I have always seen smart people eagerly waiting for opportunities which offer them an ‘exposure’! These activities are usually off the track and also not found in top charts of people who keep calculating return on investment in a conventional way. I was in a search of same magical experience called ‘exposure’ which will enrich me and broaden my horizons.

A four week intensive German language course offered in Germany is the award one gets for securing the first rank in a management post-graduation course at Indo-German Training Centre, a division of the IGCC! “Let’s bag one more Deutsches Zertifikat for free and make friends jealous by uploading Kaffee-Kuchen photos from the black forest simultaneously” was the initial thought came into my mind when I heard the good news. This was not even a tip of an iceberg; I was fully unaware that a fantastic ‘exposure’ opportunity, I was searching for long, was approaching towards me.

On a beautiful sunny morning in June, about a hundred enthusiasts from more than 35 countries were attending a simple but warm welcome in few hundred years old Hospitalkirche at the renowned Goethe Institute Schwäbisch Hall in South West of Germany. We were all connected by a single common bond and that was a love for the language Deutsch. For me, Goethe became the live gallery showcasing the world culture!

How can we learn language in isolation? Language escorts people, thoughts, emotions, lifestyle, culture, art, history and much more! By living on German land, eating German food, visiting German monuments, relaxing in Bier gardens, watching German theatre, traveling in Deutsche Bahn and spending half of every day to learn new vocabulary and grammar from highly devoted teachers along with friends around the globe, we were absorbing millions of things unknowingly. I was pleased to experience this kind of well- planned fun-filled multidimensional learning process at Goethe. Mere preparation for certificate exams is too shallow was something I could term as happy realization!

People were very curious about the unique land called ‘India’ and used to bombard me with many difficult questions about Indian lifestyle, people, religion, festivals, judiciary system, the reason for gap between rich and poor, furthermore they were curious to know about the Government’s stand on prostitution and migrations just to name a few. I became an undeclared Indian ambassador in this informal international conference and this made me to rethink about my own motherland.

People here celebrate life! No one can say that they don’t have any problems or difficulties. Without much philosophical chaos, they live happily, work sincerely and party hard of course! DB officer tries his best to explain me the easier route in English even during busy hours, subway waiter asks me whether my day in Nürnberg is going comfortable, young guide beautifully unfolds the history of Ludwigsburg though I was just a single person in her tour, 70 years old teacher climbs on chair, jumps, sings, dances so that we can understand the meaning of new German words! This wholehearted approach along with expressions and a bit of humor is easily noticeable everywhere, time wise micromanagement beforehand goes without saying. Disciplined freedom, clear boundary between personal and professional life, clarity in day to day communication with decent etiquette are few salient attributes of Germans I soaked up in my one month stay there. High tech infrastructure, excellent facilities and systems, use of poka-yoke (mistake proofing) principle without disturbing aesthetic beauty and simplicity facilitate easy life which improves efficiency of every German who ultimately contributes to the nation’s development. Understanding the German way of doing things is the key to strengthen the Indo-German relationship and not just learning their language, was a thought revolving in my mind along with the list of friends waiting for German chocolates while boarding the flight to India!

I was not a first timer in Europe; but I tried to decode Europe for the first time. I kept my top-end camera aside and started capturing, I reduced calls to India and started communicating more with people there and I defrosted my firm opinions and started perceiving everything a fresh. After having self-cooked dinner, I used to get lost while seeing the colours of sunset and bong of old church bell in the background used to add a little more depth to my self-talk! Learning language was just a mere door handle to explore a new style of living and ultimately to discover me, my choices and my concepts of happiness!