Hinglish, soccer in the streets, and Indian video games: Answering your questions about India

August 12, 2010: UPDATE: Marathi is also commonly spoken on the streets in Maharashtra. Hindi is a secondary language for most people. See this post for more updated information about language in India.

Ask and you shall receive.

How many host families will you have?

I have only one host family the whole year. So I’m very happy that I got placed with a good one! Everyone in the family has been supportive and helped me learn all the new facets of the culture. One of the students I met at the conference had five though, if I remember correctly, so the number of families varies from student to student and country to country.

Are you going to go through an intensive language week or two through Rotary during your first few weeks? I know they do that in some of the European countries.

No, but I actually wish I did. Almost everyone I’ve met speaks English, and most speak it well. When someone wants to talk to me in English, I’m usually able to understand what they’re saying without any difficulties. I have become self-conscious of my American accent, since it’s quite distinctive.

But almost everyone here speaks three languages fluently: English, Hindi and Marathi, the latter two of which are quite similar. I find it remarkable how so many people are so fluent in all three languages. In the house, Marathi is commonly spoken. On the streets, everyone understands Hindi. Friends often talk amongst themselves in Hindi and Marathi, so I wish I had learned more of each before I came. They’ll interchange between Hindi and English a lot, so I guess you could say everyone speaks Hinglish.

Are you taller than anyone you see?

Yea… In fact I haven’t seen a single other person with blond or brown hair since I left the Nagpur airport. But I haven’t gotten as much attention for my difference in appearance as I thought I would. A small child noticeably pointed at me a couple days ago, and a baby girl stared at me as I rode by in the car, but if adults have been looking at me, they have been discrete. No one has come up to me and tousled my hair or anything like that.

Are there kids playing soccer in the streets?

Cricket is the big sport here in India, but it’s definitely not the only popular sport. Basketball and football (I’m just going to call soccer football, so hang with me) are very popular. Field hockey, badminton and volleyball are also played a lot. But these are all played on well-maintained courts and fields for the most part.

So no, I haven’t seen kids playing soccer in the streets. 🙂

As for football, I was going to go play this morning with my host brother, cousin and friends, but it was raining too hard.

Have you got a phone yet that works?

No, not yet. Everyone I talked to beforehand said I shouldn’t bring a phone, so that’s why I remained one of those weird people without a cell phone in the months before the trip. One of my friends here recommended I just change the SIM card on a phone from the US, but I really didn’t know enough to do anything.

I don’t know if I’ll be getting a phone eventually, but seeing as I survived 15 of my 17 years without one, I’ll think I’ll be able to survive one more. 😛

Watching tv??? What about… video games ?

TV is to India what the internet is to the US. Actually that’s an overgeneralization. But TV seems more influential here than in the US. My host brother, cousin, and friends watch a lot of movies in their free time, clicking between HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and the Indian Disney Channel. We’ve also watched the WWE.

Yes, I know. I didn’t come to India just to watch TV…

As for video games, some people play video games on their PCs. Internet cafés, I’ve heard, are filled with teenagers on World of Warcraft and Age of Empires. I haven’t had the chance to play anything yet.

I did, however, sing YMCA and We Are The Champions on the family karaoke machine…

Did you take your malaria pill?

Only you would ask that, mom. Yes, of course! No worries.

🙂

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7 Responses to “Hinglish, soccer in the streets, and Indian video games: Answering your questions about India”

  1. John Says:

    Thanks for the q&a answering session Chris.
    In the spirit of your first sentence, may you bring back an Indian coffee mug for this collector here who is stuck in Illinois, and if that is not feasible then rather a large sum of cash? 🙂 [just kidding–but if you do see a really cool coffee mug and you have extra space, take down the price and I’ll reimburse you when you get back, as I actually do collect mugs for my precious morning coffee XD]

    –wait– do they even have coffee mugs/ coffee there?

    • cyoder Says:

      You know, I actually haven’t seen any coffee mugs here anywhere. In fact, I’ve haven’t heard anything about coffee since the plane ride. Tea, though. There’s some really good tea.

      If I do find any though, I’ll take note!

  2. Brian Allen Says:

    Chris,
    Have been following the plans for your trip through correspondance with your mom. As much travel and study as I’ve done, I don’t know much about India, so will be looking forward to following your year. BTW, read some of your other stuff. You’re a great writer. There could be a future there!
    Cheers!
    Brian Allen

  3. Tianna Says:

    Chris, I am so happy to hear that you’re doing well and having fun so far. I’m glad that your host family is nice =] If you’d like, Larissa has some really good friends in Nagpur that I’m sure she’d be willing to put you in contact with. Just keep on being happy and curious and adaptable, fool =] Talk to you soon!

  4. Hadley Says:

    Haha great blog entry Chris! I especially like “No one has come up to me and tousled my hair or anything like that.” This is great news! And I may have to join the growing throng of souvenir coffee mug seekers, if the offer holds. =) Hope you are having a blast!

  5. DrPam Says:

    @AnIndianYear Before taking ANY medication or vitamins (pills, shots, liquids; OTC or prescribed), read this & use drug interaction checker http://www.drugs.com/cdi/mefloquine.html

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