51 entries

Articles by Kalpana Mohan

Sheesh! So Much Bakshish!

bakshish [bak-sheesh]: noun 1. money given as a tip, a present, or almsverb 2. to give such money to (a person) Origin: from Persian bakhshish, from bakhshidan to give; related to Sanskrit bhaksati he enjoys

Unearthing Shakti

shakti [shuk-thee]: 1. the female principle or organ of generative power.2. the wife of a deity, especially of Shiva. From Sanskrit sákti power

The Sari Story

sari [sa-ari]: noun, also saree, long, wrapping garment of silk or cotton worn by Hindu women, 1785, from Hindi sari, from Prakrit sadi, from Sanskrit sati “garment, petticoat.”

So Naked Without Bangles

At every social occasion, a dear friend of mine is turned out in a simple and elegant sari. She wears the same diamond earrings and the same gold chain. Her sari blouses are always sleeveless and always cut in the same way. Almost always, however, one accessory stands out ...

On the Shanghai Bund

When my husband and I stood at the Bund in Shanghai a few weeks ago, it struck me that the word bund had to have been distilled from Hindi. A quick check on my iPhone after I walked into a WiFi hotspot got me my answer. The word bund ...

Puffed Up Over a Roti

roh·tee  noun (in India, neighboring countries and the Caribbean) a type of unleavened breadOrigin: Hindi and Urdu roti bread; akin to Sanskrit rotika, kind of breadFirst Known Use: Unknown

Frenzy on the Maidan

mai·dan  [maee-dahn]  noun (esp. in India)an open area or space in or near a town, often used as a marketplace or parade ground.Origin: 1615–25;  < Hindi maidan  < Persian  < Arabic maydan

Down From the Tonga

ton·ga  [tong-guh]  nouna light, two-wheeled, horse-drawn vehicle used in India.Origin: 1870—75; Hindi tanga

An Orange Letdown

orange [awr-inj]  nouna globose, reddish-yellow, bitter or sweet, edible citrus fruit.Origin: 1300–50; Middle English:  the fruit or tree < Old French orenge,  cognate with Spanish naranja  < Arabic naranj  < Persian narang  < Sanskrit naranga

Stop by for Chai

chai [chaey]  nouna drink of tea made with cardamom and various other spices, milk, and a sweetener.Origin: 1970-75;  < Turkish çay  and Russian, Persian, Hindi, Urdu chay  tea, ultimately < Mandarin ch’a  te
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