"Ek gaon mein ek kisaan rehtha thaa" – This is a famous line in a comedy scene of an 80's Tamil film. A Hindi Pundit tries to teach Hindi to our hero, who would consistently mispronounce the words. This line has come to denote anyone who does not know Hindi!!! I'm one of the three students here in Dubai (April 09 batch) who falls in that category.
I was quite apprehensive about joining SPJCM for the very simple reason that I do not know the one language that the “Globally diverse set of students here” interact in, out of college hours – “Global Raashtra Bhasha -Hindi”. I was very afraid that I would not be able to interact with anyone without knowing the language.
After a lot of thought, I decided that my national language should not be a deterrent and took the plunge into the SPJCM community. As expected, it is slightly difficult to cope without knowing Hindi. But it is not as bad as I had imagined. I’m still having a great time here. My batch mates around here are very friendly and understand my problem. Most of them make an effort to speak in English when I'm around. But of course, as is usual with any large group, they sub-consciously switch to Hindi. A typical conversation would go something like this…
Friend: Hi Vijay, How's your day?
Me (smiling): Fine. So far, so good.
Friend: Did you finish your assignment?
Me: Not yet. It's too boring and long :(
Friend: Oh, yeah. What is this yaar? Hum Kithne kaam kar sakthe hein?
Me (understanding so far): I know... ETM, macro, marketing... My god! Did you go out anywhere yesterday?
Friend: main desert safari main jaana chahta tha par assignment tha to hum nahin jaa sake...
Me (taking slightly more time to comprehend this time, but patting myself for understanding): I just went to dragon mart yesterday. Had to buy a few essentials.
Friend: Tumko mall of emirates jaana chahiye.. bahut badi hai, thodi mehangi hai par dukaan kaafi achche hai, khaana achcha hai, bus ghoomfirne ke liye toh achchi hai..
Conversation sounds like ‘#$@%#!#$#@#$ %^#^*^($%^&*& %#@!#$~@!%^*$@*^$...’
Me: (blank stare ....... an embarrassed smile...) Stop, Stop, stop. Now you have to slowly repeat what you said...
As group conversations gather momentum, the local dialects and lingo would start peeping in and I would lose track. It becomes a little difficult to penetrate such group conversations as I don't understand the jokes and comments that can only be enjoyed in that particular language.
But I'm slowly learning the language. I'm now able to understand much more than before. Hopefully I'll also start conversing in Hindi. It would take a little more confidence on my part to start speaking. I should increase my vocabulary in order to gain confidence. One of the other two guys who do not know Hindi is learning the language even faster than me. For us, this is like an additional course – but an equally important one.
I hope that by the end of the year, I'll be able to write a post in this blog, completely in Hindi :)