I have tried to keep the use of Indian (Hindi or Urdu) to an absolute minimum in these novels, however at times it has made more sense to use the original word. This is India after all! Below is a glossary for the series, to shed light. Hope this helps!
Aam junta – the general public / the ordinary masses
Abbu – Islamic term for Father
Alghoza – a pair of flutes joined together and played simultaneously
Astrakhan hat– hat with the dark curly fleece of young karakul lambs from central Asia.
Bajra – black millet
Beedis – thin Indian rolled cigarette
Betel nut – areca nut.
Bhel puri – Mumbai’s signature street food dish of puffed rice, onions, tomatoes, spices, and hot chutney and served with a tiny deep fried bread called ‘puri’
Boondi raita – savoury dip of yogurt, spices and tiny gramflour pearls.
Brinjal – aubergine
Carrom – “strike and pocket” table game akin to table shuffleboard.
Dahl – lentil dish
Dhaba – a motorway curry house diner
Dhoti – traditional men’s garment wrapped around legs and knotted at the waist
Diwali – Hindu festival of lights
Diya – cup-shaped terracotta oil lamp traditionally lit on Diwali.
Duffer – an incompetent or stupid person.
Dupatta – long scarf made from light fabric
Eidi – gift for festival of Eid eg. money, presents or flowers
Ghazal – poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain
Goonda – thug or bully
Hajji – Muslim person who has successfully completed the Hajj to Mecca.
Hapoos – Alphonso mango, considered ‘king of mangoes’
Hawala – illegal method of transferring money outside of traditional banking systems
Hookah – instrument for vaporizing and smoking flavored tobacco
Jaggery – cane sugar
Jagirdar – feudal landowner or landlord.
Jowar – sorghum flour
Kabaddi – a traditional form of Indian wrestling
Kabuli Biryani – traditional chick pea biryani dish from Hyderabad
Kameez – long tunic worn by many people from South Asia, typically with a salwar
Khansama – male cook, who often also assumes the role of house steward
Kurta – loose collarless shirt worn usually with a salwar or pyjama.
Lakh – One hundred thousand
Lathi – a stick / baton
Makhani – a Hindi word meaning “with butter” or butter sauce.
Masala movie – a movie embodying a blend of genres
Masala sambar – spicy lentil-based vegetable stew
Maya – “that which is not” (i.e. illusion)
Mawali – Mumbai slang for lowest class of male street ruffians.
Morcha – an organized march or rally.
Neem – Indian tree used for its antiseptic properties
Nukkud natak – Indian street Play
Pajama – a pair of loose trousers tied by a drawstring around the waist
Panchayat – a village council in rural India
Pomfret – popular fish found in Indian restaurants
Parotta – a layered flatbread
Peepal – sacred fig tree
Ram ram – a common Hindi greeting meaning hello.
Rangoli – decorative patterns created using colored rice, dry flour, colored sand or flower petals
Salwar – a pair of light, loose, pleated trousers, usually tapering to a tight fit around the ankles, worn by women with a kameez (the two together being a salwar kameez)
Sadhu – a religious ascetic or holy person
Sarpanch – elected head of the village council (the panchayat) in India.
Shatranj – old form of chess from which modern chess developed
Shree – polite form of address equivalent to the English “Mr.”
Swami – holy ascetic initiated into a specific religious order
Sundari – double-reed wind instrument
Thaali – Indian steel platter with individual sections to serve a variety of dishes.
Vasta waza – Kashmiri term for a head chef
Vedji – traditional Indian Ayurvedic medical practitioner
Yaar – akin to addressing someone as “mate”