Foreigners visiting India, trying to learn bits and pieces of the local language and adapting to the native culture, isn’t uncommon. But a US native living in Utah, greeting his customers and speaking to them in fluent Telugu sure is a rare sight! Isaac Richards, a US citizen, has a huge fan following in India today, thanks to his flawless Telugu.
In a video that has gone viral on Facebook, customers are seen cheering and clapping for Richard’s commendable flair for the south Indian language as he effortlessly makes conversation with his customers.
Isaac Richards's video was taken by a group of Telugu customers who visited his ice-cream outlet Haagen Dazs, in Montana. The video was later posted by Hyderabad man Ganesh Kesana, and it now has 2.7 lakh views and over 6,400 shares on Facebook.
“Telugu lo cheppandi (Speak in Telugu),” Richards is seen telling his customers in the video. They explain to him that they've come all the way just to listen to him speaking in Telugu. As his customers are heard trying to converse in English, Richards insists that they speak in Telugu.
“Meeru rakamundu Hyderbadulo unaara?" (Were you in Hyderabad before you came here?) Richard further asks the customers who are totally baffled listening to the US man matching their skills in Telugu. Richards, a missionary and human rights student, explains that he was in Hyderabad before and that he has also spent a year each in Visakhapatnam and Vijaywada. He eloquently ends the conversation with a "Dhanyavadulu".
After Ganesh Kesana posted the video on his Facebook page on July 9, Richards soon became internet famous in India. Overwhelmed with the response, Richards posted a video saying he was from the US and not New Zealand as some people had assumed. Throughout the video, Richards, who is wearing a Haagen Dazs T-shirt, speaks in fluent Telugu using very few English words.
“How is everyone in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana doing?” Richards begins his video with polite greetings. He goes on to explain that he works in an ice-cream shop in Montana, frequented by a lot of foreign tourists every day. “But I still don’t understand why the customers found it so unusual seeing me talk in Telugu,” Richard wonders, adding, “But I cannot believe the video has got so many views and so many people have watched it. I really like the Telugu language. Andhra Pradesh naa gundello undhi” (My heart is for Andhra Pradesh forever).
“Telugu marchipokudadhu! Chala manchi basha adhi (Don't forget Telugu! It's is a very good language),” Richard wrote on his Facebook page, sharing the video. He has also promised his Indian fans that he will post new videos and jokes, and also explain how he learnt the language, all in Telugu.