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Wednesday, July 4, 2012


I decide today to come out of my hibernation, it has been a while since I wrote any blog, or anything for that matter,  Not because my life had lost its natural humdrum, it was out of sheer laziness. Today I write about my years of work at the German Consulate with mixed feelings, I owe it a lot and even fill nostalgic about it but simultaneously I think it was about time to move on......

We need to go back in the past tense for a while:

Year 2002
I was leading a perfectly normal life, pursuing my post graduation in Jaipur, when the Future Tense of life started demanding some attention. I decided to take up a course in German language in New Delhi. What made me select German language as my first choice, I cannot still determine, it was perhaps just a whim of doing something. From this whim I was to start a stint with Germany and German which was going to change everything that I had so far expected from my future.
I was not particularly exceptional at the language but wasn't an embarrassment either, and so I completed 8 levels of the language. Simultaneously I had also started working at a Public School in New Delhi. I would like to mention here that I was however always attracted to the Shantipath, Diplomatic Enclave in New Delhi and always looked with envy at the cars that entered those big iron gates.

April 2006
 Life was slowly heading towards monotonous and may be the time had come to leave Delhi and look for other options. A good friend at the German class had recently joined Thomson Reuters in Bangalore. Being one of the herd mentality group I too decided that may be Bangalore is the place to be. After a few interviews I landed up with a job in Symphony Services, a market research company. Job wise it was not a great experience, but I made some great friends: Tilj, Priti and Survi to name a few. Priti and Survi later became my room mates too.

Tilj deserves some mention here. He was born and brought up in Germany and hence fluent in German, we became excellent friends. He too was totally and completely disinterested in the number crunching that we were doing and was looking for work options elsewhere: the German Consulate General in Chennai was one of them. The German Foreign Ministry had decided to open a Consulate General in Bangalore and had called Tilj for an informal talk. The new Consul General and Tilj shared an excellent rapport from the very first meeting and it was certain that he would leave the Symphony Services. He was kind enough to mention that there were two vacancies. I applied and was called for an interview on my birthday.

No readers not so easy, I didn't get the job just because I appeared at the interview ( I was however foolish enough to think that i might get it, this being my birthday and all that kind of superstition). Anyways I was rejected at the interview for reasons unknown to me. Tilj was obviously selected. I am a jealous person, and in this case my jealously and loss both knew no bounds. I cried and cried till the tears dried up and lamented the loss of the opportunity for a long time . Tilj joined the Consulate General, wrote me emails about the office, the BMWs and the luxuries he was enjoying. I accepted my fate and decided to look for other avenues.

Life at the German Consulate General: Since July 2007

The fortune lady decided to have some pity at last. The second post at the Consulate General had fallen vacant ( may be the girl resigned as I had cursed her so much). The Consul General had decided to convert the post to a more scientific cum administrtive one. I would have to thank Tilj a thousand times for this as he recommended my name to the Consul General for the post, who took a leap of faith and appointed me to the post of protocol officer on the 1st of July 2007.

From stammering in front of the first Consul General while speaking, to the handling of the delegations of the Defense Minister and the Foreign Minister, this mission brought me a long way in life. As a girl growing up in the small town of  Ajmer I had never thought that life would give me so many opportunities that are so different from what people in normal walk of life do. I have to thank a few superiors who showed tremendous faith in me and allowed me to work independently. I had never thought in life that I would get an opportunity to see a real Euro fighter majestically landing at the HAL airforce base, or I would get to see a real Antonov from inside or that i would moderate a show in front of a 1000 people crowd and all dignitaries.

I am at loss of words to explain the feeling when for the first time I entered the gates of German Embassy New Delhi in an "official vehicle".

Whenever I would go to Vidhana Soudha, Rajbhavan or the Chief Minister's residence or would be meeting the big names in the Industry in Bangalore, I would feel myself very proud and very lucky, after all how many people get this chance. For some it might just be nothing mention worthy or may be trivial but I simply loved this part of the job. I am indebted to  the present Consul General of the German Consulate who showed a generous faith in my ability to accomplish things. I am in gratitude for the exceptionally good work certificates that I got from the office and also from the organisations and people associated with the Consulate.

I had to take a decision to bid farewell to the Consulate General owing to some administrative issues there, I some how feel that it was about time too. These have been glorious five years and I thank every one for making them so.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Night to Remember !!!

