Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wiesloch @ Sochi

Love Wiesloch and love living here. Feels proud to have our own Wieslocher Laura Grasemann at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Part of the feestyle skiing team from Germany at Sochi and cool to note that she is part of the Ski club in Wiesloch.

Cool, to see Laura's picture as you drive into town.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Strange but true...

It’s been a while since I have been on this space. But I still recall the second week of December 2013 very vividly in my mind’s eye. My usual cheerful self was on a flight to Bangalore to tackle 5 days of work. I was completely charged especially because the mission was clear and also realizing that after I get back I had the promise of the whole Christmas vacation ahead of me.

As always, like any other business trip it is only when you actually sit down on your seat on the flight is when realization strikes. I was really eager to meet the team in Bangalore, work with them during the next days and also felt a general sense of excitement to be back in Bangalore the place where I was born.

All through the flight I had this kind of nagging feeling, but kept dismissing the thought without really focusing on the thought. You know especially when you have more important things like clean up the slides for next days presentation, enjoy a nice movie on the flight or catch up on lost sleep.

When I looked into the monitor some hours later I realized that it was only couple of hours to go for the flight to land in Bangalore. The persistent nagging thought came back and I got all tensed. The flight was going to be landing close to 13:30 am in the morning and I was supposed to take a shuttle from the airport to the Marriot which translates into travelling from one end of Bangalore city to the other end all on my own in the middle of the night! Now for some of you who are reading this post you probably do not even realize why this would be worrisome. The last months though, I have been reading about a lot of horrible incidents that happen to women in India. Some of them have been quite prominent in the media

Always read about these articles in the comfort of my home and commented heatedly about them on different media sites, but here I was stricken with fear few hours away from landing in India in my own hometown Bangalore!!

I frantically started looking for some familiar faces on the flight hoping that there must be somebody with whom I could share the cab ride to the hotel. Flight landed, I cleared customs, and got hold of my baggage as well. I was still unsure what to do, the airport was bustling with activity but I was still petrified. I came out of the airport and promptly the shuttle driver showed up placard in hand and all smiles but wondering why I was not happy to see him. I told him that I was looking for colleagues who could join me on the drive to the hotel. He happily nodded his head and told me that was fine. He also told me that there was a security guard who would accompany me in the shuttle as requested from the company, hoping to calm me down. On the contrary this made me even more nervous, two against one and it was already 14:30 am in the morning.

Then I saw a group of Swedes who had been on the same flight from Frankfurt to Bangalore talking about their shuttle to the Marriot. I heaved a sigh of relief, thanked my stars and went over boldly to them and asked them if I could tag along and share their shuttle as I was also staying at the Marriot. Now it was their turn to look very nervously at this Indian woman whom they did not know at all asking them if I could accompany them. Figured out that they were in India for the first time, which added to their nervousness. I somehow managed to convince them, told them that I was also there on work and that I did not want to travel alone at this time of the day. They worked for the company Volvo and they seemed to be a really nice group of people and they agreed. I quickly told my shuttle driver that my company would foot the bill but I will actually not be taking his shuttle. He was very confused and told me that I would have to speak to his manager on the phone and explain why I was doing this as it was his duty to take me from the airport to the hotel. I did that and finally after settling everything with everybody found myself on a shuttle from the airport to the Marriot with a group of 3 unknown Swedish visitors to Bangalore. I found the whole experience very strange to be honest. On the drive to the hotel I tried to engage in some pleasant conversation, actually trying to put them at ease talking about my last trip to Stockholm and how my daughters loved all the books from Astrid Lindgren and how Pippi Langstrumpf was one of the kids favorite characters. Also told them some of the nice places where they could go shopping in Bangalore.

But all through this time I was actually thinking that it is really unfair that I would feel the way I felt not in any other country but in my own country and in my own hometown :-(

Strange but true!