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HEUTE /TODAY, Montag, 12.5., 18-21 Uhr, bietet Satis Shroff seinen ersten Creative Writing Workshop (literarisches Schreiben auf Englisch) im Schreibzentrum an. Es wird weitere Termine geben und am Schluss des Semesters eine öffentliche Lesung, gemeinsam mit der Literarischen Werkstatt (Literarisches Schreiben auf Deutsch). Weitere Informationen zum Workshop finden Sie hier: https://www.ph-freiburg.de/hochschule/weitere-einrichtungen/schreibzentrum/literarische-werkstatt.html
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Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg: Literarische Werkstatt
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Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg: Literarische Werkstatt
satis shroff: satisle@myway.com

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10.Mai 2014

Schwarzwald Diary (Satis Shroff) 

 

 I was woken up by the sun’s rays that shone into my room. I went to the traditional stony terrace and looked towards the Black Forest mountains in the direction of Kirchzarten and was rewarded by the sight of the rising sun. After a Schwarzwälder breakfast and a quick scanning of the zeitungen I decided to go to Cafe Mozart to a reading by a Freiburger poetess named Lilo Külp, which I’d been postponing all these years.  (The Freiburger poetess Lilo Külp reading in Cafe Mozart) The cafe is run by family Rückert and it’s near the Siegesdenkmal, a cafe that reminded my of my journey to Salzburg, where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born. The poetess was accompanied musicaly by Claudia Thyme, who played the sax and conjured up melodies from 1001 Nights because that was also a part of the reading. The story in verse was about Lousianna, a poetess with a beautiful voice. Her father goes on a long journey and gives her a good piece of advice to use her resources. She walks up to a temple. Opens the door, enters it, goes to the altar and starts telling her story. – Suddenly a voice asks her rudely, “What are you doing here?” It is the temple priest. Go away, this is not the place for telling such tales.” She’s sad and leaves the temple. A small sparrow chirps and says, “Tell your story to the people in the streets.” She follows this advice. The people listened, coins began to roll in and she had a lot of stuff for tales. She meets a carpet seller in the busy street, who uses his entire charm and cunningness to sell his wares and creates a furore every time. It was a wonderful rendering from a frail Lilo Külp but when she talks her eyes light up and everything she says is interesting. She knows how to capture her audience. Frau Külf read from her book of poems with the title ‘Even the Half-Moon is Lovely.’ (Freiburg’s midwives demonstrating low-pay and bad job perspectives at the Kaiser Joseph Strasse, Bertold’s Fountain in downtown Freiburg). They were supported by a good many parents, which reminded me a lecture I’d given on Obstetrics which dealt with pregnancy and labor symptoms, and whether a water-birth is good or a birth in a hospital, the advantages and disadvantages of both.  MITEINANDER (Togetherness): MGV-Kappel “Liederkranz,” Musikverein-Freiburg-Kappel and Trachtenverein St. Ulrich The Spring Concert of the Musikverein-Kappel organised a good programme and even invited a guest brass band called the Trachten-Kapelle St. Ulrich conducted by Hans Breika, an athletic, tall man. They’d brought their own moderator along: Monika Steiert. The Musikverein Freiburg-Kappel was conducted by Bernhard Winter, a jolly Bavarian, who in the course of the evening told me over a glass of sekt that he’d bought a piece of land in the vicinity of Lake Ontario and wanted to spend the winter of his life in Canada. What a pleasant thought. He confided that he does have German croonies there, and he goes often to the USA and Canada. The moderation of the Kappler band was to be done of Karin Peter but she could’d and so Klaus Gülker , a South-West Radio man with the gift of the German gab, had volunteered to take over the moderation, which he did with elan, spiced with poetry and a touch of humour. The first piece was John William’s ‘Fanfare’ and there was a lot of fanfare in it. The good thing about a brass band is that it’s performed with oomph. The next song was ‘I Remember Clifford’ composed by Benny Golson, a story of an unlucky trumpet player; a beautiful melody with drums, trumpet played by the Kappler musician Stefan Nerz, who’s name Gülker translated literally to Mink. You could have danced a good fox trot to this melody, but since it was a concert, nobody did. Then came the ‘Headliner’ composed by Dennis Armitage, a quick-step tact and melody; rather catchy tune. This was followed by James barnes’ ‘Danza Sinfonica’ with whom the cunductor Bernard Winter had telephone for hours. He said he’d drunk more than a beer with Dennis Armitage in Chicago. The great-great-great grandfather of James Barnes was also mentioned. The orchestra produced a big sound, making maximal use of brass and big drums, tamborine; the sound emulated a paso doble mingled with Arabian Nights and Spanish castanettes. The flute, clarinet and sax melodies were charming and transported the audience to another world. A difficult piece masterly performed and conducted by the Musikverein-Kappel conducted by Bernd Winter. The last number was ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’ composed by John Philip Sousa. It might be mentioned that a term was coined during those early days ‘the sousaphone,’ an instrument which sounds like a bomb in an orchestra. Don’t we love American composers out here in Europe, especially Germany? Yes, we do. Five musicians of the Musikverein-Kappel who’d been playing still in the verein were honoured, among others Dominik and Isabelle Steiert. Joachim Maurer came after attending the soccer match in Kenzingen (from the Oberbadische verband) and thanked Albert Dold for his dedicated service for 5o years with the verein in Kappel. He’d joined the Musikverein-Kappel in 1968 at the age of 12 and received the golden Ehren-needle. After the intermission the Trachtenkapelle St. Ulrich conducted by Hans Breika played the Procession of Nobles (Einzug der Edelleute)composed by Nicholas Rimsky Korsakov which was with a lot of oomph and clarion calls. The men were dressed in white shirts, black trousers and scarlet waistcoats with golden buttons, which suited the brass instruments they were playing: horns, trumpets, trombones and the like. ‘Second Suite for Band’ composed by Alfred Reed was followed by ‘The Wizard of Oz’ which was introduced as the American answer to the German fairy tales by the Grimm brothers, and which was made popular by Judy Garland. ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’was one of the world hits. The Cordillerasde los Andes’ composed by Klees Vlak took the audience to the far off Andes mountains of South America with such works as: Cotopaxi, Illmani and Coro puna. The musical presentation by the traditional Trachtenkapelle St. Ulrich (located near the town of Au)in their colourful costumes came up with Latin American melodies which began slowly, was frivolous with rumba-elements and evoked fiery Latin feelings culimnating in samba rhythms. Gallilero composed by Thomas Doss was played towards the end depicting a time when South America was conquered by the Spanish conquistadors. On the whole the compositions were a good melange of North and South American melodies and it was an enjoyable evening.

