quick reads

The big news: Despite NGT approval, Delhi government halts odd-even plan, and 9 other top stories

Other headlines: The Class 11 student of the Gurugram school was the CBI’s key suspect, and Chidambaram thanked Gujarat after GST Council reduced taxes.

A look at the headlines right now:

  1. Delhi government calls off odd-even scheme after NGT refuses to exempt women and two-wheelers: The National Green Tribunal had approved the policy with riders earlier in the day and had asked the government to reconsider the plan to increase parking fees in Delhi.  
  2. Class 11 student was CBI’s main suspect from the beginning in Gurugram school murder case: According to a Haryana court order, the agency had raided the teenager’s house on September 29 and seized a few articles and documents.  
  3. Common sense has prevailed, P Chidambaram says a day after GST Council reduces tax on 178 items: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi reiterated his demand for a structural change to the system and said the Goods and Services Tax should be simplified.
  4. Congress likely to allot 20-25 seats to Hardik Patel’s outfit in Phase 1 of Gujarat polls, say reports: Party Vice President Rahul Gandhi is reportedly willing to consider fielding at least 50 candidates from the community.  
  5. 20 companies bid to complete Jaypee Infratech’s real estate projects: JSW Group, Vedanta Ltd, Lodha Group, Essel Group and Deutsche Bank are among the firms that have expressed interest.  
  6. Income Tax officials continue searches for third day at Jaya TV and other locations in Tamil Nadu: Jailed All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader VK Sasikala, her family, and their business associates are being investigated for alleged tax evasion.  
  7. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah accuses Saudi Arabia of declaring war on Lebanon: The leader of the militant group said that Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s resignation was part of Riyadh’s effort to stoke sectarian tensions in Lebanon.  
  8. Australian government loses its majority after MP resigns over dual citizenship: The prime minister ruled out the possibility of a no-confidence motion, and claimed that independents in the lower House would support his government.  
  9. Arunachal Pradesh honours singer Bhupen Hazarika with a 10-foot statue in Bolung village: Sculpted by Biren Singh of Guwahati, it will be unveiled in early 2018.  
  10. Google celebrates women’s labour movement leader Anasuya Sarabhai’s 132nd birthday with a doodle: Sarabhai had founded the Ahmedabad Textile Labour Association, India’s oldest union of textile workers, in 1920.  
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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.