I find that sometimes I have to explain terms in my blog posts, and sometimes I explain them in multiple posts because I'm not sure what the reader has or has not seen yet. It's kind of annoying for me (and probably for the readers who know these terms), so here's a glossary instead! I will continue to add to this list of words and phrases.
Angrez - "English" in Hindi (adj or noun as in a person from England; not the language). what Himachalis often mistaken me for. probably short for angrezi
Angrezi - "English" (noun as in the name of the language, or as an adj)
Autorickshaw, or auto - 3-wheeled vehicle with obnoxious drivers who try to overcharge you and my favorite form of transportation. unfortunately nonexistent in Shimla.
Bhangra - Punjabi music and dance
Cemetery - my neighorhood within Sanjauli. yup, I live in a place for dead people.
Chai - Hindi word for "tea," but also a specific type of tea with milk, sugar, and often spices like cardamom.
General shop - Indian version of a convenience store, and where I do my non-vegetables grocery shopping. Always pretty small and owned by a local person, almost never part of a chain.
Gompa - Himalayan Buddhist monastery (I almost typed Tibetan Buddhist, but technically these people are Indian not Tibetan. But the same type of Buddhism. Vajrayana, I guess. You know what I mean. ...maybe.)
Gora - fair-skinned/white (adj, male) or fair-skinned/white person (noun, male)
Gori - fair-skinned/white (adj, female) or fair-skinned/white person (noun, female); what I am called
Gurudwara - Sikh temple, usually white with onion-shaped domes
Hanuman - Hindu monkey god. Features in the Hindu epic Ramayana as the general of the monkey army that goes to Lanka to help Rama defeat Ravana and save Sita.
Himachal Pradesh - the state I currently live in. It is in the Himalayas in North India and entirely mountainous.
Himachali - of or pertaining to Himachal Pradesh (adj); a person from Himachal Pradesh (noun)
Jakhoo Temple - Shimla's temple dedicated to Hanuman, populated by legions of evil monkeys who steal glasses off faces and babies out of mothers' arms
Jangpura - my beloved Delhi neighborhood that I miss dearly here in Sanjauli
Lhakhang - the temple building of a Buddhist gompa/monastery. literally, "house of god"
Maggi - instant noodles that are my primary source of sustenance
The Mall - Shimla's upscale dining and shopping promenade, closed to vehicular traffic, and crowded with Bengali and Delhiite tourists
Mandir - Hindu temple
Masjid - Muslim mosque
Pakora - a popular snack of vegetables or paneer deep fried in gram (chickpea) batter. also called bhajji.
Paneer - Indian soft cheese that does not melt when cooked
The Ridge - runs roughly parallel to the Mall, also populated by Bengali and Delhiite tourists, has some British colonial buildings and a decent view of the valley and towards the Himalayan peaks
Sanjauli - my hometown in Himachal Pradesh, about a 20-30 minute bus ride from Shimla proper
Shanan - the village in which my office is located, about 25 minutes from Sanjauli
Shimla - the capital of Himachal Pradesh and the erstwhile summer capital of the British Raj. Bengali and Delhiite tourists flock here.