Blog in 12 2011.
Dishoom Café lives in the heart of Covent Garden. It’s modelled on the Irani cafés found in the heart of Bombay and it’s named after the sound effect used in Bollywood films to make punching in fight scenes more dramatic. Amazing.
But beyond this cultural homage to modern Bombay, there’s something about the language that makes it all come together.
Ask what they call their supporters, punters and fans. ‘Dishoom-wallahs’. Dig deeper and you’ll see their marketing manager’s called the Marketing-walli (translated quite simply as the one who does the marketing). And of course there’s the food on their menu.
Keep reading and you’ll see that same personal, playful, Dishoomful language runs through all the words their beloved Dishoom-wallahs are likely to see. And they manage to do it – I’d guess from their popularity – without alienating non-Indian-speaking audiences. Because there’s a pattern and we can join the dots.
When we at The Writer do naming for clients, we always put in the caveat that naming’s subjective. And for massive global organisations that have been running and growing for decades, the process of coming up with a naming system is a beautifully complex one that takes months and months to get right. And even then, we warn clients not to depend on the name – it goes hand-in-hand with other icons, communications, PR and so on.
Dishoom seem to have got this right. And Shamil, one of the founders of Dishoom, admits that they were only joking ‘like Beavis and Butthead’ about the name Dishoom in the first place. But they went with it. And it works really well.
The Pakistan telecoms watchdog has banned people from texting ‘offensive’ words.
I’ve stuck quotes around ‘offensive’ because the list they’ve drawn up is a really mixed bag.
You’ve got ‘flatulence’ in there. And ‘fondle’. Those aren’t offensive words. They might be linked to topics you wouldn’t talk to your granny about, but they don’t hurt anybody. They’re not racist, or disablist, or sexist.
It seems to me we need to make a distinction between words that actually offend people, and words that make prudish people turn up their noses. What do you think?