If Hindi in India has become Hinglish, South African Indians are a step ahead. They have a mix of three languages, Hindi, English and Zulu --- the local South Afrian language, and call it "Kitchen Hindi".
"The mix is very popular with second and third generation Indians," said Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, who was member of parliament from Durban from 1994 to 2004. "You can call it evolution of South African Indians in their own unique way".
There are about three lakh people of Indian origin in Durban, biggest settlement of Indians in a city outside India. Unlike, United States or United Kingdom, a vast majority of Indians live in concentrated areas in Durban away from ghettos where natives Zulu people like and posh areas of white population.
Being here for more than 100 years has had social impact on local Indians, as Gandhi said, and one such evolution was in their language.
Such is the popularity of the Kitchen Hindi that there is a FM radio station called Hindvani, whose jockeys present Hindi songs in typical kitchen Hindi. "We have present programmes in the language our listerns best understand," said one of the reporters, who had come to cover the climate change conference in Durban.
So, an unasuming radio jockey at Hindvani gave a brief discription of a popular Lata Mangeshkar song in kitchen hindi. For an Indian, one could understand that it was a Mangeskar Song from film Guide of Dev Anand, who died recently. The rest was in Zulu.
Suresh Kumar, a local taxi driver, whose forefathers came from Gujarat in India in early 1900, just understands a little bit of Hindi such as Namaskar (welcome) and some Hindu religious prayers. "For me, it is now Zuluised form of Hindi," was his reply when asked whether he can speak Hindi. Another Indian Mohammad-ul said the language is very popular in community social interactions and at home.