Today I woke up in the morning, as usual next to my lovely wife and cute daughter. While Ramona went into the bathroom, I cuddled with Apra, enjoying the time before having to wake her up. And while holding her like this, I once more felt how precious this little being is in my life!
It is amazing how quickly time passes and how fast children grow! From the day she was born, I loved holding her in my arms! That feeling to be holding a tiny being that reaches just from your hand to your elbow, completely dependent on you and completely in charge of your heart, love and feelings!
In that time, I loved lying next to her or have her lying on my chest, listening to her breathing. After four-and-a-half years, too, I lie next to her or roll her over onto my chest. Now her long legs hang down and her little breaths often turn into mumbling in her dream.
Oh, does she dream! There are nights when she wakes up Ramona and me with her kicking legs or her loud dream conversations. Sometimes she laughs but sometimes she starts shouting out in protest, visibly unhappy about something. In those times, too, Ramona and I love to hug her and tell her that everything is alright, knowing that this calms her down each time.
What would life be without her? I cannot even imagine! Of course she tests her limits in daytime, of course there are more than enough instances of her fighting with the boys about little things, completely unnecessarily. But that is just part of the game, isn’t it? Growing up and making experiences, learning and exploring.
I am happy and proud to be her guide on this path – and I treasure such moments like this morning!
Ich bin heute Früh aufgewacht, wie üblich neben meiner lieben Frau und meiner süßen Tochter. Während Ramona im Badezimmer war, kuschelte ich mit Apra und genoss die Zeit, bevor ich sie aufwecken musste. Und während ich sie so hielt, spürte ich wieder einmal, wie wertvoll dieses kleine Wesen in meinem Leben ist!
Es ist der Wahnsinn, wie schnell die Zeit vergeht und wie schnell Kinder aufwachsen! Von dem Tag ihrer Geburt an liebte ich es, sie in meinen Armen zu halten! Dieses Gefühl, ein kleines Wesen zu halten, das gerade mal von deiner Hand bis zu deinem Ellbogen reicht, völlig von dir abhängig ist und dabei dein Herz in seinen Händen hält!
Damals lag ich so gern neben ihr oder legte sie auf meine Brust und lauschte ihren Atemzügen. Auch nach viereinhalb Jahren liege ich noch oft neben ihr oder rolle sie auf mich drauf. Jetzt hängen ihre langen Beine zur Seite runter und ihre Atemzüge werden oft zu unverständlichem Murmeln im Traum.
Oh, und wie sie träumt! Es gibt Nächte, in denen sie Ramona und mich mit ihrem Treten oder ihren lauten Unterhaltungen im Traum aufweckt. Manchmal lacht sie, aber manchmal fängt sie an, laut zu protestieren und zu rufen, ganz sichtbar unglücklich mit irgendeiner Situation. Auch da umarmen Ramona und ich sie gerne und sagen ihr, dass alles in Ordnung ist. Das beruhigt sie jedes Mal.
Was wäre das Leben ohne sie? Ich kann es mir gar nicht vorstellen! Natürlich testet sie ihre Grenzen jeden Tag aus, natürlich gibt es mehr als genug Streitereien mit den Jungs um kleine Dinge, völlig unnötig. Doch das ist auch einfach nur ein Teil des Großwerdens, oder? Erfahrungen machen, lernen und erleben.
Ich bin glücklich und froh, sie auf diesem Weg zu leiten – und ich schätze solche Augenblicke wie diesen Morgen!
We are very, very busy these days!
I know that is something that I have mentioned to you before already and it is definitely nothing surprising: we are running a new business venture, our restaurant, and we are completely involved ourselves in the operations. At the same time we have our Ashram with its Yoga and Ayurveda Retreats, guests whom we take care of and whom we like to spend time with as well. For that, we are of course running our website and have email conversations with interested people. And last but not least, there is our school. All our kids come every day and there are always things to take care of, too!
So no doubt that we are busy but at the same time we reserve a little bit of time every day for you, my readers. Ramona and I prepare one page for you to read – because I love it when you take part in our lives in this way.
For a long time now, over years, this has been our daily ritual and only when we really couldn’t find time anymore this year, after opening our restaurant, there was a break in regular updates. It was not only the time though, the mind was also occupied with so many other things that there was no space to be creative or to think anything else than about the restaurant or what absolutely needed to be done!
I am very happy that we are back in our ritual now and even if sometimes there are days when it gets late or when we can only note down the idea – and write it out the next day – I enjoy keeping you up to date again with my thoughts, events at the Ashram and our lives!
And of course I will be happy to hear from you as well – just write a message in the comments!
Wir sind zur Zeit sehr, sehr beschäftigt!
