Why did people go to Dargah

Reports from the trip to India

Part I: Before the trip - Tour of the north

It all started on a late summer's day in 2014. I attended the first information meeting on the India exchange with Stefan and Niklas, two fellow students and friends, at which Ms. Cabos was enthusiastic about our “twin city” Bangalore. We immediately caught fire and got it into our heads to take part in this project, even if we actually had to pass all the exams to do so.

Between the birth of this idea and the departure there came a time that for me felt like the time between January and Christmas in the eyes of a child: every day you thought it was forever, and suddenly you were sitting under the tree, or maybe just on the plane. Our flight Hamburg - Dubai - Delhi went without any problems. After we had filled out the obligatory Ebola questionnaires on arrival in India (which were not checked), the adventure could begin.

The first strange impression was the traffic: the streets of Delhi seemed to be in an orderly chaos. Lanes were virtually non-existent, people walked on the highway, hand signals were used instead of indicators and horns were used instead of mirrors. The streetscape was dominated mainly by bicycles with attached gas bottles and tuk-tuks, small, three-wheeled motor rickshas. Unfortunately, this great adventure quickly grew over our heads when the taxi driver told us that our hotel was in a district that was closed due to political elections. He drove us to a travel agency and they told us the same thing; a fake phone call to the hotel confirmed this. We were also informed that the swine flu held the city firmly under control and had already claimed several thousand Topdes victims. For this reason, we were advised to leave the city as soon as possible, preferably with a tour through the north of the country booked on site. Long story short: We were tried to be ripped off.

luckily we got behind it and in a roundabout way at our hotel; it was modern and clean, but unfortunately it was located in a former slum that had become a slum after years. When we first explored "our" district and then the city after this first negative impression, everything seemed loud, dirty and overcrowded. Most of the residents gave us a disparaging look, and one of them told me that I looked like Hitler because I didn't want to buy bananas from him. As we waited at the traffic lights in a taxi on the way downtown, a girl of perhaps eight in tattered clothes knocked on the window pane; her fingers were bloody and her eyes were heartbreaking. This was the first picture from India, which I haven't forgotten yet.

We, who had taken this trip far too lightly, were already disillusioned and depressed after the first two days - despite a few glimpses of light. From Delhi we booked a tour through the north - luckily it should get better and better from that moment on.

Our tour included a personal driver, Rajan, who was very friendly and just as reliable. The first stop on the plan was Agra, a city with almost two million inhabitants, which is arranged around the Taj Mahal. We stayed in a cheap guesthouse for one night and visited the most famous building in India on the day of arrival. The obligatory tourist pictures that adorn so many travelers' albums were also inevitable for us; the "Palace of Tears" made a lasting impression on us despite the large number of visitors and immediately lifted our spirits.

The next day the journey continued, our way led us to Jaipur, the famous "Pink City" of India. Before we drove into the city, Rajan dropped us off at the "Monkey Temple", an extensive temple complex that is dedicated to the monkey god Hanuman and, lying behind two mountains, eluded the first sight of the visitors. Even the way there was a magnificent panorama of the city that lay at our feet. The path was lined with a number of monkeys that were looking for food, licking each other or just lounging in the sun. The long walk to the temple more than paid off: after a fifteen-minute walk with (too many) meters of altitude, a foothill of the rocky mountains revealed a large, paved square, which is lined with splendidly crafted, detailed houses stretched us into the green valley. Monkeys lay on the window sills and balconies and eyed us curiously; children were playing cricket in the back of the square. A really idyllic scenery that offered a welcome change from the sometimes arduous experiences and was captured by us in around 4,000 pictures.

The Monkey Temple had already set the bar high for our expectations of Jaipur, but the city was yet to exceed them in full. We moved into a hostel run by a very hospitable family not far from the city center, which was not only clean and attractively furnished, but also impressed with a “rooftop restaurant” and many nice, open guests from all over the world. This guest house offered us a kind of home, even if only for a few days, which we really appreciated. In addition, it was our starting point for exploring the city, trying "street food" (a full, freshly prepared meal costs around 55 cents) or the tour to the Amber Fort, a huge fortress a few kilometers north of the city enthroned on a chain of hills. There we were shocked by a snake charmer who played a hypnotic melody, conjured a (of course completely harmless) cobra out of a basket, elephants with fire patterns in their skin and turban sellers who are only surpassed by vacuum cleaner representatives in terms of restlessness and perseverance. The time in Jaipur flew by, according to its beauty, and after a few days we said goodbye to this fascinating city and the warm-hearted hostel operators who had welcomed us with such open arms with one laughing and one crying eye.


