I am hosting a couple from the US. They had contacted me through my website. They want to stay in Varanasi for fifteen days. They had already been to Varanasi before fifteen days but they came again just to relax. They were looking for a Hindi teacher and music classes. Christina wanted to learn flute and David wanted to learn vocal. I introduced them to Mr. Deobrat Mishra who is owner of Indian classical music school. It is convenient for Christina and David also because this school is at the next door. They are happy with their music teachers.
I was in touch with a Hindi teacher named Mr. Binit Mishra for past few months. He does assistant of Prof. Virendra Singh. I thought it would be good time for me to test Mr. Mishra’s skills of teaching Hindi and I introduced him to Christina and David. I had already read positive references about Mr. Mishra online but I did not know if it was true or not so I was a little bit concerned. But now after Mr. Mishra has given four classes I feel that I met a really nice teacher.
Its a big relief for me because now my guests can have a teacher right in their room. Now they will not have to go here and there to find a good teacher. I asked Christina and David both about Mr. Mishra and both of them said that he is a great teacher. They said that I can recommend Mr. Mishra as a Hindi teacher to anyone. He comes everyday to teach Christina and David for two hours.
My new guest
It is the first time when I am hosting a family. They are a couple with two kids. Nadia is doing masters with Hindi Literature and Sanskrit from University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Her husband is an engineer. They say that it is their family vacation. Nadia goes to a Hindi teacher named Mr. Vimal Mehra. Mr. Mehra taught Hindi last year at Nadia’s university so she had already chosen him as her Hindi teacher. Yesterday I took Nadia to Mr. Mehra’s place which is about three minutes of walk from my place. Mr. Mehra seemed very nice person to me. I am not sure but one of friends told me that he teaches at Wisconsin University as well. One thing is sure that he teaches at Wisconsin University’s Varanasi center with Mr. Virendra Singh.
It is first time when my any guest is going to learn Hindi with Mr. Mehra.I had already heard about him but had never met. A lot of people say that he is a very good teacher. So I am not concerned about Nadia’s classes. I am sure she has got a very good teacher and she will improve her Hindi. Nadia is also happy because she says that her teacher makes her talk which is she wanted. She says that she has been learning Hindi for the past two years but never got opportunity to speak but now she is very happy with her classes.
I also like their family a lot. They are very very organized people (complete Swiss). Once Gaitano, Nadia’s elder son, threw a plastic on the floor and Nadia saw it, she immediately came to Gaitano and punished him which was very impressive to me. Gaitano doesn’t like Indian food. So we have to prepare noodles and Pasta specially for him. It seems like Elio likes our food. He eats with his parents. Nadia has brought a lot of instant food and powder milk for Elio. Elio is very cute. I love him. He always smiles. Everybody in my family and in neighborhood likes him a lot. Whenever he comes on the roof, I see other people looking at him from different roofs.
Paolo, Nadia’s husband, speaks a little English which creates a barrier between me and him but its okay. We understand each other. I like talking to him because I want to learn about his job. Gaitano also doesn’t speak any English but Elio speaks international language, means nothing which I like a lot. He can only say MaMa, that’s all. Nadia is planning to go to Bombay on the 20th of February after completing her Hindi classes in Varanasi and then Singapore, and then Australia.
One girl name Abbie from Pittsburgh contacted me through couchsurfing asking about Hindi classes in Varanasi. I suggested her to go to Mr. Virendra Singh. She had written to Bhasha Bharti, but Bhasha Bharti did not reply her. I asked Mr. Singh if he had time for another student, and fortunately he had one hour free. Abbie was still in Bhopal when she wrote me. I told her to contact me after she arrive in Varanasi. I thought it will be good for her if she met Udo, the other Hindi student staying at my place.
She called me on the 21st. I brought her to my home to introduce her to Udo but he was not home then. I took her to Mr. Singh’s place. After talking to Mr. Singh, Abbie said that she would like to study with him for rest of her time in India. She had already studied Hindi for three months in Indore, but she did not learn anything. Her Hindi teacher was not a real Hindi teacher. He was a mathematics teacher. I am sure a mathematics teacher can not teach Hindi.
