Project Prochnost: Week 9 & 10

I know I know! Week 9 & 10? Talk about being lazy, but no. I have finally, finally finished ‘Culture Shock! Russia’ and I have so much to talk about.

To sum it up right away, it’s been amazing! When we think of a language, we just imagine foreign words and sounds, but since when is a language mere total of its words? Reading up on Russian culture is helping me a lot, even in the sense of helping me read Russian literature someday, as was the original plan. After all, their national character has often found its way in the works of several Russian literary masters, such as Chekhov, Tolstoy, Pushkin, Dostoevsky and you can probably see how long this list can get.

A rather funny side note from the book comes to mind to explain this point. Anton Chekhov was, in his youth, known for his humorous tales. One of them, titled The Stupid Frenchman, finds a French clown Henri Pourquoi on a tour to Moscow. He goes to a restaurant there and sees a Russian man eating bliny (a form of Russian pancake) with caviar. As he gasps at the fact that a man is eating that much dough, the quantity of blinies keeps increasing as more and more get brought, along with soup, fish and onion, again and again. As the Russian man enjoys his traditional multi-course meal, Henri concludes that this man is attempting suicide in the most unusual of ways, by overeating! He goes to the Russian to appeal about the joy that life is, why he should hold on to it and that things will get better soon. The man gets pretty surprised as he is just grabbing a quick bite before the real banquet for which he has been invited in the evening! Henri leaves the scene, exclaiming “Oh, country of miracles!” or as they say in Russian <<О страна, чудная страна!>>

So that’s that about ‘the mysterious Russian soul‘, which would always need cultural context in order to be enjoyed and understood. I am usually wary of cultural guides as they are often rife with stereotypes and lack much substance. This one, however, is written by the professor of my friend and she vouched for it and it really was a great read.

In the writing practice, I learnt a lot of new words but it was still less owing to the time I was spending reading the book. Tomorrow onwards, however, it won’t happen (hopefully!) as I can go back to devoting more time writing. The reason I didn’t post last week was that I was in the middle of the book and I wanted to conclude on something. Posting today feels much better as I concluded the book. So, that’s that about my week 9 and 10 learning Russian. Hope you guys liked it. пока пока! (i.e. Bye bye!)

P.S. The featured image is a click of whatever writing practice I was able to do over the past two weeks.

Bonus point: There was a section at the end of the book about famous Russian people and it had the name of Dmitri Mendeleev, as in the Mendeleev periodic table’s Mendeleev. While his home country recognises his unparalleled contribution to science with his work in Chemistry, there is one other thing he is praised for. He was the one who created the modern type of Russian vodka with 40% alcohol! I just found this fact interesting, so I wanted to share it. Well, now I am done. Bye bye for real, now.

Week 8 Update
Why am I learning Russian?
Week 11 Update

57 thoughts on “Project Prochnost: Week 9 & 10

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  1. Loved your post, Neha! I have read a few stories by Anton Chekov in English and I must say I wanted to read more. Hoping to learn Russian someday! Looking forward to reading more such insightful posts 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

          1. Keep ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ and ‘Crime and Punishment’ for the end. You can begin with ‘The Gambler’, ‘Poor Folk’, ‘Notes from Underground’. 🙂

            Liked by 2 people

  2. I love your grit to learn Russian and your religious way of offering musings on the culture to us. 70 days of dedication that is amazing. I am sure one day you will read the great classics from Russian behemoths in the literature field. Wishing you the best Neha. 😊🌸

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s amazing, Lavanya! I wait for your progress posts, in case you plan to write them. All the very best for your exams as well as Spanish learning goals ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I couldn’t resist myself imagining how the russian man would have been sitting there perplexed with a mouthful of pancakes while Henri was patiently consoling him 😂😂Reminds me of the cultural differences in the 70s show “Mind your Language”…
    That mendeleev fact is a mindblower.. I blame my chemistry teacher for not knowing this important fact 😂😂

    Oooh and I have to ask.. How do you write so organized??!! Your handwriting is impeccable… It’s like they are printed 😱

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha. It is indeed a funny story, because feasting is a big part of Russian culture. Mendeleev fact was such a bonus for me too.

      I am practicing the Russian printed alphabet first, so that’s probably why it looks that way. I am really happy that you like it 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for sharing this with us… Please do post more about Russia 😄
    The last time I was interested about Russia this much was way back in seventh grade. I had the hobby of collecting stamps… Noyta cccp stamps were such a hot commodity in my school days..

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Mention Anton Chekon and The Bet comes to my mind instantly…one of my all time favourite short stories!!
    You are learning Russian?! That’s impressive!! It always intrigued me ….

    Liked by 2 people

          1. I checked the link and can now understand the reason! Initially I thought you are studying medicine or something else in Russia hence learning it!! I was soo wrong! After reading this i can understand the rationale and also what a great thought it is to know something as it originally is! It’s true the translation may not reflect the soul of writing! The real pleasure is indeed in reading the original works…the subtle nuances, the puns, the emotions and the play of words which the author uses in originality work is so much dependent on the language and many times it’s difficult to replicate that in translation simply because the corresponding word or feeling may not even exist in the other language! So can understand your feelings here!! Very thoughtful indeed! I hope you to get to enjoy the real happiness soon!
            And you quit work to write?? That’s so courageous and cool!! 👏 … amazing!!

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thanks a lot for such a lovely and moving compliment, Sifar! I feel truly happy when someone understands the rationale behind Prochnost and I am glad that you got that right. Translations are tricky, you know, and I actually couldn’t bring myself to merely write a tribute without doing something tangible about it. Do stick around for the updates on Prochnost. I really hope you enjoy them just as much as I am enjoying this whole thing 🙂 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Thanks!! And i got to know the meaning of Prochnost too! First Russian word for me! 😃
              Translation are very hard to get right and i can understand that…i myself while doing it to English dont find the same level of depth or rhyme and it takes a lot of time to do so too….
              Sure will keep checking the updates on Prochnost!! Sounds fun 😀
              And thanks for your efforts!!

              Liked by 1 person

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