My name is Chaudhary...

"So hows the German dream coming along?" One of my friends asked...

It was difficult to answer her. How was it coming along?

It all started with an ad which I saw when I was in the 7th standard.
The difference is- German Engineering. Opel.

Opel didnt work. But the ad did. That line somewhere stayed in my mind. The respect for Germany grew as I came to know more about them. The Engineering dream realised and I set my heart on doing my masters in Mechanical Engineering in Germany.

I got disillusioned during my engineering. 4 hours of travelling, overload of assignments, stupidity all over didnt help my case. The German dream died and I set my eyes on an MBA. In between happened Siemens, the respect for Germany increased and the dream was reborn.

I left Siemens, prepared for CAT to get into MDI's International Management course. One leg of the course was to be completed in ESCP, Berlin. The German dream kept coming back to me. It was destined or something.

This monday, I landed in Germany. It was not easy. Not at all. First the German Embassy acted like they didnt want us to come here. Then Deutsche Bank did their best to keep us out. German efficiency was thrown out of the window for inefficiency and stupidity. It was our luck that we finally got our Visas one day before leaving.

What followed next was a journey of a life time. I took the Air India flight from Mumbai to Frankfurt in the night at 2. I was so damn tired with all the running around, meeting friends and stuff. The flight was overbooked and I probably got the worst seats. Couldnt sleep a wink on the flight. I had an Air Berlin flight from Frankfurt to Berlin in the evening. That gave me around 12 hours to go around Frankfurt.

I landed at Fraport, was overwhelmed by the size of the airport. It was freaking cold outside. If Delhi cold was a bitch, Frankfurt cold was son of a bitch (does that make it worse or not?). Fraport is lovely, though I still feel mumbai airport is not too behind when it comes to management. (You can take me out of Mumbai, but u cant take Mumbai outta me.)

I had like 4 bags, one out of which was cabin baggage. I wanted to go around Frankfurt, so I deposited the bags at the Air Berlin counter for my flight in the evening. I had more baggage than the alloted 20 kgs. The girl at the counter (who I thought was spanish) however turned in 4 kgs more than alloted, which I thought was kinda sweet. I thanked her profusely, to which she said - You are Indian, I am Indian...
I felt so damn proud. No one every did anything special for me just coz I was Indian.

I went around the city. German Engineering everywhere. Footpaths which sloped at the edges so that you might not have a problem to get down and cross the road. Zebra crossings everywhere. Cars stopping for you even if there was no red signal. Grey skies. Biting cold. Costly food. But that didnt stop me from going on a 50 min cruise on the river Main.

In the evening I returned back to the airport or Fraport as they call it. I waited for the evening flight. After running around the Airport, I realised that the flight had been delayed. I waited. The flight was cancelled. I was stranded on the Airport. I contacted Air Berlin. German rules suggest that you stand in the line and wait for your turn, which incidentally took me around 1 hour. It was 9 in the night local time (1.30 night India) It was 40 hours since I had slept. Standing in line sucked.

"We will arrange your stay in a hotel and also arrange for pick up and drop" said the lady at the task.
They arranged for the hotel, but forgot the pick-up. Good for me though, I got to take a taxi (which means my dream of travelling my a Merc was fulfilled.) I was amazed to see my Hotel room (an Executive room at The Kongress Sheraton). One word - Awesome! I slept for 5 hours. The next flight was in the morning.

At the airport, I confirmed if my baggage was on the flight (since the last flight was cancelled.)
On reaching the Berlin airport after a rough flight which was more like a roller coaster than anything else, I found that one of my bags was missing. In spite of my confirming at Fraport that they were loaded on the very same flight that I was travelling by... How do you misplace baggage ON the Way? All my clothes were in that bag, and I was already late for the first class. Which meant I was gonna skip class. Not much of a problem that. With the jet lag, I might have slept in the class anyway.

It was damn difficult to find the place where the hostel was. It was 4 degrees outside, and if you know me, I hate cold. I come from a land of Warm sunny beaches, anything colder than 16 degrees is clearly unacceptable. This is one of the reasons Delhi is no longer a contender for me working there.

I reached the hostel with great difficulty and finally dropped dead on the bed. I dreamt.

I had a dream, the German dream... It took long to realize it. It was difficult. What a journey! I didnt wanna meet the President of the US or stuff like SRK wanted in "My name is Khan", but this journey was pretty difficult too.

For the record: My name is Chaudhary...

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5 letters to the editor:

    On March 6, 2010 at 12:46 PM     
    heena said...

    mastach...simple n nice abt ur wondering abt the then it ws there..good good..woh kehte hain na.. 'agar tum kisi cheez ko dil se chaho toh puri kaynaat tumhe usse pane mein tumhari madad karti hai"..looked similar.. :)

    On March 6, 2010 at 5:33 PM     
    Harish said...

    Somehow ur Executive room at the hotel exactly matches my room at Infy Mysore..!! Lol!

    IIM - K call hai be!

    On March 6, 2010 at 11:53 PM     
    Madhuri said...

    The German dream is alive and kicking(cant resist the football reference here!). I hope it lives up to your expectations. Keep updating your blog regularly with your experiences out there, so that I know what to expect when my German dream commences :-)

    hmm.. good point.. tu toh fulltoo Alchemist ban gayi :)

    Really? Though it wouldnt be as good as good as my room.. (Have to brag man)
    Kabhi mil.. will explain it to u.. :)

    Congrats for the call bey...

    Its sure is alive and kicking..
    You ll find it very homely... Everywhere there is Siemens. From one Siemens guy to another.. :)

    Me Liking Germany!! :-)
    Living ur dream...Thumbs up :-) Keep writing ur experiences out der...