Ich liebe Deutsch !!

….and that is the extent of complexity I can manage in concocting a German sentence today, which is weird, considering that German has always been one language that I have absolutely and truly loved! I started learning Deutsch only in the ninth standard at Symbiosis. It was one of those composite languages we had, for fifty marks, and I took it up because my teachers told me it helped in easy scoring during SSC. And thank God I did !!

We were taught German by this teacher called Mr. Dusmanta Chakra, who is probably one of the most amazing teachers I have ever come across. He used to get a tape-recorder to class and teach us these fantastic German songs, complete with hand gestures and all- that used to be our education!

Of course, what makes German even more special is that it gave me Anushree, one of my best friends ever. Coz I think Social Studies, unfortunate rejections by other friends and a mutual maddening love for German were the three factors that formed the foundation of our friendship! We used to go for German class to this lady on Law College Road and those days spent in the company of stray dogs and Reena are probably some of the most memorable moments I’ve ever had. Then in tenth, I joined another class closer to home. A school friend of mine called Pranav and I used to go together for this class, in one of those tum-tums (six seater rickshaws)*. And the whole time, he used to fill me in on the latest bit of gossip among the Symbi guys- who secretly likes whom, what happened during the class picnic…all that kinda scoop. Used to be pretty interesting to know what guys talk!

So you see, apart from actually loving German, there were a lot of reasons why it was special to me. Of course, Anushree and I have a long cherished dream of going to Germany some day, for a nice long holiday. And Inshallah, when she’s earned a lot of money as an art historian and I’ve earned a lot of money as god-knows-what, a day will come when we’ll leave behind our pesky kids and boring routines to make that trip !!

So anyway, in my tenth standard, I participated in this competition organized by Max Mueller Bhavan, wherein students were supposed to write an essay on a given topic, short listed candidates had to go through a German interview and the top three won an all-expense paid trip to Germany, and get to stay with a German family etc- sort of a cultural exchange thing. I’m reproducing the essay I wrote here- for posterity. You see, the only copy I have of the essay is two A4 size sheets of paper which have already been folded seven times over! And though I narrowly missed making it to the top three, this was one of those times when I did something purely for the love of it, without a definite purpose in mind. I have no idea of how good the essay is, or how grammatically correct or incorrect it is, but it is something that I’m very proud of…

The topic of the essay was “Freiheit und Disziplin” or “Freedom and Discipline”. (We were school kids then, we weren’t supposed to have views on nuclear testing !! :-P..)

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* Incidently, these tum-tums in North India are a fluorescent green colour and are called vikrams– I have no idea why !
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P.S- The essay below is really long and in German. Reader discretion is requested!

