Adventures in Telugu

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Ramo gave me my first Telugu lesson over the weekend, and it confirmed what I already suspected: It is a darn hard language to learn!!  “Thank you” has six syllables (“dahn-ya wa-da moo-loo”, with the accent on the “loo”) and took me about ten tries before Ramo stopped smirking.  “Bah-goo-nah-vah” is hello…I may stick to waving my hand and smiling, for the time being at least.  When I later heard from Hindi speakers that even they have difficulties learning Telugu, I wasn’t sure whether to feel better or worse.

As I’m learning, everything is an adventure in Hyderabad.  Getting a sim card for my mobile phone took half a day, as I went from kiosk to kiosk around the city – only to be told that (a) I needed an Indian passport; (b) if I didn’t have an Indian passport, at the very least I needed someone with an Indian passport to vouch for me.  As I’ve come to learn, if I don’t like an answer, I should keep searching until I like the one I’m given.  Even then, the process of getting a sim card has become my first lesson in Indian bureaucracy.  Although it’s a fully pre-paid card, I had to give them copies of my passport, copies of a passport picture, and verification of my local address—all of which had to be signed multiple times and stored away for future reference!  But now that I have a local mobile number and a local bank account, I’m well on my way to feeling like a true local…as much as possible, anyway.  While I definitely don’t feel at home here yet, I don’t feel like a tourist either.  Hey, it’s a start.

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