Plus, I used to find it pointless. I’d ask, “if someone’s in a bad mood, would they actually say so? So what’s the point?” And no, it wasn’t me trying hyperrationalism! I truly used to feel that, and also find it insincere to ask. On top of it all, the expected reply would also be weird! “(badhuj) saaru chhe” = “(everything) is fine” [in response to “how are YOU?”, and not “how is ‘everything’?”!]. The problem is, to answer in terms of “I’m fine/good” is difficult due to weird connotations some words have come to take: “Hoon saaro chhun” = “I’m good”, but it would be taken to mean “I’m a good person“! “Hoon barabar chhun” though translating as “I’m alright”, sounds like “I’m correct”! “Hoon theek chhun” = “I’m alright”, but comes off as dejected (not sufficiently ecstatic!), and hence, not apt.
But someone clever, recognizing the problem with greeting thus, added a leading question to “Kem chho?”, viz., “Majaa maan?” = “Enjoying life?”. Now, who has the balls to say, “What fun! Am effin preparing for PG entrance exams!” So you see, it’s not only for effin that balls are required, but also to say effin!
I used to have same predicament asking “How are you?” and its Hindi version “Aap kaise hain?” See how the question’s open ended, and could be as well grammatically correctly answered as “I’m like a lizard*” or “main chhipkali jaise hoon” [*my grammatically flawed attempt to get Stupidosaur to comment!].
But the most formidable mutant among the species of redundant questions is “What’s up, dude?”. I mean, on being asked the first time I was totally stumped! I was obviously not expected to answer if I felt “fine”! The question means “what’s new in life?”, and I’d say “nothing special, man. You only tell!” See, how I’d cleverly shift the onus of answering such philosophical questions to the tormentor (interrogator)! Though, my dirty mind could also think “whatever is *up*, shouldn’t stay so if I’ve to keep up focus on studies!”
But honestly, I still don’t know how to answer “what’s up” aptly. 😦 Someone please help me!