People deciding what to do at Mysore marketNow I love this phrase, it epitomises Indian fatalism.

Or the appearance of Indian fatalism, to be more accurate.

It’s used so much – often after some apparent small disaster; the car’s not arrived, the floors flooded, people can’t come to your party.

And as news of this trauma seeps in, there will be a slight shrug, a shake of the head, and then staring slightly at the floor, you will hear ‘what (pause) to dooooo?’  The what is a rising tone, the dooooo is a falling tone.

What makes this particularly delicious, is that there is almost always a vast array of things to do (call a cab, get a mop, change the date), but no, there we are surrounded by opportunity and here we stand staring at the floor bemoaning the lack of possibilities. Fabulous.

A dear friend of mine, raised in London and now married to a delightful Keralan chap, has told me that since their marriage he’s started adding her into this as well ‘what are we to doooo?’  Her general feelings on this being summed up by, ‘don’t draw me into this, I’m off for the mop’.

And as we all three fell about laughing on the subject, he made the salient point – we all know there’s things to be done, but really it’s a bit unfortunate to have to go and do them at all.


This post is one of the more popular on the blog, for reasons that slightly baffle me. If you’d like to read the ones, I personally think are the best of the blog page. Why not hop over and check out some more foolishness there?

Or go straight to the good stuff here:

A train full of Punjabis

Not made in China

Too many fruits, Madam

And please do add your own tales of blank fatalism. I love to know I’m not alone in finding them odd…