Somehow, even after school is out, I still manage to find ways to put off the inevitable. It’s the tireless, never-ending work of a lifelong procrastinator. I have less than 7 hours before I need to leave for the airport (and eventually board a plane to Newark, and then to Delhi). To my credit, I am about 3/4 of the way done with packing, which is more than I expected to have finished at this point. I give all thanks to my mother for that, who never fails to ask me every 20 minutes whether I’ve packed the toothbrush or the camera or my floss. Thanks mom!
I’ll be going to northern India–specifically the city of Jaipur–to study Hindi during the summer. I’ve got almost a year of Hindi under my belt already from studying at college in the U.S. I’m not sure how well my knowledge of intermediate Hindi grammar structures like passive or subjunctive will help me when trying to bargain with the rickshawalla on the spot or navigate around the city, but luckily, I had a pretty good (if strict) Hindi teacher this past semester who forced us to practice many a conversation in Hindi, so I feel decently prepared. I’ve been to the beautiful Pink City (Jaipur) once before, but only for a day, so I’m really looking forward to actually getting to explore the city more in-depth and understand its history, as well as that of the state, Rajasthan.
I have one challenge that I’m hoping to accomplish before this trip is over:
1. Become proficient enough in Hindi that I can get the rate for native Indians at tourist spots. India has a pretty ludicrous policy in which it charges foreigners at least four times the price it charges native Indians to enter tourist sites and historical monuments. For example, to enter the Hawa Mahal, an Indian must pay 10 rupees, but a foreigner must pay 50. The last time I went to India, my dad (who can speak Hindi far better than I can) would just get the native Indian price for us, but this time, I’ve got only myself to rely on. Let’s see how long it’ll take me to accomplish this…
And then I’ve got a couple of other must-accomplish goals such as having immense fun with the other Hindi students, retaining and absorbing enough Hindi grammar so I can engage in solid conversations with my Hindi-speaking friends and my Hindi teacher back home (or at least enough so I don’t embarrass myself miserably), seeing beautiful Jaipur architecture, and truly learning about its history and culture while meeting local Rajasthanis. This really is a once-in-a-life opportunity that I have this summer, and I won’t let myself waste a single moment of it.
I just walked outside and took a breath of crisp, clean and cold California air. I should soak it up for as long as I can, because that’s the last I’ll be getting for the next two months. Here’s to hoping I don’t keel over in the 115 degree heat that is Jaipur…
Being an Indian-American, I’ve been to India several times before to visit family, but I’ve only been to North India once before, and never by myself. I’ve never even been on a plane by myself. So this should be an interesting experience…I’m not too nervous though. Maybe it’s because I’ve been to India before, maybe it’s because I know some Hindi, but either way, I’m just taking this trip in stride. I’m glad I’m not in this alone; I have a few friends that I studied Hindi with last summer who will also be in Jaipur with me, so I’ll have few friendly faces and good pals with whom I can stumble confusedly around the city.
Ab main yeh post khatham karungi. Jab aap meri agli post dekthe hain, thab main bharath mai hogi (Now I will finish this post. When you see my next post, I will be in India!)