Culture is in the details.


count2three | Teaser

S.V. Raman

Not only in Kolkata S.V. Raman has been a true interface of Indo-German culture. In a roundabout way he once started working in the Goethe-Institute where most recently he was Film Commissioner for South Asia. I can not think of any other Indian who speaks German as impressively (without having lived there) neither can I think of anyone who can describe the Indian and German culture as precise and well reflected. He describes himself as an inveterate Kalkuttan with South Indian roots, who no longer wanted to be a civil engineer and suddenly found himself working with Günter Grass and Pina Bausch… The conversation with him was an enriching experience.

Dr. Ranjan Sen

Dr. Ranjan Sen is chief scientist at the Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute in Jadavpur, Kolkata. He has been to Germany as a visiting scientist several times. Therefore he not only became a witness of the fall of the Berlin Wall, but also a keen observer and lover of German (academic) culture. No wonder that some important German words like "going for a walk, weekend, impatient, sausage and french fries" still stick to him after so many years! Dr. Sen demonstrates how cultures can learn from each other and he knows exactly why discussions and exchanges are so important in an intercultural environment.

Eric Laufer

Eric Laufer is a senior IT consultant who repeatedly works in international projects. In the year 2011/12 he has worked in a Indo-German team in Berlin for the first time and lets us participate in his work life. In doing so he is occupied with very basic questions: What exactly does the Indian colleague want from me, why is he not responding to my question, why is he not admitting mistakes and what is he thinking anyway? The interview provides an insight into realities of an industry where intercultural competence has become a key qualification.

B.G. Roy

Until december 2011 Mr. B.G. Roy was the head of the Foreign Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata. Drawing from decades of experience working with Germans he does not only describe precisely what he expects from German companies in India, but also why lots of business cooperations fail. Mr. Roy also shares situations from his working life that finally made ​​him an expert of Indo-German cooperation. If it were up to me we could go on talking for hours!

Sunanda Basu

40 years ago, a simple German word changed everything: „Gegenstand“. Sunanda Basu once moved on from her studies on philosophy and dedicated herself to the German language and culture. Today, she looks back on 38 years of active life as a teacher at the Goethe-Institute and is still teaching Bengali at home. She tells of anecdotes and incredible coincidences that happened to her when she was a poor student from Bengal living in Munich back in the 70s.

Shashank Sinha

Imagine you are sitting in a hotel room 8000 kilometers away from the place you once called your home. Shashank Sinha is a SAP Consultant from Bihar in India, he is living in England and works in projects worldwide. After a hard day at work we are having a relaxed conversation in Berlin. We are not talking about culture though, we are talking about humans. But yet, if you listen carefully, you will get important impulses which you might find useful for the reflection of intercultural encounters.

Prof. Raps, Prof. Chakravorti &
Prof. Finkel

Prof. Raps and Prof. Finkel from the Institute of Electrical Engineering (University of Augsburg) and Prof. Chakravorti (Jadavpur University) show how fruitful Indo-German exchange can be in the academic field. The German professors are visiting India for the first time and describe what they have experienced in the short period of one week. Prof. Chakravorti has been to research trips in Germany several times before. An interview with a lot of added value for students, teachers and those who want to break with the image of a "country of snake charmers".

Avadhesh Bagla

Like no other interviewee, Avadhesh Bagla embodies a new Indian self-confidence. In 2001 he spent one year in Germany to work with handicapped people. Since then, he returned to Germany several times and traveled Europe. In this interview he describes current developments in India, lets us see into his life in Alipore and describes his impressions of the Germans. Especially for the German viewer Avadhesh opens new perspectives to India.

Dr. Debabrata Chakrabarti

Dr. Debabrata Chakrabarti is a writer, poet and a German language teacher. Furthermore, he translates German literature into Bengali and forges links between the cultures. After years of interest, he was 48 years old when he finally traveled to Germany for the first time. We talk about general observations on intercultural encounters, the importance of language and preconceived ways of thinking. From a Bengali poem to German children's songs — a sympathetic snapshot of a committed „cultural ambassedor“.

Touseef Liaqat

Touseef Liaqat comes from Lahore, Pakistan. He worked for some time in the office next to mine and when we got to know each other, we had long talks about him living in Germany. In this interview he talks about the working mentality, his family in Pakistan, German customs, the image of the west shown in Hollywood movies as well as his anxiety as a Muslim in everyday’s life in Germany. His wife and daughter never got a German visa — today the three live in the U.S.

Verena Ott

Two years ago, Verena Ott started a daring enterprise: She quit her job in Munich and accepted an offer from Kolkata. Now she is giving lessons in fashion design at an International College there. Verena describes impressively how she lived through the initial culture shock and how everyday’s normality gradually found its way into her life. She shows us a side of India, which might be quite different than we think. An impressive portrait.

