Friday, 8 August 2008

Going to the Other Side.

An article about the life of south Asian immigrants, living in Bremen, Germany.

Crossing the borders of a country and going abroad is pretty straightforward; all you need is a visa and a passport. Things however get a lot more complex, difficult and sometimes dangerous when one has to stay according to the rules and regulations of the new host country and follow a new culture. When a person realizes that even the most basic activities such as eating or enjoying a party is carried out differently, he does tend to feel a little uncomfortable, or in other words, goes through a “Culture Shock”. South Asia is an area filled with different religions and languages, thus giving birth to different cultures. The European culture on the other hand is less dependent on religion and therefore, it is comparatively a lot less conservative. For example, drinking during a celebration or making out in public is perfectly normal in Germany, however, in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and even in parts of India these would be considered as an offence. Thus, it can be seen here that the amount of cultural distance between the Europeans and south Asians is a lot which unsurprisingly leads to a very high intensity of “Cultural Shock”.
“I came here in the year 1979 as a student and did my post graduation here” said Kamal, a 51 year old former Bangladeshi who now is a German citizen. He lives here with his family and at the moment owns a call shop located nearby the main station. “After finishing my studies I decided to start my own business here as I thought that would be a more profitable idea” he said. Kamal, who has now been in Germany for the last 30 years, is just one of the many south Asians who had initially come here with student visas and ended up opening call shops and other small time business stores. One of the main reasons as to why south Asians tend to start a business rather than going for a more professional approach is because for most of them survival, both in Germany and back home in south Asia receives a higher preference. Many of them came from poor backgrounds and as a result, earning money for them and their family was the most important factor for them to focus on. There are however, many others who have entered the professional fields in Bremen and have been working as professors, teachers and doctors. According to Dr. Ajoy Kumar Palit, an Indian computer scientist who has been living in Germany since 1997 and did his PhD in Electrical engineering in Bremen, working as a professional gives you a lot more stress and is a lot more hectic than doing business. “I have been working over here for the past 10 years but even today I can’t stay in peace since I really don’t know if they will be renewing my contract the next year” he said.
“In the past 30 years of my life here in Germany, I never got too close to the natives living here, the main reason behind that is because they drink and also follow a different lifestyle which I cannot accept, since I am a very conservative person” said Kamal. He however, didn’t have any problems against the Germans and appreciated many different aspects of their culture. When asked if he was ever a victim of racial abuse, he replied “Yes, but they were very less and never too serious. You won’t be a victim of racial abuse if you mix around with the right people and stay at the right place.” He also appreciated the fact that Germans are clean, rule-oriented and most importantly are strict followers of time, something that must be implemented back home in south Asia. “I had become so accustomed to the German timing that I started having problems attending programmes in Bangladesh during vacations, since its always customary to be late back home” said Kamal.
The Indian scientist, Palit on the other hand, had something different to share. According to him, in the professional sector it is very difficult for a foreigner or a non-German to progress. “If I was in India or in the United Kingdom, I could have achieved a lot more than what I have achieved here” says Palit. He did face problems at work and felt racially discriminated a few times by his fellow colleagues, at the beginning. Stating an example, he narrated a story where he was embarrassed in a party, after a senior German Professor had questioned his profession as an assistant professor because he could not speak the German language fluently. “At present things are much better and these instances are very rare nowadays” he said. Asaad Abdul Rehman, a student, currently doing his masters at the Hochschule Bremen, feels the same way and says that at times he feels a little uncomfortable hanging around Germans, even though he has never been racially discriminated before. “Till date, my boss and my professors are the only Germans I properly interacted with” he said.
There are many other people like Palit and Asad who share the same views. Even though they were never racially discriminated, they never really felt too welcome amongst the Germans. The only possible explanation to this is the cultural difference. In south Asia, people tend to get too close to each other and they usually discuss their social matters even during the office hours. In Germany however, the social interaction is different in many aspects. According to the book “Doing Business with Germans” written by Sylvia Schroll Mach, Germans tend to keep their social lives separate from their official ones; they don’t tend to mix the both of them. The culture in Germany is more specific rather than diffuse, which means that people here tend to have a huge space for public appraisal; however, they tend to keep their private life well guarded, which is dissimilar or the complete opposite to the culture followed in south Asia. Also, according to the book, Germans don’t usually talk much to strangers and prefer to stay with their close friends and family. This difference in the culture is probably the main reason as to why some of the south Asians feel a little uncomfortable around Germans.
On the other hand, it would be very wrong to generalize and say that every south Asian feels the same way about German people. There are of course, many south Asians who have integrated well and inter-racial marriages have also taken place, thus, proving the fact that not all south Asians have a rough time in Germany.“Germans are a little hard to talk to at the beginning, however, once you get to know them, they can be the best of friends” says Lal Singh, who is currently married to a German and owns an Indian restaurant in Berlin.
On the whole it can be said that south Asian immigration in Germany is still in its basic stages. All though today a south Asian living in Bremen can find all the required continental spices and other food materials and probably get information of the latest Indian movies through the internet, the number of south Asians in Bremen or in Germany is still very less as compared to the United Kingdom, United States and the Middle East.
The one thing that all my interview clients did agree to was the fact that given a chance today, they would definitely go back home. The only reason as to why they are compelled to stay here is “money”, since it would be impossible for them to earn the same amount back in south Asia. In any case, no matter how secured or luxurious the life is, people always prefer to live with their own culture and their own kind, after all “Birds of the same feather, fly together”.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

