I first kept my foot in German soil during October 2013, feeling quite happy and keeping a open mind, thinking that I would embrace the culture and also teach them something if i have something positive to offer. During the first few days of my stay i came to know so much about the Germans and Germany(G&G in short). Their sense of discipline, their time management skills, their ability to be honest beyond ordinary ( well most of them are and you can't expect everyone to be). I thought everything was perfect about them , and i sometimes felt bad that why Indians can't be like them. But then i made so many German friends and then slowly and steadily I had a closer look at their life and insight and then i also realized the so many short comings of Germans and their attitude.
This blog post is the first part of a series of posts which will post on the positives and negatives of this country and what I learned and what they need to improve based on experience of me and some of my friends. This post is gonna convey more about the positives which I think others should adapt (specially my motherland India). The second part which focuses much more on the negatives is specially for those who actually avoid Indians and think being with Germans is much better and cooler( well i felt this way and i still do but i also realized few things which Germans don't do or care unlike Indians). This blog post might be scrutinized by lots of my fellow Germans but this is just a broad picture of what i observed and applies to most of the population. It is also possible that some of these positives and negatives are found in people from both of these countries but i am talking about the overall general population so don't bite me :). Nevertheless comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thus the story begins. I begin with few things which i love about G&G and why it should be implemented or followed in India, and why Indians should learn these things from them. And the other half (mostly it would be another article, like a part 2) i would focus on the things which i hate or things which Germans should try to learn from us Indians or others(and these are the things which are pretty important in day to day life )
When i came to Germany 10 months ago, the first positive impression me and most of my friends got was that of the train timings and traffic. I mean seriously If there is god, they should show mercy on us Indians. The train timings are precise and even if there is a delay ( i never faced any delay but one of my friend told me that his train got delayed by 20 minutes which is still a short time) its not as long as how it happens in India. In India , train gets delayed sometimes by 5-6 hours (yes it does happen). Also, in India if you check online that your train will arrive around 2:00 pm the chances of it arriving around 2:00 (take 15 minutes more or less) are bleak. In Germany there are timing boards in every bus and train/tram platform which mentions the arrival/departure timings of the respective transportation. And they are pretty accurate. I mean deadly accuracy. Its unbelievable to watch the transportation system being so precise here after coming from India. And let me be clear , this timing thing(y) was precise only in Germany. I was in Czech republic and sometimes there used to be delay of 3-5 mins in local trains( which is still pretty much less) but it was pretty common. The place where i lived in India(I am from Chennai which is one of the major cities there), there was no timing scheduled for local buses. Depending on the amount of people taking the bus(the more the people, the early the bus would start), the bus used to start off early or late.
Traffic is pretty controlled and everyone follows the traffic rules ( sometimes people do drive past the green signal but that's when nobody is walking on the road and its completely deserted). Most of the population here uses zebra crossing and obey traffic signals ( sometimes people are upset if someone breaks the traffic rules. has happened with me when i did it once :) ). There is a side lane specially for cycles and one for people to walk around places which is pretty neat so that other fast drivers can use the main lane/road without hurting any other slow vehicles. Contrary to that in India,most of the roads doesn't have a separate lane for cycles and roads. Cycles (or fahhrrad as its called in German) are mostly ridden along with other vehicles (which kinda sucks for them since they have to drive accordingly). Russel Peters once told in one of his jokes that in India we have the policy which we call it as "create your own lane". Which is actually true if you have been in India and witnessed it. If there is some space available where there is a possibility for your vehicle to go through then people just create their own path across no matter what rules are being broken. Mostly people don't give a shit about traffic rules ( i think this is also possible due to illiteracy in some parts and they don't know what these lights are for and maybe they just think these are lights to make the streets more fun !! and believe me driving tests are a joke and nobody takes it seriously). And population is not the reason why the traffic is so bad in India. I think the lands are big enough to control and make people to follow the traffic rules but it's the people's mindset which has to be changed. People just cross roads whenever there are no oncoming vehicles, and zebra crossings are as meaningless as studying an engineering course in India which is different from Computer Science.
