I was in Bangalore with a colleague recently for some meetings. It was his first time in the garden city. So it wasn’t really a surprise that he was surprised when I asked our driver to stop at the nearest ‘petrol bunk.’ “What on earth is a petrol bunk?” he probed. Genuinely baffling, right? Why would one city use a different word when most of the rest of the country is happy sticking to the simple option ‘petrol pump?’
Well actually, a ‘petrol pump’ is merely ‘a piece of equipment installed in a petrol station to dispense petrol, diesel, etc. into the fuel tank of a motor vehicle.’ A ‘petrol station’ however is ‘an establishment selling petrol and oil.’
So technically, we have been wrong in visualizing an entire ‘petrol station’ every time we uttered the words ‘petrol pump.’ A petrol station is known as a ‘gas station’ or a ‘filling station’ in the U.S. and a ‘petrol station’ or a ‘fuel station’ in the U.K.
A ‘petrol bunk’ is simply India’s attempted contribution to English, nothing more! And just for the record, ‘petrol’ in India and the U.K. is ‘gas’ in the U.S. 🙂