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And after April,when May follows,

And the whitethroat builds,

And all the swallows!

(Robert Browning)

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 Zeitgeistlyrik: The Schwarzwald in May (Satis Shroff)

 

Ah, the Black Forest,

Whether you’re in Triberg

Or in Feldberg,

The smell of the lush green grass,

After the April showers,

In the gentle glaciated meadows,

Where the calves and cows

Are grazing peacefully with horses.

 

Now and then you discern a moo,

Like an Alpine horn,

In the tranquil landscape.

Along the gushing brooks,

The toads and frogs greet you,

With their croaks.

The Spring begins blossom for blossom.

May, the merriest month,

When lusty hearts begin to blossom.

Ah, it’s the sunshine,

The fresh air and the hormones released.

 

 

 

Apple-trees in bloom,

And daffodils flourishing

Alongside wild grass.

The leaves flapping like wings,

As the Höllentäler blows.

 

I sit in my Schwarzwald terrace,

 With its stone walls,

Hares and birds around me.

As I sip my morning coffee,

A brown squirrel dashes past,

For he’s the new inhabitant

In a blackbird’s nest,

And lives on freshly hatched eggs.

 

A one-legged blackbird comes by,

Hopping on one leg,

Only to fly away clumsily.

 The brown squirrel isn’t

The only nest-plunderer,

The beautiful feathered jay

Is fond of it too.

 

Hovering above are

A pair of Mäusebuzzards,

Scanning and scrutunizing

The Black Forest and meadows below,

Searching for even

The faintest movements,

Of mice in the fields.

 

Above the terrace is a palisade

Of dark pine trees,

With a clearing below the slope.

A solitary deer comes by,

Stoops, relishes, chews and swallows

The wild berries and buds.

The deer is used to humans.

An old, fat fox appears occasionally,

His mouth waters when he espies

The rabbits in thick fur,

On a sunny day in May.

There are humans around,

Perhaps another time,

Thinks the fox and vanishes

In the undergrowth.

 

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Health Region Freiburg: Feel Your Own Health (Satis Shroff)
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Die „HealthRegion Freiburg“ präsentiert sich erstmals auf der „fit for life.“ Die von führenden Einrichtungen aus Gesundheitswirtschaft und Tourismus gemeinsam getragene Initiative „HealthRegion Freiburg“ wird auf der „fit for life“, die im Rahmen der cft auf der Messe Freiburg stattfindet, vom 09. bis 10. März erstmals die Kompetenzen der Gesundheitsregion Freiburg einem breiten Publikum präsentieren. Dem interessierten Besucher bietet der Gemeinschaftsstand die Möglichkeit, sich aus erster Hand über die zahlreichen Angebote und Dienstleistungen der Partner zu informieren. Ergänzt wird das Informationsangebot durch kos-tenlose Gesundheits- und Vorsorgechecks, Demonstrationen und interessante Beiträge im begleitenden Vortragsprogramm. 

Auf dem 150 m² großen Gemeinschaftsstand, werden neben dem zentralen Infostand der „HealthRegion“ mit dem Universi-tätsklinikum Freiburg, dem Universitäts-Herzzentrum Freiburg-Bad Krozingen, dem RKK Klinikum, dem Zentrum für Ganzheit-liche Medizin Dres. Karner, dem Gesundheitsresort Freiburg, der Theresienklinik Bad Krozingen, dem Labordienstleister MVZ Clotten sowie dem PACs Verlag aus Staufen auch renommierte Einzelaussteller vertreten sein. Das Angebotsspektrum reicht von der erfolgreichen Therapie mit integrierten Angeboten über Rehabilitation bis hin zu Präventionsprogrammen für Privatper-sonen und Unternehmen. „Die Premiere dient interessierten Besucherinnen und Besuchern aus Deutschland, Frankreich und der Schweiz als regionales Schaufenster. Hier können sie sich aus erster Hand über individuelle Angebote zur Erhaltung und Wiederherstellung der persönlichen Lebensqualität und Leistungsfähigkeit informieren“, erläutert Bernd Dallmann, Vor-sitzender des Vereins HealthRegion Freiburg e.V. 

