Sunday, January 20, 2008

Herren and Damen....A 21st century foxy story!!

It was the spring of 2006.The fall colors at its vibrant best and a young Indian arrived in Germany...The foreign land beckoned and he thought he was trained enough to survive living abroad having gone through a online course on cultural familiarity for folks visiting Deutschland. It said if you don’t talk about Nazism or politics in Germany then you are perfectly at home there…Well that was easy I thought until something happened…

Alster pavilion restaurant…7:00 pm

Those days I was discovering the amazing variety German cuisine had to offer. There was sausage served on a paper plate…sausage served on a plastic plate and even sausage served on porcelain…It somehow got me thinking of the days to come when I would wake up in the middle of the night shrieking…”another sausaaaaaaage…Nooooooo.. please.…No…for my stomach sake.”
But then like angels that you were told would come from nowhere I saw it...The grace and poise which you would expect only from the best…I was both thrilled and chilled at the same time…Very rarely do you see guys doing this with the same passion like mothers cradle babies.
Sensing my restlessness Wolfgang bought what I was waiting for all my was like a dream come true…tears swelled out in joy…there they stood telling me...take me in your hands!! .Heineken. .Becks...Koenig Pilsner…Astra...Holstein…Jeez I was spoilt for choice!

As I started enjoying the Becks I looked at Heineken and it was giving me those looks…

Where have you been all these years?”

Not wanting to disappoint anyone I expressed my vows to keep in touch with all…And after a few beers I was like wow…am drinking like the Germans…I still can count up to 6 on my fingers…
whaat…whaat did I say just now…where did that sixth finger come from!!!!!

So I realized that it was enough that I proved that a Indian can drink as much a German…All that pride came crashing down when Olaf announced.

“Now that we are done with starters…lets have some drinks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”


“Aren’t we all drunk...”

No one was giving damn attention to my question…

“You mean a few vodka shots...and that enormous bottle of glenmorangie..uh”

“Whaat….are u serious”

“hehehe... surely u must be jokin…hehehe..i know..i know”

Jeez…leave me out of this…you drink more than what a normal panchayat back home can manage… :-O

As I was still trying to figure out that extra sixth finger, there was this parallel sixth sense that I shouldn’t wait any longer to dispense the beer in my kidneys or whatever…

And I walked straight to the loo but I couldn’t find the usual photos of the faceless man or woman which tells me where I should be actually heading too...Instead I found 2 doors each having something in deutsch written on top…This is how my brain worked that day..

HERREN…mm...Like the “HER” it must be a she.!!

Wow…how good am at comprehending foreign languages. I must be like Einstein or something!!!

As I slowly moved to the other door it said…


DAMEN…mm…like of the “MEN”…so sure it is HE!!!

The rest are excerpts from a security camera which captured the following events.

Furious german lady.. “Sie schlecht, wie man es wagen Sie .. .. Cant Sie sehen eine Frau, die ihre Toilette .. Sie krank Idiot ll .. ich die Polizei rufen ..”

“ayyoo…sorry..I intentional..english speak do you??”

As the unidentified suspect was escorted by security officials out of the restaurant the poor victim knew what to do that evening…He bought a dictionary from the nearest shop …That day he learned some lessons the hard way.


For the benefit of mankind and all future visitors to this country…

n. pl. Her·ren (h r n) Abbr. Hr.
Used as a courtesy title in a German-speaking area, prefixed to the surname or professional title of a man.

Damen (die)
n. lady, woman; Queen (chess)


anN-series said...

are u sure u are not a polydactyl..a la hrithik roshan style?...funny post...i too applied the same logic for Damen...but then a dutch speaking sister saved me from the embarrasment...

Still Searching said...

Haha! Poor you!! Thats' a funny story!

P.S. Am so happy that I could actually most of the German you wrote in the post!

Nanditha Prabhu said...

ha ha ha!...i can just see ur embarrassment!!!any ways thanks for the clarification on herren and damen!

mathew said...

what is that!!!:-o
this is just one of those embarassing moments..i make sure i dont go without having one every day!

@Still searching
Alles Gut.. :-P

hehehe..All germany visitors can now express their sincere gratitude to me!!am sure u must have lot of stories to say abt japan.

rt r said...

Chekku, you should have known Damen stands for Dames !!!

You've got a nice set of pics on orkut.
I like the one in front of the painting in louvre..

Keshi said...

damen as in dame I guess..

LOL funny write-up!

How hv u been Matty? Long time :)


Zee said...


eljo said...

De heer Mathew, I am feeling very relieved that I have a twin when it comes to making a fool of own self in a foreign land :-) The first week I landed here, I was asked to take down minutes of the meeting. I managed to jot down points what made some amount of sense to me. Its only in the second meeting I realized that I had assigned action items to team-mates that were not even discussed in the meeting ;-) That whole meeting I was squirming in my seat and looking out for escape routes….

silverine said...

