BITS and Pieces

Get global. Get ahead.

Catching a place

Come to think of it, there are only so many things you can catch in life. As kids, we caught a cold as easily as we caught butterflies when we were teenagers. Then as youngsters, a few lucky ones got to catch a movie with that ‘special’ friend, much like those busy climbing the corporate ladder, with little time to spare for physical activity, will catch their breath after climbing a few steps.

What is amusing however, is the uncanny knack some of us possess, or so we believe, to catch ‘space’, something I am sure even Einstein could have struggled to do 🙂

So what’s all the brouhaha over the verb ‘catch’ about? Well, what seems as easy as “क्या आप मेरे लिए जगह पकड सकते हो क्या?” in most Indian languages, suddenly becomes an herculean task the moment we want to say it in English, grammatically correct English if I may add.

The uninitiated go with the usual “Please catch my place.” When told this is not how it is said, they will try something like “Reserve my place” or “Book my place.” But that would mean something completely different. So then they hit a roadblock.

The answer is pretty straightforward actually. You simply use the verb ‘save’ to form the question “could you please save me a seat?”

And don’t you try that on unsuspecting Indians. They might not get you. This usage is strictly reserved for your trysts with the international audience or the few Indians who speak good English. In India, keep it simple. Speak Indian! Say it the way you feel will help the other person understand! ????

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Sandeep Nulkar - Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, BITS Private Limited Sandeep Nulkar started his career as a translator way back in 1993 and heads one of India’s largest translation and localisation companies – BITS Private Limited. He is a linguist by passion, businessman by choice and author by circumstances. Over the past decade, he has been working closely with the corporate world and with students and the academia to create an identity for the Indian translator within and outside India.