FREIHEIT UND DISZIPLIN
Disziplin- das ist ein häßliches Wort für die Schüler. Aber die Disziplin ist sehr wichtig in Lebem besonders in die Schuljahren. Die Schüler, die als Kind schon diszipliniert sind, sind erfolgreich im ganzen Leben. Die Hausaufgabe rechtzeitog zumachen, täglich das Lehrbuch lessen, im Unterricht nicht laut sprechen, sich höflich benehmen, das alles gehört zur Disziplin.
Die Disziplin ist auch sehr wichtig für die ehrgeizigen Schüler.
“Der Fleiß in den Jugendjahren
wird später gold’ne Früchte tragen
Drum nutze jeden Augenblick
verlor’ne Zeit kehrt nie zurück.”
Sie haben gut Noten bekommen und haben viele Zeit für Lernen und Spielen.
Meine Schule besteht auf das Prinzip “Freiheit und Disziplin”. Unsere Schulleiterin ist streng, aber sie gibt uns auch die Freiheit. Wir dürfen unsere Gedanken ausdrücken. In der Freizeit düren wir mit einander sprechen, aber wir müssen nicht viel Lärm machen. Unsere Lehrer und Lehrerinnen schimpfen uns aber das ist für unser Gutes.
Aber viele Disziplin ist auch nicht gut. Die Jugenlichen düren Fehler machen und dadurch können sie lernen. Sie können über ihre Karriere selbst bestimmen wenn sie genug Freiheit genießen. Die Jugenlichen müssen eine Gelegenheit haben. Die Freiheit verbessert die Persönlichkeit der Jugendlichen.
Die Jünger in Europa habenmehr Freizeit als in Indien. In der Schule sind die Lehrer mildere und liberater als die Alten in den Gesellschaft. Das ist gut in gewissem Grad. Die Schüler legen dann keinen Wert auf das Lernen und die Zeit. Sie geben viel Geld aus.
Die indische Tradition hat viele Begrenzung. So die indische Leute haben nicht so viele Freheit. Indien ist nich ein senr moderner Land. Die Eltern kümmern sich um ihren Kindern und schützen sie sehr viel. So haben die indischen Jugendlichen nicht viele Freiheit.
Andererseits wird man unabhängig und pragmatisch wenn man frei ist. Aber viele Freiheit ist schädlich für die Erzeihung.
Man fragt mich: Wo willst du leben? Ich sage: Natürlich in Indien. Das Land hat 29 Bundesländer. Die Kultur ist reich und alt. Jedes Bundesland hat seine Tradition. Aber Indien, als ein Land, ist eine Einheit. Die Leute helfen sich. Indien beitet einen großen Spielraum für Entwicklung. Die Leute sind sehr klug und fleißig. Ich möchte in Indien altwerden. Für das Land und die Leute möchte ich vieles tun.
Die meisten indischen Politiker sind korrupt und unehrlich. Aber trotzdem möchte ich in Indien wonhen. Hier bleibe ich.
Indien hat eine größe Bevölkerung. So viele Leute sind arbeitslos. Viele Leute haben keine Chance im Leben. Die Leute sind arm und das Schulwesen hat keine Wert. Die Jugenlichen in Indien haben größen Druck von ihren Eltern, denn sie müssen gute Noten in ihrer Prüfung haben. Die Jugenlichen müssen immer lernen. Sie wollen in die Discothek und ins Kino gehen. Sie wollen unabhängig sein. Aber die Alten und die Großeltern sind alt-modisch. Sie dürfen die Jugendliche das alles nicht machen.
Besonders die Mädchen in Indien müssen im Haus bleiben. Sie dürfen nicht studieren. Die Jugendliche in Indien haben auch Druck von ihren Freunden. Die Jugendlichen möchten machen, was sie sich wünschen. Die Jugendlichen möchten besser als ihren Freunden sein. So sind sie aggressiv und anmaßend. Die Jugendliche in Indien wollen mehr Freizeit haben.
Die Jugendliche in Deutchland haben ähnliche Probleme. Sie fühlen, daß sie genug Freiheit nicht haben. Deutschland is auch ein industrielles Land. So viele Leute haben keine Arbeit. Das Leben für die Judendlichen ist sehr geschäftig. Die Jugendliche haben keine Erholung. So sind sie sehr nervös und aggressiv. Die Freunden der Jugendliche verführen sie oft. So fangen sie das Rauchen und das Rauschgift an. Sie zerstören ihr Zukunft. So ist die Disziplin wichtig im Leben, aber mit genug Freiheit.
“Früh übt sich, der Meister werden will”
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Tagged !!!

Ah these book tags! I’m not particularly excited about writing this one, coz I don’t think I have a lot to boast about, as concerns books. This tag is just going to make me look ignorant and predictable! I haven’t read most of the really awesome books that a person my age should have read by now. I used to read quite a lot when I was in Doha. Somehow lost touch in the initial few years I spent in Pune. I’m actually grateful to Gau and Akshay for having brought “real” books back into my life.. Anyways, here goes-

* Total number of books that I own:
I haven’t really bothered to count, but I think it would roughly come to about a 100 !! I know, not that great… But as I said, I’ve taken up serious reading (again!) only in the last 4 years. Besides, a lot of the books I read are from the library. I buy books only during Crossword sales or when a friend strongly recommends one.

* Last book I bought:
That would be The Legends of Pensam by Mamang Dai. No, I hadn’t heard of it either, but I’d gone to this bookstore near my place to get a copy of The Namesake and this really cute store guy suggested this book, so I bought it !! (Whatever! Besides I didn’t have enough money to buy The Namesake, so settled for this one instead.) Haven’t read it yet, but it looks to be interesting..