Abbie went to Khajuraho after having one lesson with Mr. Singh but she will be back by next Monday. She still has three months left in India, which is good enough to learn basic Hindi. I hope that she learns something with Virendra Singh. She also wanted to stay my place but I could not host herbecause all of my rooms were already booked. She is staying at Ganga Yogi Lodge some where near Sonarpura, and their charges fit her budget as well.
I have been hosting a student from Germany. His name is Udo, he is 58 years old and wants to learn Hindi in Varanasi. Uncle Udo contacted me about a month ago. He got my email address through hospitality club profile. Uncle Udo used to be a professor of German. He has worked for different universities in England, Germany, and Japan. Now he owns a language school in Munich, but he doesn’t teach there. He works for the government to assess unemployed people for the government help.
I asked uncle Udo about why he wanted learn Hindi at the age of 58. He said that once one of his friends had given him a Hindi grammar book as a birthday gift, which he never looked at and just kept in the cupboard. Two or three years ago when he was cleaning the cupboard, he found that book and decided to learn Hindi. He says that starting to learn something is the best idea if you want to keep your mind working in old age. I liked this idea. Uncle Udo started looking for online help to learn Hindi three years ago, so he knows all the sounds and he has a very good idea of the grammar.
Udo uncle asked me about Hindi classes in Varanasi, and obviously I suggested Professor Virendra Singh. Virendra Singh was not in Varanasi that time, but he was supposed to come by the first week of October. So I told uncle Udo to keep doing his research to find a Hindi teacher so that in case if Mr. Singh is not present in Varanasi, he can still have a teacher. He told me about Mr. Binit Mishra whom he found online for Hindi teaching. He told me that Mr. Mishra lives somewhere near my home, but I had never ever heard of this man.
Udo uncle came to my house on the 6th of October. On the very first day we went to meet Virendra Singh at his place, and fortunately he was back in Varanasi and had started teaching. We met Virendra Singh, and he said that he could teach Udo uncle for one hour everyday. Udo uncle was happy to get him. He said that since he had also been a professor, he needed a real professor to teach him. And this was the only reason he did not contact other schools in Varanasi.
Udo uncle goes to Virendra Singh every morning for one hour, and he so happy with Mr. Singh’s teaching. He says that Mr. Singh is the best Hindi professor he has ever met. Now Udo uncle has started speaking Hindi: he is still not perfect but has many progress. His Hindi is far better than what usually people learn aftert going to classes for fifteen days. He wants to go to Khajuraho and Gwalior before he leaves India. He will leave home after ten days. He is planning to come to Varanasi again maybe next year to learn Hindi and attend festivals like Shivratri and Holi.
An anthropology student named Adam Sergant from University of Chicago came to my guest house for a month. He also wanted to learn Hindi with Bhasha Bharti like Lane and Dave. Adam wanted to learn Hindi with Bhasha Bharti for his whole stay, three months, but Bhasha Bharti didn’t have that much time so he decided to learn in Varanasi for a month then move to Masoori for another two months.
He had already learned Hindi with Virendra Singh at Wisconsin University so his Hindi was so so. I asked him about why he was not learning with Virendra Singh in Varanasi so he said that Virendra Singh is in the US every year during summer time to teach students at Wisconsin University. He comes India only in winter with the same students he teaches at University in Madison. Adam used to go Bhasha Bharti for 6 hours a day.
His classes timings were not convenient for him, 8 to 11 morning and 4 to 7 in the evening. He went there for almost 15 days and decided to leave early because he had to do some research regarding his future work in India. He was doing PhD from University of Chicago and was interested in labors at construction sites.
Adam had great time in Varanasi learning Hindi with Bhasha Bharti. He said that teachers were not best but not bad either. Adam had few complaints about the dirt in classroom. He said that his chair was right under the fan and the dust would always fall at him from the fan. His overall experience with Bhasha Bharti was good, he was happy with them.
