During her proposal, the woman said: ‘We are very compatible’. She actually spoke Hindi to me but mixed it with English words. With my limited knowledge of English I did not know what ‘compatible’ meant and asked her for the meaning.
She explained me the following: If there is a husband and a wife and they have different ideas of life, like a different way of living and different wishes, they just don’t fit together. It doesn’t work. But we fit together! You are from the Brahman caste and I am from the Brahman caste. You are very religious and so am I! You lived alone for so long and I lived alone until now, too. Our thoughts are similar! We are really very compatible, it is hard to find someone like this.
This is how I learned a new word: compatible.
I actually was learning English bit by bit and word by word, always ready to adopt a new one into my vocabulary. I just tried to add English words into my Hindi speaking and to say small sentences in English. I was eager to learn, knowing that with English you can talk with so many more people!
When I was with the other family in London before, I had told my host to correct me if I said something wrong in English. He asked me ‘So you won’t mind if I correct you?’ and I told him that I was not shy at all in realizing my mistakes and having them corrected. I never was and am not until now.
I knew I did mistakes in pronounciation, my grammar was wrong and I even used wrong words when I did not know the proper meaning. He was actually happy to correct me, to teach me and to help me. I had also started receiving emails in English and he helped me by translating what I did not understand as well as writing replies in a way that the other one could understand it.
I remember how we were sitting together once and talking when his teenage daughter came in. She said ‘I go Harrow’ and off she was. He turned to me and said ‘You see, these days young people don’t care whether they speak correctly or not. She was born here, she knows that the correct way to say this sentence is ‘I go to Harrow’, but she does not care about the correct form. So you really don’t need to worry if you do some small mistakes and if that what you say is slightly wrong. People will understand you!’
I never had proper English lessons but in this way I learned some words, some sentences and some expressions in 2002.