Thursday, 31 January 2013

The First Six Months: a Bee Keeper

Sometimes I forget I have a blog again. And never open it up. Guess I am still getting used to it.

The German girl I live with is on her 'first real' job at twenty-eight. It's quite common for Germans to finish studies at ease, picking up interesting praktikums (internships) and travel along the way. There isn't much hurry really. And while I'm always hurrying up a lot of times, I am not sure it leads anywhere, until such time,   as time is ready. I wonder if finally everyone has the same pace, just that it appears slower or faster depending on individual frames of reference. Besides in the long run, things even out I hear.

On one of her side jobs, she was plucking grapes off vineyards in South Germany, in another she was tasting the best chocolate cake in France in a village with horse sheds, sharing warmth in a Tanzanian house and picking up on Mali-French. All this while, she was studying to become a social anthropologist, which makes her an interesting student programme coordinator (with overtly rich experiences). Some of us, Indians, ask a lot of big guest speakers on whether their *studies* really help them in the jobs- or getting to big positions. One of the German guys once said, ah but you don't really do a PhD for that. Somehow I liked his romantic idealism about it. Though, I do hope I am able to work on the romance a little too.

When she grows up, in her final job, as a retiree, she wants to be a bee keeper. Isn't it wonderful that you have a reason to grow so many beautiful flowers and trees, she quips. Oh, and eating honey was a very good thing to do.

I haven't really thought about it. But maybe I'd like warm winter sun on my nape. With clear blue skies. And ein Sessel. With Christopher Robin.

Winnie the Pooh

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The First Six Months: Gruppe-Arbeit

6 years ago, I met a Chinese girl. She went by the name Ha (real name). We were in a Group together at school, with a Scottish guy. She never contributed to work- at all. And at the end of it, the Scottish guy bemused, asked her, if it was the problem with the language or her understanding of the project itself. Ha said both. We went on with it. Finished it. And the younger, less aware me took this as 'Chinese' attitude. It didn't help when a British boss of mine concluded additionally that Chinese people had no shame for copying and did not care about 'originality'. It's another thing now, if one had to consider the luxury markets in China.

I work with a Chinese girl again now. And she has the exact same work ethic like me. We slog and go to Panda to celebrate our success. We work together. There are 1 billion + Chinese people. I let myself see the merits of not generalising.

From here found on Google images
In India, at work, sometimes my least favourite part was to team up with people who didn't share the same work ethics as me. Spoke more and worked far less. Now that I'm outside of the country, I hear a lot of people talk about how "Indians" lack the ability to do quality work. Indians in my class are mostly spoilt. In their definition of group work, you save people- even if they don't really work. They claim it is cultural. Like jugaad. I just think there are a billion people.

I'm not going to dwell on what happened in my Indian-Indian-Chinese group project, you can take a guess. But given my utter frustration of feeling irritated with attitudes last year, I needed to solve for it. And not passively on emails. But in person. Let people know I don't really appreciate slackness, and they must realise the consequences of not contributing equally. I did that today. Spoke and said, I was not going to lie, cover up and compromise. I was going to call the person out. And stick by it. It allowed me this weird sense of positiveness. Perhaps the reason I had to experience it again was just to practice this. Stand up and say, I do not support mediocrity. Even if I am called harsh, proud, difficult. I choose to be honest. And not die with it inside, but say it. It's not good enough to just have ethics, expressing them is just as big a deal. We didn't help the cause by not telling Ha how unhappy we were.

PS: Deutsch is not my stress language yet. Notice how today, I almost used no fancy words, but oh well Hol' die Tassen! ;-)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The First Six Months: of Wetter

Every morning, sometimes is a struggle. In different ways. Times when I look up watching flakes, feeling dreamy. From the inside. Others which make me want to step out and breathe.

I have to admit I am going through the former currently. This is slowing me down, making me crave for warm meals. There is no sleeplessness in Baden Wuttermberg. Whatay way to get over sleep issues! Much as I like this. I need to stop getting into hibernation.

Aber, the only way I seem to like schnee (s.n.o.w.) is cuddled up. Can we get Spring for a little show? This window display isn't helping.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

The First Six Months: Kochen

I know we started all Yellow, but it was too bright for the weather, I felt. Anyway, so today's post was split in my head. Could potentially be about mediocrity (I'm saving it), or something nicer, warmer in this weather from the Kueche!

In India cooking isn't top of my agenda. Living in Hotel Mama, office Cafetaria, and the outsides with really cheap (und lecker) food can do that I guess. However, it was also on my list with the neues Land and the change that came with it, that I'd like to be far more in control of what I eat. And thus, cook.

Essen in Deutschland: On besser days
1. Cabbage mit Tofu;  2. Potato mit yellow-ed rice,
3. good old potato-mutter; 4. Semmell Knoedel mit Brocolli,
5. Rice mit sausages
I've realised the *only* way I can cook edible food is when noone's watching. If I know someone's out there waiting, watching, I generally put far too much effort which goes awry (failed experiments). By myself, I find myself dreaming of what to make and what new things to try every week.

This could be driven by mother and grandmother, asking, what did you make everyday. Or, a brother in law who loves recipes. Or me, trying hard to taste everything new. I live with two vegetarian Deutsch girls (I really thought it was impossible, anyhow). They cook out of compulsion sometimes, what they make is more interesting than the vegetarisch options out there on the streets. The only place in my Wohngemeinschaft (such a fancy single word for a shared apartment), where I can really talk with people is the Kueche. That's motivational. As well.

Now, if you let me, door closed and pretend noone's out there, next I want to try Mangold (Chard leaves) with Moong Daal (Lentils/Linsen). And then Turkey curry in the Indian way. Anyone tried these before? Hopefully, they'll be picture-worthy :P

//(I don't quite know how to do umlauts on my [der] Computer). Sorry, it's the Deutsch pruefung spaeter (I have these tests!) which is only making me denke of a Woerterbuch of words that I can't type.//

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Seeking your blessings!

