Europeans!!! They have gained the image of being more sophisticated, more shrewd, more pragmatic and richer in India. These attributes work as two-faced sword for them. Where as the presumptions about them being practical, advanced and more sophisticated have apparently earned them a deference in Indian society on the other hand, the trait and truth of them being richer than us make them vulnerable to fraudulent & cheating too.
The compliance have been yielded out from course of the history & accounts rippling across the media. The liberal, independent & flashy life styles running in parallel with the growth delineated through media and the advancement in technology especially shown on, almost have made us believe that their culture is far more liberal where people have more freedom as well as privacy. By us, I refer to most of the literate part of the society.
On the other hand, the same flashy lifestyle present them as infinite source of money mostly to daily-life workers including auto-drivers, shopkeepers, hotel guys & even some educated people who are connected to them and foreigners work a source of money for them.
Well, I, too, had the presumptions about western people until I met them and eventually I enjoyed being a host to them.
I was then in the first year of my masters at Bangalore. The reason I came to Bangalore for masters was I wanted to explore more of Western Ghats of India and exploring Western Ghats while working from Chennai was not easy. So, I had to quit my job and move over to Bangalore. Other apparent reasons being climate of Chennai least suited me and after visiting to many places around in Tamilnadu like Mahabalipuram, Pondicherry, Rameshwaram, Madurai, Churches, places along ECR etc I had nothing more left to explore of.
I met one of the German friends, Sam while he was looking out for a sim card around the college. You can say that the dignity of “Atithi Devo Bhav” had surged inside me or might be that was only just of curiosity, I decided to help them. So, we went around along shops and streets until we could realise the difficulty in finding out a sim card for a foreigner in India. However, we easily figured it out that local shops were not authorized to sell sim cards to non-Indians so next day, we went to the regional shop and that was easier.
Over the time, being fresh to the campus, I began enjoying the company of Sam & Tobi. They were from exchange programs and were there for just a semester in India. If I were to reason everything, I would reason that either I was too reluctant to mingle with other people or It were the initial days of Bangalore when I had no time to spend anywhere other than waiting for weekends and go exploring the trekking places around Bangalore. I do not know the reason but the Indian and the German vibes were gradually tuning into a harmonious rhythm.
Recently I was talking with Sam and he discussed that their society is so insular and people are so much busy with their life that they need alcohol to open up. And then I understood the concept of alcohol in western society besides other obvious reasons too. Other reasons being alcohol was also inevitable part of sex & society during other cultures like Roman & Egyptian and this trend has been inhibited by some of the current European society. Other reasons being, the production, the climate and so on… These all factors conglomerate to propose alcohol as one of the certain parcels of the social gathering. And, may be, Germans are more secluded so they need more alcohol and this could be a reason why beer is so famous across Germany. So, it was the love of beer which was also common to us. Since I had come from Chennai to Bangalore, so surely Bangalore was obviously a heaven full of varieties of beer. And I need no introduction about the Germans that why they loved the beer too.
May be I am hypothesizing too much here but we were gaining our trusts as friends and I think I being secluded from rest of the people and they being insular and lesser people to talk to, made us find a way where we were complementary to each-other in thoughts. It was also my inquisitiveness about German history & second world war which brought us together.
Meeting with an accident at Nandi Hills:
I had met them in late July or early August and I met an unfortunate accident in mid-October. In those two and half months, we had done around four or five visits around Bangalore including day and night treks and many trips within the city.
When I met with an accident, on Bed rest
It was 20 October 2012 when I met an accident at Nandi hills while trying to climb over the high fort walls. I was with them then and I fell off from feet above the ground and had fracture in my spinal chord.
Having fun while I was on bed-rest
After meeting with the accident, I was lugged apart from rest of the college-mates and apparently, life showed me the real picture of true friendship. I can not forget the great efforts that Rupesh, my room mate and Vinit who lived in front of my room and these two German guys had put in to make my life normal. Lying on the bed for days without even banking on my sides almost gave me the true meaning of unconditional friendship. I learned that some people meet us because of a condition & reason but some just appear out of no where & they are with you until the end of the humanity. I still have friends from school-time, college time, job life but I see a purpose in why we met and I could decipher out reasoning out of them but there are still some friends in my life who are condition-less.
On my Birthday
Then I began realizing things from a third person perspective. And then I would put some of the questions which would appear unusual to me but indeed, the same questions would have the explanations to all the incredibility of friendship.
Trust and hopes are something which have been keeping the world alive. My first semester was over and their exchange programs had almost come to an end. And, finally I invited them at my home as guests and they were more than happy to come over to.
I belong to Bihar and travelling around in Bihar is always at risk even for the local people & people from other parts of India. I knew I was taking them to an unsafe place. To present a clearer picture of the place we were going to, I will try to sketch the place in my words which might present a clearer picture of how insecure that place is.
My father runs a school for poor children in a rural town where half of the population is literate and below poverty line. There is no proper electricity, medical facility or even roads. Agriculture being the prime source of income for more than 90% of the people, it is still totally dependent on rainy seasons and sometimes, when it wont rain for the season, it becomes very difficult for the people to yield income out of agriculture. I think they had be the first foreigners outside India ever reaching to that place.
The school is based on Indian Gurukul system where students, irrespective of their caste, social status or financial grade, are responsible for day-to-day work life of school and help guru in doing so. It makes them self-sufficient. These kind of work includes washing clothes, cleaning rooms, service to the teacher etc.
However, they were amused and also surprised to see students doing most of their works on their own. Because western style of education is little different from Gurukul system. Whereas Gurukul system aims on making students self-sufficient and capable of earning and helping their family (Somewhat also related to socio-economic background of the society), the western education uses nature, ideas and freedom of thoughts as base of education.
One thing in India which is a nightmare to tourists is, mosquitoes. Foreigners sometimes curse India of mosquitoes. And, they were happier to see mosquito-net at their beddings. We also enjoyed our dinner sitting under the stars on open roof-top in traditional Indian style.
Next morning was really surprising for the locals and for them too. People, specially kids, would stop by to take a look at them.
My family being an orthodox & patriarchal family apparently emphasizes more on social, cultural & family values. This includes paying respect to elders, paying respect to their thoughts and sometimes the thoughts of younger ones are so suppressed that they get to talk their thoughts after they enter into their 20s. You can say, it is out of fear or out of respect, children do not over-rule the wish and order from their elders especially their father and I am no exception. So, sometimes it might happen that society somehow asks you to ignore the mis-deed of elders and that’s how you do not approach elders when they are playing cards or having drinks with friends. And it was the first time I saw my dad playing cards with them on dinner table. By the way, the girl is Nadine, she was a friend of Sam and she joined us after our exams were over. She had fled from Berlin to India to join us in travelling around after we finished our exams.
Playing cards after dinner