Friday, October 06, 2006


I went into peels of laughter after dinner today. Just before picking up her plate, my Danish host Esben Ihle asked his wife Helle, "Are you finish?"

Her reply, "No, I'm Danish."

I laughed so hard I knocked my head on the chair next to me. I find many similarities between Danes and Indians and one of them, perhaps the most important one, is that we laugh at the same things.

Monday, October 02, 2006


On the first evening in Haderslev in south Denmark, I went to my host Christian Juhl’s mothers home. It was a linguistically-challenged affair. Noone there knew English and I didn’t know a word of Danish. My energy was spent mid-way through the meal after all the animated acting involved in communicating what I was trying to say. I gave up and sat in silence eating Gammeldags hvidkal – a mash of cabbage and cream (quite nice). But the family – Christian Juhl, his sister Rita, her husband Gunnar and their mum Annalise continued to speak in Danish. I thought Christian must have been telling very interesting tales because Rita was drawing in her breath every few minutes.

The following day I met more people making sharp intakes of breath, every few sentences. The Danes must be easily surprised I thought. But its only now at the end of the first week here that I realise its their characteristic way of speaking. Spoken words are followed by a gulp of air.

Now I don’t rush to ask what the matter is when I hear a “whu”. Its just air making its way into a Danish throat.