My stock of the run of the mill stories had come to an end and nothing insinuated that  anything consequential  would ensue immediately. Not at least something that i would like to exult or whoop about. Consequently the blogging got disrupted and the language blighted. So today i have coaxed myself to drilling into my last decade and find something ad rem to this blog.

On the vertex of the ad absurdum  ( excuse the profuse use of Latin, this is what happens when i don't write for a long time, i forget English !!! ) were the " two nights spent on the pavements of Delhi in December". This dates back( the usage suggests it was quite a while back) to the time when I was learning German at the Goethe Institute New Delhi. The first two Semesters of learning German were very naive and jejune, we would grab on everything that would come out of the teacher's mouth and fervently jot down anything said with the slightest stress. The third Semester was the first most important Semester where we write the first International Exam known as "Zertifikat Deutsch". The number of seats were however reduced considerably. instead of running three batches only one batch was scheduled,  and only early birds were going to catch the worm. There is no dearth of ingenious brains and someone came up with the dazzling idea of taking attendance every hour. Those who miss the attendance would have to start all over again. Fair enough ! the registration at GI would start at only nine in the morning and it was decided that the attendance would start at 1600 hours of the previous evening !!! This was December 2004 and we were almost a group of 50 students for vying for 20 to 25 seats.

In Economics all theories hold good when certain factors Remain Constant, here also the idea seemed enticing: weather, cold night,  lack of a warm quilt and absence of food Not Considered( better defined as forgotten). I was staying at my mausi's ( aunt's) house and when i narrated her the plan she totally dismissed it as some scatterbrained scheme and refused me point blank. I was in no way going to spend the night on the pavement outside GI ( did i mention the Administration had completely refused to be a part of this adventure!!!).  Some emotional speech and repeated assurances from classmates finally convinced her to allow me spending the night on the road.

The first few hours were quite delightful. We were thrilled at the audacity of our plan, the amazing chat shops of Connaught Circus were open and we devoured them every hour after attendance. As i said it was a very competent group and had come geared with cricket and badminton gear as well. By 2000 hours we were engaging curious looks of those passing the KG Road, some were not able to conceal their curiosity and even stopped their cars to ask, as to what we were agitating about !!! Regular police patrols were also there. So far so good.

The first signs of the dire straits kicked in when we the temperature started dropping and all over the place we could hear teeth chattering thats when we got the hang of the famous Delhi Winter. All desperate times call for desperate measures and it was definitely one one those frantic times. People started taking out the petrol out of their cars and started burning whatever they could find on the street. How were they planning to get back home was not a primary concern at that time.  The most memorable was when a few of the guys even  tried snatching a blanket from a beggar sleeping under a bus shelter. By this time hunger had also pitched in. Only one of us stayed in that neighborhood. One can easily imagine his mother's plight when asked to provide snacks for around fifty people.

As if this affliction was not enough. It started pouring down heavily and aggravated our miseries. the cars were scarce and we had nowhere to go. It was one of the longest night and just didn't seem to end. the dawn was even cooler, but we were by now so depleted that it had even stopped affecting us any more. At 0900 hours the registration office opened and by this time only 30 of us who had survived. The teacher smiled at my disheveled state and tried to finish off the registration in the shortest time possible. I reached home overwrought, bunked office slept the whole day long and joined the class the next day with the remaining 24 class mates:)))

I had to undergo this ordeal once more during the 6th Semester but after that the GI streamlined the Registration process,and there was no more need for an hourly attendance.  well what can i say a lot of people who joined later just missed out on a lot of fun and adventure !!!It think its very rightly said that you never realize when you are making a memory, i think it was just one of those times.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Comedy of Errors

Oscar Wilde has very aptly quoted " Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative". May be we have taken this excerpt in right earnest and hence come up with exceptional and ingenious ways to do away with the humdrum that keeps sneaking in from time to time in our lives.

As i have narrated in my preceding posts, I have two room mates who share the residence. This arrangement has been there for the last few years and has worked perfectly fine without causing  any disquiet or anxiety. There is a tacit agreement with respect to our respective responsibilities which are taken care of more or less. This blog is about the "less" part of the aforesaid phrase.

It was in July that I was coerced into taking a leave by my office,  so spent  a quiet holiday in Delhi and was beginning to long for the pandemonium.  My whim was to be very soon awarded. July in Bangalore is a month of relentless rains, i managed to reach work albeit late and was completely drenched  when i left office for home. All i wanted at that hour was hot bath followed by a warm cup of coffee and then to snuggle into the bed with a book, but was forgetting that i had asked for ruckus and there was no reprieve now. This is what transpired.

