A new start-up in SoBo tailors foreign languages and Sanskrit to suit every kind of student, from tots to senior citizens
The first batch of students at a lecture this morning. Pic/Satej Shinde
SayâÂÂhello (or bonjour, ni hao, hola or namaste) to the newest language school in town. This one promises to make all that grammar and conjugation a lot more fun.
Founded by friends and South Mumbai residents Rinku Somaiya and Rajnish Toprani, Language Bistro is located in Nariman Point, not too far away from Theosophy Hall, which houses the ruler of the French language roost, Alliance Française. But that doesn't faze the entrepreneur duo, who say they're not here to compete with anyone.
Rinku Somaiya and Rajnish Toprani
Toprani says they've always wanted to venture into education, and starting a language school seemed like the best thing to begin with. "I spent several months in South America, and realised it was awfully difficult to get by without knowing Spanish," he shares.
Have you taken language classes where, after a point, you begin to wonder why you're learning more than what you might need in daily conversation? Many institutes tend to take the conventional approach, expecting you to be fluent in all aspects before you get certified.
However, Language Bistro's USP lies in the fact that any course you opt for can be tailored specifically for you. "If you're travelling to China and need to learn enough Mandarin to make your way around there comfortably, we can create a 'survival' syllabus just for that. On the other hand, if you're an FYJC or SYJC student, we have courses that tie in with the curriculum being taught in colleges," says Toprani.
Similarly, there will also be customised classes for corporate teams, senior citizens, and even three-year-old tots, all taught by instructors who have been screened not just for their expertise in the language, but also their comfort levels with prospective students.
There are five classrooms, all bathed in sunlight and done up in warm colours.
Gyaan meets games
Somaiya and Toprani knew that in order to make the language classes more interesting, they would have to ditch traditional techniques employed by other academic institutes. "We wanted to use the Montessori method of education. So, kids will be taught using a lot of games and fun quizzes. That's also why our batches will have only six to eight students," informs Somaiya.
The centre offers a huge boost for Sanskrit. "Many Germans were interested in learning it owing to its links to their mother tongue, while we Indians tend to overlook it for a 'cooler' language. It's high time this changed." Students will be taught Sanskrit using stories from the Ramayana and Bhagavad Geeta, and tales from Chanakya's life.
Toprani shares that although periodic evaluations will be conducted and a certificate will be awarded to those who complete their course, the institute will not hold examinations. "That said, we will certainly be aiding those who hope to take these examinations at another centre."
AT: 2A, second floor, Maker Bhavan 2, New Marine Lines. TIME 8 am to 8 pm
COST: Rs 8,600