Each Country, City and Town has it’s a particular vibe, a sense and personality that is specific to that very locality. To some people a Mancunian and Liverpoolian sounds the same but ask someone from Manchester or Liverpool if thats true. In the same light, Lagos has it’s very own unique personality and I’m slowly starting to get a grasp of the local dialect. For instance, if you’d like to say how are you in Lagos, you’d say ‘How now?’ or ‘How Body?’. If you want someone to guide you to a certain destination you’d say ‘You go, I go follow.’ Obviously you’d have to adopt the accent to have the full effect but you get the idea. Such phrases you can comprehend but the same can not be said for all actions.
For instance, Mr.B was having an accented conversation with the Sofa maker and discussing the job at hand as I watched from afar. I was slowly getting used to his ability to speak ‘Pigeon English’ like a local and realised how much of an asset it was. Mr.B’s hands waved in the air and came together in a clap as he talked to the pot bellied and top less African about how he’d like the end product to look. Once he was done, there was dead silence until the shorter man turned to Mr.B and asked with complete sincerity;
‘You mean me?’ and pointed to himself!
Mr. B later explained this was common practice as you could be alone with the driver in the car and ask him a question to which he would respond ‘You mean me?’ You’d find yourself looking around the car to see if anyone else was there and think ‘Who the hell else is in the car!?’ Same deal with the lift operator. You step in and it’s just you and him and you tell him your floor to which he’ll turn around and ask ‘You mean me?’.
As a result, I’ve decided to adopt the ‘When in Rome’ philosophy. If Mr.B ever asks me for something, I’ll simply respond with…’You mean me!?’
Marriage Tip No. 29;
If you can’t beat ’em, use ’em!
Welcome to our Pigeon English Marriage! How Body?
Born in Africa, Chandru grew up between Nigeria, India and the UK. With a Masters in International Business from the University of Westminster, he moved to New York where he worked as a Business Development Manager for three years. In 2002, he returned to Nigeria where he currently resides and runs a trading company. Chandru has been writing for Beyond Sindh (www.beyondsindh.com) since 2004 and has published numerous articles in the quarterly publication. His story entitled ‘The Love Letter’ won the Mirage Book short story contest and was published in an anthology titled Inner Voices in January 2009. His short story ‘Zero’ is scheduled to be published in the anthology Indian Voices towards the end of 2010.
In December 2009, Chandru’s first novel, ‘The Journey of Om’ was published in India by Cedar Books.