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My Hindi teacher, part 3 and last…


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The “true story” of my Prof: “A boss takes along his secretary to the jeweller on a Friday evening and buys her a jewel. He pays by cheque. On Monday, the jeweller calls him to tell him that he will not send the jewel because the cheque has bounced. The boss replies that he is aware of it.” And there my teacher looks at me expectantly, like “did you get it??”. Bah yes, the boss manoeuvred to sleep with the secretary… My teacher finds it too incredible!! And he ends the story with a “of course this did not happen in India”. Of course.


One day he asks me: “do you drink??”. I know very well what he meant, as in whether I am OK with alcohol. I  act like an idiot who does not understand. Then next question: “Are you an alcoholic??” Euh… Maybe not. it worries me that you are an English teacher and that for you there is no such thing as an occasional drinker!! And two weeks later I get a lesson on Cathway Pacific, a super company which serves you as much alcohol as you want. So maybe you are an alcoholic no??


At the time of our penultimate lesson, my teacher tells me: “so what would be my gift?? For teaching you??” Huh?? I had planned to give him something, because I imagine well that little of what I pay goes to him and he is old and sick. But asking?? Pfff…


Travelling with an Indian, part 2…

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The day before departure, whereas the trip program is well tied up – and he was in copy of all the emails related to the organization – I get a call of him saying: “we should go there, and there, and there. Check it out!” I keep my cool, we will do things my way anyway!


Funnier: outside the airport. Me: I immediately take out the book guide and start going through (making sure that I will speak with nobody, I do not know people there!)… He: he starts speaking to everyone who comes in his way: the security guy, the taxi guy, the trolley guy. He asks them questions, they have no answer, they invent one, we keep running around…


And a small debate following a comment of the book guide: “since electricity has come in Batad, the backpackers (the real ones) find that the place has lost most of its charm”. Me: “yeah, Westerners are looking for the “authentic” stuff, getting back to the roots (where there was no electricity)”. He: “What bullshit! When it’s hot, you should have AC, or at least a fan”.

I think India will not have a Survivor programme so soon ;)


My Hindi teacher, part 2…

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I quickly noticed that my teacher of Hindi had a bad tendency to be indiscreet. And this is the least I can say... Anytime I would leave on a business trip and thus cancelled the class, he would ask me where I was going and I would answer him vaguely. I could feel he was not simply asking… So I was not really surprise when he spoke to me about one of his students, English, who was going on a week-end for the 2nd week-end in a row: “Imagine how much money she must earn to go on trips like this, one in Hyderabad and then in Jaipur?? You see, I cannot ask her how much she gets but I get clues from things like that…” Well done Sherlock!!

He also made twice the same comment about my very expensive children book (1.50€), enough to make me uncomfortable…


Another comment. He gives class to a French woman who lives with an Indian guy without being married to hum. My teacher anyway went to her and asked “why”. And the answer: “because I do not believe in marriage”. I think that he still digesting this remark that he labelled as a Western specificity.


Another comment. “I give class to people from Iran, Sudan, all these underdeveloped countries…” Huh?? And he goes on explaining to me why they are well underdeveloped – you know, the whole of Africa, while India is developing. Interesting… Anyway, for him, Norway is not a developed country and doesn’t have petrol so…

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