Ich weiß, das ist etwas, was ich euch zuvor bereits erzählt habe und es ist definitiv auch nicht überraschend: wir haben ein neues Geschäft, unser Restaurant, und wir sind selbst völlig darin involviert. Gleichzeitig haben wir unseren Ashram mit unseren Yoga und Ayurveda Retreats, Gästen, um die wir uns kümmern und mit denen wir gerne auch etwas Zeit verbringen. Hierfür haben wir natürlich auch noch unsere Internetseite und haben Email-Unterhaltungen mit interessierten Leuten. Und schließlich ist da noch unsere Schule. All unsere Kinder kommen jeden Tag und es gibt immer Dinge, um die wir uns kümmern müssen!
Keine Frage also, dass wir beschäftigt sind, aber gleichzeitig reservieren wir ein klein bisschen Zeit jeden Tag für euch, meine Leser. Ramona und ich bereiten eine Seite für eure Lektüre zu – weil ich es Liebe, wenn ihr so an unserem Leben teilhabt.
Über Jahre hinweg war das unser tägliches Ritual und nur, als wir dieses Jahr nach der Eröffnung unseres Restaurants wirklich keine Zeit mehr fanden, gab es eine Pause an regelmäßigen Updates. Es war jedoch nicht nur die Zeit, die uns fehlte, der Kopf war auch voll mit so vielen anderen Dingen, dass da gar kein Platz war für Kreativität oder eben, um irgendetwas anderes zu denken, als an das Restaurant oder Dinge, die absolut notwendig waren!
Ich freue mich sehr, dass wir nun wieder zurück in unserem Ritual sind und selbst wenn es manchmal Tage gibt, an denen es spät wird oder an denen wir nur die Idee aufschreiben können – und es am nächsten Tag erst ausschreiben – ich genieße es, euch auf dem neuesten Stand bringen mit meinen Gedanken, unseren Leben und dem, was hier im Ashram so vor sich geht!
Und natürlich freue ich mich auch, von euch zu hören – schreibt mir einfach in den Kommentaren eine Nachricht!
I already told you that Apra started going to a school in Mathura in July and that this has changed our lives once more. Yes, ours, not only Apra’s – because we are now parents of a school girl which is a fully new dimension of parenting!
I would not have thought that sending your child to school would involve so many extra tasks! Well, the first thing is that there has to be a regular rhythm of bringing her to bed and waking her up now. As we have anyway changed our lifestyle with the opening of the restaurant however, it was not difficult to implement that, too – and while bringing her to bed it mostly Ramona’s task, I am the one waking our little angel up in the mornings. I am not sure which task is the more difficult one! 🙂
We are not only responsible for sending her to school, though! At the time of her admission, we got some papers with instructions and we are doing our best to follow them – but as first-time school-child parents, I know we are still working on the details!
Obviously, there is a dress code. For normal days, this means school uniform, which is quite nice as we don’t have to think about what to dress her in. There are however also ‘Fun Fridays’ – on each Friday, the children of Apra’s class can come in regular clothing. That clothing should however fit to the ‘Colour of the Month’, which is yellow for September for example. At least a small part of what she is wearing should be yellow!
Oh yes, and Fun Fridays also means that you can bring ‘Fun Food’. That is an exception to the normal rule of giving her only healthy food in her lunchbox. Ramona had her own struggle with that, as ‘healthy’ for a regular Indian family may very well include deep-fried potatoes – but not pasta with vegetables! Well, we found a good average with parantha and vegetables!
Of course there are more special days like the 15th August, India’s Independence Day, on which you should send your child in traditional clothing, days on which the kids do arts and crafts and you have to send plain flutes, glitter, decorative bands and more.
Then there are ‘PTMs’, which are ‘Parents-Teacher-Meetings’. We had our first one this month – because we forgot to go to the one in August. So we arrive there, Ramona and I, thinking that we will go and talk to the teacher about Apra and leave. But oh, there was an exhibition of what the classes had produced in artwork over the past month and all kids were there and playing and proudly showing their parents everything… well, next time we will bring Apra as well! 😀
As I said, we are working on the details and we are confident that we will improve our parenting-school-skills over the next weeks and months!
Now, after five months of running our restaurant Ammaji’s, we have a certain routine, things are usually going very smoothly in our daily work and we are so happy that more and more people say that Ammaji’s has become their favourite place to eat. There is just one problem: I don’t remember everyone!
I definitely have quite a good memory of faces and normally remember a person’s background, where we met and some details, even if the name is not always one of these details. Now however, I meet all of these people and meet all of them here, in our restaurant!
There are several regular guests with whom I have interacted, who have told me their story or where they live and I do remember them. The instances multiply however when I see a guests, I know I have seen them and I greet them – but I do not know their names anymore!
