I did plenty of Hindi homework this morning, and enjoyed it immensely. It just takes a teacher to motivate me... Well, so I didn't enroll onto the programme with 6 hours of Hindi everyday, but thinking of it now it seems like it would be quite crazy, too hermite-like etc.. And given how much I feel I am learning with just 1 1/2 hour of lesson everyday, and how happy I am to have resumed the violin lessons, I am glad I didn't go for the 6 hours/day.
The first teacher I rented was not very good. I had three lessons with him. Firstly he was a little too expensive, and secondly even though he had much knowledge and he knew well how to explain grammatical notions, he had no pedagogy at all. He didn't prepare for the sessions, there were no structure in them, he didn't realise that bombarding me with information without giving me time to digest it - and without giving me homework, just wasn't going to do it for me. Besides he had bad eye problems, and even though I did feel much compassion towards him, he could hardly read and check what I wrote. And he was talking to me about his being intoxicated with antibiotics all the time, his body was shaking, and his house was very dirty. So I changed teacher - I can't carry on with him just out of compassion because I know he needs the money!
A Varanasi friend of Vijay I now see around everyday recommended to me a better one, and the new one seems better indeed. I have had two lessons with him and he feels like a "real" (senior) teacher (he must be around 60). First class he checked my level by giving me Hindi dictation which was a lot of fun. And he got me to count from 1 to 100 - which was a little laborious but very useful. We revised alphabet and pronounciation, he checked out my grammar book, and gave me homework. He talks to me a lot about how great a yogi and astrologist and palm reader and priest he is, but at least he says all this clearly and in Hindi so that's still good practice. And he seems to like me A LOT, has already told me how soft my heart was, has expressed concern for the persistent caugh I've had due to change in weather (he tells me which medication I should take, that I should gargle every morning with hot salted water, that I should rub mustard oil with garlic on my chest and the like...). He also told me that his house was mine, that if I have any problems I should let him know, that he doesn't know why he feels so much respect towards me, and he has already asked me to have chai and food with him. This I have refused for now firstly as I do not want to take milk with this persistent caugh, and foremost because I know all too well that I should be careful with such people when I do not know them well yet! He does feel like he is genuine and a good man, but I want to take time to befriend him if I ever will. And I have told him that as a white woman in India I must be careful. He knows this, but insists on telling I should not be scared of him - but I am am not scared of him - I am just cautious! So I tell him I am here for Hindi and that is it. Because he is a good teacher. And he also keeps saying that "mera dimag bahut tej hai" (my brain is very strong) and that my Hindi is very good and that one day I will read newspapers in Hindi, and that he has complete trust that I will be fluent quickly. Which I have faith will happen, too. :)
We haven't done very complicated things yet but I trust there is structure in his way of teaching and it will come in time. Even though the first teacher was not good, I did learn a very useful - and somewhat complicated - grammar structure in just three lessons with him, and so although I dropped out from his lessons I have still been doing self-induced homework from my own book to practise thesaid structure. I will take my time to assimilate it - but I will do the homework about it everyday. I am learning a lot everyday already, and a lot of vocabulary, and it is fun and great to be able to put the newly acquired forms and expressions into practice with people around me as soon as I step out from the classes.
Ha! The joy and feeling of achievement one gains from learning a new language. The Hindi language barrier is a huge thick wall between the local culture and me, but I am steadily hammering into it until one day it will crumble into pieces, and then I will see clearly and understand the differences in front of me. I will step into that new landscape, and one day I will be part of it and it will all just all be - clear, transparent and familiar around me...
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) 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.