Had my first Kannada lesson today. Dr. Srivalli started by explaining the Kannada vowels and consonants, which need to be added to vowels to make different sounds. There are so many with slight variations: slightly elongated, tongue in different place in the mouth. She explained that in Indian languages the sound comes from the diaphragm and the throat all the way through the different parts of the mouth, whereas she finds in American English, that it’s all in the front of the mouth (lips) and nose, which fits right in with the mid-western nasal accent. She then explained some sentence structure, and used that to sedge into phrases that I wanted to learn. Later in the car, she asked Priti to get the bread out of the bag in the back, but I guess Priti didn’t hear her and so I got it instead, saying “Look how good a teacher you are – I already understand Kannada!” We all laughed. Of course the operative word in her sentence was “bread” so the rest was just guesswork.
Afterwards, she said they were going shopping, so I decided to go along. First we stopped at Udupi Sri Krisha Sweets to buy some traditional Indian snacks. They gave samples on squares of newspaper: rice powder with curry, some long whiteish thing about the size of chow mein noodles, but less dense, nuts. Then we went to a busy shopping area. Saturday night must be the big shopping time for Indians because all of the streets and stores were busy. We went to Fab City, which was indeed fab. Sort of a Target plus grocery store. I got a sarwal khemeez/duputta set and a long kurta and churida. Also picked up a couple of saree petticoats, a notebook for my Kannada lessons, toothpaste and a few small gifts. At the end, I was only out about US$34!
On the way home we stopped at a “mobile restaurant” with scooters lined up in front of it. Priti says it is more popular than regular restaurants, and Dr. Srivalli says that this one in particular is quite famous. Their mainstays are dosas – plain and masala. The man made six at a time on the griddle, reminding me of street crepe vendors in Paris. I also saw him make one of those “pizza” things with onion topping. We got them to go, and they were wrapped in banana leaves on newspaper, even the chutney! Reminded me of eating fish and chips out of newspaper my first time in England. They were really good and I was completely stuffed after eating 1 ½.