Journey to Wolfsburg – Part 1

22nd May, 2010

Small joys of life, travelling by train is certainly one of them. If one hasn’t been on a Euro-rail even once after being in Germany for five years, it is a pity indeed. So when husband told me that we have travel to Wolfsburg by DB [Deutsche Bahn (railways)] and drive back with my new car from Volkswagen Autostadt, I was more than just thrilled. How different is it from a train in India? What a question?

Deutsche Bahn

Deutsche Bahn

We reached the Geilenkirchen station half an hour before time didn’t seem to be a good idea as it was extremely cold. 8.37 am and DB almost always arrives on time.  We could sit anywhere as the trains are never crowded. That early it is usually the students going to universities who we find in there. Cosy. Neat. Spacious. This train was till Düsseldorf from where we had to change into the Intercity. This looked close to business class flight seats roomy, spick and span, each seat was reserved and on top of each was specified digitally from where the person is boarding and to where he is travelling. Therefore no confusion, no trespassing. We had to travel for three and a half hours with two children in a silent compartment was quite a task but kids were sort of sensing the muteness and imbibed it well. Both slept.

Was just the right time for breakfast, Raj got up to get some sandwiches and coffee from the pantry. And me as usual began checking tweets and the neighbours around us. Men in the backseat, one of them, have I seen somewhere? No, all three of them. Tcheh! Where have I seen them? Pondering is always a futile excercise for me. The one which I was very sure of was reading a book. Ok, just peek carefully and unpretentiously what is he reading? About some music band. Yes, They are a band. Which song? Bettina? Yes Yes..but which band? Blank. Oh No. My amnesia is at its peek. iphone, my savior. GOOOOOGLE. Bettina, the rap song. Enter. Images. Enter. Yes they are them seated right behind me. OMG!!! They are Fettes Brot!

Fettes Brot

The German Rap Star Band 'Fettes Brot'

Took out my pen and the train ticket and quietly slipped onto their table. Smile. No I still don’t know what their individual names are, but they seemed surprised to receive that piece of paper, as in the entire compartment, me, an English speaking Asian was the only one who had recognized them. Cutely he asked, ‘You want autograph?’ Me like a schoolgirl recited all that I did in that past five minutes to find out who they were and ‘Can I have a pic of you all?’ Obliged. They got down at Hannover and didn’t forget to say a goodbye. Smiles.

The journey so far. Super hit.

PS: Here’s for you the superhit video of their song ‘Bettina, zieh dir bitte etwas an’. Enjoy!

Top 7, 2010

Germany’s Next Top Model by Heidi Klum has shortlisted their top seven stunning ones – Leyla, Pauline, Neele, Louisa, Laura, Hanna and Alisar. Here take a look and select your favorite. My hot favorite is Leyla.

Photo Courtesy: Ralf Jürgens – ProSieben

Pic of the decade

Nita Ambani celebrates as she is lifted by Harbhajan Singh of the Indians after defeating the Challengers during the 2010 DLF Indian Premier League T20 semi final match between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore played at DY Patil Stadium on April 21, 2010 in Navi Mumbai, India. Nita Ambani owns Mumbai Indians franchise. (Photo: IPL2010/Getty Images)

#sachinisgod

24.02.2010 Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, the God of cricket, the unstoppable, the invincible, the ageless, yet again creates history. The only batsman to score a double ton in an ODI. At an age when others conveniently call it a day, Sachin at just two months short of 37, is uncontainable. The remarkable record was created by him in Gwalior while playing against South Africa, surpassing the previous record of 194 by Saeed Anwar. What the final score was, who finally won remains insignificant against such a monumental achievement.

Sachin Tendulkar

God thanking God. Pic courtesy: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters

I had twitter to look upto for exact scores, it was almost ball by ball commentary by around 2000 ecstatic tweeple all over India. Although most of the live streaming were dead by the time Sachin was about to touch the elusive, I was lucky to capture the moment on one of the links. The euphoria was as of never before, the frenzy was maddening and thanks to the maniacal congregation, I did not miss the way I used to watch cricket together with folks back  home, roaring.

Would like to share some lovely tweets from the twitterati done in the honour of Sachin. Enjoy.

