Thursday, July 21, 2005

German chronicle 3

Mankind for ever has always been filled with stories about the lust for power.wealth and domination. Endless tales of horror and carnage... But sometimes, some limits are crossed which can never be forgiven..some wounds made tht will never heal. Germany is still reeeling under it. A silent guilt runs through their blood. The price for the rage of their past is still being paid. The endless TV shows which keep running on national television keep reminding ppl of the atrocities comitted by them. The silent gas chambers. the gory death pits, the horror of the wonder ppl in there used to say "God is on leave"...There has been a lot of reconstruction over a period of timeover here..... there are cities like Stuttgart where none of the buildings are over 60 yrears old.... I just pray that there is no third world war.... the earth cannot sustain another bout of madness.

Dogs of war and men of hate
With no cause, we don't discriminate
Discovery is to be disowned
Our currency is flesh and bone
Hell opened up and put on sale
Gather 'round and haggle
For hard cash, we will lie and deceive
Even our masters don't know the web we weave

One world, it's a battleground
One world, and we will smash it down
One world ... One world

- David Gilmour. ( The Dogs of War from the album A Momentary Lapse of Reason )

Man, such topics are so depressing to discuss........ lets talk abt something else...

I had been to Munich on the last weekend of my stay. The city famous for the Oktober fest, FC Bayern Munich, the BMW head office and the Olympic park welcomed us with gr8 weather. It was nice to see a city centre bustling with ppl on a Saturday aftenoon ( reminded me of Brigade Rd ) . The city is a nice blend of the old and the new giving it an unique facade. I met my TCS Hyderabad collegue there, Kamesh ,who is working there and it was nice to meet a familiar face after a long time. As he had been in that place for a couple of months he knew the place pretty well. We saw the spot in the Olympic park where 11 Isreli footballers were gunned down by Palestini millitants during the 1972 Olympics ( what a sick thing to say..." saw the place where some guys died !!! " ) ..Unfortunately we did not have time to see the world famous Deutche museum. ... they see one needs three full days to see everything inside in detail. The next day we went to visit the castle of Neunshwinewstein ( boy took me half a day to get the name...let some German come here ...I shall ask him to pronounce my address, Vyallikaval.Mahalakshmipuram ...hehe) . The castle built by King Ludwig the 2nd in the early 19th century,is nestled in between the rising Alps on one side and beautiful lakes on the other...was a breath taking scene but those castles look so small whn comapred to our palaces.. Had the opportunity to see the famed Bavarian horses over there... and I bet they would give our Indian horses a complex like the German guys gave me..

. Out of us three guys who had been to Germany, .I was the only vergetarian ( to the gr8 distress of my Team Lead..hehe). Infact the point that one among us three was vegetarian had become so amusing for the Germans that the first thing their manger three levels higher (who had never met us before) enquired us was "Who among u is the vegetarian here?"...Hey, dont sue me... I dont eat dead birds...its not like if u dont eat meat u hv to survive on air and water.....what do they know about bhindi masala and bisibelebath !!! We had the unique opprtunity to have dinner at two of our German collegues' homes. It is not very natural for Germans to open up quickly tp strangers and it was a nice surprise for us. So, both the occasions they ended up preparing ghaas poos and all the expectations of my friends to hv home made German meat ( home made meat !!!!) went kaput. One of them had made some thing like a dosa ( actually a pancake) with asperagus inside. Aperagus is a delicacy for the Germans and they prepare it on spcl occasions. Ya, it may be a spcl thing for them but it was a pain for me. That thing is so slimy i dont undestand how they were cutting it with the knife. The damn thing was as slippery as an eel. Everyone had finished their course and there I was trying to eat the damn thing and to keep the stupid thing from slipping off my plate.It was really funny... 6 ppl who hv finished eating and staring at the last one who was acting as though there was a bomb in his plate...I guarentee guys the most embarassing sound in this world is that of a scratching knife on slippery porcelain.

