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06/03/2011

Travelling with an Indian is a great experience!!

Note: the following remarks come from personal experiences and exchanges and if it is very general, I think that it is quite true. One can certainly say also a lot on the French who travel…

 

First: choosing the destination. The Indian is not an explorer at heart and will prefer to avoid the unknown regions – so if parents, friends went there (or better even better live there), it is preferable.

 

Second: the visa. Indians need visas to go about everywhere. And though in the majority of the countries the procedure is not too complicated – and on top of that most of Indians use the services of an agent, time management to get a visa is not easy easy. As for everything else, waiting for the last minute is preferable.

 

Once on the holiday spot, the paramount question will be the food. If the Indian is vegetarian, I don’t want to even mention the situation… In any case, after a couple of days, the Indian will want to visit about all the Indian, or Chinese, restaurants that he will come across. He will not force his partner to share his dinner, since anyway eating is about eating – you really have to be French to think that dinner is more a moment of sharing, talking, than just gulping food.

 

Very recently, my “own” Indian really played with my nerves (this is my point of view, not his obviously). After obtaining his visa in a record time (4 days before departure), he looked at the weather on Internet, discovered that the monsoon was starting there and panicked – and yes we had checked before and we knew we could expect some rain but not to the point to ruin holidays (apparently he forgot that)… So he mentioned changing the destination. Or at least suggested that I call my friend who lives there (yes, even if she is on holiday in the Vietnamese countryside, she has access to facebook not?) so that she tells me the weather. One week in advance…

If I did not have him, I would have to invent him…

06/01/2011

Learning Hindi and other jungle stories...

I finally started to actively learn Hindi 2 months ago (initially, I took 30 hours of class).

My teacher is an old and nice fellow.

However, the training does not go without clash… To start with, I have a thing for grammar. It is like that, I need to understand how the words work together to make a sentence.

My teacher sees things in a different way: "Why is it like this?" “Because it is like this.”

Tired to fight, I got a grammar book and started to learn on my own. And this leads us to yesterday’s lesson when, fighting over a plural, my teacher discovered the “oblique” form of nouns after a postposition…

Let it be.

Grammar is not his thing. No, what he likes is proverbs. This is how I learned last week “jangal mein, mangal” (translation literal: “in the jungle, auspicious” and a more meaningful translation: “even in chaos, there is hope (something positive)”. I told myself that this could be re-used, like if I see a beautiful display in a messy store (almost everywhere). I thus decided to remember the proverb.

I proudly told it to my colleagues, who looked at me, disconcerted.

It has a double-meaning, sexual obviously (my colleague even told me that it would mean something like: “where there is vacuum, it can be filled”)…

 

When my teacher arrived yesterday with a special book of proverbs, I said stop. Firstly I don’t know them in English and then it won’t help me to speak Hindi!! Even if I have to acknowledge that culturally it is super interesting; see the following proverbs:  

  • What does a monkey know of the taste of ginger? à Someone who can't understand can't appreciate.
  • The drums sound better at a distance. à We tend to like the ones we don't have.
  • Living in water and being an enemy of the crocodile is not good.
  • Small cumin seed in a camel's mouth. à Too small an amount for a very large need.

I am struggling a bit with Hindi (and apparently I am not the only one, see my teacher below!!) but I'm holding on!!

india,hindi,learning,proverb,jangal mein mangal

05/21/2011

My latest fad!! Rajasthani soldiers…

 india,handicraft,rajasthan,statues,soldiers

For those who know me this won’t come too much as a surprise: difficulty does not prevent me from doing anything. Importing a Fatboy mattress from France?? It was actually quite tough because though it was light, the size of the carton was too big so Air France wanted to charge me 200€. So I emptied the beans in plastic bags, put the plastic bags in cartons and sticked the cartons together to have only 3 pieces!!

Importing a cat from Greece?? No problem…

 

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