One of my birthday gift from M was 'Culture Shock! Germany' by Richard Lord, an Englishman who has certainly written well and done his homework, and mostly so, to warn Americans and the British of what to expect in Germany.
BUT certainly not enough for an average Indian, so here I proceed forth to do just that!
On ze roads where Mercedes travel like autorickshaws,
These pointers are for those who do have an international license and plan to use it for the few days of stay.
- Driving on the far left of the road and putting your right hand to turn right cannot be understood by Germans at all. It is such a logical gesture, yes. For the bengalis, please understand that this includes vice versa also.
- A thing to panic. Never in the book, did Lord mention the most sacred custom we follow in India regarding driving: Honking.
- They do not have reversing tunes, sadly we cannot play Kuch Kuch Hota Hai while backing up. Or also, Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Ghum, for that matter. Oh Karan, how ghum is that!
- Indian man, on ze highways, you see an empty wall or bushes and you feel like pee pee, better wait till you get home.
- Speed cameras are attached to take pictures of you and your license plate if you overspeed. So smile nicely.
- Cyclists can rejoice, since there are paths specially truly for cycles only, but no cycles in the highway. They are very strict about that.
- One way roads, mean one way roads only. B-O-R-I-N-G!
Certain etiquettes that one need to follow at the dinner as well as restaurant tables.
- Burping is not considered as satisfaction of eating a well cooked meal.
- Similarly, making noises while eating the food, does not mean relishing it.
- Leaving ten cents at the table, for the bill does not mean tipping. Yes Yes, I know ten cents is more than 5 Rupees. What to do?
- Before eating, make sure everyone's plates are also filled, and then say 'guten apetit' before taking a bite. This is also even before dipping your finger and licking.
- Licking the finger and other parts of hand is restricted even after saying 'guten apetit'. Failing to do so, apparently will not insult the host.
Traveling by bus, train and other public vehicles, no share auto available
- Running and mounting buses and trains will end up you looking like george george george of the jungle. They have doors which all work.
- Please buy ticket. For bus, bus ticket, for train, train ticket.
- The stranger/passenger sitting next to you, should remain stranger/passenger for the rest of the journey. Should not make friendship with him, invite him for dinner and afterward one day to your marriage. Special note to Iyer mami's - Please do not start networking at anytime of the day at any place.
- Special note to marwaris as well, in train journeys, groundNUTbreaking and littering the shells all over the floor conventions restricted. Because no handicap man to clean them.
- The book said, 'Ze Germans are known for their precision in regard to time. So all trains and buses run on time.'
ON TIME? New phrase, program new phrase into indian minds, processing, processing, system error.
At your home, with ze neighbours...
- Love thy neighbours, from a long arm distance.
- Do not knock at their house, at unruly hours (which is all the time) for a little bit of sugar or coffee powder or anything at all. Because, in Germany there is no ration card.
- Germans love their pets and treat them like family. If you have a dog, do not EVER tie him. And if you don't tie your bowbow, he might go pee pee on the neighbour's mercedes, which is also forbidden. Yes, difficult situation, figure it out.
- If you live in rented house, pay rent regularly. Even if you live for 15 years in the same house paying rent, the house does not become yours. Only rent increases.
- If you live in apartments, do not play Suprabhatham loudly at 5 AM. I think Germans neither like M.S. nor Venky.
- Hanging laundry in the balcony, window rails, foyer, corridors, terrace, on the satellite dishes, cable wires are a strict no no.
- Plumbers, electricians, meter reading man, gas man, carpenters and every other service man makes appointment and are on time. On time time on on timon imont monty python. system error.
At regular and government offices, you should
- be on time. *sigh*
- make your own coffee/tea. Because no chaaiwalahs, because no tea kadais, because no chetans (must be the only place)!
We the people, To the people
- White skinned people are common, so do not gawk at them. Get binaculors.
- Just because somebody looks old, one should refrain from calling/ prefixing/suffixing thatha/patti/chacha/brother/sister/amma. Germans do not like to be our relatives.
(Bournvita Surprise Quiz: Write the correct answer: All _______ are my brothers and sisters. a.germans b.indians c.indians but not NRI's.)
- Nurses are not sisters
- Pinching a chamathu oh-so-chweeet-kid's cheek, might be considered an physical assault on the child.
- And if any German mama (uncle) is constantly showing affection to your child all the time, then something is definitely wrong about it.
Note: References to different races in this post by the author should be taken with Indian seriousness regarding time and German treatment regarding their pets (and simbly not the other way around). Ze author is not a racist, except when it comes to mallu's, golts, mumbaiwallah wannabe's, americans, chinese, women drivers, pomerenian dogs and brahmin iyer mamis. What to do?