Saturday, May 9, 2009


I went to Vypeen Island near Kochi.

Where the sky lovingly cuddles the dreamy Arabian Sea.

Where the Arabian Sea affectionately caresses the Kochi back waters..

Where fishermen are busy trying hard to make a living.

Where container ships gently glide.

Where cruise ships brings loads of rich tourists.

I was thrilled to see two men sitting on the rocks piled on the shore to prevent sea erosion and admiring the scenery. I wanted to pick up a conversation with them. But they looked burly and tough. I hesitated a bit. I waited for a little while to muster enough courage to approach them. Then I started talking to them. Soon I found out that they were friendly people who only had a tough exterior with soft heart like the tender coconut.

The short man with a big,bright enchanting smile is PAUL SCHINDLER and the tall man’s name is JOAHEN. They are 53 and 47 respectively. They are from Germany and live in trucks with all amenities near an artificial lake about 80 km. from Munich. There are about 200 trucks with people living in that area. They live among nature.
They have divorced their wives since they wanted freedom and live independently. Their children are grown up and they are self supporting.

Now they have come on a tour to India for 21 days. They will be visiting all the important places in the west coast. They have already been to Kovalam Beach in Trivandrum and they have traveled in a house boat from Quilon to Alleppey. They enjoyed the house boat travel very much that they are toying with the idea of buying a house boat. They have come to Kochi by bus from Alleppey and staying in Fort Kochi.

They were amazed that I could speak good English. I told them that we were ruled by the British and English language is their legacy to us. They said that in Germany they don’t speak much English.

It was getting late and I had a fill of the lovely place. So I took leave of them and started walking. They also stood up and started walking with me. As we walked, a small fish fell in front of Paul. He quickly pushed it back into the waters. . He told me jokingly it was a flying fish.(Actually it must have been a fish fallen from the beak of a bird flying above us.) I told him jokingly that when he goes back to Germany he can tell his friends about the flying fish he saw in Kochi. He told me with a smile on his face that he will tell his friends that all fishes in India fly. All three of us had a good laugh.
I told Paul that in Kochi we have LAUGHING CLUBS. People get together in a public place or park, stand in a group and laugh loudly. He said it must be a great fun to watch them. I said they will look like a bunch of jokers but this kind of laughing is good for health because it moves all the muscles in the body. We had more laughs over this. Joahen said that he will tell his friends back home in Germany that in India there are not only flying fishes but also laughing people. We laughed more until our sides ached.

By this time we had reached our respective jetties. They were going back to Fort Kochi and I was going to the main land Ernakulam. We shook each others hands very warmly and parted company. I had already taken their photos to show them to you:)

Some how their view on marriage and family life did not jell with my ideas. I don’t think all Germans think in that way. I will be delighted to know your opinions.

Best wishes:)


A New Beginning said...

Freedom has different meaning to different people, for a bird it freedom means to be able to fly, for a worker, it is to get a day off,for our Country it meant independence, Therefore its different for different people..its just the realisation that one is free from any kind of bondage. Relationships provide a new meaning for us, but unfortunately for some they are quite suffocating.Its quite an open ended discussion:)
But well the post felt like fresh air:) Thanks and keep the great work going!

Amrita said...

Nice stroll by the sea with you. i have seen that view in Kochi and boarded on a container ship from a launch. Great fun.

Marriage is a life long commitment. Its not a temporary relationship.

Krishanu said...

Pics were simply astounding! And yes, I loved your friendliness! Keep going!

SkyJuice said...

Interesting post, Joseph. Thanks for sharing.

I can relate to their idea of freedom. Less responsibilities, less worries, and more time for ourselves.

Have a good weekend! :-)

Linda said...

It's quite an adventure reading your posts - I'm never sure where I'm going to end up! I love these mini stories.

It's difficult to comment on people's individual situations. I felt sorry for the wives, but perhaps they were glad - who knows?!

Catherine said...

