Hindi Learning


“Ka, Ka, Ka, Kha, kha, kha.” I adjusted my seat and straightened my back; I had been here for nearly two hours now, repeating the same sounds again and again.

“Ca, Ja, Ca, Ja.” I crouched closer to the speaker hoping the sounds would differentiate themselves.

It was now 8 AM, time for breakfast and soon school. I pulled over a t-shirt and my jeans, slipped on my Austrian shoes, and raced down the spiral staircase, into the house next door. The house next door had two floors, the first with two lounges, one bedroom, a prayer room, a dining area, and a kitchen, and the second floor with two bedrooms and a terrace. Breakfast was Kellogg’s Corn Flakes served with a thick milk from a dairy company called Saras. I let the corn flakes soak until they were soggy, the consistency I wanted. Zoey, my housemate sat to the right of me and to my left was Mintu-ji, my host mother.

It had been a long morning. Zoey and I were both jet lagged and Mintu-ji was having her first break since her morning ritual of waking up at 5 AM and cleaning every inch of the house, exterminating any pests who had thought they had found a safe haven. She sat down, the wear and tire setting upon her body, yet she had a peculiar sheen to her eyes. It was the sheen of responsibility, of longing, yet also of gratitude, appreciation, and of beauty. I knew from her eyes that she had seen a lot, and been through a lot.


Zoey and I slinged our bags over our backs, wished Mintu a nice day, and headed toward the auto-rickshaw waiting outside our house, a hire by the institute to transport us every morning to school. The ride was bumpy, the traffic chaotic, and the air polluted, yet there was a peculiar novelty that set in as I sat there; I knew I would come to cherish these rides and look back upon them with a smile.

School started at 9 AM and ended at 1 PM. The first class would be a conversation class, the second a grammar class, the third an activities and drills class, and the fourth a 1 on 1 tutoring session with a teacher. Moving from room to room, and changing teachers each class made the four hours seem like two. My class had four people and in the grammar class, there were eight people. It’d be like for the rest of summer.