In desperate need of help....

There was a different feeling that greeted me to the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia, this time. I didn't feel like I was entering a place where I had spent the last 17 years of my life, a place where I was born. I was sweating at the check in counter, more then the humidity I think it was the imaginary tension in the air that was the main cause. Everywhere I looked, I felt like people were staring at me, " Look there goes a Bangladeshi, there goes a murderer."

All right , I agree , I might have just exaggerated a bit in the above paragraph, but I have to admit that I was pretty scared entering the country after living abroad for 7 months, and reading about the Bangladeshi worker who allegedly killed a Bahrain national did not make things easier. Surprisingly though the check in in Bahrain was smooth, it took me just 10 minutes to get my luggage and finally after a delay of around 1 hour I got into the bus that was going to take me to Dammam, Saudi Arabia. So, there I was sitting in the bus, saying to myself, the situation is not that bad after all , maybe its just me who needs to be more calm and stop depending on the NEWS ! But then again, I was wrong. We started from Bahrain at 11 pm and reached Dammam at 4 in the morning. A route that usually takes 1 to 1.5 hours at max! What was the reason ? It was none other then the " Bangladeshis" once again. While entering Saudi Arabia, the check in post literally interviewed every Bangladeshi in the bus and the rest of the people ( Indians and Pakistanis mostly) had to wait for 2 whole hours. Of course, we cant actually blame the Saudi officials for doing that, considering the very " HIGH" reputation that the Bangladeshi laborers have in Saudi Arabia. Majority of them were uneducated and didn't even know the name of their sponsor, as a result it took a very long time for all of them to get through. Since, I was a regular traveler, I didn't have the grand opportunity to be interviewed by the Saudi officials .

The point that I really want to emphasize here is that , there were many Indians and Pakistanis in my bus who were not educated, who did not know who their sponsor was and in order to time many of them were helped to fill up the necessary forms. However, they were not questioned as severely as the Bangladeshis were. The security Check in for Bangladeshi citizens became a lot more strict after the "murder incident"( mentioned earlier) that took place in Bahrain. All right , fine lets look at this situation through the eyes of an Arab. Of course we wouldn't want murderers to enter the country, so I guess the extra security check in was acceptable.

