Back to school

My Facebook feed recently abounds with proud pictures of friends’ kids in their new uniforms all ready for the start of the school year. It gives me the heeby-jeebies. School definitely wasn’t the happiest days of my life. Hubby confesses that he still has anxiety dreams about school exams, and once I got through uni finals I vowed I’d never take an exam again. Not that it worked out like that…

But it’s back to school for me anyway. I’m about to take Sanskrit classes at my local uni. It’s super-exciting! Not only did the professor let me join the class just because I asked, but my amazing boss is letting me juggle my working hours around classes (hands up who has a manager who would support them in wanting to learn Sanskrit?). I kind of feel I owe it to them to make a good fist of this.

But I am scared. All the fear of fitting in and keeping up, with none of the soothing alcohol of Freshers’ Week.

And I just got my rather formidable textbook at the weekend: sanskrit 2

I’m already asking myself why this seemed like a good idea.

No, not really. I know why I want to do it. I want to be able to pronounce the language properly — for nerdy perfectionist reasons, even if I don’t ascribe to the idea of a mantra needing perfect pronunciation to communicate divinity through the vibrations. I want to be able to look up the odd word myself to explore what it really means rather than relying on second-hand interpretations. And one day I dream of being able to read Patanjali in the original and of beginning to make my own sense of the sutras. That’s every yogini’s dream, right? 😉

sanskrit book 1But all that is far away. Today is my first faltering steps at learning to read and write Devanagari as prep before classes start. One letter in my head, one letter out of my head. Sigh!

So I’m wondering if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, and how I can reasonably fit this commitment in without over-stretching myself and keeling over or without being embarrassingly bad and holding up the class.

So my facial expression these days is a mixture of excited grin and anxious lip-biting! And then I get a far-away look as I strain to trace in my mind’s eye the semi-vowels and the labials…

6 thoughts on “Back to school

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  1. That’s awesome! One of the best ways to get a feel for the language is to listen to recitations. My Sanskrit adventure started with the shlokas from the Gita. I would listen and transliterate and listen again until I could chant along. It’s easier for someone like me since we are surrounded by regional languages close to Sanskrit.
    All the best with your endeavour. I am sure you will rock it.


  2. That’s so exciting!!! As I type this, I have a new Sanskrit textbook recommended to me by my yoga teacher (Marcia Solomon, Boulder, CO) who now teaches Sanskrit as well, in a traditional way: lots of chanting involved, as well as grammar, I think. The text is Yogavataranam by Zoé Slatoff-Ponté. It keeps asking me WHEN I’m going to get started! You’ve inspired me, Babycrow! Maybe tomorrow…

    Liked by 1 person

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