Wednesday, September 02, 2009


Today out of sheer curiosity I checked the sent items from my mail box…sent items which were around three years old…Below are excerpts from mail communication which happened back then….

The mail below was the first one I send to home my relatives…forgive the poorly constructed sentences as it was meant to be a mail to be shared only with my family…some of my sentences are embarassing..i hope you can excuse me for that...;-P

After a really mad rush to buy to stuff before leaving, I finally reached blore on the 2nd of September. September third was onam feast at jimmy chachan’s place. And we were treated to some excellent delicacies by Lissy aunty...And then we played caroms with Ann and Tessa along with jimmy chachan, ravi chettan and Baby...In the evening Amma,ravi chettan and baby dropped me at the airport…On the way we dropped at a church to pray for a safe journey...and thankfully it worked out!!

The flight from Bombay to Charles de Gaulle airport was magnificent bcoz we had all sort of gizmos in the n all. Although the flight was 9 hours long I hardly slept for 3 hours as I was more pumped with adrenalin anticipating for a glimpse of Europe...It was enchanting to see sunrise from top of the world. Finally reached Paris at 7.45 am and had my own time to spare bcoz my next flight was only at 11.50 am. Spend that time marveling the beautiful airport..

The third leg of my trip was less exciting bcoz I was pretty tired bcoz of lack of sleep.And I slept through the flight from Paris to Hamburg.

And I finally stepped on Hamburg airport. I just cant help but recall the famous Neil Armstrong quote..A small step for Chekku but a giant leap for my dreams...hehehe..

And then just like Dasan in naadodikaatu I waved for a taxi and there comes a Mercedes Benz right in front of me..That was a bolt from the blue when I saw that most taxis here are top end luxury cars back home..reached my hotel in 15 min..But I guess that covered about 20 kms..Everything moves fast out here..My hotel is a small dingy room with all basic features..Nothing much to explain about..

I had lunch at 3 pm from a Indian restaurant near the hotel and spend about an hour roaming the places around the hotel.Evening ,I visited the residence of my boss and Had dinner from his place..So day 1 was kind of easing myself to hamburg climate ..

Day 2

Met a Indian colleague of mine in office and her briefed about the work n stuff..
I couldn’t meet my sahippu boss bcoz he had gone to Toulouse, France that day..

On Thursday I finally met my Sahippu boss and he will help me out with all work related things..
Meanwhile evenings I spend moving around the streets in hamburg..Took a tourist ferry which showed all the narrow waterways in Hamburg. They looked like Venice for me..
By the way Hamburg is the 2nd biggest port in Europe so its kinda place where lot of foreigners come..

Now I have started searching for a house here bcoz I cant stay in a hotel for long..Moreover I cant start a bank account /get a resident permit and get a mobile connection only after I find a house..So that the story till now…

The climate here is excellent ..15-20 deg max…Although its going to snow in the coming months..Thats the part am looking forward to..

Guess this is the biggest letter I have written ever…Neways thanx a lot for the prayers and wishes..


Today i got some free time in office.
The initial days of boredom (coz of absence of work) are over. Nowadays am in full throttle at work place...and time runs by fast.. Here its pretty cold now…occasionally dropping to minus temperatures…fortunately the sweaters and jackets help me keep cozy...Once you are inside house there isn’t any problem coz we switch on the heaters. Since its winter now. Sun rises at around 7.45 am and its dark by 4.30 pm...I found it strange that there is hardly any time with proper daylight during winter. The 'fall' part was awesome ..In a matter of weeks...the leaves turned into a hue of…etc…until all of em fell down...In a matter of weeks the trees are left with just the trunk and branches..

Pinee regarding the food part...breakfast is usually some quick fix on weekdays…sandwiches…fruits...corn flakes...leftover chappatis...Lunch time I take something from the canteen in office...Some occasional spurts of adventurism encourages me to try out the german dishes…Though the chicken/pork/fish which they make has little or no spice...they are quite edible. Deserts are somehow what make things attractive for me...esp. the puddings.. Am having some variety of pudding with fruit salads almost daily...And then you have potato engineered into different forms...french fires...baked potato…steamed potato.. and then 100's of breads of different shape and that more or less makes up my lunch..