  • @Riteishd: Am praying for sachin’s double century. Ganpati bappa morya…
  • @chitraraj #sachinisgod #sachin tendulkar #sachin‘s ..same name trending 3/10 has never been in the history of twitter
  • @chitraraj: O Sachin To Thee I Pray, Increase my knowledge day by day #sachinisgod
  • @arjunvj: Reducing the number of atheists in India since 1989 – Sachin Tendulkar!
  • @sumit_kagrawal SACHIN TENDULKAR isn’t GOD… GOD is Sachin Tendulkar…
  • @sagarikaghose: Bharat Ratna for Sachin tendulkar!
  • @AshikOnFire: lo meri office ka ek table ek bande ne tod diya chadh gaya table k upar or nachne laga tha #Sachin
  • @AshikOnFire: Do we really need to prove to the world tht we r here n force to reckon, jus one man can make whole diff, we r billion plus. #sachin
  • @IshanManjrekar: Finally a 13 year old record which was set against India is broken by an Indian #SachinIsGod
  • @OmkarDash : 3/10 topics on twitter are dedicted to Sachin! This is history! Not even obama could do it! Not even apple or google!
  • @juniorbachchan SACHIN, YOU GIVE US INDIANS A GREAT REASON TO BE PROUD. AND THE REASON IS YOU!!!
  • @raghuonrails: I think India should have a 200 rupees note now with Sachin embossed on it #sachinisgod

Finally, I shall not write about the endless achievements of the master blaster, the legend, we all know it. I only want to express my state which is at its elevated best today, so thank you Sachin. I only want to thank Sachin’s parents for giving us the God of cricket. I only want to thank God for giving me the opportunity to live in the era when Sachin performs magic with his willow. I only want to say that I feel proud that he is an Indian.

We salute you Sachin. Take a bow.

As Sunil Gavaskar said ‘I want to touch Sachin’s feet’.

Tweets courtesy: Riteish Deshmukh, Abhishek Bachchan, Sagarika Ghosh, Arjun V J, Sumit Kumar Agrawal, Ashik Gosaliya, Ishan Manjrekar, Omkar Dash & Raghu

Mile Sur Mera Tumhara

Hello all. Happy Republic Day to all indians.

Sitting far away from India, but I can still feel the heat of patriotism which is flowing all across the country today in everybody’s hearts, in words, in fervour it reaches me via vibrations, thanks to various sources. Was feeling very touched to read messages regarding of unity, love and brotherhood being a rare sight these days. Got to also know that the new version of Mile Sur Mera Tumhara was telecasted today on Indian television. The original one was some two decades back was released in 1988 on Independence day. The song is meant to reflect unity and integrity amongst indians and had become an instant rage then and it still resonates in everybody’s mind really fresh even after so many years. So was very much looking forward to see the new rendition. Read a lot of great reviews about it and some not so were the ones who were comparing it with the older version.

Something which is recreated 20 yrs thence will need to have the flavour of the moment, must reverberate with contemporary vibrations, fragrance has to be of today’s, and the intentions just the same with the soul unimpaired.  I’m glad all those additives were satisfactorily taken care of. Anything new or a remake is always made with the intention of presenting something of the same subject but on a new canvas. The canvas will be dealt and empowered with new brushes, new techniques, new technologies, new faces with new intelligence. All served keeping in mind the audience is exceptional, modern, avant-garde, progressive.

The original song featured icons like Amitabh Bachchan, Lata Mangeshkar, Kamal Hassan, Balamuralikrishna, Prakash Padukone, Hema Malini, Sharmila Tagore the new version also has Amitabh Bachchan and the rest are A R Rahman (playing fingerboard), Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his sons, Sivamani (playing the beats on water was fantastic), Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra, Shilpa Shetty, Deepika Padukone (loved it as she was shown in a modern dress to represent today’s youth), southern superstars Surya, Vikram, Mamootty, Rituparna Sen, Prosenjit, Bhaichang Bhutia, Olympians Abhinav Bindra, Vijendra Singh and Sushil Kumar.

To sum it up I simply loved it, had goose-bumps, was teary eyed. So kudos to all the people who featured and made this possible, those who conceptualized, and a pat on the back to Kailash Surendranath.

Want to share the video with you all. Just feel it.

PS: Felt may be more sportspersons (Sachin, Dravid, Sania??) should have been included. Thought it was more bollywoodized. Would like you to please take the poll on the right column before you leave tks.

New one Mile Sur Mera Tumhara (2010) in two parts

Old one Mile Sur Mera Tumhara (1988)

Black or White

There are only few somethings besides sports, that I watch on German television ever since I came here in 2006 – Deutschland sucht den Superstar, Popstars, Schlag den Raab and the favourite being Germany’s Next Top Model by Heidi Klum. With the onset of the new year, excited that new season episodes will soon take-off.

Sara

Sara Nuru

Last years’ Germany’s Next Top Model by Heidi Klum show was very special and gave a surprise winner in Sara Nuru, a stunning 19 yr old model whose parents had migrated from Ethiopia. It was great to see how a black woman beat all her white co-contestants with ease and confidence and how she had emerged absolutely deserving and was befittingly encouraged by the judges and the viewers.

