The title is the name of this Geeta Mehta book that we saw hoardings for everywhere we went, translates to 'The Maharani', much to my utter disspointment at the tameness of it. Hilter country and no goriness? Bah! We headed to Germany with Sims being very apprehensive about the hosts (since they were my friends). I guess it was because I hadn’t met them and they were bloggers. Ok, I had met Parmanu for a short time in Chicago when he bought me a banana. I had to assuage her fears about bloggers saying that I was one too and perfectly normal at that. That’s when I think she had a small breakdown. But as luck would have it, the scenery was turning to look very DDLJ-like outside the train. She felt much better. 'Wow, look at these lovely hills with pretty tudor homes.' It was quite pretty. Germany felt much more manicured and newer than ther other European countries we visited. Their roads reminded us the US roads.
We met Gini and Parmanu at Heidelberg Train Station a couple of minutes late by which time Gini had concluded that I am a rebel for not following her instructions closely. She scolded me just as we hugged. So much for the initial niceties. Brother Parmanu impressed me with his Mercedes and business suit (probably Armani) that he wore just for this occasion. I just hope the Merc loaded with an annoying GPS unit wasn’t an expensive hire. Heildelberg had a very dreamlike feel to it. A lovely castle on a hill with the full moon as a backdrop and swans on the river….I came back to reality only when the swans bit my fingers. Sister Gini just heard about her new job offer and we went, ‘Treat treat!’ What perfect timing, I say. We were treated at the Indian restaurant much to our happiness. That reminds me, I hope the biryani I packed is still in the fridge.
Reached their cozy home in Waldorf and as tired as we were, the hosts started this insane fight with us and got us exhausted. Parmanu decided to let me and Sims sleep in the bedroom while he slept in the living room. He had also cleared up some shelf space for our belongings. So very sweet. But I couldn’t let them do that unless they had intentions of letting us stay there for a month. We fought and finally they relented when I threatened them with some of my jokes. It wasn’t such a big sacrifice as the living room was perfectly fine and even had a nice pull out bed. It had fluffier pillows and soft mattress. Hmmm... maybe that’s why he wanted to sleep here. I had one scarring incident some years ago due to this kind of behavior. This was during my brother’s first night when they (brother and wife) felt bad that I was sleeping (rather happily and comfortably) on the living room floor. After a long battle, the three of us were sleeping uncomfortably on the bed. My mom still blames me for their not having kids yet.
So coming back to Parmanu’s home, it was very comfortable and the hosts made it even more so. Colours(Parmanu’s wife) was having an affair in Switzerland and hence couldn’t make it. We missed her whenever someone said she makes some really good food.
Next day morning after a spectacular spread of delicious breakfast by Gini, we were driven (in the same Mercedes to the songs of Rang de Basanti) to Sasbachwalden, another pretty little town in Black forest.
We also spent a considerable time talking about blogging and bloggers. I am sure Sims enjoyed every bit of this part. We tried to explain the whole deal and she tried to understand, poor thing. ‘You get free accommodation if you blog?’
The highlight of the day was of course the Indian play ‘Teen Sakina Manzil’ by Ramu Ramanathan whom we had a chance to meet and get impressed with. Ramu seemed quite enthusiastic himself about the small scratch he was making in Germany. Even I was quite taken by the German response and visibility this play had gathered. If you think our experience in Germany was getting to be quite India oriented, wait till you hear the rest. That night in Frankfurt we had some great Indian food at a restaurant. With Parmanu around, I am told, we were lucky that we had our fill of other cuisines before we embarked in Germany.
Next day we went to the well known Frankfurt Book Fair with India being the theme this year. Lucky me- I was just not getting enough of India in Europe. Indian authors like Shashi Tharoor, Vikram Seth, Vikram Chandra etc were invited as guests. There were Indian programs and book readings translated to German. When I walked in, a Tamil poet, Salma, was reading out excerpts and it was being translated to German. It felt quite good to see all the excitement about India and Indian authors. As much as I am fond of books, Parmanu survives on them. If it was possible, he’d be reading one while driving. Or maybe he was being polite this one time. The clincher to the day was the anna-saaru that Gini cooked that night. She will get hundred children if my blessings work. By that time I think the hosts were tired of being nice all the time. Their true colours surfaced. They made me watch the movie Padosan! The fact that I hadn’t watched the movie before got them all worked up and they assured me that it was a hilarious movie that I shouldn’t miss. Half way through the movie, I will agree that Padosan is a movie I will buy to torture my kids when they disobey me. ‘Go watch Padosan, you ingrates… If I tell daddy that you broke the flower pot, he’ll make you watch it twice again. Just you wait.’
Gini, Colours & Parmanu, I didn't do justice to the wonderful times we had just coz I did not want to advertize your place for random bloggers to take refuge. I think we might have made Sims a die hard blogger, if not a believer that all bloggers aren't as weird as me. Overall, the weekend couldn’t have been more perfect. Let me think….. really hard…nah! I think you guys made our Germany experience worth gloating about. Die End!