• Film 'The Lunchbox': Curries and Screen Loves

    By on Dec. 2, 2013

    If you still think that Indian cinema equals only glitter and bare skin, take a closer look at your lunch box. In his film of the same title, Indian director Ritesh Batra serves us not only tender images and a poetic love story, The Lunchbox (2013) also marks the beginning of a tentative flirtation between the Indian and European cinemas.

  • Do You Speak Indian?

    By on Nov. 5, 2013

    Aap hindi bol jate hain? Do you speak Hindi? In southern India, this everyday question can sometimes be considered an act of linguistic terrorism. The colourful mix of Indian languages is not only deafening and quite unique, but also prone to political and religious exploitation. There is no such thing, however, as a single 'Indian' language. Say four hundred and you might be closer to the truth!

  • India: A Vegetarian Paradise?

    By on Aug. 19, 2013

    "You are vegetarian? Haha! Really?" Mukesh is sceptical and even a visit to the nearest restaurant where I order veg biryani (fried rice with spices and vegetables) cannot convince him. Most of the time Indians just won't believe that Europeans can completely abstain from eating meat, poultry or fish

  • No Country for Women? India's Gender Politics

    By on July 26, 2013

    When I came back to Europe this summer from India, I was asked the same question over and over again. Weren't you afraid? Since the case of a 23-year-old woman from New Delhi, who was raped on a minibus in December 2012 and later died of her injuries, was taken up by the European media, many people only hear rape, high risk and gender Stone Age when I mention India

  • Nepal: Spot a Rhino, Steady, Go!

    By on March 7, 2013

    “Jungles are dangerous, of course, but I'll teach you a couple of easy tricks. If a rhino attacks, you have to climb a tree or run away in a zigzag line. That way, the rhino can't follow you so fast.” While Mohan explains to me how to survive in a subtropical jungle, I suddenly feel nauseous. Maybe the famous jungle walk isn't so safe after all? 

  • Narinder Singh International: The Big Heart of the Punjab

    By on Feb. 8, 2013
    „The food is very bad and the rooms are overpriced. You really shouldn't be staying here.“ When a gaunt little Indian in a grey tweed suit and a light blue turban approaches me in the canteen of my – admittedly decrepit – hostel at the bus stand of Chandigarh, I am immediately suspicious.
  • Kerala: Of Black Magic and Other Vagaries

    By on Jan. 9, 2013
    Crying infants, wrinkled grannies, a stubborn goat, three hens, ten young men on drums, an old man with a terrible singing voice and a troupe of young actors: After driving along bumpy country roads for several hours, our destination – a tiny village in the North of Kerala – doesn't seem much to look at and could be hardly described as more than three houses with a spacious backyard.
  • Of Train Food, Tea and Toilet Breaks (Part 2)

    By on Dec. 10, 2012

    An hour later, my evil premonition manifests itself in reality as the thali goes directly down the toilet. In spite of the high number of passengers, the bathroom is impressively clean and even has running water. The more conservative tourist will choose the European style toilet and sit down on a sticky toilet seat.

  • Of Train Food, Tea and Toilet Breaks (Part 1)

    By on Nov. 23, 2012

    “I can see the colour of your aura, but I can't tell you.” With a smirk on his face, Karim leans back into his seat, fully aware of the deep impression such esoteric talk can make on unseasoned India travellers. “You have a very pure soul, I haven't seen anything like that in a long time!”

  • Welcome to Snack County!

    By on Sept. 26, 2012

    Roasted peanuts, orange drops, cucumber with chilli sauce, salted pineapple, puri bhaji, masala crisps, chilli crisps, Oriental Fantasy crisps, fake chocolate, samosas, cashews, chick pea curry topped with coriander, bhel puri, roasted corn, masala tapioka, fritters, pakoras with chilli sauce, aloo chaat, unpeeled green peas, Coke, Fanta, mango drinks, Seven Up and Limca...