I reached home, there was no power, nothing atypical in that, a very familiar scenario in Bangalore, however what was here deviant was that all of our neighbors had electricity, this called for some legwork and on inquiry it emerged that we had not paid the electricity bill and the lineman had disconnected our supply. Bill payments are my area of responsibility and in my absence apparently no one discharged it. The only recourse was to go out get the bill paid, find the line man get him to the home and reconnect, Easier said than done. Rain and I are anyways always daggers drawn, so it was foolish  to presume that it would abate, in fact it had now begun to pour with vengeance. Nevertheless i stepped out in the rain, the first task was to find where the BESCOM office was, some friendly neighbors explained the address, it could have well been in greek, i however noted whatever they said, the next Herculean task was to find a "tuktuk" that would take me to BESCOM in this rain. Bangalore auto drivers are notorious for their behavior( trust me when i say so they are worse than those in Chennai), painstakingly i found one, well he dropped me in the middle of nowhere and i found my way to the bescom office walking in 6 inches deep mud. I used the ATM machine there to pay the bill and was in the meanwhile joined by one of my room mates. By this time it was 1930 and no line man was then availble, as if this ordeal was not lavish enough, the local people there emphatically informed us that our area didn't come under their jurisdiction and gave another unintelligible address.

We had to undergo all of this vexation again but much to our wonderment, the lineman came with us and repaired the line.

Why do i write this blog today, i could have very well written it in July when this incident happened, or over the last two months when there was a genuine paucity of topics. It so happened that this month our supposed friendly neighbors failed to give us the electricity bill and as a consequence our line was disconnected yet again yesterday, this time however it was easier as we knew where to find the right people, and instead of the frowns we were exchanging sheepish grins.

We have now marked a date in all the months for the remaining year bill or no bill, i am optimistic it "might" work.


Friday, October 22, 2010

The Devil's Advocate !

They say that she is your mirror that shines back at you with a world of possibilities, she is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best and loves you anyway. She is a partner in crime, a midnight companion one who knows when you are smiling in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink, and she is also sometimes the reason you wish you were an only child ! No reward for the correct answer there - she has to be your sister.

no truer words were ever spoken !

with this blog today i share with you a few reminiscences of my being (read survival) with my sister. I was the first born in my family and for two good years an only child. As every first born I was mollycoddled and indulged by my parents. This prerogative was however ephemeral, as i was to be presented with not one but TWO younger sisters. This is the ode to the elder one of the two.

I was too young to conjure up here the exact reaction on hearing the birth of my sister, but my parents never however fail to recount the memoirs of those formative years- I would stand up at the balcony of our house in Ajmer and would enumerate the plight of being an elder sister to all the animals: calves, dogs, puppies and the likes, ( though calves were a favorite)  the homo sapiens were way too occupied to listen to the rues of a two year old. This is "what my parents say" i said : " My younger sister cannot eat and drink, she cannot even speak cannot walk and talk and that is why she always stays close to my mom" I find it extremely difficult to envisage me saying anything like that but have no proof to invalidate that.

Well my whining and lamenting had some progressive results. In my sister I got an ardent and an earnest companion and advocate ( hence the defense attorney in Bold). She would repeat the last word of everything i would say, clap on seeing me on stage at the annual day, give up eating curd and the likes and may be it was this abiding attempt of hers that i had to moderate,  yield and accept her as my younger sister.She has not given it up yet, though only the articulation has somewhat changed. What di does is right and fit to be followed !!! Come on where do you get such sisters in the 21st century !

She might rant and storm about what i am going to write next, but rest assured every word of it is true. Over the years we have been  very mainstream conventional sisters: went in different lines of work, had different dispositions and opinions, she grew up to be a very intelligent, independent person but the sister in her has continued to be the champion of my causes and an inadvertent follower of it too. Here goes the example: I write a blog and she has off late started to write one too, here the link if you have doubts.
she would come up with all sorts of veneers against this, but trust me i know better :P

I can site more  examples here but frankly speaking who would like to antagonize a God sent gift like her !

Liebe Grüße

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tag der Deutsche Einheit - 20th Anniversay of the Day of German Unity

This blog was hardly supposed to be a chronological account of my anxieties and  adversities but since they seem to be all magnetically drawn to me, its hard to escape and disregard them.

