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11.05.2015

Currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree at Sophia’s College, Pallavi is majoring in Psychology and English Literature from Mumbai University and spends her free time putting together Hindi lesson plans for expats such as author William Dalrymple as part of her creatively titled business, Hindi Lessons For Foreigners In India. She also tutors Mumbai locals who need a better command over the Hindi language for their communication at home and their businesses, or just to fight with their taxiwallas.

How It Started

After about a year of teaching foreigners how to navigate through Mumbai with a practical knowledge of Hindi, Pallavi attempted to snag the White Mughal. “Considering so much of his work is based in India, it was strange that he didn’t actually know Hindi.” Being a fan of his work and having read City of Djinns, Pallavi took a chance and wished Dalrymple on his birthday over a social network, mentioning that she’d love to teach him Hindi. “Obviously I was overjoyed when he got back to me,” Pallavi says excitedly. 

“I would’ve loved to give him some translation and comprehension passages from Champak and Premchand, my personal favourites. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time,” she says.

Starting with the basics, Pallavi taught Dalrymple the days of the week, colours, numbers, adjectives and more complicated concepts like conjugations. Film screenings, spellings with blocks and practical everyday conversations took up much of the curriculum. “I would’ve loved to give him some translation and comprehension passages from Champak and Premchand, my personal favourites. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time,” she says.

C se city, D se Djinn

“He just wanted to get a hang of the language to be able to have regular conversations in Hindi,” explains Pallavi. We pry her for details about what ol’ Will is like in class and she remains tight-lipped and diplomatic. “He’s very hardworking and humble. Obviously, classes were a little erratic because of his schedule, but he was always able to finish his homework. I think that was thanks to Olivia (Dalrymple’s wife), whose Hindi is better than his!”

In order to keep the classes engaging, Pallavi would follow her sessions with fun assignments like superhero/ cartoon character colour association tests. “One of the answers I got back said costume nahi hai for Ariel, The Little Mermaid. Of course I had to give that guy extra marks for creativity,” she laughs.

Apt Pupil

Open to extending her services to practically anyone who is interested, Pallavi can come over to a place of convenience for an hour-long session or you can choose to Skype with her. “I’ve had lots of South Indian students who I’ve helped with pronunciations and conversation,” says Pallavi.

Teach for India?

Getting there: Call Pallavi at 09769021595, see the Facebook page here, Rs  4,000 for 4 one-on-one classes of 60-75 minutes each.

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