OK, so I'm feeling guilty about not having posted for a while. In fact I feel like I should be confessing. "Bless me readers, for I have been a lazy bugger. It's been two days since my last post."
In my defence, however, I've not actually been all that lazy. In fact I have been studying hard to try to get my head around Hindi. Teacher Ali has proven to be something of a hard taskmaster and has assigned frankly gargantuan levels of homework. So tourist Saturday went out of the window today and was replaced by "sit in a cafe painstakingly writing out Devanagari sentences to the amusement of the waiting staff" Saturday. Here's the result - my first page of Hindi (complete with a few scribblings out):
Actually I feel a bit cheeky claiming it as my first page of Hindi as that would imply I actually wrote it, as opposed to just copying it out of my text book. At this point we're just trying to learn to associate these funny shapes with sounds, and if we pick up a bit of vocab and grammar along the way then that's a bonus. So this is the first dialogue in the book, and it's a fascinating, thrilling exchange between Pratap, a visitor from London, his host Kamala and her son Raj. I won't tell you the rest, it will spoil it for you.
There is a lot of satisfaction to be had, though, in that gradual transition from everything looking like a random group of lines, squiggles and dots to being able to approximate a word, even if you don't know what it means. I was very pleased with myself today when I was able to read the names of the stations on the metro map, even though it took me about a minute per station and the English version was right behind me. It's a very small achievement but somehow I feel like I'm starting to make the city more my own.