The Day of German Unity ( this year it was celebrated on the 6th of October 2010 ) also made no allowances in that direction. The Day had its share of disruptions but inadvertently ended on quite a pleasant note. Here is a bit by bit account of the same.

The concept of RSVP is for all practical purposes totally antediluvian  to Bangaloreans, we had sent out almost five hundred invitations and from the other missions' paradigm we were expecting close to 200 - 250 guests. By the 1st of October we had received only 20 RSVPs and this was inclusive the in-house acceptances of the invitations. We were in a very precarious situation now, and as all desperate times call for desperate measures we started calling up all the guests on our invite list to confirm their presence. Amusingly 80% of them replied in affirmative.

Concurrently another brouhaha was in the offing. The Diplomatic missions' disposition is  not very unique from the common man's, even they vie with each other as to who attended who's party especially on their National Days. As a matter of principle the bureaucratic community doesn't attend these events ( uniquely in Bangalore). The ceremonial invitations are however sent, and though they acknowledge it in principle its not followed in practice, therefore it was quite a pleasant surprise to our Consul General when the Chief Secretary and the Governor both sent their written acceptances. So far so good, we sent them the written program of the day, where the German Anthem was to be  played before the Indian National Anthem ( as against the Indian protocol but accepted in many other countries on National days), naturally the ADC objected, and insisted that the Indian should be played before the German one. It took the drawing of a leaf from the book of the Embassy in Delhi to put an end to the protocol dilemma, that Indian National Anthem would be played before the German one.

We were just getting to be slightly sanguine about the whole event on the morning of 6th October 2010 when there was a political imbroglio in the state of Karnataka, which became worse as the evening fell and blighted all our hopes :(.  The roads leading to Vidhana Soudha and Raj Bhavan were totally choked, ironically our reception was at the Taj West End Hotel which is apparently at the heart of this commotion. Incessant rains only added to our woes. I was myself stuck in the traffic for exasperating 90 mins and reached after the arrival of all the "dignitaries" As one of the hosts and as " mistress of the ceremony" I was expected to be on time and was sure to be reprimanded for being late. ( i was miraculously forgiven).

There was however one mortification left to be faced. When the Chief Secretary commenced his speech the guests were palavering uninterrupted. From a group of guests who belong to the top most echelons of the corporate world and boast to come from a very refined and well bred society the behavior was self derogatory and belittling, especially when they need all sorts of favors from the Government for their industries. This embarrassment lasted for about 20 mins after which our Chief guests left and the buffet was declared open.

Not everything was bleak and grim as painted by me so far, the food was simply superb and quite a few comments flowed in for the same. The guests were in good attendance in spite of the traffic snarls. My two friends had also joined me for the very evening and together we all had a good time.Irrespective of all the stumbling blocks it somehow turned out to be one of the finest evenings i have spent in Bangalore.

Liebe Grüße

PS: Now for those who attended the party and also happen to read the blog, kindly note: you have to read between the lines here and comment accordingly. I have dropped a couple of hints here and there. Iff your train of thought is still boarding its station or you are going to bestow on me some irrelevant tangents please refrain and kindly check with me before posting :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Under a Lock and Key contd....

Now that I have been chastised by all those who mattered, i have decided to put my lassitude aside and finish my blog.
My apologies if the blog doesn't come up to the mark. Torpidity has proved quite expensive and has blighted my language. Nevertheless here is my attempt. I pick it up from where i had left.

The Runaway Bride:
We were in the worst possible predicament, no one seemed to be taking us seriously. To most of the management committee at the Arya Samaj we appeared immature friends who were way too much under the influence of Bollywood and knew not what they were doing. The absence of the groom was not helping the situation either. The condescending in charge at the Arya Samaj  looked down upon us with her patrician nose and said: are you sure the guy would turn up at the wedding? We actually had to use propinquity of contacts to procure permission to solemnize the wedding there. So much for an Arya Samaj wedding, I wonder why they say its a retreat of the runaway brides !

