Germany, Here I Come!

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Hear all about a solo expedition to Germany! Preeti Monga, our blind expert, shares her experience of setting off to Germany all by herself! Don’t believe us? Ha! Hear it from Preeti to know about her enthralling sorjourn.   

Meet motivational speaker and our blind expert Preeti Monga

Meet motivational speaker and our blind expert Preeti Monga

Out of the blue, I was miraculously gifted a three month long holiday in Germany! This was going to be my very first independent trip overseas! Super excited was I, to be able to get to experience first-hand,  a new country,  a different culture,  chance to meet new people, gorge on yummy food I had heard so much about.

With butterflies in my tummy, soon I was off on my maiden overseas vacation; nervously gripping my mother’s elbow, I entered the departure lounge at the Delhi International airport!  Here I was met by the most courteous ground staff, to be escorted right to the plane and to be settled comfortably on my seat! I was just about getting relaxed, when I heard a man’s voice from the seat beside me, “are you a daughter of a minister”? A little astonished, I promptly answered, “No, why do you ask”? “You seem to be getting a lot of VIP treatment on this flight” came his swift reply! “Oh,” that is because I am on special handling as I am blind”! “What” exclaimed my co-passenger, “but you don’t look blind to me.” To which I just smiled, and carried on sipping my orange juice, hoping to get through the seven hour flight  without  having my eye-sight actually examined by  my baffled and inquisitive co-traveler!

Well, luckily, without any further strange inquests, we ultimately landed at Frankford airport, where, unexpectedly I was escorted off the flight by the pilot. “Hi”, said this gentleman as he slipped his arm through mine, “I have just flown you to Frankford from Delhi and now I have to find somewhere to hand you over to my ground colleague, who should be expecting you somewhere out there, to get onto your connecting flight to Bremen”. I nervously thanked him and half out of my wits with anxiety, walked along with this stranger; while he escorted me from door to door, trying most unsuccessfully to find the right place in that massive airport, where he could hand me over to the ground staff there.“They don’t seem to want you anywhere here, so young lady, you better come home with me instead” he laughed teasingly! Glancing towards him timidly, I nervously hoped he was joking! Thankfully, he was…for I was soon handed over to a young German girl, waiting at the next entrance! She efficiently ushered me onto a vehicle, and we drove off silently towards the boarding gate for my flight to Bremen!

It seemed strangely silent around; especially for an airport like Frankford, hence I couldn’t resist asking my escort, if it was a holiday in Germany?  “No no”, came her prompt reply, “we are all busy working!” I wondered where were these “we”? And then, it got further weird, when the Bremen flight too, seemed to be nearly empty and our co-pilot served tea onboard, instead of the airhostess.

All my excitement had evaporated and I was actually shaking in my shoes with sheer panic, hoping I had not made a big mistake to have come to this strange land all on my own. And, suddenly I distinctly heard my aunt enquiring about me from somewhere around the Bremen airport; and I flew into her arms! I was glad, I made this adventurous journey alone. Well, soon I was at my Aunt’s beautiful home! And, as we both settled down to chat while we sipped on a steaming cup of tea, I found myself shivering. Just a few hours back, I was nearly roasting at 45 degrees in Delhi! The temperature here was fifteen degrees C, it was a drop of 30 degrees for me, in a matter of just about 12 hours!

Well, by and by, I began to become aware of an unusual, yet very pleasant feeling around me! It took me some time to understand that this remarkable pleasantness was coming from, the melodious sound of silence I was being able to hear, and,  the exotically delicious aroma of exquisitely clean air around!   Then, the  huge forest  areas  here too, endlessly fascinated me,  with  their countless ancient hazel nut and oak trees majestically ruling their green kingdom, which were forever buzzing with  activities of all kinds of sweetly chirping birds and bushy tail squirrels!

With lush landscapes, diverse cultures and warm locals, Germany offers a truly unforgettable experience

With lush landscapes, diverse cultures and warm locals, Germany offers a truly unforgettable experience

Ever so delightfully I would simply be tracing the smooth strong surface of those  very old tree trunks,  as I walked around them;  picturing  their lofty splender in my head! And,  also, the icy cold carvings on the stone walls of churches  built hundreds of years ago, in various parts of Germany, were a treat to my exploring fingers! Here for the first time, I completely enjoyed my visit to a historic museum, for I was given head phones, which explained in total detail, every item that I would stand in front of, along with an opportunity to touch most of the displays there! Then I was so utterly fascinated when I  discovered  a huge ancient iron globe standing in a park near my aunt’s home,  which was six feet in hight  and eight feet in diameter, and it had all the continents embossed on it so clearly! For the first time in life,  I actually got to know what our earth looks like, and it was so thrilling to see, with my hands, how far  away from my home in Delhi I was at that moment!

And I must tell you, how I couldn’t keep my hands off those delicious German cakes loaded with juicy fruit and ice-cream, their potato pancakes with apple sauce and the yummy sausages drenched in amazingly zingy mustered; not to forget the melting cheese over fresh vegetables being washed down with the famous German beer! And, about  those  hefty handsome German guys, who would take me cycling on a tandem cycle; and, this would inevitably be followed by us jumping from pub to pub, being treated to champagne by interestingly crazy German strangers, just because I was a pretty Indian girl and, thereafter, half dragged and half carried home, curtsy the unaccounted for champagne I merrily guzzled down! I remember how enchanted I was to visit the village  of tiny houses; which were hardly six feet high and around 8 feet wide! Some of these houses were double storied, and there were real people still living  in them! I had to go onto my knees to get inside these quaint little homes!

There is so much still that I am longing to experience there; is someone out there dying to gift me a holiday to Germany again?

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Preeti Monga

Preeti Monga is Founder & CEO of the Silver Linings Trust & Silver Linings Services, and, Director Project, of Project Jyoti of the Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital! Blind since childhood, she has made it her mission to empower people with disabilities and inspire everyone to live with dignity. Preeti focuses on the education of blind children, the inclusion of disabled people in mainstream society and the restoration of eyesight through cornea retrieval. She has won several prestigious awards, including The National Award, 2013, and the Exceptional Achievement in Entrepreneurship Award, 2015, among others!

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