Everyone here wants to know why I am here. It always goes almost exactly like this;
¨So where are you from?¨
¨Which part?¨ I wonder if they know Indian geography at all..
¨Bangalore, do you know it?¨
¨Um… no, is it near New Delhi?¨ (sometimes this is replaced by Bombay/Mumbai)
¨No, it is in the middle of the south, on the same latitude as Madras/Chennai.¨
¨So do you like Bollywood?¨ They ask this because this is the most they have heard about India.
¨No, I prefer Tamil movies. You know they make good Malayalam ones too, and Bengali in the East¨
Some of them at this point look confused and reveal that they did not know that India had ´so many languages´.
¨So what are you doing in Germany?¨
¨My PhD (doktor arbeit)¨
¨Oh!¨ They look impressed and sometimes the older Germans look surprised. Sometimes they ask ¨In what?¨ or else it´s ¨So how long are you here?¨ Because I always misunderstand whether they meant to ask how long I´ve been here or how long I will stay, I say ¨I´ve finished one year here, two left if all goes well¨
¨Ah, so how is your German?¨
¨… yea, it´s ok, nicht schlecht. I understand better than I speak.¨
¨After you are finished, are you going back or planning to stay here?¨
¨Oh, I donno. It depends on where I get a good project.¨
¨Do you get homesick¨ C´mon, everyone gets homesick!
¨Yea, sometimes, but it´s nice to live in different places and make friends everywhere…¨
Sometimes the conversation goes into religion or the IT activity and call centers in Bangalore if they know/ are interested in that. It is hard to interrupt this flow. And it is remarkable how the questions come in a similar order each time! 🙂
After this, the real conversation starts for me.