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Sanskrit lessons in Cubbon Park

Called ‘Kim bho weekends’, it is an initiative by Sthaayi, an online production company that makes films, plays, music and podcasts in Sanskrit. ‘Kim bho’ is the Sanskrit translation for ‘What’s up?’
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 04:12 IST
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 04:12 IST

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A new initiative to popularise the use of Sanskrit is drawing people to Cubbon Park on Sundays. The meetup, which is free to attend, was started five weeks ago.

Called ‘Kim bho weekends’, it is an initiative by Sthaayi, an online production company that makes films, plays, music and podcasts in Sanskrit. ‘Kim bho’ is the Sanskrit translation for ‘What’s up?’.

It is their latest initiative to make the ancient language accessible and relevant to the younger generation. They also promote Sanskrit over bike rides and music jams, through a running group, and via online classes.

Its founder Samashti Gubbi says, “People assume Sanskrit is the language of scholars or it is used only for religious purposes. We want to break the stereotypes and show that Sanskrit can be used in modern and everyday contexts. You can make vlogs or podcasts in Sanskrit.”

Samashti has an MA degree in Sanskrit grammar while the other three facilitators from Sthaayi have learnt the language informally.

What to expect

Participants gather at Cubbon Park at 6.45 am on Sundays. While you can join on the spot, Samashti advises people to connect with her on social media in advance so she can share the meeting point.

“We start by teaching Sanskrit greetings like ‘I am Samashti’ (Aham Samashti) and ‘It’s nice to meet you’ (Melanena bahu santoshaha). We also translate simple sentences like ‘I sing’ (Aham gayami) and ‘I walk’ (Aham chalami). Then we go for a quick run in the park,” she says.

Post the run, the group takes a break, and during this time, they are taught dates and months in the language. “To teach numbers, we ask the participants to do crunches and push-ups and count them in Sanskrit,” she shares.

This is followed by another round of running, and another break, during which, they learn how to sing Hindi songs like ‘Kesariya tera ishq hai piya’ in Sanskrit. 

They then proceed to play children’s games like ‘River and Bank’ or dumb charades to guess the names of movies, songs, and famous persons, all in Sanskrit. “We don’t teach long or complex sentences. Once, a participant had to enact the song title ‘Main hoon Don’. Others had to guess the Sanskrit
translation of the title. It is ‘Aham Don asmi’ in Sanskrit,” she says. 

‘High repeat rate’ 

A majority of the participants are in the age group of 19-32. They are college students, bikers, software engineers, bankers and data analysts. Even young parents attend with their children. “During one meetup, we taught them Gen Z slang — lit is jwalitam and sunkissed is soorya-chumbitam,” adds Samashti. 

The turnout climbed from 10 at their first meetup to 42 this Sunday. Initially, only her friends joined. Then the word spread and even actress Archana Jois (of ‘KGF’ fame) turned up for the informal classes. “Most of our participants now are those who had learnt Sanskrit in school and even liked it but did not know if it could be used in the real world. The repeat rate of our participants is 80%,” she says.

The participants are added to a WhatsApp group by Sthaayi so they can practice the new words they pick up or clear their doubts.  For more details, contact @sanskritsparrow on Instagram.

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Published 24 April 2024, 04:12 IST

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