Oh well, dear guests, I guess we will just have to say hello and you may have to tell me once more where you are from. One thing you can be sure about however: we love welcoming you here, serving you the best of our food and have a chat with you, too!
See you soon again – and for all my readers who have not been here yet from all around the world: you should come once, I will definitely remember you!
It is the 15th August today, India’s Independence Day! It is the day when India celebrates its freedom from the British Empire, the day when, in 1947, India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru raised the Indian flag. And that’s what India has been doing on that day ever since: schools across the country raise the flag, sing the national anthem and with it sing and dance to patriotic songs. Of course our school as well as our restaurant celebrated India’s independence, too – but to tell you honestly, I don’t feel the patriotisms that most fellow Indians strongly have and express.
Ramona and my grandmother hoisted the flag on our Ashram today in the morning with all the school children watching and clapping. The national anthem was followed by a beautiful program the kids had prepared: they danced, they sung and they recited poems. As always, it was great to watch and it makes the heart happy to see our children, who may otherwise not have had the chance to go to school, organize and themselves be part of this kind of celebration. We distributed biscuits among them and they left towards home early.
In the restaurant, we asked our kitchen and bakery to do something special for Independence Day – and they outdid our expectations! We got tricolor items of all kinds: pastry in the three Indian colours, tricolor dosa, pasta salad, momos and paneer – all decorated beautifully in orange, white and green! It was not only nice to look at but also very delicious! A decoration in the three Indian colours completed our Independence Day atmosphere at the restaurant.
In the end however, I did not feel any pride of being Indian, even on this day, with all our decorations, celebration and food.
I know that this is something that may shock a lot of Indians who basically have a tendency towards patriotism. It is something that is taught to relatively small children already, especially with such celebrations. I however have never had this feeling and still today don’t feel that the place that you are born in, the nationality which you somehow have by coincidence is something to be proud of. Even though I am happy about India’s independence and our democracy, I feel more international. I feel like a citizen of this earth and one of the many people on this earth.
This fits well with my wife’s attitude who, born and grown up in Germany, doesn’t have any such feelings either. In Germany, due to their history, they don’t even have such celebrations in school. The only time when the national flag comes out is during soccer games!
I know what is going on in my home country, the good and the bad. And while I always honestly appreciate anything good, there is a lot going on where we can make improvements. And that is what we are working for with our charity school. To make it a better place. That is something that I can be proud of – the efforts of my own hands, mind and feet!
You may have noticed that I have lately not been sticking to my usual rhythm of posting a child’s home video on Fridays, a recipe on Saturdays and a post about my life on Sundays. In between, I have even skipped some blog entries or they came late, so that you couldn’t read a new one every day. Obviously, that is an effect of the recent changes in our life.
With the opening of our restaurant, there have come a lot of new responsibilities for all of us. We are now running two businesses which support our charity – which of course needs our attention as well.
That’s how my daily involvement in social media has reduced drastically but I try to keep you updated here on my blog about all the things that are happening and which are going on in our minds and lives.
I am sure there will again be times when I will write more but for now, my blog entries may become a bit less regular. I do enjoy your feedback however and will also reply to any questions at any time! And of course the best way to be in touch is to come here and see for yourself – I would love to show you all the change that is happening here!
I am writing these lines while sitting in an airplane from Delhi to Frankfurt! Of course you will get to read this only later but I already know I want to share our reasons for this journey as well as our feelings with you.
The reason is pretty simple: there is some official paperwork to do which requires my presence in Germany. I need to extend my residence permission. I can tell you, would that not be the case, I would most probably not take this trip right now. Nevertheless, I am happy about our journey, too!
The past weeks, if not months, have been very intense! The time leading up to the opening of our restaurant had been filled with ‘last-minute work’ which had to be done before the real start. Then there was the exciting time of opening, with Babbaji’s knee surgery at the same time and after that the overwhelming response I have been telling you about!
I also told you how much I enjoy this new work and I can seriously tell you that as much as we have been busy with it and as much work as it was, it was also as much fun! That's how we fixed our exact dates and bought our flight all relatively late. We tried to get as many things done beforehand as possible, preparing everything in a way that Purnendu and Yashendu will be able to handle the new and old business without us, too!
We however will have a break from our daily routine with this trip and that, too, I am looking forward, too. It will be so great to see friends and family again and tell everyone of Ammaji’s! Of course they all know and have seen pictures online, but Ramona, Apra and I are looking forward to tell all about it ourselves!
Especially Apra has been looking forward a lot and for several days now! She remembers really many things from the last visits and is excited to do some of them again. She already had friends promise to go swimming with her, planned which pets of friends she would play with and even what she would like to bring back to her Indian brothers!
I tell you, friends, life is great and something to enjoy – there is always something going on!