[Typed from paper journal]
I like my life here. I feel very welcome. I cannot but think of Seven Years In Tibet by Heinrich Harrer and how I loved this book, learning the culture of Tibet and its language! I am here, in India, in this lovely family, and I learn their language. I keep thinking how grateful I am to them and their welcome, but it is true, a year and a half ago I did send them the money so their brother and head of the family could have the operation to save his leg and his life. So I accept their offerings, and offer my presence in return. I learn their language, make them laugh by being my different self, offering them to see some of the western culture through me. And of course there is Vijay and we spend an amazing time together, so basically I make them happy by offering my novelty. I am surprised at how 'occidentally-open' my friend is. Of course he is my good friend, but perhaps I knew little from actual experience, more from my trusting heart. And it was very right. He has massive English vocabulary too. At first I would intuitively be tempted to speak a simplified, broken English, but I mustn't, because if he has to learn English from me I must expose him to proper English. Also, I mustn't underestimate his capacities to understand; he does know more than I think.
Yesterday was Independence Day. So we went to town and watched the school rallies, myriads of kids parading in amazing costumes. Vijay told me some of Indian history around that time, but as always my memory for such things fails me.
Vijay has explained to me the basic Hindi sentence now. My new Hindi book also helps. I start familiarising myself with tense forms, past, present and future (though right now I only know the present). It is very helpful and I am starting to build my own sentences. I learn a few new numbers a day, and I know the days of the week now, as well as all the months but they are just a 'Hindianised' version of the English months so they are easy. I have started with telling the time, too. It is amazing to learn a language in total immersion, though some English is very helpful of course. It is the perfect situation and I make fast progress. After all it is my third day only.
Yesterday I watched the making of chapati. Chapati is an English word; I was surprised to learn today. The Hindi word is actually 'roti'. Today I rolled my first chapati. It seems so easy when I see Indian women do it, with their 'appropriate dexterity', but clearly I have never done this before, and my hands are not used to it! They were sitting around me, laughing when the rolled-out dough started sticking onto the 'rolling stone' and I had to add more flour. The dough folded over and stuck on itself, and obviously my chapati was not round ("meraa roti gol nahi hai")!
I love Indian women's anklets and told Vijay I would like to get some. He told me his mother had some spare; I don't need to buy any. Today they gave them to me. I like to wear them, and the typical jingling sound they make when I walk. I could dance now. Though I am still learning to move my head side to side, haha. It is a slow, aware process, just focusing on the sensation in the neck, feeling the muscles, very subtle awareness but it is growing and I feel that I do movements now, albeit very small ones. Still this may be the beginning of progress?
A note on my three blogs
A note on my blogs
(1) vio; in love with india - this one is the main blog about my Indian adventures, which started in 2005. I don't write much on this blog these days because I prefer to write privately in the confidential blog. But check out the categories and the index to figure out your way. I have kept some older posts not about India but which I still find interesting or relevant in Old words. Also check out my new, fun category Only in India in which I post photos of funny, unique, Indian situations...
(2) vio; sounds of india - this is my blog of sounds, because India wouldn't be as incredible if it was not so vibrant and just so full of incredible sounds!
(3) vio; confidential - this an extension of my main blog in which I post entries I do not want to reveal to the entire webspace for privacy or sensitivity reasons. You must receive an invitation from me and then accept the invitation to be able to read it. You may email me if you are interested in receiving an invitation.