Part II: From the desert to the city of lakes

Next on the agenda was Jaisalmer, a town of 60,000 near the border with Pakistan. There were about 600 kilometers between Jaisalmer and us, which we wanted to cover by train. If you would need four to six hours for this route in Germany, the scheduled travel time with the Indian Railways was around seventeen hours. In the evening our faithful companion, Rajan, took us to the train station, which was filled with people waiting and living there, and we said goodbye to him. The search for the train already caused some difficulties: one looked in vain for display boards, announcements were only made in Hindi and the track had been changed.

We actually managed to get on the train to find, to our amazement, that a strange gentleman was occupying my couch (we had booked tickets in the "Sleeper Class"). After I was able to persuade the gentleman to look for a place to sleep and a rat had crawled between my legs, we lay down on the loungers, but we couldn't sleep because of the excitement. When the train started moving an hour late, Niklas and I were still walking around in the car and had to laugh out loud when we noticed that the train doors were open for the entire journey. We were used to such unexpected weirdnesses, but this was dangerous for the first time.

An elderly gentleman, who introduced himself to us as Baku, saw things a little differently. Keeping his balance with ease, he stood between the open doors in the middle of the corridor, smoking a cigarette, which the Indians call "Beedi": tobacco crumbs rolled into leaves of a tendu tree, held together by a rubber band and wrapped in Newsprint. Cost point for 25 pieces: 18 cents and two years less life expectancy. After a short but interesting conversation with the former tourist guide, we went to sleep. Despite a few tremors, relentless snoring from a gentleman across the street and cold drafts streaming in through the leaky window, I slept through the night and didn't wake up until the next morning. It had rained and was bitterly cold outside; we froze and cursed the bad luck that had brought us the only rainy day in the whole month.

When I was about to get up, I was amazed to see that our bed neighbor, a local resident of around thirty, was wearing the same flip-flops as I, although he had been wearing shoes the night before. Unfortunately I was wrong; it was my flip-flops and I had apparently had the honor of sharing my pair with him. When prompted, he returned them with a patronizing "Here, you can take them"; But that wasn't enough: He had still drunk some of our water. My mood, already affected by the tiredness and the cold, was finally at a low point. I didn't expect to have to admit that, but I missed Deutsche Bahn.

Fortunately, once in Jaisalmer, everything went according to plan. The hostel owner had sent a car that took us to our new temporary home. Once there, we quickly made his acquaintance: Abu, around 30, was a charismatic, always joking, extremely helpful former nomad who had settled in Jaisalmer to realize his dream of having his own guest house. He read every wish from his guests' lips, always had a good story to tell and designed his life according to the self-created motto "Life is Mamma Mia" (he called hetero couples "mixed vegetables"). Not only did we feel very comfortable in his hostel, the city itself was beautiful. From the roof of the hostel you could see the hilltop fort around which the city originally arose and which was highlighted at night by colorful spotlights; the setting was more reminiscent of a small Mediterranean town than a desert town between India and Pakistan. The fortress inside the fort, through which numerous small alleys ran, invited to long walks.

The goods offered there ranged from hand-made books with camel leather covers to beautiful carpets and German chocolate croissants - cows trudging leisurely blocked the narrow paths - this was a side of India that could easily have been printed in a travel guide and which we enjoy prepared.

The next day we started the long-awaited camel safari, which should bring us into the desert east of Jaisalmer towards the Pakistani border. In the morning we were taken to a meeting point outside the city by a hostel worker, where the camel drivers were waiting for us. After the driver had elegantly parked the jeep on a boulder and tore off the left running board, it was time to start.
The nomads who led us, who were used to riding camels, were delighted at our apparent awkwardness. While you could grin at the rocking movements of the ungulates at the beginning, even riding at walking pace became painful at some point for reasons that are not explained in detail here.

We were accompanied by a Canadian family from Montréal; a very open-minded, warm couple in their mid-thirties with two daughters, nine and eleven years old, who had seen an estimated eight times as much of the world as the three of us together. The couple had decided to take the girls out of school and teach them themselves when they were traveling. Your courage had apparently paid off: You reported on an impressive trip through India and its neighboring countries, on which you shot with Sharukh Khan, shook hands with the Dalai Lama and made it onto the front page of a high-circulation newspaper. To make matters worse, the children's father managed to read our previous length of stay in India from the dirt on our feet. Shameful and impressive at the same time.

