Please introduce yourself in a few lines
I am Pallavi Singh, 23 years old. I am a Psychology student and a teacher(Hindi Lessons for Foreigners in India). I love travelling solo, belly dancing and enjoy a nice cup of Cafe Latte. I believe I am very versatile and open minded.
How did it all start? Teaching Hindi to Expats?
It started in 2011 when I needed a good remuneration, respectable job, flexibility and something which gave me a bit of a financial freedom along with an exposure to multi-faceted people and cultures from across the globe.
What is the most difficult thing that you came across in teaching?
Building trust amongst expats was the biggest challenge. The expat community anywhere remains close-knit. To penetrate in the nest and execute your job professionally (be on time, thorough preparation of lessons, deliver results) was a huge hurdle. It was a great experience to teach all of my students. However, teaching the British Historian and Author William Dalrymple was very unique. During one of our lessons—when I was using Flash cards to teach colours—I discovered he was colour blind. That was when it struck me: no matter how rich or famous we may be, we all have personal struggles that need to be overcome on a daily basis.
How good has the response been so far from the expats based in Delhi?
It has been great! I keep getting new queries every other day, from people across all walks of life.
What are your favourite hotspots for shopping in Delhi?
What, according to you are the top 5 offbeat places to visit in Delhi?
What, according to you is the best cultural experience in Delhi?
Catching Zangoora- The musical show at Kingdom of Dreams. Purely enigmatic and brilliant, the show is world-class and one of its kind. You cannot get this experience anywhere else in India. The story, the dances, the sets- all are magnificent and jaw-dropping.
What is the one thing you would want to change about Delhi?
Definitely the metro timings. I would love for them to extend at least till 1AM. Many times I get queries for lessons after their (my prospective students’) office hours. I cannot go because I know that travel would be a problem. If the hours are extended, that would definitely help and I’m sure, I speak for a lot of other people too.
An undiscovered gem in Delhi?
Has to be “Indian Coffee House” in Connaught Place on the second floor of Mohan Singh Palace. Every time I have a gap between my lessons, I go there to grab my favourite “Meetha French Toast” and coffee. It is one of the most affordable, spacious and calm places in Delhi.
If you visit this place regularly, which I happen to do, you would start to recognize oldies and veterans who come here regularly. Overhearing their discussions that range from politics & the next generation to economy of India is truly enlightening. They are friendly people and would love for you to join them (which I have sometimes) and share their wisdom with you. If you are not running short on time and are willing to listen and engage, you might actually learn a lot from their conversations!
A piece of first hand advice for surviving in Delhi?
Get your ac serviced before summer! On a serious note: go out and experience things out there, the rest will follow.
Old Delhi or New Delhi- Which one’s better?
For me, it’s New Delhi—it is more modern and spaced out. Also, that is where most of my students live.
An out of Delhi excursion to do?
Mussoorie tops the list for me. I am a mountain person so am a bit biased but Mussoorie is not that crowded and full of small treasures—you can actually meet Ruskin Bond in a small book shop there, he visits Cambridge Bookstore every Saturday! (Timings can vary, please call the bookstore before planning to go).