Sunday, April 29, 2007

"Pratap's little problem"*

I'm already in chapter two and have failed to write about what our friend Pratap** was up to in chapter one! As if learning the vocabulary isn't hard enough. Phew! Okay, so, in chapter one, Pratap arrives in Delhi and meets his host Kamala and a boy named Raj (who I assume is Kamala's son, but I'm not sure; otherwise this adult-looking woman is randomly hanging out with children). Kamla, Raj, and Pratap determine that everyone is okay, thank you, and that Pratap is not in fact English but Indian (the dialogue title is "Pratap from London meets his Delhi host" - is Pratap an NRI? studying abroad? we'll never know) and that Marutis cars are not Japanese (I already knew that). Kamala then shows him his room, which has two cupboards, two chairs, a table, and a window. But no fan. No fan. Poor Pratap! पंखा, according to my tutor, is the most important word in Hindi. Pratap wrote about his adventures in his journal, which was pleasingly not too difficult to translate and mentions a beautiful garden.

In chapter two, Pratap meets his Hindi teacher, Sharma ji. He finds out that Teach Yourself Hindi is not a bad book and that the Ramayana is a very thick book (good to know in case the oft-used descriptor "epic" had you confused about that - then again, I feel pretty confused [and thick] myself whenever I work on these exercises, so I shouldn't be snarky). As for the title of this post, it seems our friend Pratap has gotten himself into a bit of a pickle. Turns out Sangeeta is upset because...well, because Pratap is around. That's all we know. Raj seems to think that perhaps her anger is due to her being a girl. Thanks, Dr. Snell, for teaching us how to express sexism so early in our fledgling exploration of Hindi. In contrast to the drama of the dialogue, Pratap's postcard home is pretty dull. He thinks the weather in Delhi is nice (not my experience of Delhi, but of course he's there in January and I was there in July - and what kind of moron goes to Delhi in July?) but that the city is polluted. Not as bad as Bangalore, says I, but I do not know where else in India Pratap has been or where he is from.

* I promise this is the actual title of the dialogue. I wouldn't make that up.
** Most of the time I am not going to bother to put in accent marks and things that would make this proper transliteration. Life is way too short.


Maja said...

Teehee! Pratap's adventures are a great source of motivation for me, I hope my book gets as action-packed in chapter 2. I think he actually visits my family further on in the book!

Btw, does poor Pratap have no bed or any kind of sleeping mat in his room?

The Buddha Smiled said...

Hey folks,

Really cool to watch you progressing through your mastery of the Hindi language. Eventually you'll be able to watch Don without the subtitles! :) Motivation, wot?

Wish I could leave comments in Hindi - vaise bhi ab to aap logon ko Hindi mein vartalaap karne ki aadat ho gayee hogi! :)

Maja said...

Right, I have got to get me a Hindi dictionary! Translation, please? :) I only recognise "now" (the "ab"?) and "you people", or is that something like "your Hindi"? Helllpppp ... *goes back to studying* I've been neglecting my lessons a bit now that I was away, but it's back to work now!

Anonymous said...

vaise bhi - in any case
ab to aap logon - now you people
ko Hindi mein - in hindi
vartalaap - converse
karne ki - to do
aadat - habit
ho gayee hogi - umm...must be used to, kinda thing.

So basically, "You guys must be used to speaking in hindi now!"