Thematisch im Vordergrund stehen die Themen Herz-Kreislauferkrankungen, Arthrose und Osteoporose, Minimal-Invasive Neurochirurgie, Ganzheitliche Medizin, Rücken-gesundheit, Medical Fitness, Betriebliches Gesundheitsma-nagement, Medical Wellness & Beauty sowie orthopädische und kardiologische Rehabilitation. 
Von den angebotenen Aktionen findet sich inhaltlich vieles in den begleitenden Vorträgen wieder: Von Bewegungstherapien zu Themen wie „Schmerzfrei: Natürlich!“ und „Rückenschmerzen ganzheitlich behandeln“ über den Check der Gleichge-wichtsfähigkeit am Posturomed bis zu Medical Wellness-Aktionen und Untersuchungsangeboten. Die Vorträge reichen von „Erfolgreiche Therapie bei Arthrose“ und „Behandlung von Wirbelsäulenerkrankungen: Neue Entwicklungen in der minimal invasiven Wirbelsäulenchirurgie“ über „Die Bauchspeicheldrüse – das vergessene Organ“ bis zu „Aktiv und gesund trotz Zucker-krankheit – Optimale Behandlung des Diabetes mellitus“ und „Den Arzt in der Westentasche -Diagnose und Therapie via Handy und Internet“. 

Der Verein HealthRegion Freiburg e.V. begleitet und ergänzt die Aktivitäten der für drei Jahre aus Mitteln des Europäischen Fonds für Regionale Entwicklung (EFRE) geförderten Cluster-initiative „Healthcare & Economy – Region of Competence Freiburg“. Ziel ist es, die Innovationsstärke und die Wettbewerbsfähigkeit der Region Freiburg in den Bereichen Gesundheitswirtschaft und Tourismus nachhaltig stärken und die landesweit geförderte Clusterinitiative HealthRegion F

Invasive Neurochirurgie, Ganzheitliche Medizin, Rücken-gesundheit, Medical Fitness, Betriebliches Gesundheitsma-nagement, Medical Wellness & Beauty sowie orthopädische und kardiologische Rehabilitation. 

Von den angebotenen Aktionen findet sich inhaltlich vieles in den begleitenden Vorträgen wieder: Von Bewegungstherapien zu Themen wie „Schmerzfrei: Natürlich!“ und „Rückenschmer-zen ganzheitlich behandeln“ über den Check der Gleichge-wichtsfähigkeit am Posturomed bis zu Medical Wellness-Aktionen und Untersuchungsangeboten. Die Vorträge reichen von „Erfolgreiche Therapie bei Arthrose“ und „Behandlung von Wirbelsäulenerkrankungen: Neue Entwicklungen in der minimal invasiven Wirbelsäulenchirurgie“ über „Die Bauchspeicheldrüse – das vergessene Organ“ bis zu „Aktiv und gesund trotz Zucker-krankheit – Optimale Behandlung des Diabetes mellitus“ und „Den Arzt in der Westentasche -Diagnose und Therapie via Handy und Internet“.

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Satis Shroff: MEMOIR

 

I could see Madame Defarge knitting the names of the noblemen and women to be executed. Dickens was a great master of fabulation. I was ripe for those stories and was as curious as a Siamese cat I had named Sirikit, reading, turning page for page, absolutely absorbed in the unfolding stories..

I like writing which means sitting down and typing what you’ve thought about. Writing is a solitary performance but when I sing with my croonies of the MGV-Kappel it is sharing our joy and sadness and it’s a collective song that we produce and that makes our hearts beat higher during concerts. When an idea moves me for days I have the craving to pen it. I get ideas when I’m ironing clothes and listening to Nepali songs or Bollywood ones. When I don’t have time, I make a poem out of it, for poetry is emotion recollected in tranquillity. When I prepare my medical lectures I’m transferring knowledge from my university past and bringing them together verbally, and I realise it’s great fun to attain topicality by connecting the medical themes with what’s topical thereby creating a bridge between the two. That makes a lecture interesting, which is like a performance, a recital in which you interact with the audience. 
At school I was taught art by a lean, bearded Scottish teacher who loved to pain landscapes with water-colours. Whenever I travel during holidays, I keep an ArtJournal with my sketches and drawings, and try to capture the feelings, impressions of the place and people I meet, and it’s great fun to turn the pages years later and be reminded how it was then. I like doing all these things and they’re all near to my heart. 

* * *
Literature is translating emotions and facts from truth to fiction. It’s like a borderline syndrome; between sanity and insanity there’s fine dividing line. Similarly, non-fiction can be transformed into fiction. Virginia Woolf said, ‘There must be great freedom from reality.’ For Goethe, art was art because it was not nature. That’s what I like about fiction, this ability of transforming mundane things in life to jewels through the use of words. Rilke mentioned one ought to describe beauty with inner, quiet, humble righteousness. Approach nature and show what you see and experienced, loved and lost.

* * *

At school I used to read P.G.Wodehouse (about how silly aristocrats are and how wise the butler Jeeves is) and Richard Gordon (a physician who gave up practicing Medicine and started writing funny books). For me Richard Gordon was a living example of someone who could connect literature with bio-medical sciences. Desmond Morris, zoologist (The Naked Ape, The Human Zoo) was another example for me. He has also written a book about how modern soccer players do tribal dances on the football-field, with all those screaming spectators, when their team scores a goal. That’s ethnological rituals that are being carried out by European footballers. 