The German girls I live with decided I should write a Kinderbuch (I'd be really impressed if I go through my first children's short story soon) because we keep landing ourselves onto interesting Kultur conversations. That which seems normal to me, seems strange to others. And it takes an aha moment to recognise it at times, because I've been home so long, that getting used to nuanced changes is a slower process. I'm still quite set in my Delhi ways. (PS: I do not really venture out late in the night unless accompanied).

But I'd like a note-down, of my normals that are ceasing to be so, normal. Our director came to me specially in our break today and started off. His team member from India just had a baby, and wrote him an email asking for his blessings. He needed to critically know what these blessings meant. Was he supposed to send a card? Did he need to write a good email? What were these 'explicit' blessings?

It hadn't even hit me, how I, for normal, regular occasions (on my birthday, going out for an interview, getting to meet important personnel, going for an exam, just anything...) ask my parents to wish me luck. I even talk to grandmother sometimes and say ok, now give me your blessings. It's really regular with me. I have seen very many people do this with my parents, touch their feet, seek their blessings. Write to someone respected, and seek blessings. I'm not sure where Indians get it from. But before we start prayers, we seek blessings of Ganesha, all the four directions, all the elements, the earth, fire, air. Everything. We do it all the time. It was strange to the Chinese, and the Colombian family oriented people too. Till, it wasn't so strange to the Colombian one once I started off with the explanation.

Of course in Germany noone ever says, wünschen mir alles gute bitte. I had just never thought about it.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The First Six Months: of finding a cup of tea

Often times, I obsess about tea. The salty pink after a long lunch, the spicy one without milk for the cold morning, the Lipton for after office. The one reserved for long afternoons with friends who plan meetings on Skype now and start wonderful mornings, like an odd Sunday of today. One right after getting off the train at a nondescript station before a bumpy monsoon road auto ride. Atop a protected corner in the middle of fashionable city markets overseeing gardens. With muffins in lonely wintery English towns. Several reserved for the Chinese lot, whose sole objective seems endless herbal cups of water boiling post Sushi rolling. Tea makes new friends. Ich denke.

Tea also makes me wonder if starting a new year dipping in muslin-esque not paper bags makes it worth more. Because its aloneliness doesn't make it lonely anymore, being noticed and consumed for a picture folder-ed aside. What happens to old pictures when you stop looking at them? Of late, I obsessively keep them. Like tea memories. I am not sure why.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The First Six Months: of Anonymity

The first time I wrote digitally, a decade ago, my heart felt a little less heavy, dishing out what I felt about a boy I should've never looked at. Some people are just jerks to you. I could share without having to be diplomatic. Though, to be fair, I was, holding back, behind poor man's metaphors. Through time, even without using names (of others) but talking about feelings in general, I offended some people, destroyed others. By and by I became wary of it. I grew up to become more aware of what I was saying. Old posts embarrassed me. I moved towards writing about things that interested me. Less me.

And then I took this break. A chain smoker gives up looking at the cigarette break. I'd make fun of anonymity in younger days. What could it mean? Lack of courage to own up your Meinung? Then, I embraced it. (Warning: I'm learning Deutsch) 

A friend of mine, let's say we christen him A (for apple, aggressive, anonymous...) was tough talking to me a couple days back. I was thinking about exotic words to win that Scrabble game. He was continuing. He said how his girl-friend could eat me up, effectively because, I showed up as this naive, nice person, without a backbone. (Like the anonymous, I felt). I justified. And then buried it all in a very big Panda Chinese meal laced with Apple and Honey towards the end. (notice how my nouns are beginning to get Capitalised now, I'm going to be this Deutsch writer soon). 

It didn't go away. My father often irritates me by asking some really obtuse (to me) questions at times. And I promptly shift conversation to mother. Once on such an incident, I just didn't react. Normally, in recent Angry girl days I was known to break doors and violently shout, curse at home. And my parents are used to such over expression. I'm not necessarily proud of it, but I felt expressing it outwards made me feel better. And without feeling good, I couldn't have made anyone else happy. Mother marked the lack of reaction hence. I said, without much feeling, that I didn't want to use my energy to fight. Mother felt she had won. And happily said, I had finally become a "good" girl.

Standing outside operation theatres two years in a row and not knowing what is happening inside, letting it all go because you can't control anything, alters a few aspects. I became superstitious to sit. So I walked for five hours between the two stairs the news would potentially come from, thinking that would be better for father. The cells couldn't have crossed the border. The doctor would be efficient. It would be fine. And then nothing. I remember the emptiness that came out of tired thoughts. I didn't want to think any longer. I wanted to chant Shiva's mantra to enable me to stop thinking. I didn't want to concentrate on fights or others. I didn't want to expend energy. I needed it all inside, to walk between the stairs.

I wanted to tell A, there's a saying in our parts, some people are so smart that they can sell someone else for peanuts. I could do that to his girl-friend. Like at work. When I am aggressively efficient. But I knew I wouldn't. Either say or do anything. Because in my head nice takes strength. I just don't care about some fights, most people, unless I'm deeply interested. That doesn't make me a recluse. Just someone who needs depth in interest. I just don't have the extra energy to waste. Sometimes I look at a person and think "I don't want to invest". It happens often.

I don't care if there's lack of courage in anonymity. I value the honesty that comes along more. I've not stopped fighting, but I choose now. I'm too bored to be diplomatic and think of metaphors. Yet, I choose to and Don't Share Everything. I come here to express and open up and let go. To create newness like the The First Six Months. Weil, I can't control the rest of my life. I'd like to make chunks of six months, special.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...