Sonya (not Sonia. It’s so desi!), being a first-to-know type of girl, can’t handle being the last-to-know with regards to the accessory of the moment—L’accent Internationale. Thought she was way ahead—Fendi baguette, Sergio Rossi pumps, Cavalli shades, all taken care of weeks ago when she shopped in London. Then I asked, “Sonya, which accent are you picking for this summer?” Accent? Sonya was flabbergasted. “Haven’t you noticed? All the hip people in Delhi have accents now,” I stated.
Aware of my knack and habit for society eavesdropping, Sonya queried, “Well, what’s the season’s accent?” I replied, “The sound on the uptown street is Chic Speak. There is a polished, refined, schooled-in Switzerland-London-and-America lilt. Or Robert De Niro’s or Enrique Iglesias’ glamorous Italian-Sicilian-Spanish singsong. Then there’s the Delhiite who’s always spent her summer in the south of France. The point is to sound so well travelled that you have forgotten how to speak English.”
The high-society soirees and after-parties are perfect for studying the rules of the en-vogue rounded-out international accent: Forget pronouns, confuse tenses, drop the Hs—“e’s talking to er.” And she lisps, “ow you get Hermes Kelly Bag already?” (Well, the chic lady is referring to Hermes and Kelly Bag, which has a long waiting list).
Another rule is, appear to be translating into English from a foreign language at all times. But Sonya, now that you know the rules of the L’accent Internationale, don’t mess up when someone asks you where you hang out by saying “LAP” like you do every Saturdays. Instead, say, “All over the world, dahling.” You can do name-dropping of schools, like Les Roches. So obscurely chic, no one will know you weren’t there.
Like Chic Speak, it’s also about Small Talk—literally. This is much less complicated than Chic Speak. Here’s your ready reckoner—ATM (Anytime Money) means loaded boyfriend. The best state in which to find oneself is MTT—Married to a Tycoon. Second best state is to be dating an ATM who is a TIT—a Tycoon in Training.
After the crash course in Chic Speak and Small Talk over cups of Cappuccino, Sonya, a wee bit bewildered, said, “Will never say I’m going to the ATM to draw cash or that lech is eyeing her TITs again.”
Opinions expressed in the column are the author's own.