Since I went to a British school I was fed with EngLit and was acquainted with the works of English writers like Milton, Shakespeare, Dickens, Hardy, Walter Scott, RL Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, HG Wells, Victor Hugo, Poe, Defoe, Hemingway, and poets like Burns, Keats, Yeats, Dante, Goldsmith. Since we had Nepali in our curriculum it was delightful to read Bhanu Bhakta, Mainali, Shiva Kumar Rai and other Nepali authors. At home I used to pray and perform the pujas with my Mom, who was a great story teller and that was how I learned about the fantastic stories of Hindu mythology. At school we also did Roman and Greek mythology. My head was full of heroes. I was also an avid comicstrip reader and there were Classics Illustrated comic with English literature. I used to walk miles to swap comic-books in Nepal. It was mostly friends from the British Gurkhas who had assess to such comics, gadgets, musical instruments they’d bought in Hong Kong, since it was a British enclave then.
Science can be interesting and there is a genre which makes scientific literature very interesting for those who are curious and hungry for more knowledge.

In Kathmandu I worked as a journalist with an English newspaper The Rising Nepal. I enjoyed writing a Science Spot column. One day Navin Chandra Joshi, an Indian economist who was working for the Indian Cooperative Mission asked a senior editor and me:

‘Accha, can you please tell me who Satis Shroff is?’ 

Mana Ranjan gave a sheepish smile and said, ‘You’ve been talking with him all the time.’ 

The elderly Mr. Joshi was plainly surprised and said, ‘Judging from his writing, I thought he was a wise old man.’ 

I was 25 then and I turned red and was amused. 

As I grew older, I discovered the works of Virginia Woolf, DH Lawrence, Aldous Huxley, Authur Miller, Henry Miller, Doris Lessing and James Joyce. The lecturers from the English Department and the Literary Supplements were all revering his works: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, Finnegans Wake. His works appealed to be because I was also educated by the Christian Brothers of Ireland in the foothills of the Himalayas, with the same strictness and heavy hand. God is watching you.. 

Since my college friends left for Moscow University and Lumumba Friendship University after college, I started taking interest in Russian literature and borrowed books from the Soviet library and read: Tolstoi, Dostojewskije, Chekov and later even Solzinitzyn’s Archipel Gulag. I spent a lot of time in the well-stocked American Library in Katmandu’s New Road and read Henry Miller, Steinbeck, Faulkner, Thoreau, Whitman.

Favourite books and authors:

Bhanu Bhakta Acharya’s ‘Ramayana,’ Devkota’s ‘Muna Madan,’ Guru Prasad Mainali’s ‘Machha-ko Mol,’ Shiva Kumar Rai’s ‘Dak Bungalow,’ Hemingway’s Fiesta, For Whom the Bells Toll, Günter Grass ‘Blechtrommel,’ Zunge zeigen, Marcel Reich Ranicki’s ‘Mein Leben,’VS Naipaul’s ‘ ‘Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness,’ James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses, Stephan Hero, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Faust I, Faust II’, Leo Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace,’ Rainer Maria Rilke’s ‘Briefe an einen jungen Dichter’ Goethe’s ‘Die Leiden des jungen Werther,’The Diaries of Franz Kafka’ Carl Gustav Jung’s ‘Memories, Dreams, Reflections,’ Patrick Süskind’s ‘Perfume,’ John Updike’s ‘The Witches of Eastwick,’ ‘Couples,’ Peter Matthiessen’s ‘The Snow Leopard,’ Mark Twain ‘A Tramp Abroad,’John Steinbeck’s ‘The Pearl,’ Rushdie’s ‘Midnight Children,’ Jonathan Franzen’s ‘The Corrections,’ John Irving’s Last Night in Twisted River. 

Position of Nepali as world literature in terms of standard:

Nepali literature has had a Cinderella or Aschenputtel-existence and it was only through Michael Hutt, who prefers to work closely with Nepalese authors and publishes with them, under the aegis of SOAS that literature from Nepal is trying to catch the attention of the world. We have to differentiate between Nepalese writing in the vernacular and those writing in English. Translating is a big job and a lot of essence of a language gets lost in translation. What did the author mean when he or she said that? Can I translate it literally? Or do I have to translate it figuratively? If the author is near you, you can ask him or her what the meaning of a sentence, certain words or expression is. This isn’t the case always. So what you translate is your thought of what the writer or poet had said. I used to rollick with laughter when I read books by PG Wodehouse and Richard Gordon. I bought German editions and found the translations good. But the translated books didn’t bring me to laugh. 

Tribhuvan University has been educating hundreds of teachers at the Master’s Level but the teacher’s haven’t made a big impression on the world literary stage because most of them teach, and don’t write. Our neighbour India is different and there are more educated people who read and write. The demand for books is immense. Writing in English is a luxury for people who belong to the upper strata of the Nepalese society. Most can’t even afford books and have a tough time trying to make ends meet. The colleges and universities don’t teach Creative Writing. They teach the works of English poets and writers from colonial times, and not post-colonial. There are a good many writers in Nepal but their works have to be edited and promoted by publishers on a standard basis. If it’s a good story and has universal appeal then it’ll make it to the international scene. Rabindra Nath Tagore is a writer who has been forgotten. It was the English translation that made the world, and Stockholm, take notice. 