I don’t have to wonder whether a girl with dark complexion will ever make it to top or even find an entry in any in beauty contests that are held in India. In a country where female foeticide is still prevalent, if the complexion is dark can be a life-long curse, in certain parts especially North. Everyone wants a fairer counterpart. In the matrimonial sections of newspapers, there are even special columns ‘gori brides’. To accentuate, markets are full of fairness creams which promises fair complexion that too within 10 days. What do you call such observance? Racism. Period. We Indians cry racism at the slightest instance, but we treat our own fellow shaded complexion, abominably. I am not even getting into the caste system here and its conduct in Hindu religion, which still exists throughout the country.

In Europe, there are no fairness creams or bleaching agents. They love to get tan, sun-tan studios are in each and every city. People spend hours and money to get that desired dusky appearance. Has anyone ever heard of any Indian getting married to a black-American or an African? Sorry, I haven’t. Whereas, you see so many blacks with germans as couples with beautiful hybrid kids. Supermodel Heidi Klum herself married a black-American, the legendary singer Seal.

It’s great to see so many non-whites finding their place with due respects out here. The top league singer is an Indian- Xavier Naidoo. Bruce Darnell, my favourite celebrity, a choreographer is a black-American. Colin Fernandes, VJ, is an Indian. Nadja Abd El Farrag, ex-wife of Dieter Bohlen, is a Sudanese. Boris Becker’s ex-wife Barbara was an African-American.

There’s a lot one can learn from the west (especially germans) on how to respect human beings regardless of colour. For that, to begin with, you have to free your mind. Look beyond the surface. Then go deeper, reach the soul. Then unlearn yourself. Because – (Racial superiority is a mere pigment of the imagination. ~Author Unknown)

2009: The Year That Was

Here’s the year round up as I saw, felt. There have been countless news that made headlines but I would shall recall only those which mattered to me or the ones I followed. So here I go in no such order of importance.

