Learn Hindi in One Week – Day 6 – Fires Are Burning

Kite Festival Varanasi

Learn Hindi in One Week

We’re into the penultimate day of the challenge, let’s see if we can keep those fires burning.

Day 6 – Fires Are Burning

Day 4 fired me up with a good rain, and day 5 really fed on that but day 6 took things to a whole new level as the sun came out. But lets start at the beginning.

Day 5 was super long. I left the hostel at 8:30 am, returned at around 10:00 pm. I was actually still working online when the Midnight ‘light’s out’ popped up in the hostel roof top restaurant thus I lost my internet connection at that point and was basically forced to retire to my little mouse pad.

Only after all of this did I get an opportunity to start writing my story for the night. I did that, as well as looking up (in my teach yourself Hindi book) a bunch of verbs and nouns to increase my vocabulary.

Between the story and building my vocabulary, I was up until almost 2:00 am, looks like it’s gonna be another short sleep.

Held hands with the snooze button from 7:45 (stopped even pretending I would wake up at 7:30) until 8:20 then crawled out of bed, and ran off to my class. I’ve now taken the exact same route 4 times a day for the last week, never taking a boat, trim, massage, hashish or well… anything.

Yet, somehow. My walk every single time is interrupted with, “Hello, boat?”, “Trim sir?” “Baba, you look hashish? Good stuff. Kashmir”. (Yes, I have a thick Indian beard that has encouraged the men on the street to call me Baba. It’s the type of thing that makes you feel warm inside that 60 year old body… until you realize that you’re not even half that age yet.)

The most annoying are the street barbers (lots in Varanasi, preparing people for their ‘cleansing’ baths). When you say ‘nahi’ to a trim or shave, they ask to shake your hand, as soon as you do that they start giving you a hand massage and insist that you need a massage “very cheep”… getting your hand back is a bit of a pain to say the least.

Arriving at Raju’s house I realized that I forgot to hit up my fruit vendor, and thus forgot to eat. Awesome. Got into class and immediately into it the swing of things with Raju. The morning session flew by. We’re not adding much more to my book anymore, it’s mostly just ‘drilling’ and talking now. I’m still struggling with the same list of like, have to, have, want, could, should, get… but my vocab is increasing greatly, and I’ve started to tell some more interesting stories. Raju gave me some more food, as well as a couple of cups of chai, and I felt like I ate breakfast right on time.

After the two hour morning session, headed down to pick up my ticket for Nepal, ran into a Espanola and took the opportunity to practice some Spanish (gotta keep practicing those other languages) before heading back to Shiva Cafe for a coffee and see if anyone was around. For the first time, I spoke to no one there and wrote another story for Raju. Looking outside, I saw the sun, first time in who knows how long!

Everyone was on the banks of the Gangas doing their washing. I got caught up in the spirit and washed ALL of my shirts when I got home (brilliant idea I know), before heading back out with my SLR (and shirts hanging off of my backpack to dry) and got some shots of the city in action.

Returned for another two hours with Raju. We threw ‘feel’ into the mess of things that are scrambling in my egg-head and then just chatted away. The two hours flew by again. I’m so glad that Raju was up for doing 4 hours a day. He’s certainly stepped up to the challenge that I dive into and has been a incredible teacher.

After the two hours, I returned to charge my camera batteries before heading out for the fire ceremony that Varanasi is famous for. Ran into Chris there, we went for dinner, then I returned back here to start writing.

I was soooo mad at the guys trying to peddle me boats and handshake massages and shaves and trims and hashish and trinkets that I flipped… I was so rude that I didn’t even talk to a few of them, and even refused to shake a hand or two. I know, it’s harsh. You’re probably wondering if I even feel Canadian anymore… Don’t worry, I apologized for not shaking their hands, so I didn’t have a identity crisis or anything… Talk about the hazards of being a small town traveler! Whew!

So Day 6 is coming to a close, it’s shortly after 11 pm at the moment and tonight’s story still isn’t written, so it’s shaping up to be another late one…

But tomorrow we wrap this bad boy up, and I get on a train for Nepal. It’s all about finishing strong now!

Check out how we got here:

The Challenge
Day 1 – The Battles Begin
Day 2 – Building Momentum
Day 3 – Feeling the Effects
Day 4 – Hump Day
Day 5 – Pushing All-In

Or see how it all finishes up:

Day 7 – The Finale


13 thoughts on “Learn Hindi in One Week – Day 6 – Fires Are Burning

    • Jonny Jenkins Post author

      Thanks Lauren. Unfortunately India makes me feel tall so I don’t need your shoelifts at the moment, but I’ll let you know if I return to a European country and start feeling a certain syndrome kicking in.

  1. Ava

    You, my friend, are awesome! This is exactly the information I’ve been searching for all over the place but just could not locate it. This site just put a smile on my face. Thank you!

  2. Pingback: Learn Hindi in One Week - The Challenge

  3. Pingback: Learn Hindi in One Week - Day 7 - The Finale

  4. Pingback: Learn Hindi in One Week - Day 1 - The Battles Begin

  5. Pingback: Learn Hindi in One Week - Day 2 - Building Momentum

  6. Pingback: Learn Hindi in One Week - Day 3 - Feeling the Effects

  7. Pingback: Learn Hindi in One Week - Day 4 - Hump Day

  8. Pingback: Learn Hindi in One Week - Day 5 - Pushing All-In

  9. girjaa

    JJ, this is such an amazing journal from the fires of Varanasi. It is still unbelievable to me that you are speaking, writing, conversing and apologizing in Hindi…in 6 days. You clearly know how to step up, and dive in head first! Thank you for sharing HOW you do that…the little decisions thru the day…that keep you on track. it seems like even you are amazed that when you SU-DI, the ‘universe’ helps you out…an incredible teacher in Raju… could there be a better place than varanasi? a better time than now? a better goal than learning Hindi in a week to hyperventilate your focus? wow!!!

    • Jonny Jenkins Post author

      There is no doubt that in my experience as soon as you commit to SUDI things seem to work out somehow. Whether you call this the universe, god, or manifesting your own destiny is your choice (I personally just have faith that things will work out without putting my faith into anything in particular)… Oddly, as I left India I was wondering how to keep up my Hindi, afraid that I would lose it as quickly as I learned it… and lo and behold, I found a man in this little back country town in Nepal that happens to be a Nepali/Hindi teacher in Kathmandu… so it’s looking like the next step will be to dive in to learning Nepali as an extension of Hindi. Should be interesting 😛


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