Hindi Exam: Round Two.

Unsurprisingly, I failed my Hindi exam last year. Failed spectacularly in fact, with an admirable eight out of fifty. Despite Masterji (who fell sick after a few weeks, don't worry - he's still alive), I had a sinking feeling I was going to fail this year as well.

Was confident at first. I mean, I went to Masterji. I had Notes. I'd also touched his feet (receiving blessings for both my exam as well as to catch a man). I also had a dream in which I passed Hindi. (Friend was in the dream. Friend, who needs a pass if he wants to graduate with his honours degree, failed.)

The day before the Hindi exam, I started feeling a bit helpless. My notes were of no help because I couldn't understand what they were on about. The difference between boli and bhasha, the different kinds of bhasha, etc etc. It was terrible. I vaguely knew what they were about, but I knew I wouldn't be able to reproduce it accurately on paper. Nonetheless, I soldiered on.

Grammar. Opposites. Vilom. Huge improvement: last year I didn't know what vilom meant. Not to mention synonyms. Friend and I quizzed each other on the phone. I can say this now the exam's over but I really didn't think Friend would pass. Friend was worse than I was. He'd spent the past year smirking over how he was going to pass Hindi, but I think hearing about my dream shattered him.

Anyway. This isn't about the preparation (or lack thereof). This is about the exam.

Went into the exam hall with that old familiar feeling: the one where you know you're going to fail, there's nothing you can do, it's out of your hands, it's always been out of your hands, and you just want the next two hours to go by quickly.

The first question. No clue what it meant. But I identified a word: bhogoal and realised it was Geography (oh Manjudi, it turns out you have your uses even now). So then I wrote about the geographical distribution of Hindi. This is what I wrote: Bharat mein 65% loag hindi meh baath kartha hai. Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Dilli, etc. There were a few more states but I didn't know how to spell them.

The second question. The difference between boli and bhasha. Masterji's notes, I thought. Yes! The trouble was even though I vaguely knew what the notes said, I didn't know how to put it down in correct Hindi. So I drew a neat little column, wrote boli on one side, bhasha on the other, and put in a few key words that I remembered. Like, one of them is what you learn at school. The other is the stuff you speak at home. One has vyakaran. The other does not.

Grammar was awesome. I think I might get six marks there. I knew all the synonyms and I knew one viloam and I could identify the nouns and verbs and pronouns. Then we came to the proverbs. The proverbs were a problem. I decided to avoid problems and turned to the next question which are kind of like proverbs and you have to make a sentence using them.

Masterji has warned me about these.

"You will never be able to answer. Your Hindi is too poor," He'd said, shaking his head sadly. "But I will teach you a method." And he did.

'"[Proverb like phrase] ka arth kya hai, Masterji?" Larka Guru ko bola.' Haha. I'm a genius. Except I have a sneaking suspicion that the examiner will be unable to overlook the grammatical errors in that sentence to give me a mark for it, but still. Every little thing counts.

Then was a short essay on mobile phones. I wrote about how they came in many different colours and how there were many different kinds and how "accha nahi hai" for little children today to go about using them. Bloody show offs.

Then there was a letter. Drastic improvement from last year because I actually knew the format this time, thanks to Masterji. Unfortunately, I couldn't make out what the hell I was supposed to say in the letter. But instead of putting little dashes in its body like last year, I merely transfered the question to the body. At best, the examiner will see a few key words and not realise anything. At worst, well...at least I had words there. Words with correct spelling even (since they'd been filched from the question paper).

With great relief, I turned to the last question. An essay.

Mera Priya S-s-s-something.

It started with S and the word looked vaguely familiar. Could it be Subject? Were they asking me to write about my favourite subject? I wasn't sure, but figured I might as well. Kept the essay loose just in case there was a chance that it meant something else.

So I wrote about English and books and authors, and I mentioned I didn't have a favourite author, but went on to write about several (those whose names I could spell). Added a nice little tidbit about VS Naipaul being a misogynist (Naipool bola lekhika accha karke likh nahi sakta hai. Yeh bahooth kharaap baath hai) in case the examiner liked current affairs. Also talked about how I read in English and Bengali (the latter: a lie. I added it in case they thought I was too Anglicised) but not in Hindi. Fervently hoped the examiner would take pity on a poor Bengali, used to language that flows like honey, being forced by Delhi University to sit for a useless exam that is based on a language which is only any good for swearing in.

At the end, I was going to write: Please take pity on me' at the bottom of the page, but there wasn't time. I'd been writing slowly hoping to impress the examiner with my neat handwriting.

That's alright though. I'll write it when I'm back there in the same room next year. I could be optimistic and say that I'll pass this year, but though lying to myself is something I've taken pains to master over the years, even I can't stretch the truth that far.

On the bright side (I believe in bright sides), I'm pleased to note that I didn't take any naukars to sea this time round.

1 comment:

Friend said...

don't lie. i could answer a few viloms. you didn't even know what the words meant. you'll fail. i'll probably fail. or pass.