Friday, August 13, 2010

To Learn or Not to Learn

On the drive to the gym this morning, my driver Kailesh informed me that he was planning to begin an English language course in September and that, if the wife and I were OK with it, he'd be unavailable from 6:00am - 7:00am each day for three months. Considering his shift doesn't typically begin until 8:00am; no complaints. If it had interfered, totally different story...

I'm kidding, of course. I think the wife may have actually agreed to pay for the course, which may have been Kailesh's strategy all along. It's safe to say we would have found a way to work around it if the time wasn't so convenient. Though, special points go to the ingenuity of whoever is offering an English course targeted at drivers and the like as the 6:00am - 7:00am time slot, based on my experience, is pretty much an open slot in the Indian culture.

The reason I write of this is that it really raises a question which is, not surprisingly, more selfish: Why exactly haven't I put forth the effort to learn Hindi?

Granted, Kailesh arguably has a lot more to gain economically from his decision than I would to learn Hindi, but let's be honest, I'm living in a country (for two years after having lived here six months previously) and have made zero effort. It's embarrassing. There really is no good answer.

I've determined a three tiered approach will work best: formal education, informal conversation, and bribery. For formal education, I'll be dusting off the Rosetta Stone from the laptop hard drive. The two times I tried it, it actually seemed an effective learning method for me. For informal conversation, I've made a deal with Kailesh that he'll start to teach me as he learns English better. Of course, I'm basically his boss so I have the power to revoke this at any time. Finally, for the bribery piece I'm going to put some sort of candy bowl at my desk at work. Indians, in my experience at work, love candy. The deal will be simple, take a piece of candy, teach me a word or phrase in Hindi and write it on a note card, English on one side, phonetic Hindi on the other so I have some way to remember it.

Of course, if this is the last you hear of my three tiered learning approach, just assume I'm a unilingual ignoramus being chauffeured around by an English speaking driver. Man, I hope he doesn't quit....

No comments:

Post a Comment