Madam I am downThis slightly startling statement, is not actually a cry for help – any more than ‘Madam, I am coming’ is an extract from the Indian version of Lady Chatterly’s Lover. This is simply the standard way my driver lets me know he’s outside – or to be more exact downstairs.

It makes a lot of sense when you think about it – geographically, even 3 dimensionally, he is down from where I am.

Confused the hell out of me first time I heard it, though. I was car-sharing with an Israeli friend when I first arrived out here, and he breezed past me in the corridor of our hotel and murmured ‘Driver’s down’.

I stopped, thinking… ‘if he’s down, does that mean he’s not come into work today? Have I just been told we have to make our own way to work?’

Sometimes I’m not that bright first thing in the morning.

Moving on – the second common driver statement, ‘I am coming’, also has an edge to it – well apart from the obvious one of course.

Always, always, all over India, you are told, ‘I am coming, five minutes madam’. Doesn’t matter how long it might actually be – you will be told they’ll be there in five minutes.

Thus when you leave any building with lots of ex-pats in it, you will pretty much always find one of them standing a little forlornly on the kerb outside, looking at his watch and muttering ‘very long five minutes, where’s the car?’

Ah, India, you’re lovely. But you are rubbish at time keeping.


If you’ve enjoyed this article – do please check these other tenuously related pieces:

Too many fruits, Madam
The words actually left my mouth
She’s actually FAKING dusting!

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