I know how to write (with a pen) and read in Devanagari … but really slowly.
To give you an idea, where I am at with my knowledge:
I sound like a fifth grader when reading a text. Watch these two videos to understand how fast (or slow) I am able to read texts. The first video is a text with a lot of unknown words and the second one is a text where I know most of the words.
My handwriting looks like this:
I also have been practicing typing the Devanagari Fonts with a keyboard for quite a while.
To give you an idea how slow I am I will time myself, typing a few sentences in Nepali.
उस्ले मेरो निम्ति केहि पनि गर्दैन (1min 13sec)
त्यस्को बाद म घर जान्छु (58 sec)
वहाँले नेपाली साहित्यको बिषयमा भाषण गर्नुहुन्छ (1min 56sec)
Ok so now you have a good idea of where I am at with reading, writing and typing devanagari.
The thing is that I definitely want to improve my typing skills, since I want to be able to actually comfortably type words and sentences in Nepali quickly to post them here on the blog or for other purposes. So far, typing in Devenagari, still feels pretty torturous.
How do you get started on Windows?
On Windows 8.1 the way to allow for typing in the Devanagari font is very simple. You have to access „Language Preferences“ (Best from the search function) and once the window has opened you click „Add a language“ and then chose Nepali. That is basically it. Now you can type in Nepali in Text applications or even in your browser. In order to switch between Nepali and another language, you use the Key combination „Windows-Key + Space-Key“
Once you have Devanagari setup, the actual challenge starts. Because you have to eventually learn by heart where each key is. As the main tool to help you learn this, I recomment using the On-Screen Keyboard, to search for unknown keys. But there are also websites that offer print-layouts for the keyboard, so that you can hold something in your hand to practice the locations.
Another option is also to mark your keys with the Devanagari keys with a Marker Pen.
Once you have made these preparations it is basically a question of practice only. Just as you (hopefully) eventually have learned to type blindly with 10 fingers in the Latin alphabet, you should be able – with enough practice – to type as fast in Devanagari.