The drama however does not end here, the Saudi government recently decided to follow a very harmful and a very confusing ( confusing to me and the rest of the Bangladeshis) theory. They decided not to renew the Iqamas or Visas of the Bangladeshis who have either just turned 18 or are not under a professional working visa. According to the system in Saudi Arabia, every person who reaches the age of 18 , needs to have a separate iqama or a visa or an identity card in order to represent oneself as a legal citizen in Saudi Arabia. This new rule is very randomly followed, majority of the applications are being rejected, some of them however , due to some LOGICAL reasoning are accepted. This move may not effect the working laborers or other Bangladeshi workers , however it happens to be a huge problem for the Bangladeshi students and youngsters in a major way ! According to sources, the Bangladeshi schools in Jeddah , Riyadh and Dammam have already received an order from the govt of Saudi to remove the A level examinations from their school , since there would be practically no students sitting for it !

The most confusing part of it all , is the fact that all this has happened only because of one person who just happened to be a Bangladeshi. This recent " kick the Bangladeshis out " move affects , not the laborers but the students. How can any of these youngsters be blamed for just a random Bangladeshi who supposedly killed ( There are again many different stories about the murder) someone. It is really sad to see majority of the students leaving what also may be the birth place for some of them, half way through their academic year. Some of them have to drop a year and many of them have to start a fresh new life in Bangladesh.

According to Bangladeshi worker , who also graduated from the Bangladeshi school in Dammam," The current problem will mostly be a temporary one and this situation may not last for more then 2 to 3 months, however the ones who have to renew their iqama during this period are severely unlucky" he said.According to an article in the the daily star ( the Bahrain govt will be soon lifting the ban that was placed on importing Bangladeshi laborers after the controversial incident, with some conditions. Lets just hope that the govt. of Saudi Arabia learns something from their neighbors and remove the rules that have have actually violated human rights!

It wont be fair to entirely blame the Saudi Govt. for the present situation of the Bangladeshis, the embassy in Riyadh has been of "NO Importance" at all. "Foreigners from other countries can probably kill a person and still receive shelter at their own embassy, however the Bangladeshi embassy is completely opposite. They bring along with them the dirty politics outside the country and rarely answer the people's calls." said a Bangladeshi worker who stays in Dammam and also has a child who will be giving his A levels this year. " All they want to do is come to a Bangladeshi citizens house and eat" said a Bangladeshi professor, currently teaching at a University in Dammam.

Bangladeshi laborers in Saudi Arabia have been suffering for a long time, some of them don't get their monthly dues while others are cheated by their sponsors. Without a proper embassy the problems will continue to go on and many people will continue to suffer. One may however argue and say that a major problem is that the Bangladeshi laborers are uneducated and as a result tend to fall into trouble and other unwanted business. Well, then lets consider the Bangladeshis working in the U.K. or in the United States. Bangladeshi laborers are sent there as well, so how come we don't hear about all these atrocities from Europe or the United States? Why is it always from the Gulf ?

To me, it all ends up to discrimination ( I am sure majority of you would not agree with me ), I have been living in Saudi for the past 17 years and yet till date I haven't seen an Arab cleaning the streets, its always a South Asian. More then 8 out of 10 times a man working at the petrol station or a waiter working at a restaurant, or a shop keeper ,turns out to be either an Indian, Pakistani or a Bangladeshi. No, I have no problem with them doing these jobs, its money that they need for their dying family and thats what matters. However, because they are looked down upon and because they are not considered important, thats where the problem begins. Now, personally speaking, I have never been racially discriminated or faced any kind of discrimination here, I mean I grew up around Indians and Bangladeshis and my dad happens to be an English professor. However, there are many Bangladeshis out there who don't get their paid on time and as a result have to change their job and sponsor. This article from the Arab News is just one example .


Now this post of mine is just my own thinking and my own theory based on different sources, facts and of course on my own experience. This is just my view and I would be more then glad to listen to others and correct myself. However, the one thing that I am really sure of, is that these people are desperately in need of help.


Tuesday, 10 June 2008

King of all Chefs and the 'Zeit'y problem !

