The GerWomania diary…(updated)

The GerWomania dairy…

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.

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The GerWomania Diary

The GerWomaniA Diary

26th march 2013, Tuesday.

Day 1,4:45am, Mumbai.

I am sleepy, really sleepy. I am sitting near the gate no 6, my boarding gate at the Mumbai airport. I am flying to Dusseldorf via Istanbul on the Turkish airlines. It’s sinking in slowly that I am on a holiday and I am not going to Germany to play a tournament.  I feel lighter not just because I am not carrying a 10kg kit bag but also because there is no pressure. I don’t have to perform, I don’t have to win , or constantly remind myself of drinking water. I feel relaxed, excited,young, and filled with anticipation of the next ten days.

I like the name  GerWomania for this diary. It has a little bit of Germany, woman and mania. (” A  mad woman in Germany! “)  Also the word Womania is kick ass, it comes from one song I’m pretty fond of, “Oh, Womania” from gangs of wasseypur. I loved reading, ‘the diary of Anne Frank’ , but naming this diary on the same lines would be a disaster. My name is not as cool as ‘Annie Frank’. I have always liked the European names better. They are cooler, are easier to write and spell. Asian names are too complicated and difficult, Subbramanium, Mohanchandran Nair,etc.  For that matter even Mutatkar. I mean even the Indian newspapers hardly got my surname right. It would vary from Mutlikar, Murlikar etc. Half of the names in Asia are just sounds, Chen Chin Chong, Yu Li, Patipat Boonan and so on.  They are sounds that are names.  I mean compare this to Richard Gere, BonJovi, Bob Marley, Ayn Rand, etc.  They just seem to have character and you can hardly go wrong with saying them.

Why am I doing this ten day trip? Is it to run away, to discover, to explore, to learn, to find questions or is it to find answers, or is it just living my dream. I just don’t know yet. May be by the end of it I will . I just vaguely remember in my trips in the circuit I would see the hippies, the back packers and envy them. I had decided long back that I will do that someday, travel alone in unknown lands and unlock the mystery. This is my first attempt towards that dream, and I am dying to find out what I see.

Though I’m pretty sure of the fact that I will make a very bad hippie. I don’t  mind the living in mediocre  conditions but I cannot be detached emotionally from people. I care too much, I love my people. I actually sometimes care about people I do not know. I’m pretty pathetic that way. I need to be loved  as much as i need to love. So being hippie shouldn’t be me.

Day 1, 1.30pm Istanbul airport.

I love airports. It’s like the whole world has gathered up for a party. People from different countries going to  different countries. One African guy with his unique musical instrument was playing his folk songs loudly and roaming around the airport. I actually quite liked the music.  He was fearless, not bothered and having fun doing his thing. Nobody stopped him, most of them stopped and listen and cheered, I joined in too. Freedom, it is by far the most important feeling in all feelings. If only you are free can you really be happy.

  Istanbul airport is not too big compared to the best airports in the world. It’s crowded and just about enough to accommodate the on coming passengers. It also doesn’t have free wifi anymore. I’m quite sure it was there when I came here earlier.  Anyways I had Dawood Ibrahim for company. I’m reading Dongri to Dubai, Dawood is such an intelligent guy that if he would have governed our country we would have kicked everybody’s ass. But alas he’s a don, the bad guy.

I am waiting for my flight to Dusseldorf, which should start boarding in the next half and hour or so. I am so excited to meet Sailee and Chinmay. Sailee is the only girl I know who can talk more than me, I am just waiting to give her a hug and just listen to her talk.

Day 2, 9.30 am, Bochum

I am sitting at Chinmay’s place having chai with one of my besties, Sailee.   I reached here yesterday night to 4 degrees temperature and a clear sky. I came out of the airport and received a big hug from both Sailee and Chinmay. All my tiredness vanished just in a flash. One thing  I have done right is investing my time and heart in friendships. I don’t have a clue about where my money is  invested nor do I know too much about love. But I’m immensely proud about my friends and the equations I share with them.  I don’t just have one best friend, every friend is close. I don’t have too many secrets. If im asked anything personal I answer it  with full  honesty, I never feel I have anything worth hiding.

chinmay- my only friend who always has a plan.