Veetil timepass is TV...internet...adventurous cooking...I can infact watch Asianet through internet…So at times i get to catch up a few movies in it.. Last week i made fish fry and fish molly...I got the recipe for Fish Molly from the net and tried it out...Although it might not have been exactly fish Molly after i prepared ,it came close to a Fish Susanna or something!! :) ..I had all the things to make the curry except curry leaves. so it did not turnout bad actually...And my andhrite roommate brings up some hot n spicy Andhra dishes which am liking….Food is now not a big headache as i expected!!

Read your letter with more details. Still we all are eager to know more and more about Germany and your life there. Any problem in communication outside office? How is your boss? Have you got freedom to write personal letters at the office? What about your washing and ironing? Did the pickle stain go from your shirts? Are there people helping you find a house? Giving suggestions?
I am very very slow in typing. Still I plan to send an e-mail to you on alternate days. I have taken leave for tomorrow as I have so much work to be completed. Yesterday Daddy and Aunty were here. We played cards for sometime. Special items were cutlets, manga chammandi, and semia payasam. How do you like German food? Hope your life is tension free and the work or training you have is manageable. ..

My dear Chekku
Necessity is the mother of invention and as such I somewhat learnt how to e-mail. Very happy to hear that U are comfortable there. U must have started procedures to settle yourself . Praying God that you may tide over difficulties (if any) successfully. Conveniences of the hotel you are staying-like an average Indian hotel room? food available? cost of living? How many more days can u stay at the hotel? xxxx will pay the bill?After U get internet connection U will know news about India and Kerala?

lots of love

Hi Chetta,
Hope u r enjoying life with beers. Have you substituted it for water. By now you must have watched all the DVD's that you had taken there. Did you get to visit that Nazi concentration camp? If not, would be nice if u buy a digital cam so that we can also have a glimpse of that and also other places u plan to visit during your stay.

My dear Chekku,
We are all very much relieved that you started staying in a house and there is a Malayalee staying with you.. How is your new residence? Facilities? Accessibility to traffic? Can you have one room for yourself? Rent? Advance?
Regarding recipes:

Chicken - 1 kg
Tomato -3
Masala powder: Use the powder taken from here (3 tablespoons)
Ginger paste (1 teaspoon) or if pieces 1/2 tablespoon
Small onions (chopped)-10, or 2 big onions
Garlic - 6 pieces
Salt to taste
Oil (as required, max. 1.5 tablespoon)

Heat oil in a kadai (or pressure cooker) and sauté the onions, garlic and ginger. When the aroma starts from the mixture, add the paste of the masala powders and fry in low flame. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for a while. Now add the chicken pieces and salt and cook with the vessel closed. Put the weight of the cooker and increase the flame. When 1st whistle is heard, lower the flame and keep for 15 mins more. Now the chicken curry is ready.

You can make modifications according to the flops you make. As your housemate knows cooking you can consult him. Is it common or self cooking?

Is it training or work for you now? How is it? No tension? Manageable? Are you getting letters from your friends? Expecting long letters from you.
with lots of love

When I read these mails I was chuckling….laughing when I think about how much I have changed and how much the people around me have changed as well…the curiousity to know how I was adjusting to a new life and culture....Today I finish my three years in Germany…..It has been a roller coaster of a ride….I can still remember my first flight…my first drive in a Mercedes taxi…my first stay in a hotel alone… first time talking to a non-Indian….my first time having a meal with knife and fork….there were so many new and first things which happened in the month of September three year ago…..I remember that the day before the flight we celebrated onam at my uncle’s place in Bangalore….I think I was not really tense for some reason and I really don’t know why I was not….probably I was too overwhelmed by the turn of events….But today in office...everything was déjà vu…when I opened the door (used to get confused big-time the initial days coz in India we pull the door to open unlike here…), when I had lunch with colleagues with knife and fork (I was trying to sneak a glance how others did it during those initial lunches), when I said hello to my german colleague (apprehension about how to interact with a european colleague)…. It indeed was a learning experience for me all these years….