How do you manage this, Joseph? You're skilled in approaching unknown people, no ? You must get a mysterious power, a secret smile that lead you to communicate with others. Here, we've lost this skill. I'm envious.
I think they'll be able to say to their German friends that Indians are very welcoming.
I wanted to answer you whether rules are the same, and children are still learning English in public school, I mean.
Of course, some can have English classes in private school.
And French classes ? I met at work, a long time ago, a young woman who had Indian origins, from Pondichéry. I wonder if they still learn French as a second or third langage in that area ? Just by curiosity.


Hi Joseph Freedom is so much taken for granted in many parts of the world, but for some it is a dream.
Your excellent blog and photo's was a joy to read and look at.

Have a good week-end.


Anonymous said...

I like your "where" descriptives almost as much as some of the photos.

As far as the 2 men you spoke with, I love when my "recognition" of a certain type of person proves false & the conversation I'd never have had if I didn't push my feelings aside turns out to be lovely.

I know some happily married Germans ;-). I think everyone wants a version of freedom, but we all define it a bit differently.~Mary

LJEANH said...

Hello Joseph...loved your story...I could see the three of you in my minds made me smile...wonderful!
I believe you and I agree on marriage. I don't understand these men leaving their wives to live alone. Maybe it is like in the history of our Church when a married couple would agree to seperate to devote themselves to God...the woman would go to a convent and the man to a monastary? It doesn't sound like these men did this for a religious reason...but I could be wrong.
Thank you for such a wonderful blog.

Trudy said...

What a fun sounds like you three gentleman had a lovely visit together. I also love your pictures.

I too had trouble reading the part about the men divorcing their wives to be more independent. Did you have a chance to talk with them about Jesus Christ? I wonder if they are Christians. The divorce part troubles me because I am a Christian. I am not naive and I understand it happens all the time, my own husband is twice divorced.

It sounds to me as though the life they are living now was truly where their hearts were, so I suppose divorcing their wives could be considered an unselfish decision since they weren't forcing them to join them on this journey. I do have a hard time though, can't decide if it was selfish of them or unselfish...hmmm?

Rhapsody said...

Blessings & Namaste, just visiting from Deepu's Blog and decided to read this entry and leave a comment. The first photos of the landscape are nice has a feeling of tranquil solitude to them. I would have like to weigh in on the issue of the German men's view on marriage however you did not give the detail of their prospective.

Nice entry, have a blessed and glorious week ahead. Peace.

Maria said...

Hallo Joseph, what a fun post! I enjoyed your conversation with the two Germans and laughed about the flying fish and the laughing clubs.
I think that it is OK for those to men to live as they do, divorced, in freedom.
Your pictures are very interesting, showing the fishermen on the shore and also the big container ships passing by.
Have a good week!

manivannan said...

Awesome pictures sir!

That is the great difference between West and East sir. For them enjoying is more important and for us sharing is more important. Also I'm well aware that it doesn't apply to all. Because even in the west there are wonderful families and even in east, there are people who live selfishly.

Also, I appreciate that you are not sharing the same thoughts as that German. That's great!

Keep rocking sir!

Have a great day :)

Travis Erwin said...

Nice pictures. I really hope to travel out of the country someday.

Leo said...

Even in my own extended family there are different views and practices of personal relationships, some of which I do not understand. But, if they are happy, then keep it. If they are unhappy, they should change it. I must repect differences. If we were all the same, what a bore it would be. Thanks for sharing your thoughtful adventure.

Margaret Cloud said...

Sometimes it is hard to approach people, not knowing if they are friendly. I am glad you had a nice visit, your pictures are very nice. Thank you for coming by.

FCB said...

