A Little Bit of Hindi Comes in Handy

Yesterday we flew over Iran and Pakistan from Dubai to Delhi, India. Jim thought this was the closest he would get to either of these two countries. Little could he guess 😉 I have always found Persian history fascinating. It’s a bummer, but I had to agree.

I took Hindi lessons in the states. I only speak a bit of Hindi, but I studied hard to learn what I did. Yesterday it really came in handy. While we were on the plane we were handed 3 forms to fill out, one for each of us. The address where we were staying in India was one of the pieces of information asked for on the form. We had packed that address in our luggage. When we got to customs and did not have the address on our form, the customs official started to frown. He was not happy with us. He also did not speak English. I began speaking to him in my broken Hindi. Jim said his face lit up with a huge smile. I didn’t notice. I was concentrating too hard on what he was saying, and what I should say next. Things like, “Pata mai nahee samjee. Ye in luggage hai.” Which basically translates to, “I don’t know the address. It is in our luggage.” I asked, all in Hindi, if anyone spoke English. He answered haan (yes, in Hindi). We talked a bit about not much. Then he started calling other people from the line to his desk. The first person also did not have the address filled out.  He frowned, and told her she needed it. Then he had her stand to the side. He called the next person up. Someone who did have the address filled out. It said, “Ramada Hotel.” I know this, because he showed it to me, and in English told me, “Put anything.” So we all wrote Ramada Hotel as our Delhi pata and walked into India. As I was walking away he told me, “Apka Hindi teacher bahut accha hai bahut accha.” Your Hindi teacher is very good, very good. Jim was so happy with me. It put all of us in a good mood as we entered India.

Next I asked a guard, “Ji, ap English bolte hai?” Sir, do you speak English? He said, “Yes, but, ap Hindi bolte hai.” Yes, but you speak Hindi.” Then we had the rest of our conversation in English. I am not that good.

I am the only person, besides Sean, who learned any Hindi in our group of volunteers. There are 4 other women in our group. We went to the office last night for dinner, and the cook also does not speak English. I hope everyone in our group likes bahut mirchi kam khana that is shakahari. The means, very unspicy food that is vegetarian, 🙂 because you know that is what I made sure the food was.

We are 13 1/2 hours ahead of the time in California. It it 4:53 a.m. here. I am the first one up as usual. Today is our first full day in India, I will blog tonight about our group and our accommodations.

While we were eating dinner a wedding procession started on the street behind us. We ran outside. Here are two photos, they are too dark but it is all I have. The groom is on a horse/pony. I am not sure which. I am so excited. India is busy and foreign and noisy and ohhh… I cannot wait to see it!

Check out our previous post here and the next here.