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Languages are Dresses for our Thoughts…

Parthasarathi
Berlin, am 26. March 2013

“How charmed I am when I overhear a German word which I understand!” said W.D Howells. I agree…Now you would think what made me say this?

The answer lies in a series of unprecedented events that occurred on the very first day I landed in Berlin. Deutchland had its unique way of welcoming me…When I first landed in Germany on the 8th of October 2012, my luggage got misplaced during my connecting flight from Brussels and hence I had to lodge a complaint at the Berlin airport. The lady at the airport could not speak or comprehend English and my German was certainly not worth praise. Actions speak louder than words (thanks to the person who devised Sign Language); I was successful in registering my complaint. Moving ahead out of the airport, thanks to my stars, the Turkish Taxi driver I landed up with could speak little English.

Having reached my destination on time I was still unable to get access to my apartment, all thanks to a classmate of mine who had gone for a stroll with my set of room keys. I did seek for help around but sadly people could not understand me. For first time in my life I realized that communicating without a common medium (of course the language) can be devastating.

After the tiring journey and even more tiring communication exercises, I relaxed for a while at my friend’s place. Thankfully my keys arrived soon to allow me to move into my apartment. Afterwards I set myself outside in search of something to eat as I was in desperate need of refueling. I found a general store named Lidl, at 5minute’s walk from my apartment. I stepped inside this mammoth outlet, totally clueless of the disasters waiting for me inside. As I turned my eyes around, I could see delicious food beautifully stacked on the racks inviting me to purchase them…but in German (Deutsche). Being a vegetarian, it was very difficult for me to differentiate between what lied in my domain of interest and what did not. After considerable efforts I finally ended up buying a salad dressing containing meat (Alas, I did not know the word for meat in Deutsche then…).

When I billed all the items that I had bought, the very sweet lady at the counter mumbled something which I did not understand post which she politely showed me the display,8.79 Euros…

Later, at night I got a call from a man who was speaking in German and yet again I failed to comprehend. As I asked him to speak in English which was very difficult for him…Still he tried and all that I could understand was “luggage…down…apartment…5minutes”. I happily collected my luggage and quietly chose to go to bed, in order to avoid further adventures.

After such a thrilling experience on my 1st day in Berlin, it was very well understood by me that to stay in Germany one thing that I cannot do without, is Deutsche. And here I am today, having completed A1 am currently in pursuit of A2.

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