Manjushree Thapa and Samrat Upadhya have caught the attention of western media because they write in English. One studied and lived in the USA and the other is settled there. Moreover, the American publishing world does more for its migrant authors than other countries. There are prizes in which only USA-educated migrants are allowed to apply to be nominated, a certain protectionism for their US-migrants.

(The lecturer with his Creative Writing students in Freiburg)

Motivation to write:
The main motivation is to share my thoughts with the reader and to try out different genres. Since I know a lot of school-friends who dropped out and joined the British Gurkhas to see the world, it was disgusting to see how the British government treated their comrade-in-arms from the hills of Nepal. On the one hand, they said they are our best allies, part of the British Army and on the other hand I got letters from Gurkhas showing how low their salaries are in the Gurkha Brigade. A Johnny Gurkha gets only half the pay that a British Tommy is paid. Colonialism? Master-and –Servant relationship? They were treating them like guest-workers from Nepal and hiring and firing them at will, depending upon whether the Brits needed cannon-fodder. All they had to do was to recruit more Brigades in Nepal. This injustice motivated me to write a series on the Gurkhas and the Brits. I like NatureJournaling too and it’s wonderful to take long walks in the Black Forest countryside and in Switzerland. As a Nepalese I’m always fascinated and awed by the Alps and the Himalayas. 

Writing style:

Every writer in his journey towards literature discovers his own style. Here’s what Heidi Poudel says about my style: ‘Brilliant, I enjoyed your poems thoroughly. I can hear the underlying German and Nepali thoughts within your English language. The strictness of the German form mixed with the vividness of your Nepalese mother tongue. An interesting mix. Nepal is a jewel on the Earths surface, her majesty and charm should be protected, and yet exposed with dignity through words. You do your country justice and I find your bicultural understanding so unique and a marvel to read.’ Reviewed by Heide Poudel in WritersDen.com.

I might sound old fashioned but there’s lot of wisdom in these two small words: Carpe diem. Use your time. It can also mean ‘seize the job’ as in the case of Keating in the book ‘Dead Poets Society.’ When I was in Katmandu a friend named Bindu Dhoj who was doing MBA in Delhi said, ‘Satish, you have to assert yourself in life.’ That was a good piece of advice. In the Nepalese society we have a lot of chakari and afnu manchay caused by the caste-and-jaat system. But in Europe even if you are well-qualified, you do have to learn to assert and ‘sell’ and market yourself through good public relations. That’s why it’s also important to have a serious web-presence. Germany is a great, tolerant country despite the Nazi past, and it’s an economic and military power. If you have chosen Germany, then make it a point to ‘do in Germany as the Germans do.’ Get a circle of German friends, interact with them, lose your shyness, get in touch with German families and speak, read, write and dream in German. If you like singing then join a choir (like me), if you like art join a Kunstverein, if you like sport then be a member of a Sportverein. If you’re a physician, join the Marburger or Hartmann Bund. Don’t think about it. Do it. It’s like swimming. You have to jump into the water. Dry swimming or thinking alone won’t help you. Cultural exchange can be amusing and rewarding for your own development. 

Current and future projects: I always have writing projects in my mind and you’ll catch me scribbling notices at different times of the day. I feel like a kid in a department store when I think about the internet. No haggling with editors, no waiting for a piece of writing to be published. I find blogs fantastic. Imagine the agonies a writer had to go through in the old days after having submitted a poem or a novel. Now, it’s child’s play. Even Elfriede Jelenek uses her blog to write directly for the reading pleasure of her readers. The idea has caught on. In a life time you do write a lot and I’m out to string all my past writings in a book in the Ich-Form, that is, first person singular and am interested in memoir writing, spiritual writing, medical-ethno writing and, of course, my Zeitgeistlyrik . Georg F. Will said: A powerful teacher is a benevolent contagion, an infectious spirit, an emulable stance toward life. I like the idea of being an ‘infectious spirit’ as far as my Creative Writing lectures are concerned, and it does your soul good when a young female student comes up to you after the lecture and says: ‘Thank you very much for the lecture. You’ve ignited the fire in me with your words.’ I love to make Creative Writing a benevolent contagion and infect young minds with words. 

To my Readers: Be proud of yourself, talk with yourself as you talk with a good friend, with respect and have goals in mind. If your goal is too high you must readjust it. My Mom used to say, ‘Chora bhayey pachi ik rakhna parchha. When you’re a son you have to strive for higher goals in life. I’d say a daughter can also adopt this. Like the proverbial Gurkha, keep a stiff upper lip and don’t give up. Keep on marching along your route and you’ll reach your destination in life. But on the other hand, be happy and contended with small successes and things. We Nepalese are attributed with ‘Die Heiterkeit der Seele’ because we are contented with small things which is a quality we should never lose. Keep that friendly Nepali smile on your face, for it will bring you miles and miles of smiles; and life’s worthwhile because you smile. 

On literature: When you read a novel or short-story, you can feel the excitement, you discover with the writer new terrain. You’re surprised. You’re in a reading-trance and the purpose of literature is to give you reading experience and pleasure. Literature is not the birth-right of the lecturers of English departments in universities where every author of merit is analysed, taken apart, mixing the fictive tale with the writer’s personal problems in reality. The authors are bestowed with literary prizes, feted at literary festivals and invited to literary conferences and public readings. 

