My face-off with Hindi

When I saw the 500 word limit lifted from Pagalguy I felt happy and sad simultaneously. Happy because I wanted to write and didn’t want the 500 word limit to spoil my flow. Latter because im still unsure of what topic to write about. After lot of thought zeroed in on my latest adventure in Delhi after being brought up in Tamilnadu for my entire life (that means “I don’t have the slightest idea about Hindi – which as per my view is an essential requirement to survive in Delhi.)

I was slightly above average guy in school and college, which obviously was not because I was gifted, rather because I put in hours and hours of hardwork in areas which I was not comfortable. I had a small stint with Hindi. When I was studying in third standard my mom took me to a Hindi coaching institute – which was a rarity at that time, thinking that I would master that language in due course of time and it would certainly be helpful to my future. I struggled a lot as I was barely 8 years old and learning a language completely new was little difficult, and the pedagogy was not ok as we were asked to memorize things rather being taught. So finally I took the first exam – Prathmik and barely passed. Then I was forced again to continue with Madhyama (second exam) where I miserably failed. That was the end to my exposure to Hindi. I can read and write well, but the real issue came with understanding Tamilnadu didn’t have good exposure to Hindi because of selfish politicians and their opposing to Hindi being taught in schools,Which reduced my chance of getting used to the language almost next to zero.

I had safely forgot Hindi for such a long time until last may when I got a job in NCR. When I did have a telephonic interview everything was in English and I felt comfortable there too. I hadn’t seen the real face of Delhi. The moment I boarded train I felt the shock. Everyone around was comfortably talking with each other in Hindi. For the next two to three months my shock kept on increasing day by day as even during official meetings everyone was conversing only in Hindi where it became increasingly difficult for me to understand the proceedings of the meetings. Luckily I had a friend who had good command over the language (as he had took Hindi as second language during his schooling), which helped me a lot during the initial few months of my stay. Slowly I started gathering words, interpreting meanings of words that could have possibly been the case in that specific situation, (well I was assuming a lot of things). I also got few people who really didn’t mock me for not knowing Hindi, while they gradually helped me get a basic hold over the language.

Initial two three months I was absorbing every single word I could hear. Find meaning possibly, or atleast try to infer the meaning from the context. And the D day arrived. The day when I actually started conversing in Hindi with my colleagues, before which I hadn’t uttered a single word in Hindi. Initially everyone made fun of me. Still I didn’t care a bit. I know how we make fun of north Indians in Chennai when they speak Tamil with a lot of difficulty. But as the number of months crossed five I was able to convey my thoughts without the help of any other language other than Hindi. By then my colleagues had stopped laughing seeing my perseverance. Now I’m contended with the fact that I will be able to survive with my broken hindi. In hindsight I really feel good about learning one more language.!

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