Learn Hindi in One Week – Day 5 – Pushing All-In


A bit of Mandela in Varanasi

Learn Hindi in One Week

Hump day really looked like the turning point, did it still have that effect in the morning?

Day 5 – Pushing All-In

Yesterday was certainly the best day so far in the challenge to learn Hindi in One week.

There were four major Hindi hindrances yesterday, and all of them took place in my hostel:

The first was that I took the opportunity of functioning internet to post Day 2, 3 & 4.

The second involved a fellow Canuck who sat down that had recently come down from Nepal, so I took the opportunity to both talk about the great white north as well as ask some questions about the place that I’ll land (basically blind) in two days.

The third  was trying to figure out this volunteer project in Ethiopia that I’m hoping to take part in starting in March.

The fourth was catching up on Facebook messages, it occurred to me that I had not replied to a few messages over the last month because they were either long, written in another language, deep or possibly all three… so I took advantage of the good internet to get back to everyone. I wrote three different Portuguese emails (I swear it feels like I’m putting more energy into Portuguese than Hindi in my hostel), at least one of which was suuuper long and took me a veeerrrry long time to think out.

Between the four, I lost about five hours… funny how that really isn’t that much in a given day. The latest stats I’ve seen suggest that the average american (yep, citing american stats because Canada is horrible at keeping their own) spends 6 hours each day watching either TV or something online, so really, losing five hours, being productive (though sidetracked) online doesn’t seem like that much of a loss. After these disturbances I ordered food (without using English) to my room and headed down to get away from the noise (if that’s ever possible in India?!)

I sat to write a decent story and the mouse ran back into my room. You see, a few days ago I found a mouse in my room, small cute little thing that I really didn’t want on my bed (which is where I found him), so I sort of scampered after him in a Canadian over polite manner, “please leave my room now Mr. Mouse”.

Well last night he scurried across the floor… no biggie. Than he scurried back and before I could stop myself I held my hand out to him saying, “shanti, shanti, what rush?!”

I got lost in thought wondering if I was more alerted by the fact that I was talking to a mouse, or the fact that I was talking to him in a mix of Hindi with a Canadian accent and English with an Indian accent. Not to mention using the lingo that bothered me so much just a few days earlier as I hustled to one of my Hindi classes… I mean for all I knew, maybe he was late for his own Hindi class. A ridiculous thought I know. After all odds are pretty good that he was born here, so why would he need Hindi classes?

Anyway, eventually I got back into my story and really was killing it. A little mish-mash of 6 different tenses, many verbs, subjects, objects, pronouns, post-positions, and random other grammar terms.

Hearing another scurrying noise I looked up to see the mouse get onto one of the other beds in my room. Perhaps I should explain that my current room is a hidden in the back corner of the hostel. Really, I think that few tourists ever bargain their way into this room, and I’m pretty sure it normally functions the sleeping quarters for the hazing process of the new employees (How cheap is TOO cheap?!)… hence the multiple beds, concrete floors, mattresses that make you seriously wonder about the comfort of the concrete floor, and pet mice.

Anyway, he (might it be a she? Is India making me sexist?) got onto the bed where my bag was kept and actually went into my backpack. Of course, living out of your bag, and using it as a holy shrine and storage locker for everything you own can make you pretty damn protective of this material possession… so I shot outta bed, and used a complex method of bag tapping, mouse calling, chirping, yelping and stomping to convince him (must be a him, too hardheaded!) that he didn’t really want to hang out inside my mobile storage locker. After this little exchange, I used my food plate as the carrot to encourage him to go outside, left my plate far away from my room and went back inside to continue with the story. My apologies to the next person that eats off that plate but really he is quite cute (too cute for a he really… the gender question is back on table)

Anyway, returned to my story, wrote it well, rewarded myself with the end of Return of the Jedi (Portuguese subtitles) and zonked out.

Woke up at 7:30, played the snooze button game until 8:20, got out of bed, hit my fruit guy up, and got to Raju’s on time with 3 Oranges and 5 Bananas in hand.

We did two great hours this morning. I’m onto a series of weird verbs (like, want, have, have to, get). We also knocked comparative out of the park (This chair that chair more big is)… Oh ya, have fun with that translation.

After class I went on errand time, found a Train ticket to the border city of India that arrives at 6am (not including the expected multiple hour delay) on the day my visa expires (3 days from today). Went to find an ATM and realized it was Sunday, so found six ATM’s before I found one that was opened, worked my way back through the back alleys (either Picasso himself did the city planning of this city, or no one did)… and found myself back at Raju’s house…

Bought the train ticket, stopped at the Shiva Cafe for a little bite, sitting with this Russian girl, Anastasia. I’ve been wanting to go to a Hindi film, and she thought it sounded interesting, so we made plans to see if we could find one after my afternoon Hindi class. I went back, studied another two hours with Raju… we’re basically just conversing now. I think I’m going to just focus on speaking what I’ve learned for the last couple of days (and increasing the vocab). It went really well in class. I’m still struggling with the like, want, have, have to, get, could, but doing alright.

Saw Chris in the street after the Hindi class, and met his Canadian friend. Discussed the Great White North again and quickly made it back to the Shiva Cafe to meet Anastasia and head out to a Bollywood flic.

These things are intense. Anastasia was the only women in the theater, and really, you can understand that these films are made with the audience (think 18 year old male) in mind. I unfortunately understood very little, but did pick up some verbs here or there and luckily the plot was somewhere in between Grease, Die Hard, and Romeo and Juliet, thus quite easy to follow.

Leaving the flic, entered some conversation with this Mumbai business man. I’m currently reading Shantaram so my view of Mumbai business men is somewhere in between sleeze ball and mafia drug lord. BUT, the conversation was all in Hindi… again I understood very little of it, but he seemed very happy that I was trying and talked to us (like most Indian men, he only talked to me (the man), barely noticing Anastasia (the woman), despite the fact that we told him multiple times that we were just friends).

Anyway, I have a long way to go to get the conversational Hindi down, but I’m certainly on my way. Today was a really productive day, with four hours of Hindi classes, a few conversations and a Hindi movie. Furthermore, the guys in my hostel have changed to speaking only Hindi with me… which is really quite encouraging, even if it is a little premature.

Since I’m leaving at midnight in two days, it looks like I will get my full 7 days in. The next two days will hopefully be 4 hours a day of increasing velocity and vocabulary with Raju topped with random street conversations…. Feeling pretty confident about this. And now off to write my story for the night.


Take a look in the rear view mirror

The Challenge
Day 1 – The Battles Begin
Day 2 – Building Momentum
Day 3 – Feeling the Effects
Day 4 – Hump Day

Or take a look at the finishing touches

Day 6 – Fires Are Burning
Day 7



Jonny Jenkins

Jonny Jenkins

My name is Jonny, my friends call me Stef. I'm Canadian born, but don't find my identity based upon some borders that man drew hundreds of years ago. I have begun to make my way through the world, travelling and living in many different countries and cultures. I believe whole heartedly in staying longer and going deeper to get the best understanding possible of many different perspectives of life. In order to do so, you have to speak the language. I am no polyglot, but have started to put more emphasis on learning languages in the last few years. I have learned Spanish, relearned French, and started in on Portuguese, German, Indonesian and Malagasy. When it comes to the third world, I am willing to help where they (and not I) decide they need it... in the first world, I am hoping to inspire and motivate people to live more engaging lives.

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