42 entries

Articles by Kalpana Mohan

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

A Raja’s Pearl

raja—noun (rah-juh)—Hindi and Urdu raja, from Sanskrit raja—king First Known Use: 15551:  an Indian or Malay prince or chief2:  the bearer of a title of nobility among the Hindus

Crushed By the Juggernaut

juggernaut—noun (juhg-er-nawt, -not)—Origin: 1630–40;  < Hindi Jagannath  < Sanskrit Jagannatha  lord of the world (i.e., the god Vishnu or Krishna), equivalent to jagat  world + natha  lord

Who Took the Tamarind Out?

ayurveda—noun (ah-yur-vey-dah)Origin: Sanskrit,  equivalent to  ayur/ayus  life, vital power + veda  knowledge

Step Into Our Verandah

verandah—noun (vuh-ran-duh)—a large, open porch, usually roofed and partly enclosed, as by a railing, often extending across the front and sides of a house; gallery.


At noon, if you want to hire an auto-rickshaw by my father’s apartment in T. Nagar in Chennai, India, you must gear up for a bit of a walk because all around our home, auto-rickshaws are lined up like languorous coaches in the railroad yard at Chennai’s ...

Perfectly Done

brahmin—noun (brä/brah-min)—a Hindu of the highest caste traditionally assigned to the priesthood—a person of high social standing and cultivated intellect and taste; —(in the US) a highly intelligent or socially exclusive person, esp. a member of one of the older New England families In my ...

From the Man-Village Into the Jungle

jungle—noun Origin: 1770–80;  < Hindi jangal  < Pali, Prakrit jangala  rough, waterless place—an equatorial forest area with luxuriant vegetation, often almost impenetrable—any dense or tangled thicket or growth—a place of intense competition or ruthless struggle for survival: the concrete jungle

I’ll Have Three Sugars With That, Please

sugar—nounA sweet crystallizable material that consists wholly or essentially of sucrose, is colorless or white when pure, tending to brown when less refined, is obtained commercially from sugarcane or sugar beet and less extensively from sorghum, maples, and palms, and is important as a source of dietary carbohydrate and as a sweetener and preservative of other foods.

A Boy Turned Pariah

pariah—noun—a member of a low caste of south India —one that is despised or rejected: outcast
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