So, Friday was just another Friday, it was just another day of the week, I had my painful ,terrible, horrible, disastrous, morning class. No the class wasnt bad, its just that the timing is a problem, no actually the timing is not a problem at all, we had classes that started at or I have to say in this case ' Scheduled' to start at 9 am back in Manipal. But, there is a difference, you see, in Germany 9 am or 900 hours as they call it, is equivalent to: ' Come to class at 8:50 and get ready by 8:55 and the lecture starts at dead 9! But, however, unfortunately, I come from a land which has a different time zone and a totally different 'understanding' of time. Now, of course there are a few rare people back home who are always punctual, like my dad for example, but they are a minority and well nothing in life is interesting if you dont generalize a little bit. So,after gaining a lot of mental strength, will power and eating a number of 'donors' ( refer to earlier posts), I have learnt to be on time. I reach class exactly at nine hundred hours! ( Makes me think I am working for the German military at times) .

Okay, now returning to the main objective of my post, the day was just like any other normal day, the sun was shining, the green grass was umm green, the trams were on time like always and my first and only class of the day started at nine hundred hours and ended at 11:30 am.
It was exactly 12 pm when Gayatri came up to me in the computer lab said that she would be participating in this international cooking contest that our university was going to organize that evening ,at exactly 18 hundred hours, I must add. I had recieved a mail about it long back and since none of my other compatriots showed any interest, I didn't bother participating. However, in the afternoon at 2 pm after my glorious nap, God knows what happened and I ended up being in the kitchen helping Gayatri with the cooking. So our initial plan, or rather her initial plan was to make chapatis and ' allu ka sabzi' ( something to do with potatos) , oh and I must add both Gayatri and I are beginners and I actually started cooking only after coming here. Any how, I figured that we'd need some chili and onions ( brainy me) and so I went out.

Tragedy struck when I came back though, Gayatri as usual had to do a blunder, she locked my room with the keys inside! And we had no other way to get in ! It was 5:30 by then and the contest started at 6 pm ! And so as usual, it was left to super Naim to save the day and well I kind of did. My super brain cells informed my amazingly brainy mind that the window to my room was open ( I realized that only after sitting idle for 30 minutes though) and as a result , I went out in the garden and realized that my super sexy body just wasnt sexy enough to climb up. However, where there is a will there is a way and I with all my confidence, motivation , devotion and strength, went and asked the Mexican living upstairs to climb the window ( even though some other people know a different version of the story claiming that I climbed the window, I dont mind) . And so , after the door to my room succesfully opened up, everything was " Chaotic" and till date I really dont know what we actually did cook.

Due to some academic reasons, I wasn't able to attend the cooking contest and I had to go meet my partner regarding a project. I did come to the cooking contest right at the end , half expecting to meet Gayatri there ,when she came up out of nowhere and said " Naim , I won !!". Tears, " Khushu ki asu", emotional music from behind ? Of course not ! We both started laughing like crazy and people around were staring at us ! Till date , I really don't know what happened, or how it happened, all I really know is that we won seventy euros and I got my share !

So what actually happened there ? I have thought a lot about this matter and as usual even when not needed, I came up with an explaination leading to another great theory of mine. You see, Indian food in Europe is like an orgasm, a very 'hot' one and therefore Europeans get turned on very easily as soon as they hear " Indienne " (This is just my theory and if you are a European and dont agree with me, then you are as usual a minority!). But that doesn't make any difference, doesn't make my first cooking contest victory taste any bitter!

And so, in order, to celebrate my victory with my fellow blog readers I have decided to end this historic post with few of my all time favourite quotations.

Have a hungry day !

"If only it was as easy to banish hunger by rubbing the belly as it is to masturbate."
~Diogenes the Cynic

"No man in the world has more courage than the man who can stop after eating one peanut." ~Channing Pollock

"A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat."
~Old New York Proverb

P.S. In case you are wondering about the title of this post , 'Zeit' in German , means time.


Sunday, 1 June 2008

Dream world and the Theory of Origin...

