At Thoughtworks, we have a 6 week training session where employees from all over the world land up at Bangalore, called ThoughtWorks University. I have been here for a week now, and this time round we have around 10 Chinese grads too. I am really having a whale of a time with them :) They are all really simple hearted folks, with a lot of 'wide-eyed' innocence and all of them are really intelligent. And I just love their features. Atleast the girls' in my batch are exotic beauties, all petite and full of charm. And the guys? Totally cute ;)
The first day, I barely got their names- and it was seriously impossible to communicate. Apparently, the Chinese find it very difficult to understand the Indian accent. Besides, all the current grads are from Tenzing and other Chinese small towns, so they dont really know English that well. So most of the time, no matter what we said, they just laughed and nodded. All the Chinese have such smiley faces, and they are so thrilled to simply be in India that you feel happy just being around them. Anyways, on day 1 I actually had to resort to writing some sentences down. I could understand what they were saying, but not vice versa :(. But then eventually, I got the hang of it. All you gotta do is talk slowly, and throw in a few guestures, and you really have to simplify your sentences. Oh and repeat words a few times. And one or two of them are better at English so they rapidly translate to the others.
Anyways I discovered that Chinese say their last names first. So Sha Biyen( a girl) her name is Biyen and family name is Sha. So I figured out why we have three Yangs' in our batch! And their names have beautiful meanings. Like One of my friends' name means 'Green Jade'- How cool is that!
Then on saturday, They all gathered in a friend's apartment to cook and have lunch. So they go and come back with all kinds of vegetables( Without evening knowing their english names) and slice them very thinly, and stir fry them in batches, and dish up a yummy meal for 15! Oh and the best part was that they have no pressure cookers in China- so I kinda told them to trying making rice in one. The first time the cooker whistled-you should have seen their faces. Once done, one guy removed the cooker and kept it on the floor- He said he was feeling as if he was around a Bomb :)
The Chinese Language is very complex. The word and the tone, both convey different meanings. Besides all the sounds are removed from deep within the throat. So there I was, surrounded by 10 Chinese all talking rapidly in various sing-song tones- and I wasnt in India any more.
I have learnt some words too. "Chao Shama mitz"- What is your name? I had to struggle for days to get the tone though.'Toi' means yes and 'Poo'-is no. How apt is that?!
Three cheers to the Chinese!