One of the most important barriers that travelers face when dealing with locals in India is language. Though the majority of people in India can speak and understand English, they may not understand your accent.
And if you speak a few words of Hindi it can save you money as street vendors tend to increase prices when they see a foreigner. They may charge as much as double for an item that you could easily get for less with some relentless bargaining.
Here are some key phrases that can make your experience in India easier. Feel free to drop me an email if you want to know something more specific firstname.lastname@example.org
Kitne ka hai (pronounced kit-neigh-kah-hay)
Directly translated, this means “how much is this?” You can use this as a generic question pertaining to items, clothes and food.
Khaana milega (pronounced khaa-na-mil-ey-ga)
Milega means “will I get” and khaana means “food.” So the phrase means “will I get food?” You can replace the word khaana with other things that you may want. For example if you are shopping and want to ask if they have different colours or sizes you can say “size milega” or “colours milega.”
Kam kardo (pronounced come-cur - doh)
This means “make it less.” You can use this when bargaining to ask the shopkeeper to give you a lower price. Be sure to ask in a calm and composed manner so that they take you seriously. You can even use this phrase if someone is playing loud music and you want them to lower the volume.
Bus stand kaha pe hain (prounounced bus stand kuh-ha-pey-hay)
“Kaha pe hain” means “where is it.” So this phrase means “where is the bus stand?” You can replace bus stand with taxi stand, auto stand, train station and whatever is relevant. If you have a specific place that you need to go you can quote the name of the place or the area to obtain directions.