A Taiwanese traveller arrives at a train station in Paris and doesn’t know which train to take. At sixes and sevens, he whines: not a single word in English. He nearly misses his train! At Wulai, in Taiwan, a French traveller arrives and sees no train at all. All at sea, she kvetches: all the information is in Chinese. She, too, nearly misses her train!

And there is nothing surprising: in France, it’s written in French; in Taiwan, in Chinese. Nonetheless, one thing is worth noting: they seem to love their respective language, and love it with pride. While the importance of English cannot be ruled out even in these countries, they don’t yet see a need to write everything in English. Their tacit implication: if foreigners wish to come, they should also know the means to garner necessary information, about trains, for example.

In Nepal no foreigner should feel disoriented due to lack of information in English. Right from the airport all the way to Thamel or elsewhere, have a dekko

all around! Nearly everything is written in English: names of schools, hospitals, hotels, shops, restaurants, pharmacies, political hyperboles - not to mention all sorts of graffiti and hoardings! One may even infer that Nepal is a purely English-speaking country.

One sets up some business and he or she readily opts for the enterprise’s name in English. So much so that, pretty often, if something is not written in English, the words in Nepali are written in transliterated English. The proprietor may not necessarily know how

to read it. And the moot question is really a tough nut to crack: what exactly explains this preference of English to Nepali?

This widespread English phenomenon has a tremendous advantage for those wishing to improve the very language: just walk around the city reading or even writing all the stuff and in no time, you will have a feather in your cap as far as your English is concerned.

However, a word of caution on certain things:

placard in a local bus: ‘resave’ instead of reserve; stationary shop (of course,

a shop cannot move around!) instead of stationery shop; surrounded on all sides (how on earth anything can possibly be surrounded only on one side!) — so on and so forth. Happy English Journey!