The conversation I have with every German

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.

See also