Thanks to all of you for keeping wonderful company in the blogworld…thanks to my friends and relatives who kept checking on me for the last three years…thanks to my parents…thanks to the Indian community in Hamburg…thanks to my german friends and colleagues…and thanks to Deutschland for being a wonderful host country and teaching me a lot!!! :)


scorpiogenius said...

heheheee Mathew, this is hilarious indeed... And now you are part n parcel of that alien city. I donno how I'd ve survived in a place where people speak a totally alien language. But I liked the support given by your sibling n mom.. :)

substitute water with beer..hehehee.. intelligent question!

And I recollect some of the images of your old Hamburg room! You remember?

Sakshi said...

That was a nice read. While reading ur post I was trying to remember about Baharain and Heathrow airports and I realised I was busy running after my son to notice anything abt the airports :(.

ROFL at Fish Sussanna...So after 3 years you definitely have found ur comfort zones in Germany :)

I think I should try to fish out the mails in my account too..

Venkatesh A.R. said...

hey Chekku, congrats on completing 3 successful years in Germany! it certainly brings good memories rushing to you when you read old mails sent to family.
your blogs with experience outside India have really been a joy to read!! Way to go buddy! :)

thomas said...

Your letters look so innocent. :) Btw, you didn't mention about the fisrt time meeting with that Polish girlfriend. ;)

Raksha said...

Hi Mathew
This is Raksha Bharadia.
Interested in writing for Chicken soup for the Indian Romantic soul? It is under the same Jack Canfield Mark Victor banner. If yes, pls email me on and i will forward the brief to you.
p.s U can Google my name


Deepti said...

Nice post .. we hardly realize how time flies .. which made me realize I haven't blogged for almost 4-5 months .. need to pull up my socks ..
And see u have an invite to write for Romantic souls!!!!! :D
Here's to many more stories from Deutschland!!

Annie said...

A good remnisence. I think this post of yours give each of the reader a chance to think from where to where they reached and how. An aliance to familiarity takes a lot of toll and toil. Very nice of you to post it very frankly so that it becomes a basic guide for your contempararies.Special thanks to you for this post.

Prasoon said...

Lovely one :)
cheers on completing 3 years there. Kinda envy you :)

Devan said...

Cool stuff. Congrats from a late comer/reader. As some one aptly pointed out very open writing force readers to look back. Another special thanks to you for this post.

mathew said...

I had some chammal while writing this post…..coz of the silliness in my mails..;-P
No..i think I am still a trivandrumite….though I happen to love Hamburg too…in a different way….yeah finally after three years I have started putting effort to learn deutsch….even though I can survive here without having to know..

Yeah….i know..i deleted it coz I was shocking too many people with those snaps..;-P

@ Sakshi
yeah…actually Paris airport is not great architecturally…I mean compared to Frankfurt….but then for someone who was flying abroad for the first time…everything was mind-blowing and exciting..

I know that was a cheeky joke….’fish’ out the mails…nice one..:-P

thanks da….yeah… we have our college group mails…suddenly feel like reading em again..:-)

hehe… …*shhhh*
polish girlfriendinne kurichu ninakku enthu ariyaam!!! Heheh...

yeah….i seriously wonder if I can ever feel like that again..

@ Raksha
wow…thanks a lot…its quite a honour!
I ll definitely drop a mail.. though writing romance …hic hic…never been my cup of soup…:-P
But I wouldn’t want not to attempt one…
you are so lazy!!:-P
I think puneities are good at finding reasons not to blog…:-D

@ Annie
thanks a lot…J
“alliance to familiarity takes a lot of toll and toil.” Profound line….and I so agree..
I was a little apprehensive about this post coz I was not sure if anyone else would empathize with it… I remember reading somewhere that it’s the journey that matters rather than the destination…and I think I had a wonderful journey so far..

thanks a lot buddy…oh yeah..i envy your Mexican stories too!! :-)

thank you….and thanks for visiting the blog…hope you have a nice time here.. :-)

Timeless Memories - My Bygone ! said...