One of the major differences b/w the lifestyles here and there is the distribution of population. There are a lot of people who prefer to stay in villages and travel 30-40 km daily ( with highways and cars like that who wouldnt ???) . Villages there are categorized only in terms of size. There are no facilities lacking or no comforts lost. The concept of villages I had took a total beating after i saw them.No comaprisons to our villages which stand for lack of basic amenities and comforts. But the German country side is one of the most beautiful sights i hv ever seen. With lush green outfields( every time saw one i thought they wud hv taken the Windows Xp wallpaper snap from there ), extensive wineyards, breathtaking flower gardens, picturesque roads.....i felt if I were removed from the scene, it would be a perfect setting for a postcard. Talking about countryside I hv to talk abt the rivers, Since all the rivers in Germany originate from the glaciers on the Alps they are always brimming with water unlike our seasonal rivers. They are quite deep too making it an efficient and cheap means of tranport esp for goods. But they look so dull and lifeless, I would prefer to see the bright and bouyant Cauvery anyday. :-)

Its really disturbing to hear the sort of impression ppl hv abt India. We met a family on the train and started a conversation. The sort of iamges comin g out of those ppl were really bad..."There are many poor ppl back there right?..everyone who goes to India returns with a disease...U shd be really rich guys to hv come here...there are cows everywhere....". Later we came to know the base for these details...u guessed it right...German christian missionaries running in India. Tht guy has a frnd who works somewhere in Bhopal with the poorest and sickest of the lot and passes on a distorted picture abt our country. Really sad... they will never know abt the developments and progress India has achieved...These missionaris are not only a mencae back homee but also in GErmany. "The Lord loves you with all ur heart...come join the path of the Lord.." whats their problem I dont understand... we guyz never go around telling ppl to join the path of Rama and Krishna... let the ppl be.. why force ur thoughts onto them....and if thwey can do this to us imagine the state of those who are barely making ends meet..."dont sell religion to a hungry man" Swami Vivekanada had told long ago at Chicago...

The Germans are fitness crazy. You can see ppl jogging and cycling anytime of the day, 6 in the morn, 1 in the afternoon, 8 in the evening....I was shocked to know that they cycle on a avg 60 - 75 km a day or run 25-40 km a day!!!!!! Man , i havent cycled 10 km in the last 5 Sir,,, never heard of Tour De France before...hehe. The amazing thing is that age is not a barrier for such activities. Infact age is not a barrier for anything. Old guys are the ones u see outside the most and they enjoy the most....very very different from old ppl back home...One of the Organization heads who had to come a team dinner with us told that he rides a 600cc Suzuki bike and plans to buy a 1200cc Honda nxt year ( FYI,,...he is around 55 or 60). Its a combination of both mental and physical fitness which keeps them active even at that age..this is one change i hope to see one day in our country too.

The funnisest thing i ever saw there was the loo in the office. There are 4 or 5 of them nxt to each other in a row divided by some sort of a wall. The crazy thing is that the doors and the walls on both sides are not touching the foor and the cieling. Infact there was no cover on the top. The walls were atleast 10 inches short of the floor. So , if anyone is in the loo nxt to urs u can see his shoe ( if its not covered by his slid down pant ).... So imagine going to such a place on the first day and realizing that the damn place is not sound proof !!!!!!!! All sounds being genrated are audible in all corners of the room. I had a very hard time muffling sounds on the first day but when i heard the Germans ...shamelessly going on like motorboats with blown engines.. i felt what the hell....while in Rome do wht the Romans do... its a no holds barred game here folks.......welcome to fart mart !!!

The filght back home was killing..Of all places I didnt expect Luftansa to play "Naach" on air. The American nxt to me was so confused she didnt know if it was a musical or a love story or an art movie. Hey neither do I .. so spare me the blushes......but she went on ...bothering me abt musicals and Indian movies, tht even the diretors would hv forgotten they had made.......And thn the babies!!!..Babies are always cute..but crying babies are a bit of a bother... but if u hv four of them around u in all the four directions crying like there is no tomorrow ,it becomes a major pain .....and to add to ur woes if ur sitting in a cramped economy seat sandwhiched between two large hippos disguised as aunties who are literally flowing out of their seats into becomes a torture.They were so huge I could move my hands only in the fwd axis.. so while eating, my elbow was almost perpendicular to my face.......u cant even get up and go to the loo...she has so much trouble getting out of her seat.. u feel u rather hold ur bladder than see her struggle...and to add to all the misery, someone dropped a bottle of perfume from their bag behind me... so there i was 10000m up in the sky, seeing the worst movie ever made on earth ( can anyone plz shoot Abhishek Bachan...?), struck between mosters, listening to a symphony of serenading todlerrs, drinking endless glasses of juice , but holding my bladder, holding my breath to save myself from the nauseating perfume.........i almost thought of suicide...but realized there was no space for that either..... and then I had to wait for 6 hrs in the night at the Chn Airport for my connecting flight... had nothing to was watching the highlights of a cricket match b/w Karachi and Faislabad !!!!!!!!!!!!

