quick reads

The big news: North Korea’s UN envoy warns of a nuclear war ‘at any moment’, and 9 other top stories

Other headlines: An ex-EC chief said the controversy around the Gujarat polls could have been avoided, and scientists spotted the first neutron star collision.

A look at the headlines right now:

  1. ‘A nuclear war may break out any moment,’ warns North Korea’s ṭ envoy: Deputy Ambassador Kim In-ryong said the US had subjected Pyongyang to ‘extreme and direct nuclear threat’ since the 1970s.
  2. Delay in announcing poll dates for Gujarat an ‘avoidable controversy’, says former EC chief: TS Krishnamurthy said the Election Commission could have found an administrative solution for the situation.
  3. Neutron star collision seen for first time, creates platinum, gold and gravitational waves: The discovery is being viewed as ground-breaking because of the amount of new information scientists now have, including where gold comes from.
  4. 800 paramilitary personnel continue to be deployed in Darjeeling: The Home Ministry had wanted to withdraw 10 of the 15 companies stationed in the hills, but the state had sought to have them for longer, an official said.
  5. Amit Shah was the Man of the Match in the UP Assembly election, Narendra Modi says in Gujarat: The prime minister and the BJP president addressed the party workers in Gandhinagar as the Gujarat Gaurav Yatra concluded on Monday.
  6. Rajesh and Nupur Talwar released from Dasna jail in Aarushi-Hemraj murder case: The acquittal is a stamp for their innocence, and this is what they deserved, said their lawyer.
  7. Heavy showers may dampen Diwali festivities across India, says IMD: Weather officials said the retreating monsoon triggered the heavy rain that lashed Mumbai’s western suburbs on Sunday.
  8. Seven killed after building collapses in Bengaluru’s Ejipura area: Although initial reports said the structure collapsed because of a cylinder blast, Karnataka Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy said that was unlikely.
  9. Toll in Somalia’s ‘deadliest attacks since 2007’ rises to 300, hundreds injured: Authorities said some people searching for their relatives only found unrecognisable body parts.
  10. Taj Mahal is a ‘blot on Indian culture’, was built by traitors, says BJP leader Sangeet Som: Politicians criticised the remarks and pointed out that the ‘Red Fort was built by the same traitors’.
We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.