This post might sting some of my fellow Germans but its just written to give a reality check and also to prove nothing is perfect. In one of my previous post I just covered some of the things Indians and India (I&I) should learn from Germans and Gemany(G&G).
It was just the part 1 of the article which means I would follow that article up with another article which highlights some of the other points missed by me, which we should learn from G&G. Some people mailed me that the article was a bit harsh and that I was actually ridiculing the Indians, but believe me I had no such intentions and all I want is that things should change in India and in us and we should try to learn positive things from others. But surprisingly most people told me that , I was absolutely right and that they could relate to whatever I was saying , and they felt that India has to change and so does Indians. But How?
my friends in the apartment (4 Germans)
That's a story for another day. Today I would focus on few things that they can learn from us or from other countries. And some of these points doesn't apply only to Germans but also applies to Indians as well. But nevertheless this article should be focused by Germans and its with perspective of my views and also views of some of my other international and German friends :P . Few things might bite you ! But let me remind you again that these points apply to most of the general population and not to each and every German living in Germany.
1) Pretty Much Mind Their Own Business-
Most of the Germans I have come across mind their own business. Which is good sometimes, but mostly it doesn't cultivate relationships (friendship and getting to know others). For example, I lived in dorms and no German was interested in talking to me nor doing something out of selflessness. I approached my neighbors , introduced myself, and also invited them for a dinner. I am not expecting dinner invitations, but mostly I found that Germans mostly interact only if its absolutely necessary. I lived with my friends in a house, but I had to take the initiative to make sure we share our stuff and also I used to cook for them and they loved it and then they started cooking for me and for other roommates who were also German. They mostly used to keep their stuff separately and buy and shop stuffs for themselves. I also lived in dorm sharing the kitchen with an Indian and we used to share our bills, cook for each other etc. After he left, there was a German who actually told me to separate the space in fridge and also to cook at appropriate time so that he can cook after that and there is no conflict. I had no problems in sharing the bills and it was actually awesome.
my Budapest friends
2)Pretty shy and not very open unlike Americans/Czech/OZ/NZ etc
Germans even though look very foreign to Indians but except the beer drinking culture here, people are not so open. People don't speak unless they really have to . Unless they are meant to they don't approach you.Sometimes the beers and alcohol do give them the ability to just approach any stranger but usually they are very shy. Even during my internship here in Munich there are many students who just sit all alone eating and doing their work. I just had to start talking with some of them and suddenly we became good friends. This is certainly not what I expected in a third world country like Germany.compared to this , indians are much better and mostly can start a conversation and ask about the someone's whereabouts even if they are strangers.
3)Germany just doesn't feel like a place to be unless if you speak German
I mean seriously even in Munich which is considered one of the most international places to be in Germany , I have met people from so many other countries who feel lonely , because they have no one to talk to and in some of the meetups I have been here, people from UK,Australia,USA,NZ etc have told me that it just doesn't feel right here because of the language. But let me tell you , these same set of people told me that they would love to be in Warsaw or in Prague rather than in here for the rest of their life.
4) There is always a negative energy and aversion towards foreigners or people who don't look similar to Germans
Look at India. Indians just love foreigners. You visit India and people look at you with a sense of welcome and they feel proud that you have visited their country. People love to talk to foreigners and get to know about them. Even if you are stared at , the stare expresses joy and awe of meeting someone who doesn't look like them. I think Indians love foreigners more than anybody else. But sadly Indians hate Indians. Kinda ironical right? That's something to be ashamed about. On the other hand, in Germany I never felt a welcome and positive kind of feeling. I am brown and people stare at me like I should leave this country soon or else I am dead. Well there have also been instances where people are welcoming but mostly I found the cold eyed stares everywhere. I have also been given love but I am talking about the general response from the public in day to day life. I was literally yelled at by a German chick "dieses Land verlassen. Scheißausländer" which means "Leave this place you shitty foreigner". I am not bringing a racism war here being from India ( more racism than anywhere else), but its just that I felt the openness to other cultures and people is not as much as its in USA, UK or in OZ. And this perspective is not just shown to people of different skin. Usually Germans don't prefer anybody who are not basically from here and don't speak their language or at-least don"t look like German.
5) People are mostly comfortable to speak only in German even if they speak good English
In Germany if you meet a group of Germans , they just keep talking among themselves in German no matter if there is a foreigner among them and if he/she is not getting anything. Unless if someone is really interested in knowing about you they will switch to English language. Unlike in India, where if some member joins a group and people are talking to him/her then they communicate in a common language which is English. Like in my bachelors engineering even if my mother-tongue is Tamil , we (me and my Tamil friends) always used to switch to Hindi or English based on the people with whom we are interacting and in that process we also interacted among ourselves in the same language as the new person prefers. When in dorm and in apartment I had a series of meetups here and people would just continue in German, even if they knew I spoke just the basic. And its not because they thought I would learn German but because they prefer in talking in that language.
6) Being too direct sometimes and not caring about the person's situation
Sometimes I had problem with Germans with this situation. I was ill but on this day I had to clean the kitchen and I was not spared. Its good to be punctual and follow rules but sometimes people should also understand other's situation. Once I made some Indian food and I came from gym so was quite tired. One of my German friend ate everything because it tasted good.This happened to me when I was in dorm. Was kinda pissed off because now I had to eat bread and milk ! And I was not sad about this situation, But few other things happened where the situation was not understood and I had to suffer. This has never happened with me when living with Indians. I must say we Indians have a very good understanding about other's problems and try to help as much as I can without thinking about ego or about who has done more and who has done less. Here this was just one example. This has happened numerous times so I had to make this as a point.
7)The small gap which remains in Friendships
OK, this was not experienced completely by me but few of my German friends just told me how friendship works out in Germany. They told me how some of their best friends could not help them in their dire situation. For example my friend (German) had to go to UK for work. Then after returning she had to go and visit a place where her friend lived. And when she asked her best friend (6 years they were together) for a place to stay( not even a place. all she asked for was a roof on top . no bed. no bed sheet and stuff) all she got the reply was " I don't know whether my parents would agree to this". And I heard few more such examples from my fellow German friends. I have a very very good friend here in Germany and he's the most different German I have ever met (all the above points doesn't apply to him). But still there is a friendship gap, kinda like a hole between us I think, which I never felt between my Indian friends or my friend from Austria and Philippines.
8) The Ego, some of the Germans feel when it comes to doing some particular stuff
I have many German friends who have found simple things like cleaning a toilet or doing something physical being a bit uncool and unpleasant job. Particularly the first point, which is about cleaning the toilets seems to them like a crime. I think it also applies to people from other third countries. Which is kinda odd since no job is bad as long as you feel like it. Every job and the person doing it should be respected as long as its bringing a good around them or the society.
Let me remind again that some of these points may seem so ludicrous and untrue to few of you , but I am talking about the majority and not about few specific nice and awesome person that each country has. My friends here (many Germans) mostly have some of the traits above, and there are few who are like the gems from the ocean.
Comment below if you are not from Germany and have experienced some of these things in your life. I would come up with the part 2 of this article after thinking about the few points which I might have missed. Until then stay fit, stay focused , spread LOVE and PEACE everywhere.