Making India Easy For Expats
Making India easy for Expats
Meet Pallavi Singh
By Zeba Akhtar
As I sip on to my hot masala chai in Candies, Pali Hill, I see a 24 year old walk in quizzically, a large file in hand, supported by a warm and excited smile.
Meet Pallavi Singh, the founder of Hindi Lessons for Foreigners in India, a project which started off as a part time college stint, and has now culminated into a fully functional program with over 200 students.
Intrigued by the whole concept of teaching Hindi, I asked Pallavi, “Why Hindi?”
Quick came the honest reply:
“I was learning French during my college days, and at times I would just think of how amazingly convenient would it be, if I had someone with whom I could just converse in French, mostly like an everyday casual conversation to polish my language skills. This led to another very vital thought, that I was not alone, and this was the plight of so many foreigners and expats who come to visit or stay in India. When you come to India, nobody teaches you the language, and sooner or later this can turn pretty agonizing.”
It is with this interest in mind, that Pallavi began giving Hindi lessons to people who did not belong to the country and had no clue of the language. The trouble with linguistically inclined courses in India is that there is no infrastructure in place which grants you with the qualification to be a Hindi instructor, and hence she had to design and execute all her teaching modules single handedly.
An engineer by degree, followed by another major in psychology and economics, Pallavi moved to Mumbai three years ago, to find her niche.
“Every day is a new adventure and Mumbai teaches me a lot. For me it is the city that slaps you in the face and then hugs you back. I decided on living in Bandra as most of my students reside or work around Bandra. Teaching Hindi to expats for me is not just a job, it has become a way of life and each day I learn as much as I teach. You could call it bilateral learning, if you please. I come in contact with different experiences, cultures, way of living and most importantly different stories. After graduation most of my close ones expected me to take up a job or go abroad for further studies, and when I took up teaching Hindi as a profession, there were mixed responses. But I am confident of what I am doing. I’ve carved a life for myself which I do not need to run away from and every morning when I wake up, I look forward to a day of new learning and interactions. The fact that I add value to someone’s life is what drives me.”
Teaching Hindi to expats who either have Indian partners, or are stationed in the country for work, she helps them articulate India, in its most basic and lucid forms, a great way to transfer not just language, but a major essence of life in the subcontinent.
- Living Local