He left to Delhi to watch construction sites for his future project. He gave contact of my brother in Delhi so that he could hear something from a local person. After spending 2 days and eating Delhi food, Adam got sick. He was admitted in hospital for 3 days and got 4 drips. I dont understand why Delhi’s food is so bad. Even I had some problem when I ate in Delhi last time I was there.
Some how Adam reached Masoori to learn Hindi with a school. He had arranged his accommodation through his school so he was quiet sure that he will get a place to stay for two months. But when he reached at the place he was supposed to stay, he found that door was locked. He contacted the house owner and owner said that they have shifted to Dehradoon for next one month and would not be able to host him.
Again Adam contacted me look for housing in Masoori. I had a friend Dehradoon so I contacted him to look for some nice place in Masoori. It took three days to him to find a home but Adam had already found a place to stay. Adam cancelled his Hindi classes and left Masoori early because of some family problem.
A 61 years old scientist named Dave from Fresno, USA came to my guest house for a month. He wanted to learn Hindi with Bhasha Bharti. He was in love with Hindi. He had spent about 3 years in Madhya Pradesh, India working for US Peace Corps in 1960s. He knew very good Hindi, a lot better than the people who go to Hindi classes for months. He had scheduled his classes from the US so he was sure that there will be someone to teach in Varanasi.
He got a message from Bhasha Bharti, after he had arrived in Varanasi, saying that his classes had been canceled. He wrote them asking the reason but they never replied. We went together to Bhasha Bharti to request them to let Dave learn with them but they were not interested at all. Dave was so sad, he didn’t know what he would do for the next one month in India. Finally he decided to visit the village again where he used to live working for US peace corps.
I asked few people about other Hindi classes in Varanasi and came to know about a professor named Virendra Singh who is a professor of Hindi at Wisconsin University, Madison, USA. We went there to see if he could teach Dave. He was really a nice person, he became agree to teach Dave for one hour everyday. Dave was hoping for at least 4 or 5 hours of classes everyday but Mr. Singh had already lots of students from Wisconsin University so he could not give more than 1 hour. But it was better than nothing.
I was so happy that Dave got a professor. I asked Dave about Virendra Singh’s ability to teach and he said that Virendra Singh is best Hindi professor he had ever met. I also like him a lot.
A lot of foreign students come India to learn Hindi and most of them either go to Masoori or Varanasi. They say that there are only three good Hindi schools in India and Varanasi and Masoori gets most attention. An student of University of Washington named Lane Rasberry stayed at my guest house for five months. He was in Varanasi to learn Hindi with a school called Bhasha Bharti. He wanted to outsource chemistry research to India and do his PhD research with some Indian scientist. He used to go to classes two hours a day/ five days a week and pay Rs. 200-250 per hour which was a lot more than what I used pay to learn English.
He wanted to learn Hindi with Bhasha Bharti for his whole stay but decided to leave early because of some reasons after 2 months. Later he started practicing Hindi on his own in a Hindi speaking environment in my home. He started learning Hindi by my family member’s help, specially my father. He was still looking for a teacher for Hindi classes but wasn’t able to find one. I also tried to find a teacher but I was never ever satisfied with the people who claimed to be a good Hindi teacher for foreigners.
We tried few teachers but none of them were able to satisfy either Lane or me. One of them was a queen and would talk about himself more than teaching Lane. Lane went to my English teacher and as I told him that Lane pays Rs. 200 per hour to Bhasha Bharti, his mouth became water. He was trying to make Lane come to him at any cost but I thought it was better to go to Bhasha Bharti if he had to same fee. Finally I left going there to avoid his pressure on me to bring Lane.
Leaving time his Hindi was good enough to express his feelings. He could understand better than he could speak. I had no problem understanding his Hindi but he still needed lots of practice. I don’t know if he will be able to practice Hindi in the US or not. Lane told me about Skype and it was great idea to help him practice his Hindi even he is in the US. I would try to communicate him in Hindi through Skype.