Literature belongs to the folk of a culture, but the academicians have made it their own pride possession. Would like to hear Hemingway telling you a story he had written or an academician hold a lecture about what Hemingway wrote? I’d prefer the former because it belongs to the people, the readers, the listeners. In India and Nepal we have story-tellers who go from village to village and tell stories from the Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita. Story-telling has always appealed to simple people and the high-brows alike, and has remained an important cultural heritage. The same holds for the Gaineys, those wandering minstrels from Nepal and Northern India, with their crude violins called sarangis. They tell stories of former kings, princes and princesses, battles, fairy tales, village stories, ballads accompanied by the whining, sad sound of the sarangi. 

Literature has always flown into history, religion, sociology, ethnology and is a heritage of mankind, and you can find all these wonderful stories in your local library or your e-archive.

My first contact with a good library was the American Library in Katmandu. A new world of knowledge opened to me. I could read the Scientific American, Time, Newsweek, the Economist, The New York Times, National Geographic, the Smithsonian, the Christian Science Monitor. The most fascinating thing about it was , you only had to be a member and you could take the precious books home.

OMG! It was unbelievable for a Nepalese who came from a small town in the foothills of the Himalayas. Nobody bothered about what you were reading: stories, history, new and old ideas, inventions, theories, general and specific knowledge. The sky was the limit. I had a voracious appetite, and it was like the opening of a Bildungsroman.

Historical novels tell us about how it was to live in former days, the forms of society involved that the writer evokes in his or her pages. In ‘A Year in Provence’ Peter Mayle makes you almost taste the excellent French food and wine, and the search for truffles with a swine in hilarious, as well as the game of bol. On the other hand, James Joyce evokes a life-changing experience with his protagonists Leopold Bloom and Stephan Daedalus in Dublin on June 16, 1904. Ulysses is a modern interpretation of Homer’s Odyssey, an inner monologue recalled as memories of places, people, smells, tastes and thoughts of the protagonist . The Bhagwad Gita is a luminous and priceless gem in the literary world, possesses world history character, and teaches us the unity in diversity. It is a dialogue between the hero Arjuna and Krishna, who is the chariot-driver. Krishna is an incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu. The Mahabharata alone has 18 chapters and the epic has 18 books with legends, episodes and didactic pieces that are connected with the main story. It is a fascinating reading about the war between relatives, written in the 4th and 3rd centuries before the birth of Christ. He who reads knows better than to be indoctrinated, for he or she learns to think, opening new worlds and lines of thought.

In my school-days I read Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ and it became alive when I went to the Bastille Museum in Paris with a fellow medical student. My memory of A Tale of Two Cities took shape there, as I peered at the old, historical exhibits and the guillotine. Later in the evening my friend Peter’s sister, who was married to a Parisian said, ‘Oh, Satish, there are so many things to see in Paris than a museum the entire afternoon.’ For me it was like time-travelling to the times of the French Revolution, because I’d soaked up the story in my school days. I could see Madame Defarge knitting the names of the noblemen and women to be executed. Dickens was a great master of fabulation. I was ripe for those stories and was as curious as a Siamese cat I had named Sirikit, reading, turning page for page, absolutely absorbed in the unfolding stories. Time and space and my personal demands were unimportant. It was the story that had to be read, even with a midnight candle when the local hydroelectric power supply failed. That happened to me when I read ‘The Godfather’ (Der Pate) while visiting a friend from Iceland. I couldn’t put the book down.

I felt sad when a 14 year old computer-crazy schoolkid said: ‘Who reads books these days? Everything’s in the internet.’ The question is: do kids read books on their laptops and eReaders? School websites, Facebook and You Tube and their apps have added new hobbies for children who’re growing up. Does the cyberspace-generation have only time for games? I tell them they should use: Google Scholar, Pubmed etc. to gather knowledge and learn to transfer it.E-books are in: I think it’s great to have such a lot of authors in e-format in your pocket. Never a boring moment: the world of lit, science-fiction, thrillers all unfurl as you read or even listen to these, plugged in to your MP3. Watch the traffic though..

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Musikverein Buchenbach: Weihnachtskonzert (Satis Shroff)

 

Buchenbach lies to the east of the Kingdom of Heaven (Himmelreich) with an idyllic location, surrounded by Black Forest homesteads: Mesbacherhof, Zähringerhof, Rufenhof, Brissenhof. The ruins of the castle Burgberkenhof looms over the hamlet. And that’s where I went to the New Year’s concert in the Sommerberghalle performed by the Musikverein Buchenbach, where I happen to know quite a few people. In Buchen bach most of the people bear the names Schuler or Maier.

 

What do you expect in a small provincial town in Germany? It was a well-chosen programme and the conductor, an elderly man named Joseph Schuler, who has been conducting since 1983, started the evening with an instrumental marching song ‘A Day of Hope’ composed by the Austrian Fritz Neuböck. If you play a march in Germany, the elderly generation is with you because they’ve heard so many marching songs since their childhood. Today’s generation has a rather USA and UK taste for music with You Tube, Facebook, iPod, iMac download possibilities.

 

The next number was an ouverture Dichter und Bauer composed by Franz von Suppe, who was born in 1890 and arranged by  Max Hampel: a comedy with songs about a marriage with a fiery crescendo towards the end. Then came the time of the tuba with the Bombastic Bombardon played by Klaus Mangler and other young solists. This was followed by Lichtblicke, a symphonic fantasy by Kurt Gäble, depicting different lights with music and symbolising the ups and downs of life and the inevitable light in the darkness.

