“ Nothing is stranger than reality” – Well, what a strange quote in itself. Read on to know about Pallavi, a hatke Hindi teacher and you will find her journey from student to a teacher herself even stranger.
A proper Delhiite, a typical college student Pallavi decided she would like to work part time and earn some cash so that she can explore her beloved city and its many joints without any issue. She started looking for student jobs, but couldn’t find any job which was sensible for a student and gave a proper respectable environment. “Since as a student, you start your job at early morning you ideally require the jobs to be around late noon or evening but ending around 8-9pm. But sadly this (unlike the western countries) doesn’t work here in India. I was very disappointed that I couldn’t support myself as there were no options except for McD or waitress which I didn’t want to do. People presume that your parents will support you while you are studying until you start working.” shares Pallavi.
So what transpired between this and her becoming a Hindi teacher? Pallavi tells us, “At that time I was also doing a diploma in French and used to think that if only I had the opportunity to talk to somebody who was fluent in French, I would be making much better progress in the language than what I was making in the meager two hours a week classes. Born and brought up in Delhi, I knew that a lot of exchange students came up here to study in DU and would surely require assistance to learn the local tongue. I began to reach out to them and the journey began. My first student was from Africa, we started very informally sitting across each other and excitedly dissecting the difference between a lacha paratha and a normal paratha. What was very trivial to me was actually a very important aspect of survival in the strange country for them. That was the beginning, and I have never looked back again.
The shift from a part time job to a career for Pallavi came when she was at crossroads in her life and had to make a decision on which road to take further. “There was a point in my life where I had to take a call between this and another opportunity. I had received a call for pursuing a good course in a university in Canada and it had the potential to turn out to be really big for me. But, then my visa was denied three times. This jolted me and changed the way I viewed things. When you lead a simple life, you don’t think that stuff like this would happen to you. I then wanted to do something in my life, which gives back to me and makes me happy. I liked my classes and with time I got better at it. In hindsight, I can tell you that this work gives me international exposure, gives me value for my time and gives this opportunity to meet people from such diverse backgrounds that I couldn’t have got anywhere else. It makes you grow as a person too. Looking back, I feel this was meant to be” candidly shares Pallavi with a refreshing dose of honesty.
A typical college girl in Delhi, Pallavi loved exploring the city and shopping at flea markets before her teaching days. She moved to Mumbai in 2012 and now likes to enjoy a quiet day when she is not teaching. “I go watch a movie alone, and just enjoy my day sticking to myself. I take a day off from conversations, interactions as I generally prefer being the opposite of who I am in my classes, no talking, no conversing, no conveying- just enjoying my company”.
Since her everyday life deals with interacting with a lot of foreigners who are not new to India, Pallavi feels that their assumed perceptions of India are the biggest challenge she faces in running her venture. “People come in with different perceptions of India varying from an exotic yoga-find-yourself type of country to the very local point of view, so much so that it is very challenging to handle them. A lot of them have been told to bargain at everything, so they come in asking and expecting a discount just because it’s India. It’s a huge challenge as I have to explain to them how it’s a service and not something being sold on a flea market and ask them to make a decision if the price is too high for them, as this is how I make my living. The prices are on my website, so since I am transparent, I expect my students/customers to also be cooperative. “
Staying true to her image of a totally hip Delhi girl, Pallavi feels that the most effective way to source new customers is online forums and word of mouth. Initially, she went by word of mouth but she feels it has become easier now due to the availability of various platforms wherein you can network and secure leads for potential customers.
She doesn’t have a business philosophy to go by, but strives to be the best and is satisfied with the knowledge that people will be there to appreciate her efforts. Her unending faith in her work is also her biggest motivator.”This is the thing that has always been there for me in terms of recognition, appreciation so the thing that keeps me going is that I know it will work out, it always has. It’s a cycle that goes on and on and keeps me going ” confides Pallavi.
Like how she feels that this work is something she instantly clicked with, she also has one special student from America who is her biggest inspiration.”He was the oldest person I taught, he is in his 60s now. He has been a mentor for me in business, life, etc. He is full of great knowledge and wisdom. I look up to him and respect him a lot. Though we lead different lives, I know he will be there for me if and when I need him”.
She is one of the most interesting teachers we have come across! We wish her the best for a great future!
To know more about her,
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