When my dad argues that there are thirty more letters in the Hindi alphabet than there are in the English, he refers to the languages as ‘ours’ and ‘theirs’, respectively. That’s because he’s talking to our Indian visitors, who’ve travelled from Madras, by way of New Jersey, last week to London, and now to Shropshire, where they’re staying with my parents and discussing – at length – the respective strengths and weaknesses of Hindi and English. There can’t be enough letters in either, I think, as I listen to them debate in an odd fusion of both languages.

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