Once again, we received an incredibly diverse range of stories of how more and more Indians are finding their connection to Germany. From all around Chennai, not only were there stories of people studying in a German university, or working for a German organisation, many Indians make it a point to visit cities that they consider their hometown in Germany, simply because they feel rooted to these places.
From boat ride experiences that became lifelong memories to filmmakers whose work and vision was transformed during their stay in Germany, many wonderful stories of connections with Germany touched and amazed us.
The 3 winners from Chennai, chosen from a lucky draw are:
1st prize - R. Panchanath
The German connect: "The company I work for attends the Medica at Dusseldorf every year for several years now. The first time I was deputed was also my first visit to Germany."
2nd prize - Ms. Roshini Sampath
The German connect: "About a year back, I went to Saint Peter-Ording and stayed in a lovely school there. We went to Hamburg, Frensburg, Tönning and even visited the Minister of Transport in the Goethe-Institut, Hamburg."
3rd prize - Mr. Ramesh Pallikara
The German connect: "I stayed in Germany for 8 years (2004 to 2012). I represented Germany at the Cannes Film Festival 2005 and Next Reel Film Festival NYU with my short film "I took the Red Pill" through the Next Generation Programme organised by German Films and AG Kurzfilm.”
Congratulations to all three! The 1st prize winner, R. Panchanath will now be competing for the grand national prize – a free trip to Berlin, come January!
Other stories from Chennai:
"My heart beats for Berlin"
Ich bin ein Berliner - My heart beats for Berlin, the city that never sleeps and always keeps changing, where the “Zeitgeist” of old and new meet, diverse cultures fuse together. Walking through the vibrant city of Berlin you will see the Remembrance Church, that witnessed the Second World War, or the monumental Brandenburger Tor, which writes 200-year history and the Alexanderplatz with its TV tower where life pulsates to name only a few. Three years back my seven-year-old son and I moved from Berlin to Chennai and every summer vacation we manage it to fly to our beloved city and enjoy the beautiful places in Germany and meet wonderful people. We have opened a travel agency in Chennai - Anna Nagar (Yatra Reisen) and arrange all kind of trips worldwide, especially Germany.
"Germany is my dreamland"
Germany! My dreamland as it was and will be. I am connected with Germany because of Durr Systems GMBH @ Headquarters at Bietigheim–Bissingen. I am working with Durr for the past four years, and I have been there during the winter of 2009 and 2010 and it was amazing. The people of Germany were very supportive, kind, helpful and resourceful. Working with Germans makes me grow strong. I am still working with Durr and I decided my life with Durr. The Christmas Market at Ludwigsburg was awesome. Food, climate, people, cleanliness, technology, cars, what do you expect more to live? I had my best time there. To sum it up, I lived there. It was a fantastic experience and I am looking forward to have more.
"Germans are very nice people"
My first trip abroad was to German city Hanover for official work. I boarded a Lufthansa flight with lot of anxiety, as I don’t know a single word in German. After reaching there I felt very comfortable. It is a cultured place with nice people. I got a warm reception and help where ever I went, right from the immigration counter until I reached my hotel reception. A taxi driver took me form Hannover Int. airport to my hotel, though I had wrong address in my pocket. He made call from his mobile to few hotels and found the correct hotel where my name was in their reservation list. Hanover had a huge exhibition complex built for the World Expo in 2000 and has been host to several of the biggest exhibitions in the world. I wondered when got to know that lake Masch (Maschsee) is a man-made one! I really enjoyed Kröpcke, a large pedestrian area in the heart of Hanover. It is a major shopping spot and I enjoyed every moment in the city. Germans are really helpful and friendly. Had a nice experience at office too, as people are very punctual, brilliant and clear in their thoughts. I am still in touch with my German colleagues. I have travelled to many countries thereafter, but still my number 1 choice is Germany! In Germany, people like to shake hands when they meet. This applies not only for the first time, but at almost every time they meet. I started following that custom wherever I visit.
“Ich bin deutscher”
I have a passion for product design since childhood and started my career as R&D engineer. My first company MD talked high about German products especially Draeger. I got fascinated about German engineering design and precision manufacturing. That drove me strong to do my Masters in Germany, taking a career break. I was fortunate to do my Masters in Mechatronics in Technical University Hamburg-Harburg (Oct 2001-Mar 2004). Though it was my first travel outside India without learning the native language, I felt at home. I have the privilege of working with Prof. Dr. Eike Lehmann and Prof. Dr.-Ing Edwin Kreuzer for my masters thesis. Also I do have reference from my Prof. Dr.-Ing. Claus Emmelmann, Head Laser Department in TUHH and learnt a lot by working in his department. I worked as an intern, Werkstudent and did Diplomarbeit in Germanischer Lloyd Windenergie GmbH, Hamburg. It was truly an international organisation with people from diversified cultures. I felt bad not accepting their offer to continue my work after my Master degree due to my parents call. After my return, I still continue to be in touch with my friends out there. I have a special friend named Mrs. Almut Bilger, a doctor living in Elmshorn (outskirts of Hamburg) whom I call as my German grandma. She visited us in Chennai a couple of years ago. She has translated one of my poems about love in German and had displayed in her clinic. I have marked Hamburg as my second home town on Facebook. It is a great cosmopolitan city. I have travelled most of the Germany, especially by train to see awesome landscape and charming people. Though I don’t have citizenship and am not living there now, I am proud to say that “Ich bin Deutscher”. I strongly believe that I would have been a German in my previous births.