And so yet another day passes by, today was just like any other day, except for the fact that I am not lazy enough to write something. Its funny, am supposedly a to-be journalist and writing seems to be the most painful thing at the moment. People usually lose interest in what they actually are supposed to do when they take drugs or take a drink probably, I know,I probably sound lame now ,but hey that’s my theory , my thinking, you can have your own and since this is my paragraph, my writing I can say anything I want to and I don’t care what you think about it, its just my own thought. So anyway, where was I, oh yes, losing interest in writing, well no I don’t take drugs, neither do I drink, though I don’t know how long I can live like that since its definitely going to get harder in the next year in Manipal. So yeah, the reason I didn’t write anything for the past 3 months or so is probably because I was too lazy and maybe because I became too conscious about what people think about me. Yep, those are the two main reasons, the latter being the more appropriate one. As a result of that , I imagine all day long and never let it out of my mind, I feel like my mind isn’t just me and that I am being watched by people all day long, laughing at what I write, laughing at what I think and what I do. But what the hell, I guess it’s time that streak has to come to an end and let myself out again, yeah, the Paris trip helped me a lot! A lot more about that later by the way. So yeah, today was a special day, just like any other night, I was with my headphones and music. Enthralling my imaginary audience with my imaginary voice and real music from the computer. Today was a different level all together though, I think my band made it big time and we started playing at bigger shows with bigger people and we grew almost flawless with each and every performance of ours. Nothing seemed to be wrong, I was perfect with each and every guitar solo and so was the other guitarist (don’t want to name him). Together with my bassist, keyboardist and drummer we rocked the entire Manipal. Yep, good times, as usual we ended the concert with the all famous “ Sutta “ song, after all it was a farewell programme and well we needed to end with a song that everybody would always remember and cherish ! Sutta seemed to be perfect, after all every other guy in Manipal smokes, I may be an exception, but yeah smoking does bring in some effect. All my band members were high, along with the other students, and I was playing the guitar. I wasn’t singing though, the song was sung by one of the outgoing students, yeah it had to be done that way since everybody knew that song and he wanted to sing it so badly. That was good in a way, helped me concentrate on my solo , even though in “ musical terms” the Sutta solo is supposedly very easy. So yeah the concert ended with a bang , or in other words ended when I realized that the small room that I am living in actually turned quite hot and I had to open the window. God, never thought Germany could actually get this hot, but hey that’s good in a way, all my half sleeves would have gone to a waste if it wasn’t that hot. So, yeah after coming back to reality, I realize that I still have a lot of work to do and as usual, I ‘think’ I have a lot of time and don’t feel like doing anything. Just go to your comfortable bed, and take a nap my mind says, the bed here after all is way more comfortable than the one in India, maybe even more than the one you slept in for the past 5 years in Saudi Arabia, Yeah I think it is more comfortable than the one in Saudi, especially the pillow, you can actually hide your head in it. But wait a minute; let’s talk about something else today, before falling into my usual routine and going to sleep. Let’s talk about something that has been puzzling me for the past few weeks in Germany, and it all started thanks to Asad , when he said that he has no country , no origin and belongs to the world created for human beings. Agreed, he calls himself crazy, and asks me not to pay much attention to his thoughts, but hey I tend to disagree more than often, and I’ll do it now too. Actually I don’t disagree more than often, but I just said that since I