Dr. Martin Wälde

Dr. Martin Wälde is, for the second time, director of the Goethe-Institute in Kolkata. We head back to Mr. Wälde’s early days when he was a young student thoroughly overwhelmed by the impressions in India until we discuss present observations after years of intensive culture work abroad (including Poland, Pakistan and India). A successful cultural exchange for both sides enters in the limelight; therefore he gives valuable insight into the Institute's projects and describes its important role for German — and Indian — culture.

Plotpourrie Theatre Group

Marilena Savvides, Julia Holzbach and
Supriyo Bandyopadhyay are members of the Plotpourrie Theatre Group, an international theater group from Bonn. The ensemble includes, besides Europeans, also Pakistanis and Indians. The three of them talk about their personal working experiences and observations in their private lives, about prejudices that are none, about integration and tell us how cultural events — in Germany and India — can be turned into fruitful encounters.

Rüdiger Abshalom Dalit Westphal

Rüdiger Abshalom Dalit Westphal is an art teacher, artist and world traveler. After he had tracked through Africa, he travelled India in 1974 and gives many insights into an India from years back — knowing that the India he has seen has changed drastically. With a wink, he also shares bizarre events and meetings on his journey that make us not only smile but also reflect our own lessons learned. Enriching and refreshingly different!

Barbara Scharrer

Barbara Scharrer is a German lawyer specialized in the Asian market. For an international law firm, she brought hundreds of German companies to Asia and even managed several offices herself. Due to her work, she has lived in many Asian countries, including India; three years ago she started her own business. In addition, she has held teaching positions and passes her valuable knowledge to students. In this interview, she shares her diverse work experience with us. Well, I don’t want to reveal too much, but even experienced CEOs will definitely learn something…

Prof. H.S. Shivaprakash

Lunch at the Embassy: Prof. H.S. Shivaprakash is the councillor for education and culture of the Indian Embassy and the director of the Tagore Centre Berlin. Furthermore he is a well-known Kannada writer and poet. His interface with Germany is, of course, obvious and he gives a lot of impulse and personal insight concerning a lasting Indo-German approach. His thinking is surprisingly unconventional and his answers very honest. Ready for a philosophical journey? Strain your ears!

Christin Niedballa

The first time Christin Niedballa went to India was with the volunteer program "weltwärts" — a program initiated by the German government. She worked in a project with former street children, worked as a teacher and helped improving health consciousness. In this interview she reports about her experiences and challenges during that time — not only in India but also while returning to her own country after almost a year. Memorable!

Dipak Doshi

Kaufhof, Wirtshaus Lebkuchen: Dipak Doshi has been working with German clients in the leather goods business for more than two decades. He particularizes his expert knowledge in this interview, talks about Klaus Jung, his German partner of the first hour and tells us about what he thinks is a perfect German. Highly recommended for those who are into Indo-German business: Watch it and you’ll be well prepared!

Manuela Funck

Manuela Funck worked as a German language teacher at the Goethe-Centre in Trivandrum. We met in Cologne and had an intense talk under a clear blue sky. Manuela proves that she has developed an impressive cultural sensitivity during her stay, which she acquired through insightful observations and an intense reflection of what happened. A very enriching interview.

Christian Noçon

I met Christian Noçon at Rainer Thielmann’s reading where he was playing the sitar. We met again months later in Kolkata, where Christian lives and studies the sitar on a wonderful campus. An oasis of calm – only suffused with his music. The interview is a very different and personal view of a German living in India. Take a look.

Ritesh Mandavia

While looking for a Hindi language teacher I met Ritesh Mandavia — Senior Consultant for an international bank. Not only did he become a good friend but also a great person to talk to concerning Indo-German cultural approach. Ritesh has been living in Germany for nine years and shares his observations in this interview.

Tobias Hardardt

On a beautiful sunny day in late summer, I sat in a cafe with one of my fellow students and talked enthusiastically about my documentary project. Right in the middle someone tapped me on the shoulder, apologized politely that he had overheard and immediately told me about his experiences as a flight attendant on long-distance flights to India. The result was a fun and informative meeting and a taking interview. Enjoy.

Michael Kern

Michael is also a Master's student at Humboldt-University in Berlin and right before our interview he had returned from a 6-month internship at a German company in Pune. His impressions and experiences lead to an interesting conversation giving fascinating insights from the realm of expats.

Conny Rave &
Debasish Bhattacharjee

Due to the Indo-German Society in Cologne I met with Anubhab – an Indian school of music and an Indo-German living community at the same time. Not only was I able to spend valuable time in the Anubhab residence which was a true enrichment; the descriptions of Conny and Debashish about the squabbles of everyday life and the passion for music are inspiring and provide many new perspectives.

Rainer Thielmann

Rainer is a multitool himself — writer, musician, poet, hedonist, Indian lover and a unique personality. When dealing with India in various ways one can hardly get around him and after all that’s a good thing. He performs readings and multimedia presentations in which he approaches the country and it’s people in his very own way while processing his complex impressions. In this interview he also describes in what unusual way his love for India arose.