Hmmm.. gud post, totally hilarious one as usual, at the same time, very touching one.. reminded of the 1st time i got out of home and those n number of things mom, dad n bro told...

Anonymous said...

congrats on 3 yrs and all the best for many more there.

Venkatesh A.R. said...

yes Chekku, i have them in my inbox - have read them over a few times at least now. some of them r really interesting even today! :)

Thulasy Mary Elizabeth said...

Hi Mathew,

Nice post. I always feel in general, basic instincts and feelings of the human beings are the same even though people are different from one another. Your post reminded me of my first abroad travel some time 12 years back. As you said 'It has been a roller coaster of a ride...' adjusting to the new culture and people. For me even now changing to a new place and finding belongingness there is a struggle.

I am happy to find a frequent blogger.Wishing you many more years in Germany.

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

the New Indian express had a quote from your blog on 2nd sept, i think. shall see if i can check & give u details.

Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

This is something I love doing; going back through old diaries, mails…It’s just like going back to those times. Sometimes, as you pointed out, it’s amazing to see how much things, people and me have changed.

“We are all very much relieved that you started staying in a house and there is a Malayalee staying with you...”

Herr Mathias, sorry, Herr Chekku, I don’t understand this “…and there is a Malayalee staying with you...” Is that a reason to be relieved or tensed? Ha ha ha…

Thanks for the blog-link. I hope I will get some really good stuff there.

It’s too late to wish you even belated Onam wishes. Have a great time.

mathew said...

@Devil Incarnate
yeah...i think they are always tense no matter how confident you are...but i think after 3 years they are pretty cool...

thanks a lot..:-)

hehe..yeah..will check today..

12 years...ayyo..i think you must be perfectly at home in the new place by now..

what you said is absolutely true...thats one thing i discovered while reading blogs over past few years...

thanks a lot..and btw I like your blog very much...

@kochuthresiamma chechi..
:-) :-)
Thanks a lot...You really read newspapers so well..with an eye for last time I am not aware of it either..would love to know the details...

thanks a lot again for informing me.. :-)

I ll try to check the online version too..

hahaha..athe athe..everyone loves it..that was a pleasant surprise to knoe reading all the comments..i thought it would have been boring.

I stayed with a Malayalee only for 2 months..ever since my roomies have been from different places...

yeah..please do read that ll like it..

belated onam wishes to you as well..actually i have got a sadya coming tomm..:-P

sujata sengupta said...

Hey Chekku, that was a great read. Am sure you relived those early days when you went thru the mails.

Sumy Sunil said...

hehehe haaha..nalla read ayirunnu...happy anniversary molly fish suzanna aaiyadu adipoli...

Sumy Sunil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Divs said...

loved the last 2 paragraphs

life takes u places innit? :)

congrats on the 3 long years:)

Prasoon said...

Hehehe! The world envies the Japan n mexico tour but I envy your trip. So is why I say, exchange places :)
My trips had lovely experiences, albeit sparsely - never stayed in a place for more than 2 months on my trip, so kinda very limited. But yes, mexican chicas n chillies - all very very hot! :P

How do we know said...

hey... i have a sneaky suspicion.. u did construct some of those sentences to sound even more funny than they are, right?

Loved the entire long read Chekku.. and now we know the "pet" name of the best thing after God.. err.. is God's pet name next? :-)

Keep writing dude.. you rock.

Anonymous said...

I gt inspired by you and strtd reading my old send and received gave me an amazing timeline of hw life evolved for past three years....and I wonder three years hence whr will I be...
Anyways congratulations on ur third anniversary in Germany....
Btw I m lukng forward to a post on Oktober fest on ur blog soon !!!

Life Mysterious said...

Ah lovely reminiscing.

Happy Kitten said...

That was a frank and interesting post....

even your letters are literary delights. nd guess this genes runs in your family.. sent the link of your Aunty's blog to Hubby's cousins.. nd they were delighted to read the blog of their teacher...

Dhanya said...

