fbpx
Sunday, April 11, 2021

Drop in for a chai and a chat in Hindi

Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

“Namaste! Aap kaise hai?” enquired a pleasant voice with a discernible Australian accent. “Aapka naam kya hain? Mera naam Teela hai.”

Meet Teela Mah, an Anglo-Indian-Australian and lover of all things Indian. She and her husband Derek are the brains behind Chai and Chat – a unique initiative that brings people together to learn Hindi and celebrate Indian culture.

Teela and Derek live in the Hornsby area (Sydney), which has blossomed into a melting pot of various cultures and has seen a steady increase in its Indian population, this stirred something in Teela. “My father is Indian, and my mother is English,” she told Indian Link. “We moved to Australia when I was eight. I love India and have travelled there several times as an active volunteer on community focussed projects through Community Church Hornsby.”

Teela’s husband, Derek, of Chinese/Australian descent, also loves India. Their keen desire to give back to the Indian community in Sydney led them to much research and meetings with Indians in the area. Going against the conventional wisdom of teaching English to immigrants, Derek decided to invite Indians to teach Hindi to non-Hindi speaking residents. Thus, Chai and Chat was launched in 2018 as a collaboration between Community Church Hornsby and IABBV Hindi School, Thornleigh. The initiative has a simple vision – to bring people together and to be a meeting point for those who love Indian culture. 

Mala Mehta, Principal of IABBV Hindi School, helped lay a strong foundation for the functional learning of Hindi. Initially, the group focused on improving their spoken Hindi skills, slowly progressing into writing and reading by employing several mobile applications, print and online sources. Their primary resource is a book from the University of Texas called Get Started In Hindi by Rupert Snelling – specifically authored to suit the Western-style and context of learning (with accompanying audio and YouTube resources).

Chai and Chat
A Hindi lesson in progress
 

Chai and Chat meets every week during the school term with a core group of around 12 people. However, since their inception, they’ve had about 24 short-term visitors. The group is a vibrant representation of several ethnicities and cultures. In every session, each individual shares how they’ve used their Hindi language skills during the week, followed by a literary presentation by the facilitator. Later, the group is divided into smaller teams, where the team members practise Hindi along with their assigned tutors. The participants also indulge in fun conversations around books, food, culture and Bollywood. Teela’s favourite Bollywood movie is Lagaan.

Chai and Chat: a still from the weekly meetings
Chai and Chat: a still from the weekly meetings

During school holidays, sessions are substituted with social activities like group lunches at a restaurant or get-togethers at a member’s home. The group also organises events like the recently held Indian Street Food and Games, where a committed team of 12 members introduced almost 90 guests to delicious Indian street food and chai.  

“Chai and Chat also tries to meet the needs of the underprivileged in India, ” Teela revealed. All proceeds from their events go to charities supported by Community Church Hornsby, most notably Mukti in Pune, Dignity Freedom Network in Hyderabad and Vedike School in Bengaluru. 

The group is always looking for Hindi speakers to facilitate learning while welcoming passionate new students. They hope to expand their reach over time and possibly branch into other Indian languages.   

For more information check out their website: https://www.chaiandchat.org/

If you’re free on a Thursday night, head over to the Community Church Hornsby between 7 and 9 pm, and chat with lovers of Indian culture over a warm cup of chai. 

Read also: I just become myself in Hindi: Ian Woolford

- Advertisement -
Melissa Domingo
Melissa Domingo
Melissa is an Electrical & Electronics Engineer who much prefers to Engineer words, music & cake - always searching for gold in the mundane.

Related Articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Podcasts

Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

0
Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

0
To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

0
  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

Review: The Big Bull

0
Forget comparisons. Even if you willingly dismiss the idea of sizing up The Big Bull against Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story, Abhishek Bachchan's...

The living art of India

0
  Immerse yourself in the colourful, vibrant and transformative arts of India. Over three weeks we will dive into a world where art is not...
man taking selfie

Selfie culture: what your choice of camera angle says about you

0
  Over the past decade, selfies have become a mainstay of popular culture. If the #selfie hashtag first appeared in 2004, it was the release of...
joji amazon prime

Review: Joji (Amazon Prime)

0
  Just when you'd think another fresh take on William Shakespeare's Macbeth couldn't possibly be done, comes Joji. Fahadh Faasil's new collaboration with director Dileesh...

An artistic feminist protest by Rakini Devi

0
  Born and raised in Kolkata, Rakini Devi has spent most of her artistic journey engaging with feminist issues, be it dowry deaths in India...