 

Maximillian Maier, a young and talented trumpeteer, then played The Rose composed by Amanda McBroom, Bette Middler and Frank Bernaerts. The Rose is a Hollywood movie about the stardom of Janice Joplin and her eventual fall at the hands of a money-hungry manager who makes her appear on-stage till she finally collapses.

 

Auf Ferienreisen composed by Joseph Strauß was the next piece arranged by Herber Maizer. This time even the conductor Joseph Schuler turned up with a big overseas suitcase, donning a Tyroler hat and began furiously with a pacy pokla. Joseph Strauss was the brother of Johann Strauss the King of Waltz melodies like: An der schönen blauen Donau, Wiener Blut, Wein, Weib,Sang and Kaiser Waltz to name a few.

 

After the intermission we were entertained with another concert marching-music: The Thunderer (Der Donnerer) by none other than John Philip Sousa, who composed ‘Stars and Stripes’, the second national anthem of the USA.

 

The audience were delighted when a selection from Starlight Express, which has been staged in Bochum since a long time, was rendered complete with costumed figures from the musical on in-liners.

 

Suddenly, the choreography took a turn towards the East and the orchestra played Harry Richard’s ‘Namaste,’ a greeting from India. A section of the orchestra greeted the audience and the guru (conductor) with folded hands and the German audience laughed because it was outlandish and thus hilarious. The garrulous, bespectacled, bearded moderator did his best to explain what a namaste meant and even brought in a reference to the Third Eye. Actually, when someone in Nepal or India performs a ‘namaste’ it means: ‘I greet the Godliness in you!’

 

La Storia was a film by Jacob de Haan evoking images of the Tosca (Italy) followed by a melange from the musical ‘Mary Poppins’ composed by Richard and Robert Shermann and arranged by Ted Ricketts.

 

After the concert I talked with Ursula Fruttiger, who plays the flute in the Musikverein Buchenbach, which has at the moment 70 active musicians, and the repertoire ranges from traditional works to classic and modern. Asked when the Musikverein plays, Ursula replied with a broad smile, ‘We play in the community on different occasions and our music is a bit religious and also worldly. We also take part in the activities of the other associations (vereins). When our members have birthdays or round anniversaries.’

 

Now isn’t that a nice thought? I remembered the last time when the Männergesangverein came and sang songs like ‘Mein guter Freund’, ‘Heimat’ and other touching traditional songs. I had tears of joy in my eyes.

 

Ursula went on to say, ‘We have Maiwecken on the 1st of May and play music every year at another place in the hamlet and the local Buchenbacher love it.

 

The New Year’s Concert in the Sommerberghalle is very popular among the locals as well as people from the surrounding hamlets and towns. We also get invited by other music associations and they visit us during the during our annual Musikhock in the old quarry.

 

I was amazed at the many young boys and girls who were in the orchestra. In the case of the country’s men’s choirs the olde boys are dying out and there’s difficulty in motivating young people to join the traditional vereins. They’d rather rave, listen and dance to techno, rap,hip-hop and other music and songs.

 

Ursula Fruttiger came up with, ‘Besides our orchestra, we have also a youth-band with 30 young musicians. After a successful exam in the bronze performance category, the young people become full-fledged members of the orchestra. Some of the youth then play in big orchestras.

 

‘At what age can you join the Musikverein?’ I asked Ursula.

 

‘We teach 8- year olds to play a brass instrument and the instrument is provided by the Musikverein, and we also finance the musical education.

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LINDENBERG (Satis Shroff)

 

Lindenberg is a serene and tranquil 700m hilltop nestled between the Black Forest and the Rhine Valley. From the hilltop you can overlook the Rhine Valley, the Kaiserstuhl and even the Vosges Mountains in Alsace (France). It got its name from a big birch tree which grew on the hill (‘linde’ means birch).

 

Since 500 years the name Lindenberg is associated with a place where you can pray, light a candle, think about life and be at peace with yourself in the quiet surroundings. Birch and pine trees that tower above you giving you a sense of reassurance. Nearby is a chapel dedicated to Maria Lindenberg which a spiritual haven for people who want to do a retreat and meditate. The view from Maria Lindenberg is lovely for a see the blue surrounding mountains and the valleys and spurs in-between with their picturesque Schwarzwald hamlets, each built around a church. From the spacious Lindenberg chapel you peer over the Iben Valley below and the hilly panorama of the Black Forest.

 

From Lindenberg you can make excursions into the High Schwarzwald to such trekking destinations such as the 1493m Feldberg, the highest hill of the Black Forest, the 1284m Schauinsland and the 1241m Kandel. Around Lindenberg there are small walking trails that lead you to St. Peter, St. Märgen (please read the author’s article on ‘Rossfest’) or the township of Kirchzarten. The  peaceful Schwarzwald and the green meadows invite you to undertake walks in the countryside and picnic or visit the many taverns and inns called ‘Gaststätte’ strewn  in the Black Forest. If you want to see more than the Black Forest, you can always head for nearby Freiburg and the neighbouring countries of the three-country triangle with towns like Basle (Switzerland), Colmar and Strassbourg (France). If you don’t want to drive all the time during your sojourn in this part of Europe and enjoy the landscape of sweet little town, fat cows, goats and sheep grazing in the lush green meadows, the quaint Schwarzwald homesteads decorated along the balconies and window-sills with colourful geraniums, then I’d advise you to take a bus or the bahn (railway).