That was a nice read :) Remembered my own 'first' experiences.. The Benz, the potato 'formations', the desserts all r too familiar. I had briefly mentioned about it here And for me I didn't know German either and managed to get lost the first day itself. Imagine roaming around in the streets for 3 hrs(till 1 am) when the temperature is negative and no warm clothes!!

Nanditha Prabhu said...

Hey, Chekku! (That's what we call my younger brat at home)
It was a nice read ! Did remind me of my initial days in Japan and the initial learning experiences , language hurdles , cultural shocks ... how much we change and adapt to situations with such experiences can only be experienced...and it feels really good to sit down and reflect on the journey you had so far ....wish you more and more learnig experiences to treasure and share ...

Radhika Ganesan said...

After reading the letter i could relate it to my mother's you have enough to eat ? Are the people around you good ? Are you happy and tension free ? etc etc ... Certainly its a wonderful feeling to recollect the beautiful moments in past...
Congrats for completing 3 years that were eventful and happy !
I think i have to go to some new place so that my mom uses internet too!

mathew said...

ofcoz…I read it more than once….it was such a pleasant feel..:-)

@Make the Impossible...Possible
hahaha…yeah..i have attempted that occasionally thereafter…;-P

@ Divs
thanks a lot…I was afraid this post would have been uninteresting for most readers…but I am pleasantly surprised that everyone identifies with it..

@ Prasoon
hehe..yeah…I would like to visit Mexico..not stay there…;-P

@ How do we know
LOL!! No actually that was I how I wrote….I always write such mails like that..:-P
Thanks a lot..:-)

I am sure you must have felt the same way like I did…
Yeah I really want to make it to Oktoberfest this time atleast….there doesn’t seem be any company out here who is ready to shell out money for the pilgrimage..:-(
Thank you…

@ Life Mysterious

@ Happy Kitten
I have told my aunt about it…I am not sure whether she would reply to the comments..since she is not internet savvy…except for the mails and chats….I ll let her know.. thanks for shar-ing btw… :-)

@ Dhanya
Nice to know someone who has been in the same boat..:-P
Getting lost in Germany with all those accurate maps and street signs…I think its impossible to get lost in this country…;-P
How do you manage your hill expeditions then…hehe..

eh..nice to know that…J
I think living Japan might have been as exciting as it was for me in Germany…yeah..maybe some asian etiquettes might be similar I guess…I think am still learning even though it has been three years since I have been here..

@ Radhika
hahaha..yeah…don’t worry…I still get such questions over phone even now.. :-P
thank you…and maybe you can initiate a internet familiarization program for your mom..:-)

Jina said...

:)Congrats on completing 3 years.
Now am sure every street is kaanapdam for u..;)

wanderlust said...

Hey congrats! I see you have an invitation to write for the 'Chicken Soup' series. Can I say " I told you so"?
I think I deserve the first autographed copy of your book, what do you say?

Your post reminded me of some good old memories and a letter I treasure the most - the last letter my youngest sister sent me before we lost her.

mathew said...

thank you...well the good thing is that here we dont need to remember the streets...ellavadthum yezuthi vachittu ondello.. :-P

thanks a lot..ayyo...pinee that was a chance for me to submit a story..first i have to write it..and then it has to be good enough to be acknowledged..:-D

and if something like that happens..autograph..hic hic.. ;-D

జేబి - JB said...

Congrats Cherian. This reminded my first days in Boston.

I do often check my old mail conversations - in fact, I forward them to my group of friends (those who were part of that mail chain) every 6 months or a year - nostalgia refreshes the life.

Ashwathy said...

sorry... commenting late.. i know

but cudnt help it. read it late but HAD to comment. lovely post :-) and yes sometimes reflections in retrospect provide the best imagination for posts!

Tina said...

Hi Mathew,

Nice read.. Reminded me of the initial mail that I sent back home to parents... gr8 about our parents generation ... they learn the new stuff like writing emails and all....
Esp the description about bland meat and lots of potatoes :) in all forms..
Gr8 to read about ur experiences...

razi said...

nice info..


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