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Best. Complaint. Letter. Ever. January 27, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Fun stuff, Random musings.
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Since we are jet setters (I was just pricing a flight to Paris for tomorrow for a funeral but decided it simply didn’t make sense to try to organize a trip that last minute) I thought you all might appreciate this complaint letter to Richard Branson (the CEO of Virgin Airlines and Virgin Records), which was written by a man who flew from Mumbai to London. Trust me. It is totally worth jumping to Crazy Days and Nights to read it.

On another note, when did Bombay become Mumbai and how did I miss the memo?

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1. MT - January 28, 2009

I laughed.
Until I cried.

For a while after 9/11 if anything around here suddenly stopped working, we would blame Al-Qaeda. Tuner on the TV goes out. MT turns to family and says, “I blame Al-Qaeda.” Light bulb burns out. MT says, “I blame Al-Qaeda.” We gave that up a long time ago when we stopped being scared of (gasp) terrorists.

So there hasn’t been anyone to blame for ages. Now I’m going to start blaming Richard. You see these grey hairs on my head? Richard!!!

2. jillsommer - January 28, 2009

FOX News is reporting that the author of the letter has been given the opportunity to sample food for Virgin whenever they test new meals at the catering company. The author of the letter has not decided whether he will accept. This story just keeps getting better and better. 🙂

3. MT - January 28, 2009

Apparently it always was “Mumbai” in Marathi; “Bombay” is just a corrupted spelling/pronunciation that originated first with Portuguese explorers and mapmakers and then propagated to French and British ones as well. (It’s a myth or folk etymology that “Bombay” somehow comes from Portuguese “bom bahia.”)

It’s the same story with “Bangalore” becoming (or returning to) “Bengaluru” and other placenames. In each case, its just replacing the (sometimes poorly) anglicized name with the original name.

It’s sort of like how “Penobscot” is how the name “Panawahpskek” was borrowed into English for that tribe’s name, or how “Mississippi” is the corrupted form that we used, borrowed from Ojibwa “Mshiziibi.”


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