You probably know the television show “Ready, Steady, Cook!” Competing against the clock and each other, contestents have to produce a delicious meal using random ingredients.

Practising my Hindi was like that, too. After 1.5 years of lessons I had a few seemingly useful items in my linguistic shopping bag: some vocabulary, a selection of tenses, the odd auxiliary verb… But how to combine them to make a nutritious conversation?

Waiting for the school bus one day, I bumped into Neha, our babysitter. She was very sweet and a sympathetic listener to my efforts (assuming she was laughing *with* and not *at* me).

As she approached, I said hi in Hindi and asked how she was doing.

That’s the onions – always a good starting point, right? But then I reached into my bag again. And pulled out… “This is the pen with which I was writing yesterday”.

Hmmm. Not by any stretch of the imagination is that going to come across as intelligent, sane conversation. Even if I were holding a pen.

I scrambled for a different ingredient: “Before I go I will read my book”. No. What about a question: “Can you tell me the price of a ticket to Delhi?” Aaarrgh! Desperate now, I reached for the tin of tomatoes and resigned myself to having spag. bol. again: “Nice weather isn’t it? Bus is late though”.


If you fancy practising your English skills by having real, meaningful conversations in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, you might enjoy our Conversation Club with Kirsty and Jane. Details (in German) here.

At the moment most of our participants are German, so the web copy is in German too. If you’d like to receive the information in English, feel free to send me a message.

Picture credit.