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Watch: Mumbai residents were asked what they think about English. Some answers were surprising

Do people treat you better if you speak fluent English?

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A reporter hit the streets of Mumbai to ask Indians some pertinent questions about the English language (video above). The questions tackled traits of Indian English, like the “Indian accent”, the prominence of the language and its rising dominance over native languages.

Representing the YouTube channel Asian Boss, which brings to their audience “authentic perspectives on cultural and news trends from Asia”, the reporter’s conversations were interesting, to say the least. Turns out, many Indians (at least the ones in the video) grossly overestimate the percentage of the Indian population that can speak fluent English. The guesses varied from 40%-80%, which is much higher than the estimated approximately 10% of the population that does actually speak the language fluently.

The video also addressed stereotypes in Western culture about the Indian accent, like the character Apu from The Simpsons. The character has been heavily criticised for an exaggerated, racist portrayal of Indians – and the people in the video agree as well. As one of the women interviewed said, “We do not speak like that, stop doing that.”

The YouTube channel has also posted a video (below) in the past which shows what foreigners think of certain English words or phrases that are commonly in use in India, but mean something else in other parts of the world.

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A special shade of blue inspired these musicians to create a musical piece

Thanks to an interesting neurological condition called synesthesia.

On certain forums on the Internet, heated discussions revolve around the colour of number 9 or the sound of strawberry cupcake. And most forum members mount a passionate defence of their points of view on these topics. These posts provide insight into a lesser known, but well-documented, sensory condition called synesthesia - simply described as the cross wiring of the senses.

Synesthetes can ‘see’ music, ‘taste’ paintings, ‘hear’ emotions...and experience other sensory combinations based on their type. If this seems confusing, just pay some attention to our everyday language. It’s riddled with synesthesia-like metaphors - ‘to go green with envy’, ‘to leave a bad taste in one’s mouth’, ‘loud colours’, ‘sweet smells’ and so on.

Synesthesia is a deeply individual experience for those who have it and differs from person to person. About 80 different types of synesthesia have been discovered so far. Some synesthetes even have multiple types, making their inner experience far richer than most can imagine.

Most synesthetes vehemently maintain that they don’t consider their synesthesia to be problem that needs to be fixed. Indeed, synesthesia isn’t classified as a disorder, but only a neurological condition - one that scientists say may even confer cognitive benefits, chief among them being a heightened sense of creativity.

Pop culture has celebrated synesthetic minds for centuries. Synesthetic musicians, writers, artists and even scientists have produced a body of work that still inspires. Indeed, synesthetes often gravitate towards the arts. Eduardo is a Canadian violinist who has synesthesia. He’s, in fact, so obsessed with it that he even went on to do a doctoral thesis on the subject. Eduardo has also authored a children’s book meant to encourage latent creativity, and synesthesia, in children.

Litsa, a British violinist, sees splashes of paint when she hears music. For her, the note G is green; she can’t separate the two. She considers synesthesia to be a fundamental part of her vocation. Samara echoes the sentiment. A talented cellist from London, Samara can’t quite quantify the effect of synesthesia on her music, for she has never known a life without it. Like most synesthetes, the discovery of synesthesia for Samara was really the realisation that other people didn’t experience the world the way she did.

Eduardo, Litsa and Samara got together to make music guided by their synesthesia. They were invited by Maruti NEXA to interpret their new automotive colour - NEXA Blue. The signature shade represents the brand’s spirit of innovation and draws on the legacy of blue as the colour that has inspired innovation and creativity in art, science and culture for centuries.

Each musician, like a true synesthete, came up with a different note to represent the colour. NEXA roped in Indraneel, a composer, to tie these notes together into a harmonious composition. The video below shows how Sound of NEXA Blue was conceived.

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You can watch Eduardo, Litsa and Samara play the entire Sound of NEXA Blue composition in the video below.

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To know more about NEXA Blue and how the brand constantly strives to bring something exclusive and innovative to its customers, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of NEXA and not by the Scroll editorial team.