Author: Siva

The Charm of East Germany and its Christmas Markets

“I don’t like the perceptions that people have when they speak about East Germany“, remarked Pierre in whose car I was traveling from Stuttgart to the East German city of Leipzig. In stark contrast to the rapid strides that its neighbor West Germany made between the second world war and the fall of the Berlin wall, East Germany was subject to USSR style rule that left its citizenry economically disadvantaged. Perhaps Pierre rightly assumed that people recall this difficult past when they differentiate between the east and the west. He was right, a city carries its past with it....

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Autumn in Amsterdam

‘How much?’ ‘50 Euros’ ‘How long?’ ‘20 to 30 minutes’ ‘50 Euros is too high’ ‘Why not?’ …Silence… A conversation recounted between a tall brown guy and a pale, strikingly pretty girl in flowery blue two piece clothing across a glass door in the red light area close to the central rail station in Amsterdam. I pondered for a long time over what could have been the guy’s answer to ‘Why not?’ What is he paying for? Is it something that can be quantified? And how did she arrive at the figure of 50 Euros? An experience that is...

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Cologne, Bonn and Königswinter – A memoir

A memorable journey: We were on the Autobahn driving at 140 kilometres an hour. We were chasing the setting sun at a feverish pace and it was playing hide and seek with us. Laura was telling us about her stay in the US. She had stayed with a “host” family for nearly an year, reaching the US as part of a choir group sent from Germany and as she recalled those experiences, there was a slight change in the tone of her voice. Sometimes, when we revisit a happy phase in our lives, the onrush of memories tends to...

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Dachau: A chilling remnant of what man is capable of!

The corpse which had just been removed stared in at me with glazed eyes. Two hours before I had spoken to that man. Now I continued sipping my soup. Viktor Frankl wrote Man’s search for meaning, a book (originally published as Trotzdem Ja Zum Leben Sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager) based on his experiences in a concenration camp. The book is a must read for anyone who is interested in a first hand account of events that transpired in numerous concentration camps during the worst days of Nazi rule. Frankl was also the founder of Logotherapy. This and a...

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A poetic sojourn in the Alsacian capital

July 14, 9.45 PM – I alighted from the tram at the station Etoile Polygone and searched for a place offering vegetarian fare. 10.30 PM – I quickly settled the bill for a drink and a plate of noodles and rushed out to witness an extraordinary sight. Some 500 people had gathered in the cold weather to witness fireworks. The night sky was lit up by red, green and orange hued sparks as the crowd enamored by the sight cheered on. The fireworks continued for a full 20 minutes…every time the crowd thought the best part of the display...

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