thought that would sound cool, anyway coming back to the topic, let’s magnify my life a little, yes I know you guys may think , there naim goes again, talking about himself, his values , his thoughts, his views etc. Well, in that case what I wrote at the beginning of this paragraph will be required to redeem again. So where was I, yeah , Naimul Karim, born In the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia, however is actually a Bangladeshi national or in other words Bangladeshi by passport, currently studying in Germany for a semester and is continuing his higher studies in Manipal, India. Well, doesn’t that sound awesome? I know that does, that’s the only reason why I use the exact same statement in almost every presentation of mine here, gives quite an awesome first impression. See, all my life I have lived in Saudi and always acted or maybe was and still am a patriot or in other words loved ,preferred, chose, turned towards and supported my country that is , Bangladesh. Even though I don’t know shitt about Bangladeshi politics, I don’t know anything about how bad the economic situation is in Bangladesh, but I always dreamed to better my country, yeah I know, too many clichés coming up, anyhow, after finishing my school studies in Saudi Arabia, in an Indian school I must add, I decided to go to Manipal in India and do media studies. My goal behind that may seem childish or as people say over-imaginary, was mainly to come back and do something good for the media in Bangladesh. Sometimes I feel like laughing when I look back at my dreams and my plans. I want to work for the media in Bangladesh, and yet I can’t read or write Bangla, I wanted to improve the situation in Bangladesh without even trying to know about the major problems we face. The only thing that I honestly and truly did was to support the Bangladeshi cricket team, which as we all know is another story all together. So, I can’t call myself a true Bangladeshi, neither can I call myself an Arab, I mean even though I really enjoyed the food and the luxuriously lazy life in Saudi, I definitely don’t want to spend the rest of my life there, Germans follow too many rules for my liking and well India is just too big and has many different cultures to master, I don’t know how people can call themselves a true Indian, when all they know how to speak is their own regional language! So, where am I from? Where do I belong? Maybe I am looking at all this with a different and a wrong angle, or it may be a bitter realization. Or maybe my mind is going through a transition from a dreamy-Childish state to a mature-adult thinking system? I loved one of the lines Asad had told me and I guess is the most appropriate time to quote him. “The world is a place made for human beings, I wish to travel everywhere and to every country. Whoever said that I can belong only to one country? Doesn’t this world belong to me? Am I not as much of a human being as the Americans or the Europeans are? “My answer? Well, have you ever heard of that filmy dialogue, asking you to listen to your heart when your mind gives up on you? The world is mine, and no matter how many more borders man plans to draw on it and divide us, we still have the same origin. Sure, I definitely have a soft corner for my country, after all, I grew up that way, we all grew up the same way and that is probably the only reason why I feel that deep inside I’m still a Bangladeshi, even though I know very little about it,I still feel proud when any other fellow mate does something great, but never to such an extent so as to detain a person just because he is from the other side of the line. No I’d never do that.
I had once told my intercultural communication professor, that I don’t have a culture, since I really don’t know where I belong. To that she replied “You have a more refreshed culture which is way better than having a single culture to follow. “ I guess, that sums up what I really wanted to say , though very vaguely written and only a fool with a lot of time in his life would read this, I still feel satisfied, just to have written everything on paper and let my mind out. Feels good.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Beautiful Berlin...

