An interesting article I found today tells the tale of a milkman in Blackburn (northwest England) who has many customers of Indian and Bangladeshi origin on his round and who has learnt to speak Gujarati fluently, as well as some Bengali and Punjabi, in order to better serve those customers.
He started picking up the languages in the 1950s and 1960s by listening to what his customers were saying, remembering it and repeating it. At first there were only a few Asian families, but as they arrived in increasing numbers, his knowledge of Gujarati continued to improve until he was able to communicate with confidence.
He also helps his customers find things like ghee (clarified butter) and other foods and ingredients not available locally. Not surprisingly he is very popular with the Asian communities in Blackburn and has received many invitations to weddings and other events.
In case you’re wondering, the title of this post is the Gujarati word for milkman.