Monday, November 07, 2005

Fly the good times..

Finally, I am in Germany. After all the packing and storing, shipping and dumping, I finally managed to say goodbye to dear old Bangalore on 18th of October, in the process making my Bai the proud owner of a trillion things that I couldn't a) Carry to Germany b) Store c)Dump. Luckily, I even managed to attend a team outing before that, and can you believe it, the team gave me a goodbye card and I got to do a speech too (ugh..!!).

I flew Kingfisher Airlines to Hyderabad, and I know why their tagline is 'Fly the good times'. Not only are all their passenger seats royal looking, they all have personal TV screens with Yana Gupta doing a Babuji Zara Dheere chalo on it. Ok, the last part was only partly true. Yana Gupta does set the TV screen ablaze, even if its while describing how to buckle the seat belt and put on the Oxygen mask. And she is wearing the trademark red mini skirt that all the Kingfisher Airlines female crew members wear. Oh yes, the boys will have nothing to complain about. To top it all, they give cute red earphones for free (of course, this might disappear once the airline gets popular). Fly the Good Times!

After spending four days in the city of Nawabs, and getting pampered by my folks, I took the Emirates flight to Germany via Dubai on 23rd October.

At the Hyderabad international airport, on the advice of a very nice old guy (who was helping passengers to lift the furniture onto the counter), I moved to a counter where I could check in my excess baggage without a problem. A charming greeting accompanied by a smile, recently combed hair and an affable guy at the counter seemed to have done the trick!

12 hours, 2 movies and 2 meals later I was in Frankfurt, comfortably seated in the shuttle, on my way to Heidelberg. Voila, I was in Germany.

How different life in Germany can get is something I am experiencing on a day to day basis. Some experiences are funny, while others are downright wierd. The thing to bear in mind is to not compare life here to the 2 to 3 month business trip to Germany that SAP employees often make. Living here is a totally different ball game. And here are some of my observations:

1)An almost pollution free place. Walking in the crowded city can be a pleasure in itself, without worrying about the traffic, dust and noise. And when I say crowded, I mean crowded by German standards.
2)Learning German language is essential. And at the moment, I am facing quite a few problems because of not knowing the language. For instance, all the post is in German. So every single letter that comes, be it a bill, or confirmation of some order, needs to be taken to the office so that a kindly German colleague can translate it!
3)What fresh fruits and vegetables you can buy! When you buy grapes, you can be 100% sure that they will be sweet. Of course, its possible to also buy Indian vegetables and spices from the many asian shops around.
4)Most of the shops here do not have assistants. So if you have a question about a product, and even if you ask a fellow German, he will point you to the elaborate instructions on the product, which are of course in German. Customer service is not a very common feature here simply because the products are usually the best and they do not expect to provide any additional information/help.

I can think of many more things to write, but it will make this post too long. I am sure there's loads to learn and tell. So until then.....Guten Tag!