I Do
The Wedding Day, the 4th of July 2010 arrived, and so did thankfully the groom. The stagecraft was however far from over. Aviral, who was acting as the bride's brother had been especially requested to behave sincerely and was taken for gratis that would come in an attire most suited to an Indian wedding, much to our chargin came more prepared for the party which was anticipated for the evening. As if this dash was not enough, Zoya our esteemed room mate refused to sign as Abhishek's sister. Since I had already registered myself as Priya's relative, we had to convince Dhiren to act as Abhishek's cousin and Zoya as a witness to the marriage. Not to mention that due to our disquiet we all signed up at the wrong places, i don't remember  who was who's relative in the end.

Trepidation was even more in case of Priya and Abhishek, they performed the ceremonies in such an amusing fashion that even the strict lady who was supervising the marriage was forced to give a smile or two every now and then.  There is a tradition called "Madhupark" in the wedding where the bride offers honey and curd to the groom by way of welcoming him, Abhishek who had lost all faculties due to nervousness as a reflex kept taking his hand back to his hair after each "aachman" and had to be told that honey would set in his hair and they would have to be removed if he kept doing that.

However the zenith of amusement was the part  when Abhishek had to put the "Mangalsutra" around Priya's neck. Since this marriage had anyways been unconventional in all respects how could this tradition follow the usual norms: he took out a very stylish "swaroski" chain encrusted with lock and key swaroski crystals. Naturally the pandit ji showed disapproval, supervisor's expression's reporach and Aviral who just couldn't contain himself showed his expression by way of saying aloud" aha Swaroski, wah wah !"

Some how the wedding got completed,  blessings were showered on the bride and the groom and it was followed by a very entertaining late night party. Here i would also like to mention that Priya and Abhishek are getting married yet again, yes to each other yet again,  on 21st December 2010.  Seeing the prologue the final showdown is for sure not to be missed !!!

PS: Names of all the characters, save mine and the names of most of the places have been changed at Priya's request ( though it is not serving its purpose ) :P

Many thanks to those who attended the marriage at  at a very short notice and request:
1.  Oliver who with his daughter and wife gave a family touch to the wedding, and
2.   Dhiren's mom who provided us with the presence of someone elderly.

with all my best wishes

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Under a Lock and Key

This particular blog is at the behest of a friend and is in accordance with a whole set of prerequisites stated by her. Before I start with the anecdote, i would introduce you briefly with the protagonists and other peripheral characters of this narrative.

Priya: the female protagonist who also happens to be my room mate.
Abhishek: the male protagonist and Priya's boyfriend of four years.
Zoya Jain: Our room mate
Myself ; the blogger
Dhiren: Priya's colleague
Oliver: My Colleague
Aviral: Priya and Zoya's good friend.

Preface : we three friends have been staying together for the last four years, and in all these four years the enduring topic of discourse has been as to who amongst us is the czarina of melodramatics. After a lot of resilience posed by us, (many will be flabbergasted to know)  the tiara was worn this July by none other than Priya, but  of course she had an ace up her sleeve( read boyfriend ) which we two lacked.

Act One : To be or not to be
Madame Priya, is in a league of her own,  though she has known Abhishek for the last four years but it was after a lot meandering and flirting around with the idea,  she decided this January that Abhishek is the one and the wedding was fixed for December 2010. Parents gave their blessings, congratulations flowed in and we booked our calenders for December 2010. Mr. Abhishek who has been working with Accenture in Czech Republic all this while, had a sudden,  very avant - garde and an extravagant brain wave. "If the wedding bells are to ring in December by the time Visa formalities are completed it would be March and his sojurn in Europe would be complete, why not enjoy a paid holiday in Europe while it lasts". So on 30th June we are informed that he would fly to Bangalore on the 3rd of July and that we should arrange for a wedding to take place on Sunday, the 4th of July 2010. Court marriage was out of question as it requires a month's buffer time and we did not have even a week at our disposal, so an Arya Samaj wedding was our only alternative.

Act Two: My Best Friend's Wedding !
Indian Society can hardly be called secretive, we all have our share of good natured gossiping acquaintances and so having a hurried wedding in Calcutta from where both Priya and Abhishek hail was also not a feasible idea.  Since I happen to be an Arya Samajist Priya requested me to check our options in Bangalore itself. Arya Samaj unfortunately enjoys a very notorious reputation among common men: An institution where an eloped couple gets married, that month the Arya Samaj was on a cleansing reputation spree.
Priya's and Abhishek's parents were not in a position to come for the wedding as one parent was in the US and the other engaged in the preparation for the formal "roka" cremony. the onus was on us to formalise the wedding.

To be Contd........

Liebe Grüße