"“Now that we are done with starters…lets have some drinks

Now that bought back some ghastly memories. Of the ten days I spent in Washington last year for my Induction and where my mentor, who ate a Goat as short eats and an Oxen as main course, was our host. Pure hell for a small eater like me and pure delight for him who thought that he will put some meat on my bones. The result, I would be on four legs every evening when he took us out Pub hopping and I developed an even stronger aversion to food. Luckily I was the only sober one in the group to guide the peoples to the Mens and the Ladies :p

Mishmash ! said...

I am still laughing ...sorry, cant help as u made it sound so funny :)))) want to read more of such anecdotes :P

flaashgordon said...

That was too good .reminds me of the story of the Scotsman who went to the loo , where the door he thought said "Laddies" :-)

btw Ich lerne Deutsch im universitat. pakshe athrem okke ye parayan ariyoo. The famous chalam which is said to have happened in the German class in college. The prof was teaching the line "Wie Heissen sie"
(ie: what is your name?)and was asking it to everyone by turn. There was this guy Gafoor who was apparently sleepin. When his turn came near he was desperately lookin for the answer to the qn . So his neighbour said "ich Heisse Minimol" ..And so Gafoor thought Eureka and when his turn came ..said the same "Ich heisse Minimol" !!

Aiswarya said...

Sounds a bit like.. 'I no take , I no take, Menon vannu... umm.. ente necki pidichu.. penna pocketil keri ..kandilla, I no take'. I have to think of name for the post thats going to be up on my return from France!!!

mathew said...

well after a heineken not many can think like that..;-P thanks.. :-)

Hi..long time..doin great..hows u..

what..its no laughing matter.. ;-P

hahaha..i have intelligently avoided displaying my un-intelligence in office premises..;-P

mathew said...

"where my mentor, who ate a Goat as short eats and an Oxen as main course,"ROTFL!! :-P
You and Sober?? no.. ;-P

hahaha..ithil kooduthal naaran vazhyaa.. ;-P

Lol!! that was a nice one..pakshe ithu maanahaani alle..

thanks for dropping by..oh yeah if you are in France you wont be short of choices eithers..i like btw the french say sort of is like tickling.. ;-P

Neer said...

thnak god!! they insisted that i learn some german at school!!! :p

poor you!!! :p

Vadapoche said...


Princess Banter said...

Aaaaah -- ich liebe dich, deutschland, for being so good to us with cars and alcohol :)

But aaah, vielen danke for edumacating us about herren and damen. Surely one day I would find it useful and not go through the same embarrassment *wink*

But yeah... German and cuisine sometimes proves to be the biggest oxymoron for me :P

Jackfruit said...

At least you can boast that you are one of the few people who have visited both in the same life. :) ... good one.

Vadapoche said...

I remember the first time I went to Mocha Chennai (its a coffee shop) and I was trying to figure out the images on the wash rooms in the dark. Frankly I could not make out as it was very dark and those figurines were very grotesque to say the least. Anyway I waited till the last occupant came out and found the right one. When I exited I took a closer look and realized that those images had the right things sufficiently exagerrated and I was blind to miss out.

J said...

I'm ROFL!!!! Sorry, just can't stop! :) Thanks for warning future visitors!

silverine said...

Talking of Germans, Beer and toilets check this out and get ready for Oktoberfest! :p

Nanditha Prabhu said...

got something for u in my post check

Unknown said...

So, the first thing before going to any foreign location is to know the equivalent of His & Her.

Learning for the day! Thanks:)

Di said...

:O :O

wow! can only imagine that poor german lady's shock wen she fond a mallu guy blabbering in english in the womans room! he he..but well atleast that bit of info was educational..if i ever get to germany..i'll remember that "Her" != her :D

Aiswarya said...

French is a sexy language indeed! I wish I knew it!! The T-shirt with the toilet, food and hotel will come of help.. And, I will use the Indian style Oyi to get some attention! ;)

crumbs said...

:D Something tells me there are details that have been carefully omitted here.

Been a long time since I came by your blog, it's remains incredibly funny :)

Zee said...

ahem....wherefore art thou?

mathew said...

Eu tu brutus!!

@Jolly Roger

@Princess banter
Exactly they are biggest oxymorons of all..btw your deutsch is gut..

Yes..I think that doesn’t real go in for a good point in the resume. ;-P

Lol!! just happened to be plain lucky there..

Well…someone has to learn things the hard way!! ;-P

Danke danke…they say that place resembles heaven..i donno why!! ;-P

Thanks a lot for the tag.i ll take up soon..!!

@Na Su
That’s what I gonna learn anytime I visit another foreign country..

Please be grateful for the amazing learning oppurtunities I provide..but I preferred to have learn it from someone else..

Oui Oui..that helps a lot..i was thinking of getting such a tshirt myself.. ;-P

Lol!!..well..umm…ok.. ;-P

i ll be back..terminator 4 ..;-P

B said...

u never kno of that country until u live there.... a class on its culture... i wud say itss sooo out of touch with the real thing.. rite?

Sreejith Panickar said...

Another gem sir! You rock!! :)