Sunday, September 21, 2008

German culture of time management and precision

This would be my first serious post on a topic. Its on my second favourite country after India... Deutschland...aka Germany.

As many might not be aware, German language has its roots to Sanskrit and that makes it even more special for me. When I came up on this information in 2002 the first thing I did was go to German language class. I tried my best to learn but due to time constraints I could not do it fully. I can speak in bits and pieces and I feel I have the foundation to master it. Will do it in the coming years.

It is a country which has very little Indian population...Thats not special though.

I am very proud to say I am associated with this country because I like the way things function here. I like the language because it sounds so powerful when you speak. I like the way people think here and more importantly the precision.

We have heard a lot on german precision. I want to just give a brief examples about this which I personally encountered.

This was when I arrived here in Saarbrucken. The previous day when I left India I had told my team mate that I would arrive in Frankfurt airport around 8 AM, then take a train which leave's at 9.24 AM and reach Saarbruken main station at 11.54 AM. This, mind you I had to change a train at some station, which I forgot now at around 10 am.The connecting train from that particular station was after 4 min!!!

I did all this and was in Saarbrucken station around 11.56. I waited until 12 and then I thought

'Shit Aravind you should at least sent him an sms that you would reach ontime after catching the connecting train, stupid of you, now wait!!'

Then I thought I should call him, so went to a booth nearby, picked up the phone, shoved some coins in, and rang. Thomas picked up.

I said ' Thomas Aravind here, will you be late?'
'I'm there in 2 seconds R-vin'
Hung up the phone and saw Thomas there.

Got into the car, looked in my watch...12.03.

3 minutes late..Ah!! thats ok man, India ho tha to, bloke would surely be at least 15 mins late and the whole journey he would try to cover it up by saying how much traffic he had go through, almost making you feel guilty of giving him all the trouble.

But wait the story does not end here.

The watch on Thomas' dash board said 12.01!! What!! 12.01?? Then I remembered I always keep my watch about 2 to 3 min fast!!! German precision for you.

Thank you.


One week gone and definitely having a wonderful time here in Saarbrucken. Been cooking quite and bit and training very hard too. The best part is I straight away save up 0ne and a half hour of travel time here compared to Bangalore. This Sunday I have a league match in Saarbrucken itself. first home match for the season.

Missing Munich a bit actually. Last five year when I was in Munich, during this time of the year used to be Octoberfest. It's a festival where millions of people around the world come there and drink beer!! The atmosphere and festivity is electric. This year I am missing it though.

The Octoberfest is celebrated in numerous places around the world, including namma Bengalooru. But the HQ is obviously Munich. And imagine I was living in this city whenever I came to Europe. Hey guys dont be so envious man, I am blessed :-). But then no prizes for guessing why my performance would slump during these 2 weeks ...just joking. I have quit Alcohol for the last 3 years and feelin good about it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Belgium Open done!!

I am back from Belgium. Was not particularly a great outing as I lost in the quarters to Dieter Domke from Germany. But wasn't too bad either. Lots to learn though. In my blogs here I will not write too much about my wins or loss, maybe wins but definitely nothing much about losing.I will try to write about some funny incidents, or views about something...things like that, you know.

My base is Saarbrucken in Germany and I have a small room at the National training centre here. It has an attached bath with kitchen. So the plan is, I participate in the Bundesliga matches here and train with the German team. And then I will also participate in lots of what we call 'EBU 's' ( European Badminton Union) tournaments.

By playing International tournament my world Ranking will improve and since I have a place of my own in Europe it helps. Meaning, the burden monetarily or travel wise is less.

Basically almost all European countries have thier open tournaments and the following months we have Bitburger Open in Saarbrucken, Germany., Dutch Open in Almere, Holland., Danish Open in Odense, Denmark and French open in Paris, France. I will participate in these.

I am enjoying my stay here. team members are nice and I am looking forward for some Bundesliga which will happen in the coming weekend. We travel to Hamburg by road ( 6 hrs on the autobahn) and play them at thier home. It should be fun.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Blog world entry

So the blog mania has bitten me too. Let me clarify though that I am not writing this blog because I am angry with critics and I want a forum to express my views. Nor am I doing this because I find solace in writing. Not because lots of sportsmen are doing it... not because of this… not because of that… nothing.

I am doing it just for TP….time pass. Right now I just came from India to Europe. I will be here for 10 weeks and I have lots of free time. So thought that I might as well amuse myself.

Don’t know if I will continue this once I am in India, because there I don’t have time even to scratch my back.

But I must say Dev Sukumar; one of our great Badminton columnists inspired me for sure.

I arrived here on Monday. I am based at a place called Saarbruken in Germany, about 2 hrs away from Frankfurt. It’s definitely a very peaceful place. Like in the middle of nothing. You can say this place is something like our SAI but in practicality far away from it. Basically it’s the German National training centre for a few sports like Badminton and some athletics discipline. Amazing facilities here.

Off course they have other sports here too. Handball, tennis, gymnastics, swimming...etc happens. I am in the midst of professional sportsmen here with a room of mine fitted with bathroom and kitchen. Being independent is the order of the day. Have to do my own laundry and groceries. And as you must have noticed, Conditions are obviously the best.

Breakfast and lunch happens at the cafeteria and dinner happens at my room. So I am a part time cook also. Which is quite good cause we Bhat’s are supposed to be great cooks.
Haven’t you heard “Bhattre, ond masale…yenne kammi”.

This is the 6th year I am here in Germany. I come here every year to play the Bundesliga competition between Sep and March. Last 5 years I was based at Munich (now don’t start thinking about Oktoberfest). I played in the second division. But this year I had this opportunity to play in the first league and who better than to play for the defending champions.

I am the number one singles player for Bishmishiem. They have won the German Championships 3 times already and have some of the top players. Let me remind you that Germany has one of the best Badminton league in the world. Lot of top players in the world has participated time and again. This year the star attraction is obviously the Malaysian south paw, Wong. Wong Choon Hann was former World No.1 and presently top 15 in World Rankings. It would be fun playing against him in this league.

It’s wonderful to be in Germany actually. I really like the way the country is run. Hence I choose to come here every year.
Also another reason is it’s a good base for me as at this time of the year, every year, many International tournaments happen in Europe. So it’s not feasible to go to India and come back for tournaments. Making a base in Europe during this year is critical and many will agree that Germany, which is in the middle of Europe, is the best choice.

Germans are warm and fun loving people I must say. Never once have they made me feel left out or bad here.

Last 5 years as I mentioned I played for this club in Munich called TSV Neubeberg. I would stay at the club’s manager’s place, the Haubers. Hubert and Hilde treated me like their son. Maybe that’s another reason why I like Germany. Always made me feel special and is a very loving family. Julia is their daughter and Mike, their son always helpful.

Our team in Munich played in the second league and our captain Sebastian was always spirited (pun intented). We had the tall lanky Felix, very talented. Timo, Benny, Thomas, Toby all fun.

Anyway, don’t let me bore you. I am in a new place now with a new team. I will surely visit Munich though.

This weekend I go to Belgium for the Open there. All the best for me!!!!

Hey forgot to mention. I am getting married this December to a girl I have known for the last 6 years. Pallavi Sengupta is an HR professional and a former Bengal state player. She is based in Mumbai now. Please come… you guys are invited!!!

Watch Rock On!!! It rocks.