(Message sent Sun, 10 Dec 2006 02:46:38 -0700)
(If the subject line didn't intrigue you, you're unlikely to find this message very interesting.)
Several times in recent weeks I noticed numbers written down in a curious manner, for example: 16,00,000.
At first I thought this was a mistake, with a missing 0. It's taken me a twitishly long time, but I've finally worked out what's going on. It's not a mistake at all, just a different comma convention. The Indians don't use the concept of a million much at all. Instead they use lakh (a hundred thousand) and crore (ten million). So 16,00,000 is just 16 lakh. I haven't seen larger numbers written down, but I bet 16 crore (what we would call 160 million) is written 16,00,00,000.