Ha, mä Hindi bolti hu!** Well, not really, but this weekend we had our first Hindi classes!
Thursday, Friday and Saturday we had our first set of Hindi classes for three hours each. Before the classes started, we were all a bit worried about the three hour classes, but our teacher was so engaged and structured the lessons in such a way that they were always entertaining and exciting. Right at the beginning, she told us that the classroom language would be Hindi, but all our worries about not being able to follow the lessons were gone once she started. Right from the beginning, the classes were really interactive and everyone was encouraged to try out all the new phrases, questions and answers for themselves right away. The focus of the class will obviously be speaking the language, but we also got some short introduction into writing and reading the Hindi script. Doesn’t it look just beautiful?
Even though questions about the language structure and grammar were strictly forbidden, we all managed to catch the important structures and forms. Our course is only going to last for 30 hours, but I really hope I’ll be able to keep studying the language someway or another after that!
I found it very interesting how so many Hindi and German words seem to have a common root. For example, the German word Punsch is apparently derived from the Hindi word panč (five), because originally Punsch was made from 5 ingredients. The Hindi word kamra for room also seems to come from the same root as the German Kammer (chamber). But what I love most about learning a new language is what you can learn about the culture way of thinking of the people who speak it. For example, all the names of the weekdays are derived from the names of planets such as Mars, Jupiter, Mercury, etc! This shows how scientifically advanced ancient Hindu culture was, how much they already knew about our solar system and how important is apparently was to their everyday life!. Now the science nerd in me definitely wants to know more about ancient Indian astronomy 😉 Another fascinating fact about Hindi is that there’s no word for to have, if you want to express that you own something you merely say XYZ is with me. The reason for that is that everything is temporary, and what might be yours today can be gone tomorrow. Now those few hours of Hindi classes we had last weekend have already brought me so much closer to understanding India and Indian culture, but the real culture shock was yet to come. On Friday, it was time to celebrate Holi, also called the Festival of Colors!
Holi is a traditional Indian holiday, celebrated every year in early March or sometimes late February. Originally, the word Holi comes from Holika, the evil sister of demon king Hiranyakashipu. Hiranyakashipu demanded that everyone only worship him instead of the old Hindu gods, but his own son Prahlada remained faithful to Vishnu and therefore angered Hiranyakashipu. Holika, Hiranyakashipus sister, tricked Prahlada into sitting on a pyre with him and lit the pyre up. Holika was wearing a cloak that would protect her from the fire, but the wind blew it off her and onto Prahlada, protecting him and burning Holika. This is why every year in the evening before Holi, bonfires are lit all over India. The next day, people start playing with colors in the early morning, throwing colorful powder or water balloons at each other. Everyone, poor and rich, old and young, men and women, is fair game. Culturally, Holi also stands for new beginnings, where people bury past rivalries, pay or forgive debts, and renew and revive old relationships.
We were lucky enough to all get tickets to play Holi at a very nice club in Pune, where they did not only have free, organic colors (many colleagues warned us about the colors used in the streets, for many of them are very toxic), they also offered delicious foods, chilling drinks, and a rain dance. Holi in India truly is a one of a kind experience! It is impossible to describe, so I’ll just leave you with some pictures!
Bye Guys! ✿✿✿
** Yes, I speak Hindi! (Or rather, an IPA version of Hindi ;))