Hi Joseph,
I'm so glad you show yourself friendly; it blesses thrice, you, them, and your blogging friends.
I'm sure there is a long and personal story behind their divorces, what value there would have been if you had got into that issue with them seems unlikely to me. It reminds me of a proverb that says not to try and counsel a fool in his folly. I'm not suggesting they are fools, but when on holiday, with all the stimulation of travel, the heart is not usually open to serious discussions. I think it was wisdom to leave it alone, that's my two cents on that. But I do believe whenever we take the time to befriend people it is of great value. One never knows the state of the heart or the impact of a friendly conversation.
The man on the left certainly seemed to have a genuine smile on his face, I'm sure your meeting will be memorable to them.
You make me envious with the beautiful strolls and intriguing conversations with people from all over the world. Fun!
God bless,

deeps said...

You really seem to have a passion for clicking away photos of life happing around …
Wow! Look at those ..
It is a chapter taken out of life …..

They are not mere random photos you have .. but you know why you have them here and that makes all the difference …

Looks like those people had a very inspiring time with you …
nice day

Danielle&Hannah said...

Hi there Joseph,
Yes, I understand your discomfort with the view they have on marriage. It is very common these days. I do have some German ancestry and can assure you that none of my family adheres to this kind of thinking! I love your ability to tell the story with photos, thank you for the time you take to share this with us :-)

Prayers to you and yours,


Mel said...

Many Delighted Greetings to you, Dear Joseph!

You've done it again! I greatly enjoyed viewing the pictures reading this story of how you met Paul and Joahen. I don't necessarily agree with their beliefs about family and commitment, but then, I'm not them, and I'm sure that if I were, I would agree with them whole-heartedly.

Thank you, once again, for another peek into your world. Many, many blessings to you and yours! :)

Your friend,

lyzzydee said...

Hello Thank you for stopping by my blog, I love your story!! Your style is very poetic!!

meerasworld said...

i believe,if two people reach a point where they cant live under the same roof,they should go their seperate ways,peacefully.but ,if they have kids,they should wait till the kids are old enough to be on their own,as we have a responsibility towards them. we decided to bring them to this world,so stick together till they can stand on their own.this is my husband's view.
kids shouldnt suffer because of the wrong choices we make.
freedom,you can get even inside a can have your own life,if both the partners have that kind of an understanding.i dont think marriage makes you less free,but kids would:)

Femin Susan said...

What a fun post. Enjoyed reading your conversation with the Germans.

I was at my uncle's for a few days.

satish kumar said...

Oh thats a nice post,sir.The very thought of ur conversation with them brings to me the laughter. But seriously,somethings abt foreigners make me brood over for a while.I think its common in Germany and many other countries like U.S,for the people to have divorced their wives.I don't mean that all are so,only few may be so,but they constitute sufficiently large numbers,it seems.
Oh......any way,I love Kochi very much though I haven't visited Kochi ever.I wud love to visit Kochi whenever I get the time. So next week I'll be touring Coimbatore along with my family.I'm planning to visit Munnar,which is a beautiful place in Kerala and I wud like to seek ur suggestion for this,sir.Will it be satisfactory to visit Munnar in this hot summer,sir? Heard that its a cool place with beatiful sceneries giving a pleasant feelto visitors.So cud u tell me something abt Munnar in brief,sir?I mean what r all the places to see in Munnar and nearby.And if possible I may visit Kochi.

Diane C. said...

Enjoyed reading about your trip to Vypeen Island and meeting the Germans. How interesting that the fish just landed by you guys on the ground. Probably was dropped from a bird like you said.

Mark in Spokane said...

Well, the Germans I have known have tended to be all over the map when it comes to marriage, family life, religion, etc. Some very traditional, some quite less so -- like your new friends.

Germans laughing...I've seen it, but I've never seen it done well...It always seems a bit unnatural. Most Germans I've met have been very serious -- sehr ernst!

Sounds like you all had a very good time, though.

Rema said...

It was very good. In a very short time they opened up and you all shared so much. Somehow the idea of “freedom” at the cost of ….. ? I don’t agree to that. I feel its like running away from responsibilities. I also feel sharing, caring, giving, sacrificing etc. etc. etc. brings people close.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Rema:)

I fully agree with you. We are brought up in a different culture,religion, belief, values etc. I forgot to ask the Germans if they followed any religion.

Best wishes:)