Move over Hinglish, Endi is here

Turned on NDTV at 11:30 am today, and I saw something scrolling on the bottom bar (the thing all news/business channels have where stock prices or headlines scroll 24 by 7) that caught my attention. It was a news item written in "Hinglish".

Actually, if you go by the Wikipedia take on Hinglish, what I saw wasn't even Hinglish. They had news items on Bollywood, in Hindi, but printed in English alphabets. Like:

Yash Chopra is saal kai filmon ke vitran adhikar le rahe hain …
Abhishek Bachchan Rakesh Mehra ke nirdeshan mein kaam karenge …

For this blog, I will give this a name – Endi!.

I was shocked! Hinglish is a few years old and a documented phenomenon. But why does NDTV have to resort to Endi? Perhaps their market research guys have found out that there are a lot of folks, especially Bollywood fans, who can read but not write Hindi – think Sonia Gandhi types :).

Though this level of acceptance of Endi was a bit much for me, we have all seen and used Endi before. The guys who most likely kick started this were Bollywood film and music marketing managers. They must have thought it was cool and sophisticated to print movie titles in English. So we all saw phrases like "Tumsa nahin dekha" ( = haven't see anyone like you) and "Woh saat din" ( = those seven days) printed on movie posters and audio labels.

But Endi got its biggest push in the internet and mobile phone age. We wanted to converse in Hindi, but there were no easy fonts or keyboards available for use. So, in our emails and SMS'es, we went, "aap kaise hain" and "kya haal hai".

Email and SMS definitely popularized it, but, Endi got its start in attempts and compulsions to write our names in the colonial language of that time – English. Early practitioners of Endi must have fought wars over the best ways to spell Hindi names – Smita or Smitha, Agrawal or Agarwaal. Too bad, they couldn't settle these debates then, Endi is still searching for standards.

Hence, we see each one devising his own set of rules. Though, the beauty is, whether it is
– mai hoo,
– main hoo, or
– main hoon,
we all manage to figure it is supposed to mean "its me".

Perhaps its just another proof that Hindi is one of the most flexible languages, and its guardians an accommodating and progressive lot.

Bakee baad mein (Endi for “more later”).

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3 Responses

  1. […] I had written about Hinglish/Endi on noticing NDTV was displaying Hindi written in English. I was surprised then.  I was even more surprised earlier today, when I saw more of the same on a Singapore Airline flight. […]

  2. Good and interesting post. Also admired the satire about Endi users (Who can read but not write Hindi) Sonia gandhi.

    Though I am still not sure whether she can actually speak Hindi apart from his hand written speech handed over to him by some one other.

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