Going from Urdish to Urdu

In the summer of 1998, we spent about 6 weeks in Karachi, Pakistan visiting family. It was hot and many days were spent indoors, lazing around and watching TV.

Once, a cousin turned to the siblings and me and warned us that the Urdu used in the program we were about to watch may be too complicated for us, her Amreekan cousins, to understand. We thanked her for the heads up but watched anyways.

A half hour later the show was over and I was still laughing at some of the jokes. And then, I remembered what the cousin had said. That wasn’t complicated for us at all. Why wouldn’t we have been able to understand it? It was like the time some other cousin had said that some of the food we were about to eat would be too spicy.

Okay, so maybe I don’t speak it so good (do you see what I did there?) but seriously, are you doubting the fact that we can understand the language? I mean, our parents spoke it all the time, we watch(ed) Bollywood flicks, and well, we’re not that far removed from it all. I have to admit, I was a bit insulted.

But now, I’m realizing that it’s pretty pathetic that I can’t speak, read, and write Urdu fluently. It’s an awesome language and if I don’t be careful, even the stuff I know will all fall by the wayside.

So it’s official, putting Arabic on hold (which I desperately need a break from) to study Urdu on my own.

I won’t subject myself to Pakistani dramas to help learn Urdu though. I… just…can’t…

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