Lonar: ‘Who Is the Country?’ and Desi ‘Angrezi Log’

Scene 1: Four backpackers – wearing capris and coolers – were taking a walk along the rim of the Lonar crater. A villager grazing his cows wanted to show his hospitality to the tourists. He smiled and asked, “Who is the country?” The backpackers looked at each other, thinking “who’s the country among us?” After a moment they realized the villager wanted to know which country were they from. Seeing the capris, coolers, and backpacks, he mistook us Indians for foreigners. Also, he didn’t expect Indians to walk the 5-km stretch under hot sun. When we said, “Mumbai se he” and started laughing, he too laughed out aloud to hide his embarrassment.


Scene 2: The same four backpackers were trying to locate the remains of an ancient temple and were walking along a narrow road inside a village colony. People stared at them. Fine. But when a father explained to his son – “Angrzi log he” (meaning “They are English”), we couldn’t stop laughing and responding, “Angrezi nahin, Hindusthani he” (meaning “Not English but Hindusthani”). Maybe our brown colour was mistaken for suntan.

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