BITS and Pieces

Get global. Get ahead.

Putting to sleep or putting to bed?

Parents of Indian children are barbaric! Why, you can even call them sadists or inhuman if you will. Whoa, whoa, don’t be too shocked. There is a reason I am saying this. What else would you call parents who make their babies unconscious by using drugs, alcohol, or an anesthetic or then bore their children greatly?

There surely seems to be some method to the madness. When it comes to Indian English or simply ‘Indian’ as I choose to call it, Indians wish to convey something, say something that means something totally different and are yet perfectly well understood.

Sample this. Every night, somewhere in India, a parent is singing a lullaby in the hope that it will send their child to sleep. But when asked what they were doing, they will probably say, “Oh, I was just putting my baby to sleep.”

“Goodness gracious! Putting your baby to sleep! Seriously?” a Brit might retort.

Now, any dictionary worth its salt will tell you that ‘putting someone to sleep’ either means ‘to make someone unconscious’ or ‘to bore someone greatly.’ I am sure parents don’t mean either.

“Oh, I was just putting my baby to bed.” This is how it is simply said.

Think before you speak. You might have just said something you never intended to 🙂

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Sandeep Nulkar - Founder, Chairman & Managing Director, BITS Private Limited Sandeep Nulkar heads one of India’s largest translation and localisation companies. 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 bring credibility and recognition to the Indian translator within and outside India.