Sunday, November 11, 2007

Diwali in Karlsruhe

Today was different.

In a land 6,500 miles away from home, grey clouds and cold (really cold) weather, my heart was warmed.

It started with a call from a colleague of mine – “There seems to be an get-together of Indians in Karlsruhe to celebrate Diwali. Shall we go?’ Having nothing better to do, I said yes.

Later, another phone call from him – “6:19, there is a tram at the Marktplatz stop. Be there.”

I was there and got into the tram. There were a few Indian friends I knew and one or two I didn’t know. We all got down and went into a kind of Christian meeting place, which had been rented for the Diwali celebrations!!!

Oh my God!!! I never knew there were so many Indians in Karlsruhe!!! More surprising was that there were many families and not just students.

After paying a sort of entry ticket, we all sat down on long tables, where hot tea and biscuits were arranged. A cultural programme was arranged, which started off with a Carnatic vocal song invoking Lord Ganesha.

Then followed a series of bharathanatyam dances from kids – gorgeously dressed and performing really wonderfully.

It was good to be immersed, at least, for some time in the songs and forget our sorrow that we are not with our loved ones for Diwali.

However, there was a note of irritation for me. There were a large number of Germans also, who had probably come on the invitation of their Indian friends. They were the only ones who were really watching the performances and applauding. We Indians as usual were chatting and making friends!!!

Come on, respect the artist by at least remaining silent if you cannot appreciate the art!!!

We also had a Powerpoint (aaarghhhh) presentation on Diwali, which was the most untasteful point on the Agenda. Scenes/snaps from Bollywood movies, advertisements of sweets and some nameless documentary were stitched together in a silent presentation while the kids were changing for another performance. It was amusing in a way, though, as we all cracked jokes on it.

What was also funny was that a compere was explaining Diwali in English. I do not know to whose benefit, since I assume there were only Germans and Indians there. Well, if some Indians need to be explained...

This was finally over, followed by an extremely limited dinner (limited in the size of portions), in which we were too embarrassed to go for seconds (there was a huge line for firsts!). We said good bye to some of the new friends we had made and came back home. Overall, a very nice evening in an otherwise drab weekend.

Photos of this may be posted later.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Ashok said...

Dear Sridhar,
I am a teacher at IITR Roorkee and have a plan to visit Karlsruhe to be used in Nov.end to December to visit an Institute for few weeks. I need your guidance to know more Indians if they can help me find an accomodaiton w.e.f. 3rd December to 16th December because after that I may move to GH. Can you help. I need to be in touch with some Indian families as I want to feel comfortable in the first week of cold december there.
I shall be thankful to you if you may please guide me. I am a Professor at Roorkee.
Best wishes and Happy Diwali.
my e mail is :
pachauri1945@yahoo.com
Do you have a phone number, I can reach you?

November 11, 2007 6:11 PM  
Blogger Sridhar said...

Hi Ashok

I have been in Karlsruhe only for 4 weeks now. I have still not got a apartment to stay. It is quite difficult to get here as there are a lot of students in the University and hence the places fill up very fast.

Accommodation for 10-15 days is almost impossible in an Apartment, as every body looks for atleast a 6 month commitment. Prof. Parthasarathy is here from IIT Madras. You could write to him at [prp at iitm dot ac dot in]. You can write ot me at [sridharj_ap at yahoo dot com]

November 12, 2007 8:13 PM  
Blogger Synchronicity Diva said...

You are going places :)
by the way, it's good to hear from you, as always!

I enjoy your thoughts on my posts. Keep them coming.

I have read Autobiography of a Yogi...

November 17, 2007 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Kumar said...

Hello Sridhar,

You sound like a professional critic !!

Although its nice to know your point of view of the Diwali Programme but I am a positive person and I appreciate every single effort by the organisers.

We have to accept that no one in Germany is professional event manager. In my opinion ,kids performed extremely well. Diwali presentation was not bad. Actually many Germans/Indians wanted the copy of presentation after the show. Some one had his/her ideas and must have spent atleast couple of weeks in thinking and working on it. Compere was quite good. He had covered the audience generally well. He was not a Native German to explain Diwali in German and also most of the Germans understand English quite well. Food was not limited and most of us could have second helping.

I give a very high marks for the organisers who did thier best to entertain us.

Perhaps its easy to find faults then to do a good job.

Anyway it was nice reading your blog.

Regards

Kumar

February 04, 2008 1:59 PM  

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