Our little caravan passed a village in the desert where you could see locals driving on the roof of a bus. We were greeted happily by a crowd of children who waved to us and shared part of the way with us. We noticed that almost exclusively boys came running out of the houses - we later learned that it is customary in India for the bride's family to pay the dowry. Since the rural population in parts of India lives in very poor conditions, some daughters are sent to monasteries at an early age or are killed when they are babies.

After the camels had quenched their thirst in the local well, we continued towards the desert. The way there led us through barren semi-desert, which looked less and less inviting and whose vegetation was decreasing with every meter. Towards evening we finally reached our destination: meter-high, gold-colored sand dunes, in which the wind had drawn curved patterns, lay between us and the red sun, which sank behind the horizon. We were pretty exhausted from the tour and enjoyed the relaxation in this idyll to the full before we started our way back.

The journey to Udaipur, the picturesque “Lake City”, where we wanted to experience the Spring Festival, lay ahead of us. The interim results of our trip were divided, but the trend was positive: Delhi was a real shock in almost every respect, but our courage and our desire to travel increased with each passing day. We looked forward to the journey that lay ahead of us. Our hope should not be disappointed.


Part III: From the Spring Festival to the Indian Ocean

After a restful night, an intercity bus should take us to Udaipur, approx. 260 km away. So we got on a bus with about 30 Indians, which was on the way for eight hours, stopped at every bush, and was not equipped with functional shock absorbers or a responsible driver. Since he saw the frequently occurring "speed bumps" as a challenge rather than a warning, we bumped our heads against the luggage area - obviously to the delight of a fellow traveler who, pointing his finger at us, laughed out loud. Furthermore, we were amazed when we had to change: the buses parked right next to each other, but instead of getting out, our fellow travelers simply climbed into the other buses through the open bus windows - we opted for the door. After a rather exhausting drive, we reached our destination late in the evening.

When we arrived at the hostel, we were greeted by Viki, a slim, always smiling man in his late twenties, who was also extremely hospitable. Our clean, bright room was on the top floor of the homely furnished hostel, of which he was the manager, but not the owner.

In the evening we explored the city center, which was partly the setting for the James Bond film "Octopussy". We were able to admire the beginnings of “Holi”, the so-called Spring Festival, the commercial foothills of which have long since reached Germany and which began at 10 pm on that day.
In the middle of a square, big straw fires were lit, their columns of smoke stretched high into the night sky, loud music played and people began the ritual tossing of colored powder, called gulal, which hit everyone equally and still adorns my T-shirts today. In the company of other hostel guests who had found their way to Udaipur on more or less adventurous routes, we spent the evening and the next day in this tranquil little town. We had a memorable encounter with a 40-year-old who spoke to us on the street. He didn't seem to have a weakness for dental care - but he knew all the more how to make extremely tempting offers ranging from charas, i.e. hashish, to hallucinogenic mushrooms. He suggested going home with him to take a look at the goods - without any commitment, of course. A very nice gentleman. We refused anyway.

After an uneventful and problem-free journey the following day, we arrived in Mumbai early and immediately moved into the hotel rooms that we had allowed ourselves to relax. The next day we ventured into the metropolis, which is known as the “loudest city in the world”. To our surprise it was, at least compared to Delhi, quite clean and not too crowded. I was particularly impressed by the magnificent colonial architecture that the British occupiers had left behind. Among these buildings was Central Station, the busiest train station in Asia. I honestly have to admit: I would have imagined it to be worse. Of course, the train station looked like an ant burrow at first sight, but Shanghai and Tokyo probably don't belong in a Lexware advertisement either.

In retrospect, when I think of Mumbai, I immediately think of a little girl, maybe seven, maybe nine years old, who was selling roasted corn on the cob near a tourist attraction.Once again, the contrast to Germany just seemed stark to me. What do nine-year-olds in Germany think about? What are your worries? How many follow you on Twitter? Who is the new Bachelorette? I dont know. But I am sure that for very few people it is about making a contribution to the family income every day. The girl's stall was on the “beach”, where the foothills of the Indian Ocean collapsed against black, jagged rock formations. The entire area of ​​this "beach" was lined with rubbish, rubbish and sewage, smelled terribly and was a pitiful sight. In the midst of this waste sat young couples, arm in arm, lost in thought and drunk with love, looking out at the sea. A picture for ever.

