There is a Chinese proverb which says learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.
Stefan Binder of South Germany is an insatiable learner basking in the glory of Telugu language in Vijayawada city. A student of cultural anthropology back home in Berlin where he lives, his first visit to India was a couple of years ago.
“As part of my Masters, I started learning Telugu and Sanskrit and in the last semester, I opted for Telugu. By the end of it, I was able to translate Telugu in German,” he says.
And then, he started learning the language on his own. In the beginning, he had problem in speaking Telugu with locals but later got used to it.By sheer coincidence, he landed in Andhra Pradesh for his research project. “The Telugu taught in the university was very technical unlike the colloquial one. Now I am confident of striking a conversation in Telugu, even if it is about my research project,” says the 29-year-old scholar with an emphatic nod. Ask him about the most difficult part of Telugu and he points to its “syntactic structure which is different from European languages. “Theoretically I can understand it,” he hastens to add. The best part, he says, is that the Telugu grammar is not too complex compared to Sanskrit or “my own mother tongue German.” Give him a lot of time and a dictionary and he can translate Sanskrit too. “Actually, my Hindi is better but my vocabulary is shrinking because of late, I have been focusing only on Telugu,” he says.
He enjoys watching Bollywood films. “ P.K and Haider were the latest ones and I also plan to see Dum laga ke haisha ,” he adds. As far as food is concerned, the German youth is having a delicious time tucking into his favourite dosas in breakfast and delicacies like pulusu (gravy) made with sweet potato and ladies finger. “I love the combination of mudda pappu (dal) and allam pachchadi (ginger pickle) with ghee,” his smile returns.Mr. Binder calls his visit a learning experience. “My first visit was to an undivided Andhra Pradesh. I returned after a gap to find two different States with boundaries redrawn. I have friends on both sides. But regardless of physical barriers, I find the emotional chord intact,” he says.
As part of my Masters, I started learning Telugu and Sanskrit and in the last semester, I opted for Telugu. By the end of it, I was able to translate Telugu in German