So I'm back from the Istanbul, London,Berlin toor as the babu jis put it. The Toddler was quite the desi politician Abraad. Gift collection, trying to endear himself to the locals, much bad behaviour, and developing a penchant for drinking phizzyy waterrr. Trip diary and fotuus will soon be put up God in the Heavens willing and Toddler on earth cooperating.
On return to Dhaka, I have enrolled myself in Hindi classes. It could perhaps be a backlash, after a month of all things Teutonic. Or perhaps a pink cheeked Shashi Kapoor diligently memorising the Hindi alphabet in Jab Jab Phool Khiley did leave an impression on me, or perhaps I want to understand Amit ji's chautha prashan. Whatever. I signed up for a weekly Hindi class that meets while everyone else is sleeping in on a Saturday morn.
Now the good thing about joining a class a month into when it has started and which has mostly 8 year olds other than one who is err 4 and one or two other mature age students like me is that the position for the class clown, class swot, space cadet, class sage and weary old soul, and the one kid who clearly annoys everyone has already been taken so I can slink to a seat in the far end and keep quiet for the next two hours. And you really can't out funny or out smart 8 year olds, these kids are gooodd. And make me very jealous with their sharp retorts. Such good lines.
Some things don't change however, teachers still screech Class Homework Pleeezz
Kids still wonder Hain? Homework? Kab?
There will be still one kid, hand in air, Meeeesss I was not present in class last time.
Abey dont raise your hand I say that's my excuse
There will be still that intermittent squawk from the teacher "syllabus kaise khatam hoga. Oh so much syllabus pending. Dictation Dictation"
She is lovely though and clearly flustered about where she finds herself, stuck between the babu-dum of her life that brings her to Dhaka and clearly not finding an audience which might have appreciated the discourses on Hindi literature she might have expected to deliver here.
So she will correct a student "What is this? Abraham Lincoln ki ek biwi thi, hain? Logo ki dau dau biwiya hoti hai Kiya? " and then looks around confused, Toto we are not in Kansas sorry Delhi any more.
She bends over my notebook "Aur yeh jo Hindi Farsi se akshar aaye hain unko bindi laga deyte hain"
Bilkul theek Kaha . As i said sheer brilliant stuff !! So wish me luck as I encounter the ees and the ooos and to the dreaded ghuhh well my old foe, we meet again. I will be decorating the foreheads of all foreign alphabets now.
The best line of the day ( and ironically the best lie) was delivered by a dad being hassled by his son outside class " daddy daddy kal Gandhi ji ka budday hai bataye na bataye na how do we celebrate?" between punching him some more.
"Chocolate nahi khaatey beta" he says patting him on his cheek. And then thinks for a minute "And we also don't tell lies".
Happy Chocolate Dry Day to all my Gandhian readers!