Day 2, 9.30 pm, Bochum
We had puranpoli which saailee’s mother had sent and celebrated holi. I really hope that’s how Pune celebrated it, because soon we may not have water to drink. After that we finally got ready and went out for a long walk. The weather was perfect, sun shining and the chilly wind blowing. There were cute bungalows on both sides and a park or open space every ten minutes. The first thing that hits you in Europe is the lack of people. I saw 10 people every half an hour. Another thing is the pin drop silence. It’s so silent that it almost scares you, especially if you are coming from Pune. I think even the birds here think twice before chirping. It’s that silent.
Bochum basically is an industrial city. It was originally a mining city. Its not too vibrant or active. We went walking to a super Market which is so big that it would qualify for a mini village. You could get anything from a baby’s underwear to a cycle for sale. The smell, freshness and colours of the vegetables was so refreshing that I felt like making a salad right there and relishing it. The variety of everything was so much that you wonder if you existed on the same planet for all these years.
The transport system in Germany is at least 50 years ahead of us. The trams,the trains, the buses and the underground network is so efficiently run that even if you don’t own your own vehicle you could easily survive. The kind of punctuality they follow, you could set your watches according to the buses rather than vice versa. The transport system is never late, they might arrive early but hardly late. The drivers of all these services are handsome looking men,and extremely well to do. You compare them to our PMT drivers and you feel so sad for our drivers. The drivers here are medically insured, they have an handsome pension and my favourite part an unemployment fund which is cut every month from your salary. If you by any chance go without work, the provision is such that you still will get a 60% of your salary. This will continue till you are employed again. This system is the same for everyone,if you are a toilet sweeper or a IT guy.
The poor in Germany are rich. They are respected and taken care of immaterial of their jobs. We treat our poor like shit, we look down upon every possible job they take up. We don’t respect them, don’t provide them with a decent living and expect them to clean our shit spotlessly clean. Speaking of shit, I was at the Mumbai airport toilet and there were three more foreigners with me. Amongst the three toilets one was filthy. One of the foreigners asked the toilet sweeper to clean it up. I was standing next to the sweeper and waiting my turn. As she realised I was the only Indian she started a one sided conversation with me. She said, ” I am working here from 8 pm to 6 am. I am the only one cleaning the floor for the whole of last month with no one else to help me. You are all educated people, how many times should I tell people to not flush tissues in the toilets. I have cleaned your shit at least 100 times, whole day. I am a human being too. I get peanuts for this, I have to do odd jobs throughout the day to survive with my family. Just treat me like a human being, that’s all.” I felt pathetic for quite sometime after that. ” Treat me like a human being!” that’s going to stay with me for a while.
When are we going to learn? When? Anyways we got back home and Chinmay gave me all the details about the trains I have to take., marked everything I should see in Berlin the next day on the map. They are not going to be with me as I explore Berlin for the next two days. But Chinmay has got me pretty thorough with the plan, in his typical style. I feel I would manage well tomorrow.
We had awesome chicken biryani and a little wine. Again cough syrup was what I could relate it to but a little more sour than champagne. We had a superb discussion on world economies and how India has so much potential of doing great things. A well spent day. I am not sure if I can gather some sleep, because I’m sooo excited about Berlin. Im sure the next two days are going to be very special.
Day 3, 8.30 am, The White Bullet.
I’m in the White bullet, as I call it. The bullet is taking me to Berlin. It’s a train but it doesn’t feel like one. It has an in house restaurant and everything. There’s chocolate milk in my hand and awesome scenery outside my window, and bob Dylan’s blowing in the wind in my ears. I’m loving it. I remember when lalu prasad yadav was the railway minister and asked by some IT students about , when will India have it’s first bullet train? He had replied in a question , ” if we have a bullet train who will take care of the cows who graze on the tracks?” I like Lalu. He has spunk, a sense of humor. I have a soft spot for him because he had given me my sub-junior champion trophy. T his one was special not just because I had beaten Saina to win it, but also because just five days earlier she had thrashed me pretty badly in the junior nationals semifinals. I went to Lalu to take the prize and he offered me a job at railways. The man had so much hair coming out of his ears, it was hilarious. May be his wife likes it that way
I don’t know from where this is coming from, but a question is popping out. Can a girl and boy be just best friends? For me the answer has always been simple ,a very simple ‘yes’. I have fortunately some nice men as close friends. I never had a problem maintaining these friendships, and neither the guys or me have ever felt the need to cross the line. I think for me, I have these mental compartments where in I put the people I know. For eg. Just a friend/ best friend/ she’s a bitch/ he’s a dog/ trust her/ a potential boyfriend and so on. Once I put people in their compartments male or female then things become so easy that I never have any confusion. Especially when it comes to being friends with boys, I have been lucky. I have some nice men as friends, and never have they been confused about our relationship. We never crossed the line. Also the fact that they always had girlfriends ten times hotter helped. I like all the girlfriends of the men friends I have. So it’s never been uncomfortable.I just hope when I tell a guy I love him, he hasn’t put me in an another compartment. That would be a tragedy!! I think this whole question is unduly given importance because of the stupid karan johar- Srk movies which we have grown up watching. “ek ladki aur ladka kabhi dost nahi reh sakte!” oh how I hate karan johar movies, he’s been saying and showing the same thing for 100 years and he just doesn’t get tired.
|Prasad…hes so confused i want to take that big head and shake it….but then hes an absolute sweetheart…|
Anyways I need to get back to my milk. Berlin is exactly an hour away.