The last remark also brings me to my next point. Students in India mostly take engineering or medicine because they think its their destiny. They already know that they will do engineering while in their kindergarten or school. Mostly they don' t follow their interests (parents pressure plays a vital role here). They just know that they should take engineering so that their parents stop bothering them and also they gain some respect from the society. That's the reason I think India has one of the highest number of engineers graduating in the world. The next intriguing thing. In India whatever Engineering course you take , it doesn't matter since int the end , either they are recruited by a software company or you are expected to work for a software company. Again I don't mean all the students but most of the Indian colleges and universities follow this pattern. For example i studied in a shitty college ( that's the reason it won't be mentioned ever !! ) and people studying civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering , electronics and communication engineering , computer science , etc etc all got recruited by companies like CSC, WIPRO, INFOSYS (all of these are big software and IT giants in India). I mean you study building dams and stuff for 4 years (in civil) , or engines and crankshaft (in mechanical) and in the end you are only expected to know C,C++ or JAVA which most of these students learn during their High School.
Its entirely different here ( and I bet in rest of the world). Students just follow their passion without thinking about what job they will end up with or what they will do after finishing their degree. My first roommate , who was highly passionate about mathematics , made quite an interesting point. I was talking to him and I just asked him what he's planning next (whether job or masters) and he told me that he has no idea what he's going to do after his bachelors (and he was in his final semester writing his thesis). I asked him why he's doing his bachelors in mathematics and his reply was pretty simple and honest. Because he loved it. My another friend (German) who is also studying masters in automotive software engineering like me , also confirmed that he was quite passionate about vehicle modelling via software and embedded design and he took the course to be involved with his interest. And i can always find his blog full of interesting projects he tries out every week. And if germans don't like their course after finishing a semester or two (which is 0.5-1 years) they usually change their course to follow their passion. Usually Indians continue with their course whether they like it or not (but that's because we never learned to live Independently and this is a huge decision , earning our own money, financing our own college education and we usually have pressure since we study using our parents hard earned money).
Mostly people end up in their dream fields (if not jobs). Civil Engineers intern at construction based companies. students studying biology or chemical really have hands on experience in their respective field of study. And here studying is all about learning important and small concepts. Unlike India where we cram through huge books before our exams. I am not saying all the Indians take engineering just because they have to, but most of them take it for granted ( maybe including me but I still love programming so in a way not a bad choice).
Cleanliness is the most important aspect which I loved in here. Every household and buildings have a trash compartment nearby. People usually separate their trash into bio, plastic, glass, paper etc. and thus its pretty simple for garbage collectors to just collect them and put them in their respective areas. Highly helpful in recycling wastes and generating bio gas.The yellow trash box is for paper, the brown one for bio wastes or organic, the black one is usually for plastic.In India its different. Indians usually through liters around (at least in village but have seen in city as well). There is only one trash can and mostly everything is mixed (but I have also seen some Germans do this ). But the difference is , the trash in Germany is usually kept inside a polythene bag (specially for wastes) and this bag is thrown in the compartments thus the trash compartments doesn't stink and people are much more comfortable in working there. In India there are bags available but mostly people don't use them ( i used them, but sometimes even I used to thrown the trash in garbage box without any polythene).
Some of the above points are pretty much common in many other countries but its not in India and I want Indians to learn from them.
Most of the above points focused on German system and Germany. But now I will focus more on Germans and their culture.
The most amazing thing about them is how open and friendly they are when spoken to. Most of the Germans are pretty friendly and they want to know more about what you do if you are pretty interesting enough, and want to get to know you in person. But speak good German and you can catch their attention. Else, its never easy to get friendly with them (unless if you are a hot chick). Even though I also get the feeling (and its true) that they usually don't embrace all the cultures , and are quite adverse against foreigners. But the next generation of Germans (specially students) are pretty open. During the first few weeks of my stay i saw many Germans helping other fellow Indians and other foreigners, in opening bank accounts, and helping in other basic stuffs. But they are pretty shy. Unless you make the first move , you won't be shown any shit ( and by shit I mean any help). Which means you should make the first talk. Germans are pretty shy unlike Americans ( I have few friends here in Munich ). So, if you want to make friends , you have to approach them.