" The world is not a bad place after all" , these were the words that kept on ringing in my head when I was viewing " The Story of Berlin" , a small exhibition depicting the history of Germany, showing us how many innocent lives were taken and how many beautiful wonders were destroyed. Yeah sure, I'd definitly say Berlin was beautiful if you had asked me about my trip, but getting to know the history of Germany in a lot more detail was a little depressing. Of course I did hear about the " Jews getting murdered" , the setting up of the Berlin wall, world war 1 and 2 etc. before hand, but I guess it was the exhibition that actually made me realize how bad the condition of Germany was after the second world war. Then again one may compare this to the situation in Southern Asia , when India got independence or when millions of refugees were left homeless during the 1971 war ( birth of Bangladesh) and say that the situation in Germany was far better, to which even I agree. There was atleast complete employment ( or hidden unemployment rather) during the early 80's and 70's in Germany, but when you come to know the way , one man, expressed his hatred for a particular community by killing more than a million people , a million innocent people who were at fault only because of their religion, it does feel sickening. Yes, Hitler, that's the evil-minded killing machine I was reffering to.
Unsurprisingly today's generation in Germany dont like to talk about the war at all, they see it as a shameful thing and blame their parents for starting the World war on both the occasions.

The second world war ended , Germany had to pay a huge price and got divided amongst 4 countries. The Berlin wall was then erected to prevent people from the Eastern side of Germany to go to the west, which led to the development of Western Germany and created a void gap with their eastern compatriots. According to one of my Proffesors, in 1989 when the Berlin wall was finally broken down and Germany was officialy united, there were long lines at the grocery markets in W.Germany, showing how underdeveloped the Eastern side was as compared to the West. He also said that while the people from W. Germany could buy a car in 7 minutes, it took almost 7 years for a person in E. Germany to own a car. Because of all this, the unification in 1989 was not exactly a smooth one and lots of problems were faced by both sides. So yeah, at the end of it all this is the reason why I felt that the world presently isnt a bad place after all, which is however a very ironic thing to say considering all the wars that took place in the recent past

Apart from getting to know the history of Berlin, we also got to see a number of museums and many other monuments , including some very tall buildings. The view of the city was amazing from the top. Berlin is more of a recently developed city and is termed as a " Mordern City" since it was bombed heavily during the second world war and is now building its way to a new future. There were around 4.5 million people before the war in Berlin, however after the war , that number went down to 3.5 million and as a result Berlin is an unusual metropolitan city with lots of empty spaces inbetween. We also got to see the " reichstag" or the Parliament house, which I have to say was very cleverly designed. Its like a crystal ball with circular flights of stairs inside which could take you to the very top. The parliament room is situated below the spiral staircase, indicating that the people of Germany are higher than its Parliament.

We also got to see a monument which had no name and no meaning but was dedicated to the millions of Jews that got killed during Hitlers regime. According to the monument's architect, one could perceive his own meaning and his own thoughts after viewing it. The monument had around 2700 blocks and below it a Jewish museum type thing was built. We were also taken underground into a nucleur protection chamber, which was built to protect the people of Berlin, incase of any nucleur bomb blast. It seemed pretty funny to me since only around 6 thousand people can be accomodated there , which is like just 1 % of the entire population. Basically all we did was walk , searched for monuments , explored the really beautiful city and most importantly took pictures.

So all in all, a great trip, something that I will remember for a lifetime and yeah for pictures please log on to my facebook profile.

Until next time,

best regards


Sunday, 13 April 2008

Willkommen to Bremen ( Germany)

So, after all the running around, all the trips that I took to the different parts of India, just for a simple visa for Germany, I have finally made it to Bremen( let me take a breather). The first words that I said after reaching the Frankfurt airport was ' Phew, we finally made it', but of course that wasnt to be the case, as God had something else planned for me and my compatriots. Another problem was awaiting us as soon as we reached the Frankfurt airport, no nothing regarding the visa or anything, but it was slightly due to the absence of mind ( to be polite) or in plain simple words, due to our stupidity that we actually kinda got lost, funny ? I dont think so.

See what actually happened was that I had liquids in my hand bag ( all the gel , shampoo and other things to maintain my handsomeness) and since we had like a 3 hour gap till our next flight to Bremen, Gayatri ( one of the other 2 compatriots) and I decided to go back and deposit it as luggage and since we had a lot of hand bags, we gave them to Aparna ( the other one) and asked her to wait right outside the check in and went wherever the person directed us. What we didnt know was that it was going to be impossible to return back to the same place and we had to check in from some other place , leaving aparna with all the handbags to check in alone ! Gayatri and I probably saw the entire airport 4 times in those 3 hours ! Searching for that same place where we left aparna. We actually thought we would miss our flight, but at the end Aparna or I should say Super Aparna, some how managed to carry all the handbags and reached the gate just before the flight was going to depart. Wahhh kya baat hai ! Bharatia naari ki jay!!

Anyway after that ' Adventure At the Airport' we reached Bremen at 2 pm and reached our accomodation. Its pretty good ( has to be , we pay 250 euros for it ) , we have all the necessary things; oven, micrwave, washing machine etc. , everything except a Television and the all important internet. So I have to come all the way to university every day to use the net, anyway its fine at the moment.

