DSC_3995Kurta Khaos

kurpa cutoutTurns out that “u” makes more of an “oo” sound as in “hook”. I still stink at pronouncing it. I usually end up saying something like “kworta” which most people can understand.

A kurta is a long, loose-fitting piece of traditional Indian male clothing. It’s generally made of very light cotton and is a great way to stay cool, avoid sunburn, and look stylish.

However, there is one thing about kurtas they don’t tell you in the literature: how to pronounce them. Read it again, “kurta”, how do you imagine it’s pronounced? Something like kur-ta, right? Wrong.

But very few Hindi speakers understand and American saying “kur-ta.”

So when I showed up, alone, at a large open-air market in the heart of New Delhi, I very quickly became confused.

Vendor after vendor, when I asked for a kur-ta tried to sell me cur-tains.

A strange comedy of errors unfolded as Indian vendors enthusiastically displayed their finest curtains and I struggled to figure out if I was crazy, if they were messing with me, or if these curtains were in fact traditional male Indian garments.

Luckily, with the help of a smartphone and Google image search, I was able to communicate what I was actually looking for and eventually secured my kurta, I mean kworta, I mean… traditional… Indian… thingy.