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My tryst with Hindi

Alphabets

It all started when I was in fifth standard. My parents seeing me dedicate my entire afternoons to films that appeared on the television, decided to send me to a nearby teacher who taught Hindi for high school students.

Each day after class, I was allowed to have lunch and was instructed to head towards the teacher’s house. The same schedule ensued for five months or so and I barely managed to mumble the Hindi numerals from one to thirty!

The next year, as usual, Hindi was introduced as a Third Language. After all the hours spent in Hindi class, sadly, Hindi alphabets was the only thing that was left with me. In sixth standard, I shifted to a different school which followed a different curriculum. There they start off with Hindi alphabets for the sixth standard students. Once again like a new kid town, the whole relearning took place! This time it was better since I had some opposite words, fill in the blanks, match the following, one word answers, which were easy enough to be learnt by-heart to be reproduced the next day in the test. What was awesome was the fact these things were enough to pass in the exam. This made sure that we would never go and look at those awful,lengthy 2-3 line answers.

We hit the rough patch when writing letters in Hindi became a mainstay throughout 7th standard. Asking a person who does not know to frame a sentence to write a letter was to much to ask for! This cost us dearly during the subsequent test/exams. I remember an examination when I pulled off with meager 38 marks. The silver line resurfaced again in 8th standard when the staple diet of 6th standard was all over once again.Math the following, one word answers, fill the blanks. God, I started loving 8th standard Hindi.

Way back in 6th standard, we realized that Hind was just a ‘time-pass’ subject since that would be replaced by optional in IX standard that made our argument to take our Hindi lessons with more casual approach more compelling. So, I formally finished my Hindi classes with learning a few words, alphabets, numbers. My biggest takeaway was the ability to read in Hindi.

Hindi film were in the shades as all our leisure time would be spent either watching a English movie on HBO/Star Movies or English Premier League on ESPN/Star Sports. I started to take cognizance of Hindi films after the release of Murder, Aashiq Banaya Aapne which made headlines for obvious reasons.

XI and XII were reserved for Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. Just like this, all the years have passed. Only after beginning my engineering education I started realizing the importance of Hindi.Till now I have made umpteen attempts reading ‘Learn Hindi in 30 Days‘ for only a few days.

The whole point in all this that amused me was the fact that a person like me was able to live in India for all these years without understanding Hindi in some part of India. I was motivated not to learn Hindi after coming to know that Hindi was not made the sole official language of Republic of India by the government. Though English was initially made as a auxiliary language for the first 15 years or so after the independence, subsequently it was modified to remain even after the specified period.Even the stories of agitation by Tamilians during the late 1960s narrated by our lecturer interested me a lot to follow their foot steps. All these facts coupled with the knowledge Hindi would be less useful in Science stream made Hind even more boring to learn.

I bought another book day before yesterday-‘Learn Hindi in 30 days‘.

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