* Last book I read:
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. Well, I bought the pirated version of the book finally. (I’m not proud of it!) But it’s way better than the movie, which kinda confuses you in the end. Though one good thing about the book is that the story goes much beyond ABCDs (American Born Confused Desis yaar !!) and their identity issues.

* One book I couldn’t finish:
Ummm…quite a lot of them actually. It took three attempts to finish The Alchemist. I still haven’t finished The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt. Don’t know why actually; guess it just got a little boring in the end. And I’ve been trying to read Atlas Shrugged for ages. Somehow I’m just not ready for another heavy duty dose of Ayn Rand, especially after Fountainhead.

* Five books which mean a lot to me:
This is going to be quite a run-of-the-mill list actually, because I haven’t experimented a lot with my reading. I think the experimentation will begin once I’ve read all the books on my must-have list..

– Doctors by Erich Segal:
Can I hear groans already?! Lol.. Ok, I know Segal is not something to be read more than once, but I’ve read Doctors four times already….and loved it each time! Of course, this may have to do with the fact that I’m fascinated by doctors, and this book tracks the lives of a whole group of Harvard Medical School graduates. Besides, I love the character of Barney Livingstone (one of the protagonists of the story). He, kind of, resembles this one person I know. And I love the friendship between him, Laura Castellano and Bennett Landsmann. It’s the kind of friendship I’ve always wanted. (No, this book is NOT a love story, as some people have assumed. People should read it before sprinting off to their own conclusions !!)

– The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone:
This is a biography of Michelangelo. I have to thank Anup for raving about this book so much that I had no choice but to read it. It’s easily one of the most inspiring books I’ve ever read.

– The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseni:
My sister picked up this book on a whim at one of the Crossword sales, and I thought it would be some silly kiddy book. (See how ignorant I am… Didn’t know this book was on the bestseller list for quite a few months.) But this is a book that everyone has GOT to read. The narration is beautiful, almost poetic. I think no other author has made me “feel” every scene so vividly. The best thing is- the protagonist is in no way a conventional “hero”. He’s flawed, weak-hearted, confused, gullible and even mean at times, but when he is given the opportunity to redeem all that he ever lost, he goes all out, faces his worst fears and gets it.

– Fountainhead by Ayn Rand:
I don’t think I need to say a lot about this book. It makes you think, and it redefines a lot of your ideas, in a way…

– The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling:
Ahhh…now these books have been faithful companions through some rather tough times- boring submissions, exams, or just not-so-exciting semesters. Can’t wait for 21st July. Yup, big plans for The Day…I’ve booked a copy already and apparently Twist ‘n Tales will be open right from 6 am !! I just hope it lives up to all the hype !! But I’ll kill JKR if she kills Harry, Ron or Hermione in the end. 🙂

* I am going to Tag:
Now the people I’m going to tag are rather voracious readers (or atleast have read a lot more variety of books than I have, so I’m sure it’ll make for some interesting reading. Plus, it’ll give them a reason to update their blogs.. :-P.. So I tag Anup, Akshay, Keshav, Vipin and Niri. (I dunno if you read, Niri, but nonetheless…atleast now you can’t copy-paste my post !! :-P..)

Facts…

1. It’s easy to make a brand new start. Nothing to look back to, no limits to what you can achieve. What is difficult is going back to doing something you had left behind. Going back to complete something you left unfinished, especially when you know how different and difficult it’s going to be… It’s scary..

2. Paulo Coelho said it wrong. When you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you NOT to achieve it. Maybe that’s why people talk so much about perseverance..

3. I still have to find that one thing that, in one stupid guy’s words, I believe in so much, that at times, it may even keep me awake at night..

4. I wonder why it’s so difficult to tell your friends what they mean to you for fear of sounding like a sentimental schmuck! I wish people would let their guard down just ONCE and speak their heart out. (This applies to me too. Coz I know how terrible I am at telling people I care. I expect them to “understand”- it’s kinda obvious, isn’t it?! …no, it isn’t!)

5. I wish you knew I was talking about you.

Over and Out.