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The Nomad Life

I struggled with the idea of home. 
Home is where the heart is? My heart is scattered across 3 continents – with the people I love, the places that helped me grow into the person I am. Home is where your bed is? I have moved 10 houses and beds in the last 6 years. Home is where the wifi connects automatically. Don’t even get me started on that one! 
For 2 years Kölle is where I lived. For the last 1 year it felt truly like home. Whether it was sitting by the freely flowing Rhein and sipping wine, waiting for the Dom to be lit up or afternoons spent lazing on the field overlooking the Stadion and listening to the roar of the 1 FC fans; cheering the Haie onto thrilling last minute goals in the Lanxass Arena or waking up at 7 am to dress up and start drinking for Karneval; walking the streets of the Altstadt alone or sitting huddled in a dorm room drinking homemade alcohol out of mugs with friends from all over – it has been a spectacular year, filled to the brim with memories that I wi…
Recent posts

Volunteering (and my bachhas)

I agreed to be a volunteer at a conference today, as I had some time on my hands and I got the conference tickets for free. I awoke at 5 am on a cold winter morning, to travel from Cologne to Duesseldorf to be there at 7.30 at the welcome desk. I was surprised to see that there was no organiser to greet or brief me, nor did I see one for the next hour or so. Now I didn’t really mind, and I asked the others what to do and just fell in. However, after nearly 3 hours of standing and handing out registration batches, I decided that no one was coming to release us from our duties, so we gave up our “posts” and joined the conference. I was annoyed to find that I had to buy myself a coffee, received zero thanks from any organiser. Sadly, this isn’t very rare at all. I fail to understand why event organisers take the work of volunteers for granted.
My very first job was as a Volunteer Manager for the Games in Delhi. My boss was not overbearingly bossy, but he insisted on certain ways of manag…

0 medals and counting

The report on how each medal won by UK cost 5.5 million pounds is doing the rounds on the internet. Of course our newspapers pick up Abhinav Bindra’s tweet about it and set off to write their own theories about it. Reporting and writing from ignorance seem to have become so inherent in Indian press that I no longer let myself be angered by the things I read. I let it go when ‘insightful reports’ surfaced discussing BCCI’s release about the huge economic impact that the IPL creates. Not a single article did I come across, that even mentioned the flaws on this method, that is regarded by economists the world over as unreliable. If only investing (pouring money) into a few athletes and finding a few numbers to describe the success of a single league was enough to paint an accurate picture of the sports scene in India. But just this once, I'm not letting it go without adding my own 2 bit opinions on the subject.
A few months ago I started wondering about why the Indian hockey team sudd…

The Alma Mater

Continuing on the theme from my last post on fitting in – takes me back to school – to the source of that feeling of being an outsider.
My parents had always said to me, “No one can demand your respect, they have to earn it”. And that applied for everyone, from elders to teachers. Now this is shocking and the exact anti-thesis of good Indian upbringing, but I heard it often enough at home, and I believed in it.
The problem wasn’t the believing, it was the execution and the repercussions. I remember the first ever incident I faced in school, when the disillusionment of a perfect kindergarten experience shattered before my (back-then) innocent eyes. After my first day in Grade 1, I came home cribbing to my dad that the desk I was assigned in class was unsteady. It shook when I wrote, effectively making an already difficult task for a 5 year old almost impossible. My dad suggested that I tell the teacher about it, like any normal parent might do. Unfortunately, I still remember the vicio…

Crossroads

Integration.  That thing on everyone’s mind when they move to a new country. It’s even more important when you move to Europe, with its deep cultural roots and the language barrier. You either decide to integrate, or you take your world with you, wherever you go. And if you decide for the former, well, its definitely not a one-step process, or a wall you have to climb, after which its over. And lo and behold! You fit in. No, its more like walking across a minefield, where every step is measured and every averted disaster fills you with relief. You are regularly pleasantly surprised, sometimes you are grateful, sometimes frustrated and very often you doubt yourself. Every now and then it makes you want to give up. Give up and go home to where everything is familiar, where everyone can say your name and understand you. Where every time you meet an asshole, you don’t have to wonder if they are just an asshole, or whether its because You. Are. Different.
Sometimes home comes to you. My fam…

Stations

I cry for my lost loves
For career
For principles
I left them behind
Cities
People
Friends
Lovers
All memories
Fading slowly
Until they are only a shadow
That looms large
At the brightest hours
But you're too busy to notice
That you left a part of you behind
That you lose yourself every time you go
Only to find a new you

The Melting Pot

"Alles wird perfekt"
I didn't expect the start of my trip to immediately give me the opportunity to check off things from my bucket list. As I entered Frankfurt airport the day after the Brussels attack, a TV reporter accosted me and asked me some questions about how I felt about flying that day. Of course being Indian and finding direct refusal awkward and a situation best avoided, I went along with the "interview". In German, unfortunately, Im not sure Im able to convincingly expound on my feelings on current affairs and world politics. Yet. I really didn't want to relive the embarrassment, so no, I don't know what channel it was on. But at least I was on TV. 
The flight being overbooked presented an opportunity to me make up some of the expenses for the trip, by agreeing to be rerouted the next day via Hamburg. It gave me the chance to spend a night alone in a 5 star (another check), and explore a little bit of this beautiful city! Alster under the …