Brief introduction about yourself and tell us something about HLF Hindi Lessons for foreigners?
I am Pallavi Singh, a Hindi Enabler and Cultural educator. I have been teaching people from all across the globe since 2011. Honest by nature, courageous by heart and extremely rational, I like things “black and white” and not dangling in grey.
HLF is a first of its kind initiative to help the. expat community learn about and engage with the Indian subcontinent without feeling handicapped due to a lack of understanding of the language. Locals don’t use English in their day to day lives as a medium of interaction– learning the Hindi phrases and expressions you need makes any experience with the country exponentially more rewarding.
We applaud you for pioneering one-of-its-kind initiative, but only Expats or anyone willing to learn the language can join your lessons?
Anyone who wants to learn Hindi is welcome to be my student. No preferences whatsoever.
Qualified engineer, what made you take the turn?
I was frustrated doing a degree that I loathed. That degree was not going to make me happy so I turn my back to it. Sometimes you just walk away and cut your losses. In the long run, I feel like those suppressed college years proved to be catalysts for the drive I have today. Long story short – the turn was inevitable, engineering and I had bilaterally rejected each other, we were bound to be separated from each other.
A TEDx speaker too, how has the experience been so far? Any plans of expansion for HLF?
Experience has been vast and enlightening embellished with mistakes. Loved some, hated some; it’s a mix. I’ve drank Argentinean Mate, heard polish folktales, learnt about Spanish tortilla, tasted dates from Saudi Arabia, had American pretzels from Trader Joe’s, Scottish shortbread, Italian coffee – all while being in Mumbai. So far, so good.
There are pipeline plans, too personal to reveal!
What was the biggest challenge whilst starting HLF and what inspired you the most to take it forward?
My job description is “Teaching Hindi” which does not sound as complicated (or not) as “Software Developer”. Many among my circle of people tend to undermine the task. After one point you stop giving a rat’s ass and the biggest challenge is to internalize that only “you” walk in your shoes and hence know the “in’s” and “out’s” of what you do.
As long as you have sustainable demand for the service/product you are providing; keep at it and scale up.
What piece of advice would you like to give to the aspiring youth who wish to pursue their dream of becoming an entrepreneur?
Don’t pursue college degrees after degrees. It is good to experiment and grow whilst doing your Bachelor’s but jumping right into another one right after that especially if you want to be an entrepreneur may not be the smartest decision. Take your time; figure life out.
According to you, what are the top three essential skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Push yourself: When you commit to something, the energy resonates – read it and take cue.
Stay Away from Negative People: There is a difference between rationale and pessimism. Rationale – you need, pessimism – not so much.
Do what makes sense to you: It is your business, your idea and your will. Do what is appealing to you and do it your way.
How do you manage the work-life balance?
I live in Mumbai, which is one of the most chaotic, polluted, noisy and unpredictable cities in India. I try to make sure I travel outside the city as regularly as possible to keep sane. More than my work, it’s the logistics around the planning of lessons with different clients at different times which is more taxing.
What are your views and opinions towards the ambiguous need to promote women entrepreneurship and women empowerment in India?
Ambiguous or overt, promoting women to pursue self-employment makes it easier for upcoming and existing women entrepreneurs “normalize” their employment means. In a country where a large percentage of women do not traditionally work, it is refreshing to see platforms promoting them. I would love to see an India where women are totally okay to drive trucks or do desk jobs with equal access to both.
Words for IWIL.
Keep up the great work! Tie up with more national and international women-centric bodies to generate a collective change.