Back to “school”…but this time, its supercool!

Hola Amigos!! I am not in Spain physically but my mind has surely wandered off and taken the first flight to reach the famous land of flamenco music, dance, bullfights, fantastic beaches and lots of sunshine. And if you are wondering why, here’s the dope you need…

Somewhere in the October of 2017, I felt an urge. An urge to up my ante. But just like every other marketeer in the world, I had no clue how to do that! Then came November, and I happened to watch few interviews of Jack Ma. For those of us who don’t know about him, he is a Chinese business magnate, an investor, and a philanthropist. And of course, the co-founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group, a multinational technology conglomerate. As of February 2018, he is one of China‘s richest men as well as one of the wealthiest people in the world. So I guess when he talks, we might as well…listen 🙂

In one of the interviews, I heard him say that “At times it has been like a blind man riding on the back of a blind tiger”. That statement really got me thinking. Haven’t we all felt that at some point in our lives? We don’t know whether we are heading in the right direction, neither are we sure what we are banking on (or riding on, as in Jack Ma’s statement) will take us there…Ambiguity, thy name is life. Certainty is only death (RIP, late Sridevi jee).

So, what do we do…? Do we stop trying? Do we just allow life to happen as it wishes to? I say, embrace the uncertainty. But focus on either what you are “good at” or what you “need” to make yourself stronger.

In December last year I took a hard look at my resume. I was proud to notice that in my career, I had taken up various on-the-job stretch projects, had got my hands on some really cool courses and trainings. I gave myself a pat-on-the-back for implementing quiet a few of my freshly acquired know-how into my work stream as well.

But…..wait a minute!! For past more than twelve years, I had been mentioning ONLY TWO languages stating my proficiency in them!! That struck me like a meteor…

This, I guess, is the most awesome part of being on a sabbatical 🙂 You can finally take a step back and…“THINK”! So, I thought. I shortlisted three languages that I have some basic interest in. German, French and Spanish. Due to the sheer perception of being “criminally difficult” to learn, Japanese and Chinese did not even make it to my consideration set.

I picked “Spanish” because it is so much in the air. If that reason isn’t mundane enough, then I’d say because I love the song “Despacito” and wanted to watch “Coco” in the Spanish version. If you still have an appetite for sillier reasons, then let me give you the most honest ones. Firstly, I found a really good and well reputed school, fairly close to my house. Secondly, and the most important one, they had weekday morning batches!!!

So, voila!

Its been about one and a half months since I have been a student of the oh-so-awesome Spanish language. There is so much that I have discovered and learnt besides the language itself. Can’t wait to share it with you all!

If you have a kid or even know one, who is learning phonics right now, you will understand what they are going through. You are back in school (spanish school this time) once again, struggling with pronouncing “ll” as “y”, “j” as “h”, “v” as “b” and finally, not pronouncing “h” at all because it has been silenced by the Spaniards of the world. As a result, you will become more patient with that young one and would be able to appreciate their learning curve far better than otherwise.

You also tend to broaden your horizon as you learn a great deal about the different cultures of the world. Let me give you a very small example. In Spanish the word gordo means “fat”. Surprisingly, it may also be used to call out one’s loved one, making it an expression of “affection” and “prosperity”. That is so beautiful. Considering that we come from a society where being fat, dark, short, grey haired is all considered questionable, I found this pretty refreshing!

Another example would be the concept of the movie “Coco”. It is based on the Mexican holiday of the Day of the Dead, where Mexican people create altars to remember the dead. They offer food to the dead and pray with incense and marigold flowers. This is quite similar to our hindu tradition (of shradh) and shows how the cultures are different, yet so similar. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Although there are umpteen number of options available by which one could take the lessons online from the comforts of your zone, I would highly recommend a “classroom training”. Why? One, you could meet a phenomenally charming and enthusiastic teacher who will make learning super fun and engaging. That will make you hop into every class and sing the most pleasant “buenos dias”. Two, the fellow students, who may eventually become your friends, may help you understand the concepts much better than you would do alone. Three, of course it gives you a chance to get out of the confines of your space, drive or ride or just walk down to your class, maybe even get a coffee on the way and just feel happy. Well, most of the times at least 🙂 I am lucky to have them all!!

I conclude by saying that EVERY ONE must learn a new language. Any language! You cannot even imagine how fulfilling it is, besides adding to your confidence and charisma. Since a lot of us (including me!) are so fascinated with “return on investment” or ROIs, this will be the best investment of “time, money and effort” that you will make for your personal development and growth. And it applies to everyone, whether you are a homemaker or a mathematician, an architect or a marketing specialist, a businessperson or a student, you can all learn a new language and find it most satisfying.

TIP: while classroom trainings help build the base really well, the additional content available online helps elevate understanding in a great deal. Resources that I am using are youtube videos by “Butterfly Spanish”and “CultureAlley”. I also came across these fun animated videos by “Spanish Lessons Paco”. You can reach out to me by dropping a mail at jvashi1@gmail.com for more information around my experience.

Keep learning! and don’t forget to “FOLLOW” my blogs.

Hasta la vista, baby!!

4 thoughts on “Back to “school”…but this time, its supercool!

  1. Another great blog Vashi!! and this time I can truly relate to your experience 🙂 Your learnings are unique, something that I never noticed during my spanish learning experience but when I look back, it totally makes sense. Thanks for sharing your experience and keep writing!

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