The next stop on the sightseeing tour was the Haji Ali Dargah. This is a small but neat mosque, made entirely of marble, which can be found on a tiny peninsula that is connected to the city by a narrow land bridge. The way there turned out to be almost even more exciting: We had to pass an estimated 400 bazaar stalls, all of which offered senseless and useless junk.

In doing so, we were once again shown the full extent of the hardship and misery of the lower social classes. The most needy of the needy sat and lay on the footbridge to the mosque. The poor, the crippled, the mentally handicapped, the old, the weak and the sick lay on the sides of the footbridge and asked for charity. Most of the locals who were used to such a sight walked past it without paying any attention to them. For us this was a sight as unusual as it was cruel, as it showed once again how the lack of an effective state welfare system affected society. Most blatant looked a group of crippled, older men who lay in a circle, making senseless noises, bobbing their stumps of legs and arms to the beat. An absolutely grotesque sight and certainly by far the strangest thing I saw on the trip.

But more encouragement and more attention than said gentlemen - we. Niklas and I seemed to be the first Europeans to tread the soil of this city since the retreat of the British Empire. We were met accordingly: Several people filmed us with their cell phone cameras without asking, came too close, wanted to touch us and take photos. This lack of distance and display was already nerve-wracking, as it took place with an extraordinary frequency, penetrance and, in particular, a matter of course. The littered cliffs of the peninsula also had a miraculous effect, children bathed in the surf and people enjoyed the view. The Sauerland and the North Sea didn't seem so wrong anymore.

After checking out we drove to the bus to Goa, where we were handed over to the care of the caring driver who chased his steel monster at what felt like 180 km / h over mountain passes the width of a toothpick. From Goa, a state on India's west coast, we hoped for light-hearted tourism and relaxation. On the way there, the landscape was already inviting: densely overgrown, deep green, rainforest-like valleys in front of the rising, fiery red sun promised something that Goa should not only comply with, but surpass by far.


Part IV: Life’s a beach

When we arrived in Goa, we moved into the Roadhouse Hostel. Ten minutes' walk to the beach, with super interesting people from all over the world and a manager who couldn't have been cooler: Uday, around 30 years old, came from the HR department of an American company and probably thought that the world had even more to offer as time clocks and Excel. No sooner said than done: Uday opened his own hostel in Anjuna and has been a wonderful home for travelers ever since. As one of the most energetic people I have ever met, he got up around 8:30 a.m. after a night of drinking, worked and drank throughout the day, only to go out at night until the morning. In short: he shared everything with everyone, regretted nothing and celebrated everyone. His favorite song: "In the jungle".

This accommodation offered the best possible surprise, we received reinforcements from Germany for the first time. Isabel and Berit, both of our fellow students, joined us after a long, adventurous journey. Little did we suspect at the time that it was not just an alliance of convenience but a friendship. We were really happy to see familiar faces. After all the deprivations and especially the poverty and misery that we encountered on the trip, Anjuna seemed to me like a surreally beautiful place. We had done it - we had covered 2,898 kilometers in 17 days, had been insulted, lied to and betrayed, and were now on vacation. We were proud to have earned this relaxation and resolved to enjoy Goa to the fullest.

At the side of Will from the Netherlands, Ryan and Sharon from England, Ian from Finland, Dagny from Norway and about 4,638 other Germans, we relaxed on the beach, sat in the hostel with a drink or two in the evening and explored the area. Tours with rented scooters took us to other picturesque beaches with fine, white sand, azure blue water and in bars where drinks were available at discount prices, only half of which were on the bill anyway. The people in Goa, both the locals and the travelers, were very different from the people of Delhi: cheerful, friendly, cosmopolitan, sociable, relaxed. In short: it was amazing.

Anjuna also impressed with its huge bazaar, which took place every month and on which everything was offered, from clothing and blankets to toys and decorations to jewelry and music. The initially annoying price negotiations began to be fun at some point. The best thing about Goa bazaars was that both sides were absolutely convinced they had just done the business of their lives - only that tourists were wrong 98% of the time. A chessboard, a blanket, shirts, pants, a bottle opener, a compass, a tin sign, three hand-carved elephants and an old train lantern (you have to have it) in my closet still testify to the effective marketing of the Indian traders.

