Berliner Bahnhofsklage 

Vieles in Indien ob nun Gewalt gegen Frauen, Gewalt gegen Kinder, Korruption oder die nicht funktionierende Wasservesorgung um nur die wenigsten zu nennen gibt Anlass zur Klage und oft entfährt einem ob all des Elends und all des Jammers ein „Oh Mutter Indien“ und man seufzt schwer. Eins aber gibt niemals Anlass zu Klage und Wehgeschrei: die Bahnhöfe Indiens ob nun in Mumbai oder Delhi gelegen oder gar im fernen Shrinagar oder hoch oben im kühlen Mussoori befindlich, sie alle sind auf das Vortrefflichste auf die Bedürfnisse des bahnreisenden Menschen eingestellt. Steigen sie also spät am Abend aus dem Zug so werden Sie sofort von chai-wallhas umringt, die ihnen heißen Tee andienen, Zeitungshändler wollen ihnen Kurzweil verschaffen, ein anderer wallah verkauft geröstete Kichererbsen, sie können zwischen heißen, gerösteten Maiskolben wählen, die auf kleinen Grills vor sich hin schmoren oder einen paratha mit Kartoffeln gefüllt verzehren. Gelüstet es Ihnen nach etwas Süßem so werden sie nicht enttäuscht zurückbleiben, sofort bringt man ihnen Mango oder Anansschnitze und müssen sie lange warten, setzen Sie sich neben den paan-wallah, der Geruch des Betels vertreibt die Fliegen und der paan-wallah kennt die besten, die traurigsten und natürlich immer nur wahren Geschichten und erzählt sie gern. Kommt dann ihr Zug so reisen sie wohlgestärkt und auf das Beste gestimmt ihrem eigentlichen Ziel entgegen. Oh, gepriesen Mutter Indien, sagen sie dann und grübeln noch nach über die Geschichte, die sie eben hörten und in der eine Frau erst in der Hochzeitsnacht entdeckte, dass ihr Mann, allem Bartwuchs zum Trotz so männlich nicht wahr, wie die Schwiegermutter es wollte. Oder gerade wollte, wer weiß das schon?

Ganz anders aber ergeht es Ihnen, erreichen sie gegen zehn Uhr am Abend die Stadt Berlin, die eben nur an der Spree und nicht am großen Ganges gelegen ist und der es an vielem, insbesondere aber an der so vortrefflichen Bahnhofskultur des indischen Subkontinents mangelt. Durstig sind sie und natürlich haben sie auf dem Flug von Dublin nach Berlin nur einen Salzcracker gegegessen doch keiner der Händler ist bereit ihnen auch nur eine Flasche Wasser zu verkaufen von einem belegten Brot ganz abgesehen. Durstig, hungrig und staubig irren Sie also zur S-Bahn, die sie vom Bahnhof Zoo nach Nikolassee befördern soll, doch schon zeigt sich: von diesem Gleis wird keine Bahn fahren, sie stürzen also in die U-Bahn, fahren zum nächsten Bahnhof, inzwischen ausgedörrt wie ein Kamel nach dem Marsch durch die Wüste Gobi, doch nirgendwo biegt ein Chai-Wallah um die Ecke ihnen Tee einzuschenken, keine Frauen wollen Ihnen Wassermelonen zur Erfrischung reichen und nirgendwo wird an einem Stand Zuckerrohrsaft gepresst. Sie sind ganz allein nur ein Obdachloser murmelt Unverständliches, wahrscheinlich ähnlich wie sie selbst: Durst, Durst, Durst. Alle Geschichten aber hat er anders als der paan-wallah schon vergessen. Sie eilen also zum Automaten, kein Ersatz natürlich für die vielen indischen Möglichkeiten der Erfrischung, denn natürlich lässt der Zug auf sich warten. Der Automat schnappt nach ihren Münzen, aber im Gegenzug erhalten Sie nicht einmal eine Flasche Wasser. Schließlich gibt der Automat alle Münzen bis auf ein Fünfzig-Cent-Stück zurück, jenes behält er wohl aus Ärger darüber so spät noch geweckt zu werden. Nach weiteren zwanzig Minuten fährt die Bahn ein und nachdem ihnen forsche Rentner nur beinahe die Zehen mit ihren Elektromrädern abgemäht haben, erreichen Sie Ihr Ziel.

