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I scanned the menu in a Tamil Nadu restaurant. Usually, my Indian husband orders for me, but having traveled to India several times, I boldly navigated through odd sounding items. Then I reached items 125-127.

Crap? Shocking!

Then look above that, at item 121. Chilly prawns? Cold shrimp? Or did chilly mean spicy like chili peppers? I ordered naan. Naan is bread. Chilly or not, naan seemed safe. It wasn’t crap.

The next day we took our nephew, Sanjay, with us to Western Union.

Notice the word “cons” above. Now, this is where spelling mistakes and irony mix it up.

Sanjay (left) held the bills to the light and discovered several counterfeits in the batch. He handed them back to the attendant in exchange for real rupee notes. Now, who is the con? (Thanks for that help, Sanjay)

So, with our cons jingling in our pocket, my husband and I flew to Goa. Not yet adjusted to India time, we woke at four in the morning and decided to walk to the Arabian seashore. After a few hours, we were hungry. The only place open for breakfast was a sweat shop. Yes, a sweat shop. Advertising cakes, no less. Didn’t the owner know that mistaken letter could land him in deep carp with authorities? Ok, so maybe they didn’t have ten-year-old’s working in the back and maybe it was a legit cake shop. But still, the word “sweat” and “cake” should not be together in advertising signage. Eww. Gross. Imagine biting into a moist cake from a sweat shop.

India is a large country, with many well educated, intelligent people and these were just a few fun misspellings I ran across. I can’t imagine if I’d have to write signs in Tamil. We find typos everywhere, not only in India. We find them in our own writings and occasionally in well-edited bestselling novels. We all make mistakes. I’m sure there’s a few in this blog. But watch out, because one misplaced letter can turn something that otherwise might be savory, into crap.

www.dictionary.com is a great place to start to find the difference between “sweet” and “sweat” or the one that always gets me, “lay and lie.”

There are many writing resources on the web. Here’s my short list of great resources that can make our writing more professional and less like crap:






And speaking of the root word, “resource,” Indians are incredibly resourceful. I accidentally broke my husband’s expensive pair of glasses. Everywhere from optical to jewelry shops in Kansas City said the break at the nose piece was unrepairable. My husband assured me that, in India, they could fix them. And they did. You can’t even tell they were broken.

And you gotta love the resourcefulness of this guy. Most would never attempt to haul that many bananas on a scooter.