Germans are pretty straightforward and honest. If they don't like your habit , they will just tell you. Which I think should be embraced by Indians (in most of the cases we should just tell what we feel instead of being tolerant).
They are pretty hygienic and take care of themselves well. From normal attire of day to day life and till the night life and parties you can find them dressed very well and taking care of their body odour. Since we Indians are coming off from a tropical and hot climate , we usually sweat more and we should make sure that we use deodorant everyday (good for us and for others around us). While most of the Indians do this, there are some who don't which kinda creates a bad persona about us ( I heard it from my fellow German friends when I asked them what girls think about Indians).
Most Germans spend money as necessary and try to have a good fun time. Well I was never a miser myself and spent money like a king , there are many who save much more than needed and thus end up being the talk of the place (well its fine to be miser due to other pressures and loan but too much of anything is good for nothing). Here I would also like to add that there are also few Germans who were living miserly (not spending money when necessary and depending on their friends) but overall most of them have a good quality of life ( the problem with Indians being that most of them compare the money according to the exchange rate in India and thus find most of the stuff expensive and it just forces them to lead a shabby life).
Germans don't put stress on people and mostly tasks are given which don't put too much burden on you (be it in work or in class). Unlike in India where people are forced to work more than 10 hours sometimes and are still underpaid. Here its illegal to pay less and also churn out more work from employees. Here I found few Indians who are managing restaurants and they hire mostly Indians so that they can pay them less and get more work from them illegally (which is cruel , sad and I really feel angry when I see the tendency of such Indians). Mostly in India you don't get the respect for the work you do unless if you are working in a top tier company. Why do you think people leave India , to work for companies in other countries (even though you earn a lot of money, its the respect which comes along and the reduced level of stress which attracts them).
Life is much more fun here since usually during your studies you can also involve in lots of other activities and also involve in lots of get together with different kind of people and go to clubs and bars which are pretty common unlike in India where you have to search for them like a needle in a stack of hay. Life is never tense and people have fun drinking beer( too much sometimes, getting drunk has its own fun), sharing stories and keep it easy attitude. But the most important thing for me is how Germans (be wherever they are from) live together united (sometimes problem do occur but its because of someone's mistake and not because of the religion,caste or culture). Unlike India where there is lots of racism which I have seen. Well it never happened to me because I speak fluent Hindi and also maybe because of my attitude but mostly people from south and north usually don't get along well. They remain in their own group and actually hate talking to the other Indians from other culture or ethnicity. Even people from north east are considered not being from India in some parts in India which is a racial abuse according to me. Even though there is a bit of racism here, specially in the world of dating ( I actually found that German girls prefer Germans or people who at least are white or speak their language) , but I think compared to India its nothing. Love Marriage in India is still a dream come true and I don't think most of the population would still be ready to see their son or daughter getting married to a person from other ethnicity/religion or caste (actually in India there is a devil called as caste and usually people prefer the bride or groom from the same caste to get married).
To keep my article short (still pretty long though) I will sign off now with part 1. I never meant to show that Germany is better than India , and I never felt like why the hell did I was born in India ( I am proud to be an Indian). This part was just the heads part of the coin. Soon I will be back with the tails which also shows why Germans can never be like Indians and what they can learn from us. The follow up of this article will be a article which covers the other positives about Germans. And an article divided into two parts which covers the negative aspects of this culture. Stay Tuned !
[ NOTE- My points are not well organized and mostly random because am just typing whatever is coming into my mind. Apologies for that. And also some points are common to many countries like the marriage system and the openness to other cultures. I think people from USA,Australia, Czech are much better than Germany in terms of open embrace to other cultures (and I pointed only these countries because I have many friends from here and I have been to Czech).