Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Farewell and Moving On


One day in Hindi class Joe and I decided to write a class song with Hindi words. So that evening we got together and in an amazing no time flat we put some guitar and dulcimer chords and words together, English of course.  The song reflected some of the crazy sentences we were making in class and also alluded to my condition when I went back to class after being frozen from some dental work. We liked the tune from the start and started practicing.  Soon some of our other class mates came in and we all started singing and refining the arrangement including adding some Hindi lines thanks to Michael. We practiced long and then once more in the morning in the class room before our teacher Anu came in.  And when she did we were ready for her.  Here are words minus the Hindi:


A Class of Your Own Ó2009

J. Spence, M. Takefman, M. Rosenkrantz


Anu was our teacher in the pickled Hindi class

It was there that she taught us to speak

She taught us the words and to conjugate the verbs

And we were fluent by the end of the week


Now I know my future and I know my past

My present and intransitives for sure

And though we turn up late

Our vocab is great

But pronunciation is still a little poor



Anu I know you are in a class of your own

Please bear with me for a while

My mouth is on sedation

Since my mind went on vacation

And my tasty wife is tasting pretty vile


We talk about the camels and how the trains walk slow

We talked about the Indian daily life

And we also talked a lot about how Kate likes to shop

But most of all about Joe’s tasty wife.



A private taxi arrived to pick me up to take me to the Old Delhi train station.  I was told he would speak some English, and he did know at least two words.  With my few words in Hindi we had some sparkling conversations.

The station was packed. No it was sardined. People on the floor with their luggage and everything else as far as the eye could see.  The sounds of yelling and that general hum of people echoed through the thick hot air.  It was a dark place where no one has a right of way so you make your own and you struggle upstream, constantly.  My driver indicated that I follow him and he got me to the right platform before he left me to re park his car. He said he’d be back in five minutes.  The train was not in the station yet so I found a comfy spot on some large burlap crates and waited.  I was soon approached by a group of young Koreans looking for direction.  They spoke no Hindi and their English was minimal so there I was posing as the Old Delhi Train Station Information Center spokesman.  It turned out they were on the same train as me and so we started to talk.  The guy I spoke to was a 22 year old man. At one point he asked me which Hindu Gods did I like, a strange question I thought. It turned out that he identifies himself with the God Ganesh, which believe it or not, he looks like. Then came the traditional taking of pictures.  Cameras were handed around and it took some of them they took some of me with them and so on.

Finally the train pulled in and the insane mad rush to get on board began.  My driver had come back and helped me with my bags and to find my coach number and seat position: window seat, lower berth, just great.



I saw my first camel from the train.  Just a quick glimpse of one pulling a cart.  After that they started showing up everywhere. In fields, on roads.  The land we travel across is bleak yet there is ample signs that there is some sort of farming going one. Fields are tilled but barren, perhaps waiting for the monsoons and winter rains to come.

Across from me on the train I met Ravi Pruthi, an engineer going out somewhere in Rajasthan to commission a boiler.  He is  27, single, living with his parents and I sense takes some delight in the fact that he is not married, even though he admits his parents pester him about this daily.  He tells me, as someone coming from Delhi, that the Rajasthanians are much nicer than those in Delhi.  I tell him I have found all Indians to be very friendly.  But he insists that in Rajasthan they are more honest.  I guess I will have to live in the culture for a while to see his point.


Live never to be ashamed if anything you do or say is published around the world – even if what is published is not true. (R. Bach)




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