I studied Hindi in my schoolings for 4 yrs, so I can read and write Hindi. I worked in North India for 11 months, at least I would have learned Hindi at that time(thanks for Tamil guys who around me to survive there for 11 months), I didn’t learn there too. When I reached London I never think that Hindi will be casually speaking language for all Indians.
An interesting incident happend in Paris for me which really made ashamed that I don’t know Hindi, Punjabi either. Mostly Indians, are selling the Eiffel Tower key chains for 1 euro per piece, if you could bargain with them you can get 4 or 5 for 2 euros. Once I was bargaining with an Afro guy for an Eiffel Tower statue which is made up of Glass with sparkling lights for 12 euros which Afro guy demanding to us to get it for 17 euros. On that one of the India guy came with key chains and shown those chains, said something in Hindi, I got a word 5 (paanch), so I thought he is trying to sell those chains to me. I thought I am over smart and bargained with Indian guy to give 5 chains for 2 euros. He said okay and I bought it still my wife is bargaining with Afro guy, that Indian moved for 2 steps and said with other guy that" samja nahi" yaar. I was confused what he is saying, how long a guy can act that he knows the language. Finally my wife bargained for 12 euros and bought that tower statue, we were amazed that we got it for 12 euros.
Then that Indian guy came and said that statue is worth for 5 euros that is what he tried to convey to me Hindi, by the time he acted to afro guy that he selling the chains to us.
Though I felt ashamed a lot before that I don’t know Hindi, it happend in Paris too. Now I am learning Hindi with my Punjabi Landlord.
I can’t only blame on Dravida parties now for Anti-Hindi strikes during 1970's. I have to learn Hindi as usually spoken among all Indians abroad as well.