Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Jun 28 East of the Iron curtain

Had an interesting conversation with my boss today over lunch at a German restaurant. Conversation veered from very serious topics at work to the east of the Iron Curtain. I will not venture into the gory details of the work topics and will highlight the lighter side of the discussions.My boss is Polish and is a fine man with varied interests in life apart from a thriving professional career with a large successful MNC company in China.We were having lunch at a German restaurant called the Vlandestgorgen' means appetite! My boss explained that he was born Polish and was in Poland until the last 2 years. He had been in Poland when the Iron curtain was strong and at its peak; the 80's being the IC era (I will refer to the curtain era as the IC era henceforth). People were forbideen from learning English. There were no ties with the western world even though Poland was a European country. Germany had a strong cultural influence on Poland by virtue of being the more aggressive race and by being neighbours. He had learnt German as part of his life in Poland as a youth when everything German was supposedly better than the ones in Poland. He speaks English with a thick German accept and I believed he was German until recently when I came to know that he was Polish. Imagine if someone assumed you were tamilian because you are from Palakkad and have a tamil influence in your Malayalam. Worse for a Tamilian if someone tells him he is a Mallu! His uncles had fled Poland in the 80's and had established themselves in the USA and Canada by infiltering. They had been great men in Poland but hated the suppression of the communist regime and escaped to a capitalist country looking from freedon and life. America gave them that. He says that they used to send packages of Marlboro cigarettes, Marlboro shirts etc. He said he used to steal books to learn English. He is a qualified Scuba diving licence holder, is a mountaineer, hiker, trekker, and a successful manager.

Author - Pallassana Vadassery Vinod Kumar
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