Friday, January 10, 2014

I should have learned Hindi

It's possible to travel in Delhi and Agra without speaking Hindi, but I really should have tried harder to learn it.

I should have taught myself Hindi
When I went to Fatehpur Sikri with my Delhi host, we hired a guide to show us around.  I'm always nervous about getting ripped off in India, so I try not to speak English.  In this case, that meant I stayed mute and we ended up with a guide who spoke Hindi.

As we had only just gotten ripped off by another terrible guide ten minutes before who brought us to the entrance of Fatehpur Sikri while speaking to me in broken English and then didn't actually show us anything, I didn't really care what language the guide spoke at that point.  I just wanted him to shepherd us around so we didn't get lost.

That was a huge mistake.  It turns out that we had hired a guide who actually knew his stuff.  He knew all about the history of the Mughals and the architecture of the city.  And I couldn't understand 50% of what he was saying.  I understood just enough to know that he was telling us things I was interested in and couldn't understand.  It was maddening.

I figured I could ask my host to translate for me, but when I did, I learned that he was in the same boat as me.  So, we spent an hour following our guide around Fatehpur Sikri, smiling and nodding and pretending to understand him.

I should learn Hindi.

No comments:

Post a Comment