We finally reached paradise when we drove on to Palolem. We lived in two huts right on the beach; it was about thirty meters from the balcony to the sea. When I think of Goa today, I mostly think of this place. Get up, look at the sea, breakfast, sleep in the sun, go swimming, sleep, lunch, sleep, swim, dinner, swim, sleep. A dream. This ambitious daily routine was loosened up by dolphin tours with motor boats, playing Frisbee, card games and good music. Our penultimate stop in Goa and on our trip as a whole was Calangute, where we received reinforcements again.

Laura and Matthias, also fellow students, joined us. Patrick, also a fellow student, came over for a short visit. I picked up this very friend from the hotel on the evening of his arrival and we drove to Anjuna to give him a first impression of Goa.

After a short stay at the beach, a man in his mid-twenties with a broad American accent spoke to us on the way back. He was sweating profusely, was walking barefoot and looked completely disoriented. He wanted to go back to his hostel and didn't know the way, he said. I explained the path to him, which was almost too long to walk, and finally drove him to the main road so that he would not get lost in the forest. When asked what happened, all he replied was that he had taken LSD with friends and that he had lost both his friends and his shoes. Clear case: Someone had an even more exciting night here than we did, with the most exciting yet to come.

After I dropped him off and picked up Patrick, we ran into a police check on the way back. I was nervous; Driving without a helmet (the helmets cost more to rent than the motorcycle) without an international driver's license could have put me in an uncomfortable situation. I had already read quite a bit about the arbitrariness of the police; Travelers recommended driving on or bribery, although this was to be treated with caution - if you did it wrong you ran the risk of spending one or more nights behind bars. Either way, the young gentleman in an olive-green uniform, with his assault rifle strapped on, called me over to him. Driver's license, he said. I gave him my German driver's license and hastily explained what the dashes, asterisks and numbers meant - he looked doubtful. Would we smoke? He asked. Yes, I would, I replied: He meant hashish, I didn't. He took the backpack from me and opened it. Shined in, took out the topmost items, rummaged around, rummaged around, put the items back in again. His rifle hung around his neck constantly pointed with the muzzle in my face - certainly unintentionally, but still not a nice feeling. In the end he left it at the sporadic inspection and waved us through.

In principle nothing had happened; my heart was still beating up to my neck. It should be the first and last experience with the Indian police and I am glad to have had one too few rather than one too many.

Our trip ended in Benaulim, where chance played our part. Arriving without any orientation, we ran into an elderly gentleman whom we asked for the quickest way to a guest house. We should come with you, he said, and led us to his home - he ran a hostel. A double room with air conditioning, balcony and bathroom cost about € 5 a night; the gentleman and his wife took care of their guests. With the help of a (at least) drunk taxi driver who wrote his number on the packaging of a cheap whiskey, we commuted between the beach and the hotel and savored the last few days, which flew by.

The last evening, however, was all the worse: The next morning I was supposed to go to Bangalore. From the dream beach back to the presumably overcrowded, dirty city; our group would have to separate; after all this freedom we would have duties and responsibilities to carry out again. One of the most exciting times of our life was behind us. We felt we had the best behind us and now the compulsory part would come. Fortunately, we should be wrong about this one more time.


Part V: Bangalore and Conclusion

Bangalore is a metropolis with 8.5 million people in the area of ​​Berlin, located quite centrally in the interior. A project manager spoke of 15 million, as many would not be included in the censuses - one way or another, Bangalore enjoys supraregional importance as the capital of the state of Karnataka. Since many western companies have settled in the metropolis, it is considered a stronghold for high-tech and IT and is therefore a very modern, young city.

Once there, it was time to say goodbye to each other. It was difficult for our tour group; we had grown together a lot in the short but intense time and already missed each other after the first day. There was no other way - Niklas, Isabel and Berit went to the IFIM Business School, Stefan and I were assigned to the Acharya Institute. Including the new arrivals, our German student group now comprised 15 participants, eight of whom lived and learned at the Acharya and seven at the IFIM.

Our apartments on the Acharya, of which four of us lived, were very luxuriously furnished; the entire floor and the kitchen were covered with marble. Not far from the university, we lived with other visiting students from all over the world in a modern, newly built district through which locals occasionally drove one or the other herd of goats.