Sailee and Chinmay are people filled with love. What i really respect in all my non badminton friends is that even though I have not been around in all their special stories, that has never changed their love for me. I have always felt wanted, and always felt like an important part of their lives. I am really lucky when it comes to my friends, it makes me happy fills me with peace.

Yesterday was historic personally. I finally had my first dose of alcohol. To make it special Chinmay got me a champagne, we popped it together. It felt like cough syrup but i kind of liked it, in a strange kind of a way. I wanted  my first experience to be special, and I felt my first road trip was special enough. I realise that I have entered a real wide subject ( alcohol) which has so much to explore. Let’s see how this goes.

Today we are going to walk around Bochum. The weather seems perfect and so is the company. Looking forward to what I learn and see.

FINALLY…..

THREE GIRLS IN A STRANGE CITY…..

Shweta and I are not chaddi buddies. We met on the second day of college. I and another friend were roaming around the Fergusson  campus, Shweta was sitting alone on the stairs of one of the buildings. I still remember she wore a white kurta and a blue jeans, she approached us looked at me and said, ` Are you Aditi Mutatkar, from Abhinav?’  I nodded a little surprised. She continued, ` I am Shweta , I was in the afternoon shift, I have joined Arts too. Can I join you guys?’ All I remember is this and from that day on we have been friends and share a special bond which grows day by day.

A FRIEND IS SOMEONE WHO GIVES YOU TOTAL FREEDOM  TO BE YOURSELF- JIM MORRISON.

We are two very different people who are very similar. We love people but we need our time alone too. We are both sensitive about the society and we both want to work towards bringing a change. We are a little unorthodox in our thinking but very orthodox in implementation. She’s also amongst the few people with whom I can be silent for hours in a room and still have a good time.  So when both of us had a rough week last week, I very randomly suggested that we should go to Goa and to  my surprise she said `yes’ right away.  In our similarities lies  the fact of not sitting down and sulking over things. We rather get on with life in the best way possible. Life is too short to brood!

AT BRITTOS
BREAKFAST AT INFANTRIA

In the next few days I also convinced my little sister to join us and it wasn’t too difficult. I booked us in a relatively cheap hotel and Shweta did the train bookings. We didn’t plan anything else, not a thing.  We were going to an unfamiliar place, amongst unknown people and we were just three girls.  Our Goan friend Ruby very rightly called us both `gutsy’ and `crazy’. I get her point, though. In all my travelling around the world I have realized one thing. Being an Indian female tourist in a foreign land is much safer than being an Indian woman tourist in India. If you are a woman you are always unsafe. It doesn’t matter if you are Hindu or Muslim, you wear a burkha or a mini skirt or if  you are beautiful or ugly.  One very clear truth is you are unsafe. We as a society have completely failed in making our women feel safe, and that is really a shame. But then you have to do what you have to do, like making that trip to Goa! You still have to go ahead and do that. There is no point living in fear, you rather take the risk and live to the fullest.

RUBY AND SHWETA AT THE CHURCH WHERE RUBY GOT MARRIED!

Our trip started with the train journey. We had booked ourselves in a second class compartment and were  almost the only 3 girls in an all men bogie. We were a little petrified with that thought. Though luckily for us we had Arun and Victor from Poland with us for company. Arun was a really interesting guy. He is a US citizen, currently  47 years of age, though an Indian by birth and speaks flawless Hindi. He is an artist who paints, has sold a lot of landscape photographs, made documentaries and currently is travelling around the world to learn. He has not exactly been home for the last two and a half years. He loves badminton and one of his many aims in life is to represent USA in the Rio Olympics. We started chatting at around 6pm and went on till 10. The topics ranged from philosophy, religion  ,women empowerment, love,  loneliness, the real bad conditions in Africa, working in the social sector, etc,etc. We exchanged email ids and really hope to be in touch with him. He has promised to send us some of his paintings and photos. Arun was 6 feet and had a super built, its really strange how only a man can make a woman feel safe from the other men. Its ironic!! Thanks to Arun we slept peacefully.

