Hindi Lesson # 2


While I thought I was merely writing into the abyss which is cyberspace, I have apparently accumulated a readership which includes more than My Mom. (Actually, My Mom isn’t in on the blog scene and doesn’t, in fact, read this.) As such, my readers have, like the masses throughout history, begun making demands. Apparently, I don’t post frequently enough. Now, this brings me to an interesting dilemma: sometimes, my life has no funny or awkward moments.

Okay, that’s a lie. By now you’ve read enough to know I magnetically attract awkward and Varun oozes funny. Nevertheless, not everything is blog-worthy. So, in between blog-worthy occurrences, I’ll have to dig up stories and relive awkward moments.

This story takes us back to last spring, when I was taking Hindi Lessons. As you might remember from Hindi Lesson Numero Uno, my teacher and I had hit it off and, if still unable to nasalize “n”, I was at least providing my teacher with comic relief.

During my second lesson, we were discussing phrases. I learned a phrase which is translated, “Please mind your business”. Aware that I tend to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, especially in India, I asked my teacher about this phrase.

Me: So, is this phrase something you would say when you’re angry or annoyed?
Madame Hindi Tutor (MHT): No, not at all.
Me: Oh, okay. Because we have something similar in English and it means “I don’t wanna talk to you, go away”.
MHT: Yes, well. Hindi is a very polite language. In English you slap across the face with language. In the east, we slap more subtly, and politely.

As much as my reflex was to defend English, a quick mental review of some key crude phrases and the ease with which I insult people rendered me only able to smile vaguely and nod. (I mean really, we’re the language speakers that invented “talk to the hand” and other such phrases.)

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Surprised by Hindi « ESL Marriage

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