Mama, I'm coming home................... yeah but its not as easy as i thought it wud hv been.
German chronicle 2


"I think life should be more like tv. I think all of life's problems ought to be solved in 30 minutes with simple homilies, don't you? I think weight and oral hygiene ought to be our biggest concerns. I think we should all have powerful, high-paying jobs, and everyone should drive fancy sports cars. All our desires should be instantly gratified. Women should always wear tight clothes, and men should carry powerful handguns. Life overall should be more glamorous, thrill-packed, and filled with applause, don't you think? "

Bill waterson for President !!!!!!!!! Man I so agree to this. Life is so deadly monotonous here. I am missing the din of Bannerghatta Road. If u find that this mail is not finished, its probably because I wud hv dozed off in this monotony. These ppl r so machine like and rule abiding, if some one is walking on the side walk, they will overtake u only from the left !!!!!! ppl wear such drab colours everywhere u almost crave for colour.The ony colours u see here are balck , white, gry, beige, peach... i really feel nice when i see the cleaners here cause they wear bright orange.......aaaahhhh... get a life....

chuck it...let me talk abt some thing brighter !!! I ahd been to this place called Cologne. Yes !!! u thought right !!! the original Cologne from the "Eu du cologne" fame. Its one of the most beautiful cities of Germany with a long history. The hallmark of the town is the Dom or the Cathedral almost 800 years old. You feel as though the city is somehow built around the Dom. I guess u guys hv seen the grandeur of the place in the snaps which i hv sent. The Rhine flows right through the city which makes it a major commercial centre beacuse the ships dock right in the city. The journey was the best part of the trip though. The train passes through beautiful valleys all along the river. With the river on one side , rising hills on the other, long winding roads in between... man it looked right out of some post card...hmmm, a weekend well spent.

Oh by the way,I hv to tell abt the trains here. There are different kinds of trains The U-Bahn is the underground train, S-Bahn is the normal one... the ICE trains are the fastest ones which touch upto 300kmph. ( but thats only in France which encourages fast trains ). The whole setup is made up of both public sector and private sector players which ensures gr8 service and amzing accuracy.If u buy a weekend ticket, u can travel from and to any city in the whole country for a gr8 bargain.

When it comes to apparel Germans seem to hv only one choice. DENIM.... man u find Jeans everywhere.... office, pubs, streets, TV..... fatsoes, kaddis.... girls, guys,... aunties uncles... buddhas buddhis....bachas bachhis eveyone is in jeans.Torn...printed...shot...faded.....bootcut..the list is endless. They all look right out of some cowboy movie. I really dont understand their facination with it. And the only other kinds of trousers u find will be the ones coming along with suits. I didnt carry a single jeans with me and ppl look at me like I am from Mars or something.. hehe

Now that u know of their facination for clothes, u shd also know their preferance for the lack of it. Their concept of beauty is nudity. Every ad u see on the Tv or print has a model nude ( with the appropriate things covered ..dunno why..makes me feel likethat guy Gopal in Inscrutable Americans..." what will their mothers say when they see them like it on the road?" hehe..). I guess its so cold here that ppl r fully clothed through out the year, that they r waiting for an opprotunity to shed their clothes... whatever it is I am not complaining...hmm, wonder whn we r going to hv nude models on hoardings in India !!!

The German laws are very srtict about marriages. Children actually become a huge responsibility for ppl here. So the Germans hv a simple solution. dont marry !!!!!! Infact the govt is so concerned that ppl r not marrying that u get a tax rebate if u tie the knot !!!!! man if we that back home... the govt will hv to end up bankrupt ina day.. My german counter part here ( alex ) says " well i hv been with her for four and half yrs... i think maybe she is the one i am going to marry... but i dont dar tell her that if i do it will be for tax svings !!!!!!!" Can u believe it.....imagine all the aunties breathing down on 20 something youngsters back home with proposals and here, those aunties still cant decide bw a wedding or a live in relation for themselves..Infact they hv kids so late that i am really not sure if its the mother or grandmother beside the child...

