After my first trip to India, back in about 1996, a friend asked me if I had brought back some “chai tea.” I had a laugh about this since in India chai is normally understood as simply tea, meaning my friend was asking for tea tea. Because of context, it took an inflated description in English to describe a particular spiced Indian beverage.
I thought about this conversation recently when I ran into a similar situation having to do with a “bangala bungalow.” Ask any American what a bungalow is and you will find images of all manner of detached houses, often “Arts & Crafts” in style. Use the word in India and there appears a fairly refined image of a highly desirable private guest house, often British built, often colonial in style with a modern twist, often large, often frequented by foreigners and historically originating in the state of Bengal where a bangala was a modest, rural structure with porches all around and a thatched roof. Suffice it to say that I pieced this definition together from several unofficial sources and could not actually find a picture of the historic prototype. Nevertheless, while traveling in India, asking for accommodations in a bungalow, a bangala, or any combination thereof will let you experience a bit of the grace that so attracted the British to live in and love India, not a little due to architecture.