  • slumdog millionaireSlumdog Millionaire directed by Danny Boyle won 8 Oscars. Set and filmed in India, the film tells the story of a young man from the slums of Mumbai who appears on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Kaun Banega Crorepati in the Hindi version) and exceeds people’s expectations, thereby arousing the suspicions of the game show host and of law enforcement officials. The film won 93 more awards this year. Personally too I liked the movie but haven’t yet felt the urge to watch it again.
  • A R RahmanA R Rahman, the king of Indian music industry, the legend in making also won 2 Oscars for his music and song ‘Jai Ho’. Personally not my favourite, I love any and all other creations of his.
  • ObamaBarack Obama gets Nobel Peace Prize less than nine months into his eventful presidency, was an unexpected honor that elicited praise and puzzlement around the globe. Normally the prize has been presented, even controversially, for accomplishments. This prize, to a 48-year-old freshman president, for “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” Mahatma Gandhi spent his whole life serving for mankind, preaching non-violence and fought for our freedom, did not receive none.
    Here want you to enjoy some tweets which ran on twitter just following the announcement:
  • awarded the Nobel Peace Prize after wishing for World Peace. He narrowly beat out Miss Japan, Miss Brazil & Miss Spain
  • In honor of President Obama, the “Nobel Peace Prize” to be renamed “Failed Olympic Bid Consolation Prize”
  • Why doesn’t everyone just STFU & let President Obama be great!
  • BREAKING NEWS! Obama cures ALL cancers by simply asking them to go away!
  • Swedish Psychics predict President Obama will eventually earn Nobel Peace Prize, so they award it to him early. Dalai Lama kicking his heels.
  • Dear President Obama, make sure you keep an eye out for Kanye when you are accepting your Nobel Peace Prize
  • MJMichael Jackson’s death was a global shock. On June 25, 2009, aged 50, Jackson collapsed at his rented apartment in Los Angeles. Attempts at resuscitating him by his personal physician were unsuccessful and within minutes he was pronounced death. His controversial life brought him miseries and bankruptcy towards the end, in loneliness he sort to drugs and got addicted to painkillers. For me, no musician is greater than him and I am proud to be born in the life and times of him. Yet to watch ‘This Is It’. Have to soon. Want to dedicate one my favourite song to all to end this year.
  • FedererRoger Federer did it. First, he won the elusive French Open beating Robin Soderling and then got his 15th Grand Slam singles title by winning Wimbledon beating Andy Roddick making him the only male tennis player and ranked number one to achieve this glory. Besides he married his long time girlfriend Mirka and also became proud father of twin daughters. So a big congratulations to The Roger Federer..we pray for more and more Grand Slams titles to come your way.
  • TigerTiger woods. Towards the yearend no one could imagine that we would have to hear such a heart breaking news of one of the greatest sportsman ever, world No 1, most successful golfer of all time and not the least the highest paid professional. World came shattering when his wife Elin Nordegren found about his affair with a nightclub manager and the press hasn’t been sparing him eversince then resulting in opening of the pandora box with exposure of around 14 mistresses, losing almost all his sponsors, losing his flawless reputation, and now an impending divorce. I still salute his achievements as I never respected him in first place for his relationship with his wife and others but for his inimitable golfing talents.
  • GoodyJade Goody: Yes I was following her news since she was in Celebrity Big Brother which made headlines she was evicted after being accused of racist bullying against Shilpa Shetty. Goody then as a mark of repentance or apology she entered the Indian version Bigg Boss in 2008 which is where, hell broke on her when her doctor unfolded the news of her cervical cancer and that she was to live only for few months. She died on the Mothers Day leaving her two sons behind. Shilpa kahin vish kanya to nahi..jo use haani pahunchaayega raakh ho jaega..lol Joke tha.
  • attacksViolent attacks on Indian students in Australia: Was a bothering issue which came up this year where atleast 100 attacks were reported, no count on the ones which went unreported. The unrealistic figure certainly forces us to believe that there is a racial angle to all this. Or else, prove it. If not anything else, all this could have serious repercussions on the Australian education industry. Learn from France, they are encouraging more and more Indian students to come over.
  • mumbai terror26/11 first anniversary: Terror attacks on India. Mumbai was the target point just an year ago in 2008. Millions watch the carnage helplessly when serial bomb explosions rocked Mumbai. Explosions mainly carried out at Taj Mahal hotel, CST railway station, Nariman house, left hundreds dead and wounded. First anniversary ran us through the ill-fated day once again and we prayed for hope in peace. The only living suspect Kasab is still undergoing trial and to keep him alive till today took 34 crores have been spent. Dossiers exchanging is all that we saw.
  • KCRAndhra Pradesh division. The demand for Telangana as a state has been since 1964 but it got aggressive when K Chandrasekhar Rao went on hunger strike and Congress decided to give in by showing green signal on the 11th day. This decision was immediately protested all over the country and many more such demands of Gorkhaland, Bundelkhand, Harit Pradesh and so on erupted only to force Govt to immediately take a step backwards and put the matter in a limbo. Such developments reinforces our deduction of such myopic leaders who think haughtily not anticipating the aftermath that could stir in breaking the whatever little solidarity which is remaining of India (if at all).
  • fluSwine flu, a pandemic with its global outbreak has claimed many lives and is still spreading over all and as per prediction it shall engulf almost one-thirds of the world by the coming year. Tommy Hass, Sreesanth, Narendra Modi being prominents to have got infected and cured. Remember to wash your hands profusely like a maniac.
  • ftTwitter and Facebook: This being the landmark year for social networking and micro blogging sites. Mind blowing success. We connected to long lost school friends and we keep a tab on our favourite celebrities’ day to day activities too, so simply. Love it. Shashi Tharoor ‘cattle class’ remarks on twitter created furore. Read here.
  • A whopping figure lingers on my head these days –Rs 126 crore. Amitabh Bachchan fetches that sum for hosting Bigg Boss Season 3. I still think it is a criminal amount to even offer or recieve.
  • Dr. Abdul Kalam Azad and Shah Rukh Khan detained at airport. Both were frisked as they are Muslims and similar names feature in the list of suspects? Huh!
  • 10th board cancelled: Must have been a respite for all the students back home. Lucky you all. Kudos to Education Minister Kapil Sibbal.
  • As for music it was an year for Lady Gaga hands down.
  • Wanted and DevD are my favourite movies of this year. Loved Paa, Wake up Sid too. Jugaad too as was directed by my brother Anand Kumar.
  • Other prominents we lost: Amongst the ones we lost forever are Y S Rajasekhara Reddy Chief Minister of AP died in helicopter crash was the biggest shock followed by heart attacks and suicides all across the state. 500+  is the unbelievable figure of death toll, just as an assessment of his acclaim. We lost Maharani Gayatri Devi, Feroz Khan, Patrick Swayze, David Shephard too. World will miss you all.
  • As I said I have not covered many like Madhu Koda’s laundering money worth over Rs. 4000 crores, Rahul Gandhi’s rising popularity, Katrina Kaifs’ superstardom, PM Manmohan Singh’s second term, cricket, Rakhi Sawant and so on..so pls excuse :p

To sum up will jot a few of mine too. My biggest achievement of the year – gave birth to YASH. Quickly thereafter managed to shed 13 kgs..Yay..few more to go. Ayshani starts going to her play school. We managed to cross past last years’ turnover of our company. Got iphone as a Christmas gift :). Finally did something which was long pending – revived my blog, yes that’s where you are.

On that note let me wish you all a great year ahead. So everyone just rock it.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2010.

laundering money worth over Rs. 4000 crores
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