If i am talking abt Germany how can i stay away from the topic of beer !!! We had been to this very popular pub here and none of us were ready to believe our eyes ... they actually brewed their own beer in the pub !!!!!!!!! so there we were sitting behind those huge tanks, all neat and polished and seeing ppl drinking themselves silly. Infact at the table nxt to ours there were these two guys who had ordered something ( i forget the name) which had a long boat shaped wooden plank some 1 merte long and it had 12 glasses in it..wait or were they mugs???

We do run into some funny incidents because we dont know how the things happen here. We were in hotel once and I discoverd that there was no fork on my table ( sincewhn did I start using a fork ???) . So i got up and started searching for one. There were these nice plates kept on the bufet table, clean and shining with a fork and a spoon. So I decided to pick them up as no one was using. Then my team mate signalled that I shouldnt pick up the fork like that. I thought ok maybe thats indecent and stuff so i decided to pick the whole plate. My frnd came running upto to me grabbed the plate frommy hand and kept it on the table. The guy behind me had a look as though I had murdered his mother or something. Only later did i come to know that they were the plates on which ppl kept the fork and knives, which they had used to pick stuff from the buffet !!!!! Man i didnt dare raise my head through out the lunch.Man we laughed our heads off after we came out. hehe......

It sometimes becomes tough to get used to words which sound similar in ur language but mean something totally different. Ppl out here dont say bye, they say 'choos'. yeah... now u know our situation when they say that. "Nahi !!! mai nahi choosonga. kya karoge ???". by the end os the day eveybody comes to us and say 'choos'!!!! We swallow ( no puns intended ) the laughter and say byeee. Yesterday I guess some one told bye to my colleugue and he replied back with a choos... man , we burst out laughing right there and the German was wondering what he had missed and my colleugue was standing there with a red face looking down on his toes....

Guess, its gone pretty long ha, i shd stop now..... enjoy madi...
German Chronicle 1

Hmm, so how do i start....well maybe with my scary trip to the airport in Blore. There was this major accident near command hospital and a huge jam on airport road ( whats new with that ?? ) ... I had to check in a hour before the flight departed... i was really worried abt mx check in whn micheal shumacher aka my dad chipped in riding like a man possesed and going into roads which themselves didnt know they existed... and finally we were there ... aah wht a relief.. i would be flying to Germany after all.. ( FYI Germany was the first country my dad travelled to and after doing my Electrical at UVCE just like him it was sort of deja vu for my mom,,hehe)

The Luftansa boing 747 is really small plane comapared to todays jumbo planes...It was a really boring flight with even more boring comapany... with all that bland food and the stoic air hostesses I really started appriciating our good old Jet airways...nothing to beat Indian hospitality....believe me guys after seeing stuff here I vouch you wont get better service than that anywhere in the world.

Landed early morning in Frankfurt and we had to reach a city called Mainz which is around 25 km from we caught a taxi..... a Mercedez Benz !!!! Can u believe it.... every other taxi here is a Merc...I was so eleated i felt like I shd pull my window down and yell that I was in a Merc..hehe..anyway out we headed into the worls famous highways of Germany, the Autobahn..with around four lanes for one side traffic itself imagine how fast the traffic moves there... the car was so silent and smooth I felt we were proababaly doing a 80 or 90 ....I just glanced at the speedometer and i sort of gave out a short yelp which made the taxi driver slow down and ask me if i was alright.... we were going at 175 kmph !!!!!!!!!! man now i know the differnce between a santro and a merc...It sort of amazing to see all the cars out here and all pure German..Mercs, audi, Vokeswagon, BMW..and the others like Renault, Nissan , Ford, Skoda, Toyota,jaguar, porche, volvö.... boy I am running out of breath... u do find an odd Ferrari or an Alpha Romeo....but nothing is more facinating I think than the taxis :)

We checked into the gunewig Bristol hotel ( we had planned to keep shifting hotels to get a taste of all of them ..right now I am in the Hilton Mainz)... first thing that struck me was the bathroom. It has no water outlet on the floor.. so to taka bath one has to get into the tub..i tried to sit in it,... but it was so short that half my legs were out of the tub... man was i looking stupid in the mirror or what !!! anyaway I decide to use the shower instead, but still i had to stand in the tub cause i couldnt do it on the floor... man,what a dumb country !!!!