Mit brüllenden Durst schließlich, endlich eilen sie nach Hause, dort denn Durst ist ja schlimmer als Heimweh fällt ihnen just die eben geöffnete Flasche aus der Hand und das Wasser läuft nicht in ihre Kehle, sondern über ihre Füße. Dies ist der Moment in den Ihnen ein tiefes und gestöhntes, ein jaulendes und hartes, ein flehendes und beschwörendes „Oh Mutter Indien“ entfährt, in ihm eingeschlossen der tiefe Wunsch, dass allen Problemen des großen Indiens, die vielen Götter doch wenigstens einen chai-wallah mitsamt seiner Frau und Kindern und einen paan-wallah nach Berlin schicken mögen, um sofort den dort grassierenden Mangel an zivilisierter Bahnreisen ein für allemal zu beheben. Oh, Bharat Mata, Oh Mutter Indien, hilf deinen Kindern an der Spree.

Questions, unanswered.

Why?

More prayers or no more g*ds?

More trust or trust no more?

Whom do you trust? Why not?

Why are there so many experts and what does a „terrorism expert“ wants to explain?

Why are we talking about ‚individual terrorists‘? Do those individuals live all by themselves?

Why is „angry young men“ another category of its own? Where are the angry mothers, desperate sisters, outraged fiancées, loud daughters, confident grandmothers, concerned aunts and out-shouting nieces?

How are the relatives, who lost their loved ones looked after?

Does someone protect them from the pictures?

Does someone protect them from the rumors?

Can they bid farewell in silence?

Who are all those men or women who are able to explain the world behind their notebook screen?

When I was in Pakistan it turned out I was really in Afghanistan, how do you all know about the borders of states that ceased to exist quite a while ago even when the map producers did not notice it yet?

Are you sure you know what you are asking when shouting for the introduction of the death sentence? In New-Delhi where I spend quite a lot of time, Yakub Memon the lone death row convict of the Mumbai blasts of 1993 was sentenced to death. The  execution was reported live on TV. Outside of the hospital a crowd gathered, they were shouting: „Hang them, hang them“. The Muslim nurses did not dare to leave the hospital that day. I paid for the taxis taking them home. Are you really sure, you know what you are asking for?

Did the media outside of Delhi and Karachi cover those events? Are you listening?

Who are they? Who are we? Is there an us?

Who are they?

What are our values?

Do they have any values?

Why do they dream of blood and death and never of warm hands and sunshine in the afternoon?

Are we defensive? Defended? Who defends us?

Do we live in cynical times?

If you call for a 17- foot high wall today, don’t you believe that there will be an 18- foot ladder by tomorrow?

Is Paris a stand-in for where we are right now?

If so, how do we got there?

Will there be a way out?

What does Beirut stand for?

How far from Paris is Nairobi?

Do we care? Really?

What do the policemen and policewomen tell their wives and husbands?

Who listens to the policemen and nurses, who asks if the doctors and psychologists get on well, today and tomorrow and the day after tomorrow?

Why?

When we, you and I, met in Kabul, you on your way to the south of the country and I on my way back to Karachi you asked me: are you afraid? I said: no. You said: me neither. We both knew, we were not telling the truth. I still am stubborn enough to say: I am not afraid.

Am I just a gambler?

Are you afraid?

What are you afraid of?

Do you read Voltaire?

Are we still here?

Before opening the fire, did the men in the car smoke a last cigarette, turned the radio louder and is there really, really not a bit of doubt before shooting people right into the face?

Why not?

Why?

Do we really want to know?

Are we allowed to hide away?

How to answer all the questions?

We are

We are tired. We are alert. We search for a beginning and always for more sun. We sing, most often half a tone to high. We cry. We think of you and you and you. We are lonely. We are many. We search for answers and never let the old questions go. We get lost. We want to go home. We search for direction. We never arrive. We look back. We have cold feet. We love books. We take things personal. We miss you and you and you. We begin, we run away and we come back. We never fall back on our feet but stumble over open shoelaces. We leave things open. We write. We open the postbox and hope to find your letter. We lose keys and never saw Lost in Translation. We sleep, we dream and too often we wake up from a nightmare. We came to stay and moved on. We hurt and why can we not hear you? We love you and you and you. We read. We close our eyes. We wait and we come too late. We find a penny, but the luck promised never reached out for our hands. We love, desperately. We run away. We are haunted. We are fast and so, so slow. We are so many, so few, so much more, we are.

