Dubai, madame”.
I have also been told that my daughter and my husband look same-same.
11. Backside – Don’t fret, they don’t mean your “behind”. It means the back of something. I used to work at the backside of the Lulu Building in Deira and on a company’s notice board:
“You are all invited to party on backside next week!”
12. Nos. – Pieces, numbers of. “I saw 2 numbers bus coming at the same time five minutes ago.” or “We need 2 numbers stapler for the new employee.”
13. Cabin – A private office, a separate room, usually for managers and other bosses.
“Mr. xx is not on his cabin.” or “Ali Baba, in my cabin, now!”