One of my resolutions for 2005 was to learn a new language. German is not exactly the sweetest tongue around. And lets face it, the people associated with the language haven't been the best accumulators of good press! But still, having mastered a full sentence in German - "umsteigen Züge linien sieben und dreißig..." that I picked from the tram announcer in Vienna- it was my natural choice.
My first impression from the class was the realisation that I had finally reached a stage in life when my teachers are going to be younger than me. And it took a couple of weeks to not get startled by the harshness of the language. Gesundheit sounded like I was being reprimanded for sneezing. And try saying 'Feuerschutztür' without sounding rude and without getting some spittle out. But later, it turned out to be a fantastic four months, although in the end we went only as far as to be able to order a salami sandwich with cheese in it (and even that little knowledge is getting displaced by the flemish that I'm trying to learn here). Learning the language turned out to be a great pretext to satisfy my need to have a few non-engineer friends; this bunch at the class was a great mix, a doctor, a jeweller, students, an artist, a pub-keeper-turned-salesman etc. Despite the forbiddingly complicated grammar, learning the language itself had its kick too. I picked up a fetish to form big words: Lieblingstischtennisspielerinnen (favourite female table tennis player) is one word! And Deutsch has some wonderfully expressive words; Weltschmerz, Zeitgeist, Wanderlust and my favourite of all, Schadenfreude (who else but the Germans could come up with both the word and the idea!;-) ). My best memories were all from outside class though; classic rock in Vishal's den, Kunal's psychological warfare while playing Pictionary over beer and then the rain-trek at coorg and later Pictonary over kichdi at Ankura's, the Bangalorean vs Ausländer duels, watching Satya lose her mind and laugh hysterically after a glass of wine and the farewell Sangrias.