The two things which srtike u first here are the cleaniliness and the silence.. It is so clean that even after wearing my shoe for a week I havent polished it cause it still looks new and polished .It was sun day morning whn we first ventured out and the roads were like as noisy as a was so silent u could almost here urself was only ater we came to know that on Sundays everything is closed everywhere in Germany...nway had no other choice but to adjust to the silence.. reminded me of Kamal Hasan recoding the noises of the theatre to help hin sleep in Pushpakaviman ... hehe :)

I am the tallest in my whole family circle and have always felt happy about it. But the moment i set my foot on this country I felt like i was the shithole of evolution.... these ppl r so damn tall that I am sure the temperature near their faces would be a degree lesser than mine... even the women r so tall and to insult to injury thex wear bloody four inch heels..i hv to select size 'M' for my clothes.. if i select the biggest size the XXXL here sotra looks like a night gown for am I waiting to come back home and feel tall again !!! Not only ppl r the women tall here but also ugly.. seriously Germans shd be the ugliest women on the earth.. they such rotten skin, huge build, sad hair and old wrinkled faces...u really cant make out if the woman with the child is his mother or grandmother..and there r really no norman sized women .. either they hv a figure like Caludia Schffier or Queen Latifa... there is no mid size here mate... no chance..

Mainz is a real beautiful city, quite medival and laid back. It is situated in the south west of Germany on the banks of the river Rhine..sort of Mysore and Bangalore...lotsa ppl i think choose to settle here or retire to get away from the hustle and busltle of Frankfurt. The main city center has a huge theatre ( read opera house ) and cathedral. There are like a milion shops in and around... but the stupid thing is they close down all shops by 5 and by the time we return from office all we can manage is window shopping...anyway i dont think i can shop much here cause they seem to hv only shops for ladies garments...u do hv some for men but the clothes for ladies is really awesome.. the colours specially are very different from back home.. very sort and nice..but gERmany is shit expensive,, after thex joined the EU and the euro came into circulation prices hv shot up skywards and there are a lot of ppl actually moving out of the country. there a lot of pakis here as taxi drivers and they keep cribbing abt it alll the time.

The parks here really a sight to watch. Lush green grass everywhere... spring is round the corner..the trees here are blosoming with a strange coloured folwers which i feel is a combination of white ,light pink ( read not peach !!) and lilac..( oof i bet there is no name for it). The kids here r really adorable ..esp with all that cycling gear on them,,ahh now that reminds me, ppl use the cycle here a lot..mainly to keep fit i guess. they r like total fitness freaks..u can see them jogging at 6 in the morn , 1 in the afternoon ..8 at night... sort of reminds me of Rahul bose in Engligh August..

I am here for a month at the IBM office at is a huge campus and it had a hard disk manufacturing plant here which is now closed..the cool thing is that everyone has two thinkpad and the other a normal comp with "! inch monitors....looks lika TV in front of u..the strange thing is that there is no concept of cubicles at office to which we r so used to..there r these huuuge tables which is shared by only 2 if u had such a thing back home in India we would need half of the buildings of blore..anyway there a huge change of work culture that it takes some time to sink in.. ppl come in early to office....realy early.. like 7 45 in the thats ,like mid night for me back home.but thex leave by 6 or 6 30. there r no long coffee breaks... coffee now that reminds me.. THERE IS NOTHING FOR FREE IN HERE.. u hv to pay for every cup of coffee in office....not only in the off. its everywhere... u hv to buy water.. anf hell to pass water also u hv to pay in every god dammn place..... I am surviving on French Fries here and ketchup is not the same McDonalds or KFC back home at India i cant imagine buying my ketchup or paying too pee !! anyway I getting to know the kinda work Indian IT skills now.. these Gemans were a huge let down.

Anyway there is too much to write which i dont think i can do it in one thinkpad's battery is almost dead.. anyway Till then take care and have fun.....

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I am in ........ bit of a "Johhny come lately" but its ok :)