In search for….

Today I searched for my keys, no, not once but twice, my glasses who tend to disappear to most awkward places, leaving me behind blind  as a snake, books due to be returned, pairs of matching socks, but who doesn’t? I searched for a street and had to ask an unbelievable high number of people passing by till I finally arrived. I searched for security needles to fix colleague B.’s skirt, then searched for missing lines of a song learned many years ago ( no success so far ), then started to look for a pile of paper, which I swear had I laid upon the table yesterday before I left ( Paper thieves hide where at best ? ) I searched further for recipes with white cabbage, unfortunately a too common visitor in my weekly organic box ( no success ), searched for words, didn’t help much, remind myself to better stay silent, searched for a good excuse, didn’t find one and will have to join, but at least I tried. Searched for a Korean Restaurant in Dublin, will try soon, searched with D. under a table a missing earring, hit my head badly, earring was not to be found. At least he made his re-appearance later in the bathroom. I searched for cookies, good against headache aren’t they and liked them a lot. I looked for the sun, but the sun looked for someone else, the pretty man on the train I looked in the eyes ( green-brown ) didn’t notice mine ( very ordinary brown ), Queen Cat looks for another tin of  that cat food with salmon in it and so at least someone searches for me.

Itanyesha : It will rain

Where I grew up it never rained. There were clouds in the sky, big ones and small ones, storms arrived often and brought sand with them, so much sand you could not open the doors or windows anymore. But the clouds or the storm never brought rain. Where I grew up, people said prayers for the rain to come, they sang songs for the rain to arrive and danced for the rain to start but the rain never came. Most of the people never saw the rain, even if everyone often spoke about the rain. There was only one woman left, who did not only sang, prayed and danced but who, even if it was long time ago knew the rain by herself. Even if I met her everyday, I don’t know her name, she was called Bibi Mvua, Grandmother Rain by everyone. She was the slimmest and strongest woman I ever met, she chewed betel all day and spat on the floor, she had nearly no teeth left but when she smiled she looked like a queen, she did not liked to be asked for stories but I did ask her anyway, coming back to her door across the street, day after day, sitting next to hear, waiting till she started to tell the old stories, till she told me from the rain, described to me the smell of the rain, the green around and showed me a single photo, depicting her father who had some cattle, but then the war came and the rain stopped and she too, did not speak further, did not tell me more about the war, the cattle and the missing rain.

In the long summer holidays I visited my grandmother in Germany, my grandmother was called Ami and I thought maybe my grandmother could tell me more about the rain and maybe show me the rain itself. And when she asked me, picking me up from the airport, if I had a wish for the long holidays to come, I asked her to show me the rain. But the sky outside the window was blue and crisp clear, everyday, when I woke up, I drew my grandmother to the window, asking her when the rain would begin, but my grandmother shook her head, not even a single cloud appeared on the sky. But she took me upon her lap, put up a record on the old, vibrating player and the tempest began. I was frightened, this should be the sound of the rain? My grandmother told me the story of Donar, the frightful ruler, standing on his billy-goat drawn carriage ruling with lightening and thunder. But I preferred the much more friendly rain pouring down on the streets, the cattle and the strawberries of my grandmother’s garden beyond the house. And finally after a long time of waiting, one day, very early in the morning my grandmother woke me up, the rain she said, it is here. And we both hand in hand ran barefoot down the stairs into the garden, she turning me around till we both were soaking wet, me licking the raindrops running down my cheeks away, she with undone hair, both of us standing in the rain, laughing and singing silly rhymes. And later that day I filled a bottle with rainwater for Bibi Mvua, the woman who knew the rain when no one else did anymore and when I was back, I ran to her house across the street and without in need of saying a word, she saw the bottle, full of grey, mouldy water and knew that the rain was back in a place, where after the war, the rain did stop coming and like her father probably would never return.