June 03, 2008

With folded hands

Jug Suraiya discusses the anatomical impossibility of this Indian English phrase:
A couple of columns ago I used the typically Indian phrase 'with folded hands', a gesture implying, among many other things, entreaty or surrender. A reader has pointed out that while the phrase is, indeed, in common use, it represents an anatomical impossibility much more so than that suggested by the other choice Indian Englishism: my head is eating circles (a direct translation from the Hindustani 'Mera sir chakkar kha raha hai').