ARUN AND VICTOR…..GAVE US A JOURNEY TO REMEMBER!

We reached Madgaon railway station at 6 in the morning. Madgaon lies in South Goa. The distance between South and North Goa is immense. Sadly Goa doesn’t exactly have a great public transport system, if you don’t have your own vehicle you are pretty much in trouble. Luckily for us we had Ruby to our rescue. She is a goan and basically Shweta’s friend. She was sweet enough to pick us up, take us home, give us breakfast and take us around a little bit. We took her bikes and went around to see the   Benaulim beach and the church where Ruby married her sweetheart at sunset. We envied her so much. The church was a small one but in a beautiful location atop a hill. I mean if you say you don’t want a church marriage you would be lying. I would love to!

MARIO DE MIRANDA’S RECREATED MAGIC AT MADGAON RAILWAY STATION!

TRYING TO APE THE PAINTING!

WE LOVED THESE!

AT THE BENAULIM BEACH!

As this was a tight budget trip. We didn’t live in a five star hotel,  fly to Goa or roam around in cabs for that matter.  We were in a very decent and sweet hotel called HOTEL RIVERSIDE, which had a small swimming pool and some great food. Also the little fat owner of the hotel named Danny was a super sweet guy. I basically liked him mostly because he played some really great music. We paid Rs. 4000 for 3 people in a room for two nights, which is pretty much a good deal compared to the other hotel fares.  There was a nice river flowing across our balcony which was followed by mountains and greenery.  The room was spacious and clean and importantly with no t.v or phones. Also the hotel was just a 5 mins walk from the Baga Beach, where we liked to hang around the most.

THE RIVERSIDE HOTEL
VIEW FROM THE BALCONY!

THE JOSH CHURCH AT PANJIM!

GOA HAS A LOT OF THESE…COLOURFUL BRIGHT BUILDINGS GOING WITH THE GOAN SPIRIT!

The biggest problem in Goa as I said earlier is the transport. Hiring  a bike can cost you atleast 350 rupees for 12 hrs and additionally some money for petrol. Travelling around by cabs also is not exactly a economically viable option. We wanted to see the JOSH(Immaculate) church as I call it in Panjim. As we were all ready to walk and also loved travelling by buses, we inquired a little bit and traveled around in the public buses. The ticket costs you rs. 20 flat any distance you travel, and no official tickets are issued.  Though you have to be ready to walk quite a bit.

OUR FELLOW FERRY PASSENGERS!

We also got a chance to travel in a ferry which we loved. Travelling in these buses and ferries gave us a little bit of the flavor of the Goan people. The women smelling of fish, the men absolutely oblivious to the foreign women wearing minimal clothes, a college girl fainting due to excessive heat, the sweet kokani dialect in the background and a beautiful landscape of water, mountains ,  sand,fields, coconut and mango trees all around and big bungalows everywhere .

AN INTERESTING SCHEME OF COLOURS!

WRESTLING WITH THE WAVES!!

SHE COULD HAVE DONE THIS THE WHOLE DAY!!
SUNRISE!!!

The Baga beach essentially is a commercial one. Its like there is a fair everyday. We went there at around 6 am to see the sunrise and geography not necessarily being our strong point realized later that the beach was on the west coast. Any which way we had a great swim in the water as we pretty much owned the beach with very less crowd. We though really enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

We loved our unplanned trip. The sheer thrill of independence and the beauty of Goa enchanted us. Though next time around we would like to explore South Goa more and also explore the discs, pubs and casinos. We need some company to explore that, I guess!

A BEAUTIFUL SUNSET!!

I hope we plan an unplanned trip pretty soon and a whole lot of people join us! This one though was an absolute blast!

SAND CASTLES!!

NOSTALGIA….