Saturday, October 25, 2008

Danish Open 2008

I am back in saarbrucken from Danish Open. Also played the Dutch Open last week and lost in second round to Carl Baxster.

In Danish I was up against Hafiz Hashim from Malaysia. Since he was the former All England Champ I was really excited to play him cause I knew I had a chance against him. I lost very closely though, 18-21, 21-15, 21-19.

But it was a very eventful trip actually.

Went in train. It was typically like our Indian trains. I had booked myself in a 3 tier AC compartment. And got to sleep very well. Why eventfull many might ask.

Thats because normally whenever I travel in train nothing fun happens. I meet no one exciting at all. I am basically on my owm, listening to my ipod or watching one of my favourite movies on my DVD player.

Not this time!! Had 2 incident which was quite interesting.

While going to Denmark. I had to take a fast train to a station called Mannhiem.That was a transit. It was an hour and half journey. A guy with long hairs tied like a Sadhu came in and sat next to me. And my nose could imediately tell me that this guy had'nt had a bath for ages. Nontheless who am I to question. He sat and started off almost immediately

'Are you from India'


'Oh, one of my girlfriends is an Indian'

In my mind I was like 'one of your girlfriends??Dude have you checked yourself in the mirror?One of your girlfriends? How many do you have? And a guys smelling like a walking trash can like you?I am afraid you might not even have one'

I said 'Oh, great'

And then we went on and on for 30 min about our culture and heritage.

He was a mexican and was on a backpack tour of Europe. He told all his incidents in the trip.

Ticket collector came and asked for our tickets. I showed mine.

Now you won't believe it. Our man did'nt have one. I dont know what happened. He said he seems to have misplaced it somewhere. But the TC did not fall for it. She quickly called the cops and had him out of the train.

Then I walked out of the cabin as I wanted to change my place because by then it smelt like a sewerage. Collected all my bags, checked down to see if I had left something. I find a green Mexican passport. Inside which had the train ticket of the poor guys. I ran to the door, as the train was about to leave. Showed it to the TC and gave it back to the poor guy. But the train Authorities would not let him in because they said he was too smelly. They wanted him to first shower and then come back.

Thoughts about him was in my mind the whole journey.

Next incident that happened was while I boarded the train back to Saarbrucken from Denmark yesterday.

It was a chilly Friday night. My bones were feeling cold in the dark waiting for the train to arrive. The City Night Line, CNL its called is a fantastic train.

I boarded the train at 2023 from Odense, Denmark to Mannhiem. The journey takes almost 12 hours.

So I entered my cabin, 3 tier AC. Already the other 5 were there. 3 Germans, one Swedish and one dark guy.

Wished all of them.

The dark guys was Sri Lankan. I realised it immediately from his accent.

His story is unbelievable. He is a refugee from Jaffna. He flew from his motherland in '92 due to the turmoil in Jaffna with LTTE and all.

Someone told him back then that he could seek asylum in Denmark. He boared a flight to denmark via Russia. The Danish authorities heard his story, kept him in a Refugee camp for 3 years and now he is a citizen of Denmark. Works as a labourer in a Pork processing factory.

The other thing is, the bloke has not seen his parents last 16 years ever since he left Srilanka. He is scared that if he visits Sri Lanka, they might detain him there. So he plans to visit them next year in Chennai maybe.

Imagine what must be going on in his head. Have not seen his family for 16 years. refugee in a foriegn country. Doing some cheap labour. Not married. Afraid about his identity. crazy man!!

Thougts about him are still lingering in my mind.

I must say we as Indian as truly blessed to live here. I am not sure about all Indian but at least me and the bulk of my friends fall in the 'truly blessed' category. Living in a democracy, can do what you want. Pursue various things and likings. Have your own identity and space to live. And still sometime we crib.

Facts and stories like the above should change many peoples perspectives about life I hope.

In Denmark I visited the zoo. It was an amazing place as you could see many animals very very close. It was quite interactive.

All in all a wonderful trip with a lot a knowledge sessions.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

League match and party at Munich

Last week I visited Munich. Its where I played last six years in 2nd league. I stayed as usual at the Hauber's. The room in cellar had been mine whenever I visited last six years. So I straight away gatecrashed into that room. It is mine, it will be mine forever. I trained for 2 days with my former team mates and Julia had a party in my name because I reached the finals of Bitburger Open.

The champagne bottle you can see was a gift I got for Runner Up in Bitburger Open. I had taken it to Munich and we uncorked it there.

The party was fun. We had wiener Snitzels and fries. Dessert was Ice cream and Yogurt.

Hilde had as usual made a huge Cake for me and I enjoyed every bit of it.

On Saturday we had a league match in Munich against a club called Regenburg. I won my singles and team won 7-1.

Saturday we drove back to Saarbrucken.

Sunday we played at home vs Langenfeld. Team had a draw 4-4. I lost my singles to Premyslaw Wacha. He is world 12 right now. I had beaten him 3 months ago in Singapore Open but could not repeat the performance.

The other pic is from the 2 nd class compartment of Die Bahn (The Railways). I travelled from Saarbrucken to Munich in this and it is even better that an airline seat. Great comfort. The train sometimes hits 350 KMPH. It has a restaurant attached in the train and every seat had a power supply to run your DVD or Computer.

So... fun time in Munich over. Now I need to focus on Dutch Open starting on wednesday.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Bitburger Open

Bitburger Open finished on sunday and your's truly was in the finals. Lost to Chetan Anand in a very very close match. It was fun because I was playing very well and top form. Making to finals was quite good.

Only thing I miss is the flat screen TV the winner got. GOD!!!

Anyway, this week is no tournament for me. I play next week in the Ducth Open. Hope to repeat the same or go one step further.

Also this week I am visiting Munich. Going there cause I make my custom made insoles there. the doctor knows all my foot movements and shape etc... so that he can make the one which fits me very well. Actually finding the right insole is very difficult. Some of my Badminton friends have gone to as many as 5 different places and still have not found the right one. I luckyly hit the bulls eye first shot itself.

So I leave on wednesday and come back Monday.