Ich liebe Berlin...

I remember that sunny afternoon. He was in the 9th grade, reading his Science-II State board textbook. For the younger ones who are reading this post, we didnt have Physics, Chemistry and Biology separate those days. 'Those days', this sure sounds old!

So, on this sunny morning, there was this intelligent guy (with a thirst for knowledge) going through the periodic table... He was good. And he knew it. As he was going through the periodic table, something caught his eye.

Tungsten was represented with the letter 'W'. W? not T, not Tg, but W. Why? He got to the root of it...

Today, the same uber cool guy, today in an unknown land, on a very sleepy afternoon, was asked the same question

German Sir: I dont know the name of that metal... its called Wolfram in German...

Out of deep slumber woke our hero, our uber cool guy (UCG)...
UCG: Its Tungsten...
Sir: Tung.. what?
UCG: Tungsten...
Sir: How... what.. How do you know that? (true exclamation)
UCG: I dont know... I am just plain awesome...

Girls admired him with loving affection... Guys wanted to be like him...Yes, that plain awesome guy, that uber cool guy... is me... (obviously)

So now that I have established my utter supremacy over you mere mortals, let me continue with all the mundane stuff...

So, Its pretty awesome here in Berlin... The city is super systematic... Its kinda cold here, I expected better weather this time of the year... Everything is mostly on time. Even the buses have a time table to follow.

There are no traffic jams here. And potholes on the road are a matter of National crisis for the Germans.

Germany is great, no two ways about it... The roads, the cars, trains, buses (all in all the transport system) are awesome. Everything here is so damn systematic... I think thats all we Indians lack are systems. Ever since I have come here, I have never felt that something that can be done here, cant be done back home. Our people are good.. all we need are good systems to be put in place...

I have started liking Berlin's weather, which is quite different from the one at home. I have started making friends. Not just in class but also outside. Like the Falafel guy... (falafel is like a veg sandwich). This guy speaks only German, and I speak Chinese according to my Orkut profile.

But this guy is really nice, hes teaching me what to call vegetables in German. And the quick learner that I am, I am quite a joy to have as a student. But seriously, I am his most loyal customer, I eat 2 of my 3 meals in there. Sasta hai yaar...

Everything is so damn costly. Water is sometimes costlier than beer. (Believe it, its not a fable.) You dont get carry bags for free. Train and Bus tickets cost a bomb compared to Indian standards... So what if the doors of the train open and close automatically and the bus BENDS towards the footpath so that you can get down easily.. Yes.. it bends!!! like Sachin bends into his on-drive...

And yes, for all you German car fans at home, there are more BMWs here than we have marutis.. Buying a Chevy Matiz (Spark) must be a sign that you are really poor...

Till last week I was converting everything into rupees, so it sucked big time when you had to pay 80 rupees for a bottle of water.. Talking bout water, there is no system of water purifiers here. All water that comes through any tap is pure... My doctor mom is gonna be angry big time if she gets to know that I am drinking what is fondly called as "unfiltered" water in India.

I like my classmates. They come from like 20 nationalities. Most of them are pretty curious about India. There is this one guy who sings sanskrit mantras and stuff... Freaks me out I tell you.. sometimes I feel he knows more about my country than I do...

Then there guys who come to me and ask...
Curious foreign guy: Hey Aaarrrshat, how do you say 'Fuck' in Indian...
Uber cool Indian guy (me) : There is no language called - Indian...

The nice guy that I am, I almost always enlighten them... its fun I tell ya..

The best part is our calculation abilities... We solve calculations before you can say - Ich liebe Berlin...
There was this question, very simple question, and the professor was like, Have you brought your calculators, and I solved it in like 3 seconds... Between surprised chuckles and awe and respect, yours truly was surrounded...

Okay, now that I have made myself sound good (which is the whole point of this post and in greater sense, this blog) let me talk some (more) meaningful talks..


Germany and cool and everything, but the thought of staying here somehow doesnt come into my mind. Sometimes I dream about India, mostly about Mumbai, the warm humid weather, my friends and family, sometimes even Gurgaon and the college. I feel like I have left some part of me behind. Somehow, 100% Arshat isnt here.

They say - Home is where the Heart is...
They god damn right...

I wanna stay in Mumbai for most of my life... I have decided that... Cant stay anywhere but there. There is something bout the city I will never understand. You see it in the movies, you read about it, but you dont really know what is about that place that doesnt let you leave ever.

Or maybe everyone feels like that about their homeland. Maybe all of them leave behind a certain part of themselves which is so important that you always wanna come back to it... Ich liebe Berlin... But home is where the heart is...

Chalo, bahut senti maar liya... happens when you miss home...
Miss all you people back home (you know who you are)...
Will come back soon.. Till then..
Auf Weidersehen...

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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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