"Only if Chennai could be like Germany"
It was May 14, 2012, a pleasant Monday morning. A surprise sprung by our aunt Shanti Kohler, who is settled in Berlin for the past 3 decades, to take me and my husband Vasanth on a double-decker ship cruise in the waterways of Berlin was simply irresistible. All this was possible on our return from Finland after participating in the 11thInternational CSR Conference. This ride was loaded with scenic beauty of nature, the historic and modern buildings including a museum displaying the transport systems and exciting bridge under crossings, especially when we were asked to duck down. On one occasion of stoppage for river level regulation by Sluice, we were greeted with joy with the waving hands of passers-by above the bridge. The swans swimming in the crystal clear water along the riverside with exotic reflections of nature, children playfully sitting and licking ice creams on the edge walls overlooking the lawn, university students casually enjoying their leisurely activities against a picturesque background, the sight of animals in the zoo, everything was eye-catching. Three hours of this nautical experience with all its mystic and magical beauty ending with a lunch at the lower deck was heavenly. Constantly my heart was beating for India, “Oh my God, if only our Chennai’s Cooum and Adyar River become like this, what an environment we can present to the future generation of India and save this beautiful planet too!” As I got down the gangplank, a pledge crossed my mind to work on this concept back home in Chennai.
"German technology is best"
I am a dealer for electrical and pneumatics products in Chennai. I deal in all brands and products. The products from Germany which I sell are of Bosch and Siemens. I can surely say that Germans are best techno providers, their produce are of tech brilliance and when I sell them to my valuable customers, my head is held high because they are buying a world class product from Germany. Hats off to German technology and Germans.
"I had the best time of my life"
My German connect is through my boyfriend. He is pursuing his Masters in Germany. Last year (2011) I went to Germany to see him and stayed there for a short period. It was a crazy trip. I went to Germany just to see him and had the best time of my life. Earlier I didn't have any idea about Germany. But during my short trip, I visited many places including the banking capital Frankfurt, romantic and picturesque Heidelberg, Bonn and few wine growing villages along Rhine, tasted various German food items, learned few German words and also had German beer. Right from my first day at Frankfurt am Main Hauptbahnhof to my last evening in Oberwaldhaus Biergarten, I felt the German flavour everywhere.
"Germany is our second home"
Pramila & Vivardhan
Me and my husband Vivardhan have a very nostalgic connection with Germany since we lived and worked at METRO Gmbh in Duesseldorf, Germany during 2003-2004. We had some very loving German as well as Indian friends over there. Alstadt and the pathway along the banks of the river Rhine were our favourite hang-outs in Duesseldorf. Berlin and Cologne were the two places in Germany we visited while in Duesseldorf. Berlin is a very beautiful city with so much history in it. Public transport was so frequent and comfortable that our day-to-day travel was always enjoyable! We are very happy that something like the Indo-German Urban Mela has come up in our very own Chennai. It was wonderful to see the response to this Mela from the schools in Chennai. Ich liebe Deutschland!
"Land of marvellous transits & journeys"
It is said that a journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single footstep. As for me, almost every great journey begins with a transit at Frankfurt with Lufthansa. I'm an aspiring travel writer and have travelled fairly extensively in Europe. And being a big fan of Lufthansa I almost always transit at Frankfurt. I remember the first time I went to Europe for my Masters and Frankfurt was my first point of contact. Over the years I travelled to a few points in Germany as well - Cologne - the magnificent Dom and the Roman Museum, fascinating Munich and so on. Every time I land at Frankfurt I know that one amazing journey is about to begin- that is a great feeling and that is my German connect. Oh! I do speak German and yes I do hope to visit the Frankfurter Buchmesse one of these days!
"My interest in Germany started early"
I am an electrical engineer. I visited Germany in 2010. It was an extremely pleasant experience.We went around various parts of the country, all the cities are beautiful. The Cologne Cathedral is awe inspiring. I enjoyed seeing the enthusiasm of the people. The technological prowess is something exemplary. Our visit to Cuckoo Clock Factory is just a small specimen. To brief how my interest grew with Germany, here is a small story of 1960s. I was in my school days. Our English teacher mentioned that he would help our class mates in getting a journal about Germany, free of cost. Any journal used to create lot of interest in me and thus I became a reader of German News, which used to be published in English. I also participated in some of the quiz competition by the publishers of this journal. That's how interest started with your country. All these and lot many things connect me to the land of marvel. Hope I will get many more opportunities to visit Germany.