But here, too, one was not immune to problems such as frequent power outages and water scarcity. In the event of severe weather warnings, the electricity was switched off as a precaution by the distribution points (up to four times a day, depending on the weather), and tap water was delivered in tank trucks. The garbage was temporarily deposited in buckets and then thrown across the street onto the meadow in a stylish and professional manner. It was the common practice; After a while, when street dogs had picked out the best pieces, the remaining rubbish was simply burned. Not a pretty sight, but firstly you got used to it and secondly, this practice offered the opportunity for many sporty and competitive long distance championships.

The Indian exchange students, whom we had already met in Germany, were a great help as contact persons. From the SIM card to Frisbees to hand-carved wooden elephants, they were at our side with all more or less important questions. The university part of our stay consisted of three tasks: First, we were occasionally invited to official university events and receptions. Secondly, the university offered us extremely interesting company visits to two local companies that are counted among the economic spearheads of the city. Third and last, we carried out project studies in cooperation with the American company Sasken Communications. For this purpose, we were entrusted with the analysis and solution of problems from various sub-areas, which we presented in project work and associated presentations. Since most of the work was done at home and we were able to divide the time freely, we were able to enjoy the days to the fullest.

One fine evening our shared apartment got moving: A small animal had attracted attention by scratching and rummaging around in the living room cupboards and finally deposited unsightly remains on Stefan's laundry. Clear case, it was a rat. Stefan, Thies and I, equipped with ice-cold determination, even harder facial expressions and a shoebox, looked for the animal and finally found it. It was huge; if I remember correctly, it was roughly somewhere between a full-grown Golden Retriever and a conventional Shetland pony in terms of dimensions and weight. We screamed louder than weeping teenagers wearing braces at a Justin Bieber concert. After a heroic struggle, somewhere between David and Goliath or the dragon slayer Siegfried on a bravery scale, we were soon able to report the apartment free of rats.

One of the best memories of Bangalore was a weekend when Niklas, Isabel and Berit visited Stefan and me. Our fellow students at Acharya University had gone to Goa over the weekend; Stefan and I feared spontaneous nervous breakdowns in the face of too much wanderlust and so we stayed “at home”. In any case, we took our travel companions for a walk to a nearby village to explore the area.

On the way there we saw young men and children playing cricket in a meadow (cricket is the national sport of India). We came shyly, stood next to them, talked shop without even the slightest idea and were finally invited. We sat down with the young men, some of whom were also studying in Bangalore, and showed them pictures from Germany, told them about winter and snow, and talked about culture, food, manners and much more. After all, we played cricket with the Indians - it was fun, but in my eyes the only question was not whether, but how badly one embarrassed oneself.

Personally, I had underestimated the difficulty of the game (“You only have to hit the ball”) and now take my hat off to the players of the Indian cricket teams, who have such illustrious names as “Royal Challengers”, “Knight Riders” or even “Super Kings "wear. After the insults and the negative looks we were confronted with at the beginning of the trip, we felt very welcome and comfortable playing cricket with the locals; a really nice experience.

This experience is part of a number of other positive memories. Including those at a bazaar where a stand called “Roadkill” offered meat snacks of questionable origin, numerous get-togethers in trendy urban bars, marveling at the first monsoon rains, fraternization with visiting students from Zambia, Rwanda, the Congo and Tanzania, palace tours, zoo visits, Monkey feeding, temple visits, and much more. Professor Rentzsch, who has been leading the India Exchange together with Professor Cabos for years, came to visit to get our feedback and was on hand with help and advice. Stefan and I had initially feared that after five weeks of traveling we would hardly be able to endure two months in the same city. Ultimately, however, the time in Bangalore was full of positive surprises and rounded off our trip to India perfectly. Although the individual days sometimes seemed long, in retrospect it seems to me as if the two months there had passed faster than the blink of an eye. The day of the return flight came sooner than expected.

When we came back to Germany, I went through various phases of processing.At first I was glad to be home again because I put the negative experiences in the foreground. Then I would have set heaven and earth in motion to be able to fly back because I overestimated the positive aspects. In the meantime, when I have at least a halfway sober picture of our trip, it is clear to me that the stay in India was without a doubt the most intense and exciting time I have ever experienced. At this point I have to think of the old Fielmann advertisement, in which two gray men sit by the lake and throw stones forgotten about the world. In all honesty: I would do it all over again.

Philipp Weischer
February 2016