We had studied the author Munshi Premchand’s stories in Hindi class in school; we listened to Gulzar’s Urdu lyrics in the songs in hindi films, read poetry in Hindi by Faiz, the Urdu poet. Then I thought of how, when I was ten, I discovered an Urdu speaking friend. She spoke to her little sister in Hindi, and I exclaimed “Oh you speak Hindi!” in Hindi, and she exclaimed “Oh you speak Urdu!”
This was when I thought of the Arabic – Urdu – Hindi – Sanskrit bridge.
Obviously the two were unintelligible.
I knew the script of one language, Arabic, and the speech of another, Hindi, and it had given me a new language. I read a little further and found that, when spoken colloquially, Hindi and Urdu are practically unintelligible. What make them different are their accents and vocabularies. The two are very closely related languages and are frequently together called Hindustani or Khari Boli. It is their scripts that are entirely different.
A lot of what I read, right from the beginning, a sort of miscellaneous collection of articles, is now up on the resources page.