Okay so enough of personal details ( as Raaga had once said ' do not display your personal information in your blod ! ) and more of Bremen. Well Bremen is a nice place, its pretty clean and green. Its got one of the best football teams in Germany called Werder Bremen and so there is a lot of security whenever there is a match about to take place. Its just like what you see on TV, the entire place decorated with the team flags and everybody wearing their team's jersy and the pubs filled with people watching the match, lots of fun. Didnt really get to know too much about german culture ( except for the fact that they dont wash their ass after shitting ! they just clean it with a tissue paper and take a bath later ! whoaa isnt that cool ! Later i realized its a European thing!) since almost everything here is more or less globalized ( or Americanized ). Didnt get to taste German food as yet, but I do know that there is a huge variety of German bread and well Bremen is known for its drinks but unfortunately I dont drink ( or dint start as yet hehe) so dont have much idea, but yeah I do see people carrying packs of 'becks' ( a drink incase u illiterates dint know)everywhere here.

There is also this sandwhich called the Döner , which is actually turkish and is a complete rip off of a shawarma, so you can guess, how happy i was when i came here. I ate it 3 times last week , which is a lot considering the amount of money I get from the university. The centre of the city is called Domesheide and then there is another place called the hauptbahnhoff or the main station, these two places are like the main places in Bremen. People go there during the weekends since all the discos and bars are present there.

There is also this river which passes through Bremen and its really beautiful, you can go on boat rides over there, something that I still have to try. Well Bremen, is a small but a beautiful place, I still have to explore a lot more, but I think I have covered the main areas here. For more details log on to my facebook profile and check out the pics!
I will be going to Berlin on the 26th of this month, so I guess that will show a lot more of Germany, the capital after all has to be good!

I guess thats it for now, the four of us live in the same building which has like 6 rooms and we cook and all live happily ever after! heh isnt that how u always like to end ur posts ? a cliche !

Anyway thats all for now, and yeah am also missing manipal a lot ! mainly because of the food, cant wait to go back to Saudi or Manipal and hog like a pig !


Friday, 21 September 2007

Ramadan Karim !!

Anddd Ramadan is finally here ! !! ok , i started of with an " And" cuz i wanted to sound exciting, since thats how ramadan usually is u know, exciting, filled with parties, amazing offers at the restaurants and many other " good " things ! Well atleast thats how it was for the past 17 years in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. But now I am in india ! My first Ramadan in India and believe me it is wayyyyyyyy different. I dont mean to sound like a complain box or anything, but honestly speaking its not like home. Its more of a struggle here though and I guess that gets you more determined to fast. So this is what i do here, at sun set , for iftar, I just go to this small dhaba in front of my college or to this place called KC ( kamath circle) where there is a restaurant ! They also give u free food at the mosque, but its not worth it cuz u gotta walk all the way from here to the mosque and that is like REAL FAR. So anyhow, after that small meal , I wait till 7 30 since my food mess opens from then onwards and i try to hog as much as i can from there, but surprisingly i dont feel hungry there as well. For sehree, in the morning, I just have fruits or at times order food from outside . Yesterday, though I went out to the 10th block , to the night canteen along with my nigerian mate Usoro. The food was kinda cool there, I had like 1 burger , 1 chicken frankie and a musombi juice ! Oh musumbi juice is liek my new favourite drink here ! I love it, its so refreshing and umm tasty ! Damn all this talk on food is making me hungry ! arghh better stop the foody topic here. Ok my daily routine during ramadan hasnt changed much , except for the fact that i stopped going to football practice out of sheer laziness. I reach class just , i repeat JUST on time, cuz i sleep late ! lol.. umm and oh i also started practicing table tennis. There is this guy in my hostel called Sankhya, a senior from MIT, plays really good, so i practice with him. I must say that even though im playing tt after such a long time i still am in an OKAY shape ! lol.. ok other thatn that, after TT we all hang out at KC once again, at the basketball court. Sometimes we all go out for dinner, but thats reallly rare cuz half the time everyones broke , including my self ! hmm soo well i guess thats all what i do during ramadan here, right now its 5 40... only 5 40 ... have one more frikking hour to wait and i guess will go to cafe coffee day today, feel really verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry hungry today donno why. Anyhow thats all for now, till next time