 

Much like Lourdes, the Maria Lindenberg chapel was constructed in 1498 after Maria appeared in a vision and has been an attraction for pilgrims seeking divine help and strength. It also reminded me of Mariahilf in Morschach (Central Switzerland) with its picturesque and serene surroundings near the lakes of the four cantons. You can observe an old ‘Bildstock,’ which is a part of a tree sculptured like a tall house and a picture of the shepherd-boy and the apparition of Mary.

 

Once upon a time a farmer named Pantaleon Mayer, who lived in the Lower Iben Valley, was losing his stock of cattle through disease. A knowing person is said to have told him to erect a picture of Maria on a wooden pillar. He had it made and the cow disease disappeared.

 

Shortly thereafter the farmer’s sheperd-boy had a vision: Maria had spoken to him and told him to have a chapel constructed in the holy place on top of the Lindenberg which belonged to the Galli homestead. Another story related to Lindenberg has it that an old farmer named Hans Zähringer was treated badly and molested by his own family, and became almost blind. In his helpless situation he sought solace on the birch hill. In a vision he cut a small cross out of wood and requested farmer Pantaleon Mayer that he should extend the chapel and complete it. Farmer Mayer fulfilled this wish and built a chapel out of stone. This has been documented between 1486 till 1515. In the archive of cloister St. Peter, the farmer carries the name ‘Bantle Meyer.’

 

Lindenberg’s reputation among the people grew and the pilgrims came in great numbers. Then came the Farmers’ War (Bauernkrieg) in 1525, during which the pilgrims were cursed and ridiculed and the Lindenberg was regarded as a place of idolatry, heathen and pagan deity. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of evidence left by the people, in the form of votive boards, whose prayers have been heard and answered by Mother Maria in many difficult and emergency cases. In the old days there were only footpaths leading to this place of pilgrimage. Now you can drive comfortably to the top of Lindenberg and get home in time for your coffee with the Schwarzwäldertorte or cheese cake (Käsetorte).

 

It’s saddening to note that a cultural war (Kulturkampf) ensued and the nuns who ran the Lindenberg cloister were banished in 1869 on a cold, wintry day. Kulturekampf is the war waged by the Catholic church for more freedom and independence that was threatened by the state which mixed in clerical matters.

 

In the pilgrim’s chapel hangs a board showing the engraved names of sixteen priests who were killed during the Third Reich (1933-1945) and whose only sin was that they prayed to God. Some were executed and others deported to concentration camps and gassed with Zyklon B, a nerve gas. There’s a book about these stories written by Richard Zahlten bearing the title ‘Die Ermordeten’ (The Murdered).

 

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The Männergesangsverein Kappel with their standard

THE KAPPEL CHRONICLE (Satis Shroff, Kappel-Schwarzwald)

Lambert Weis: Whisper Words of Hope

It was a bright sunny day on the 6th of July 2010 and you could hear the birds chirping merrily in the adjacent birch and oak trees. We, the men of the Männergesangsverein were attending the funeral of Lambert Weis who was born in 23rd of August 1920. Almost ninety years and the picture above shows the house where he grew up as a child.

It was a funeral in the presence of the community in Kappel where he lived. His wife had preceded him fifteen years earlier. Ach, the suffering of this world, the darkness that befalls death. A life that death cannot tear away.

Lambert Weis had a special relationship to the Männergesangsverein where he was an active member for fifty years. We all knew him as an amiable, bespectacled man, who used to go around Kappel wearing his schieber-cap and a wandering stick, with emblems as reminders of the places he’d been to with his dear wife. It is in such times, when a soul departs that we think of the friendliness and sympathetic behaviour of the departed, and the signs of love a person has left behind. Such was the case of Lambert Weis, who died on the 29th of June 2010, who had a fall and succumbed to his internal injuries.

The paths are abandoned and we’re alone in these grey lanes, where no one comes.

Bless us Great Mother every day. Bless all hearts and every hut and town where people live. Spread your holy hands and whisper words of hope in his mouth. Blessings in death and dying, and in the life we’re living.

The ceremony began with a song ‘Wir sind nur Gast auf Erde’, that is, we’re only guests on this earth—sung together by all present at the St.Peter and Paul. Then followed ‘Sanctus’ and ‘Agnus Dei’ from the Deutsche Messe (Franz Schubert) sung by the colleagues of Lambert Weis from the Männergesangsverein (men’s choir) ‘Liederkranz.’

When Lambert Weis came from the last World War II, where he was detained as a prisoner of war, and had lost his index finger, he looked frail and had a haggard expression on his face. He knew what it was to be hungry during, and especially after the krieg. There were a lot of difficulties to be overcome and quite a few people in the Kappeler community thought out loud and said he wouldn’t survive. But Herr Weis showed them all that he was made of sterner stuff and outlived a lot of his colleagues. He built a home after what had been a long journey towards the end of the war and thereafter.

Due to the Second World War the activities of the men’s choir were reduced and almost came to a stop because most of the able-bodied men from the bergwerk and the Black Forest farmsteads had to do work as soldiers under the Wehrmacht in different fronts. They were replaced by prisoners-of-war from Poland,Later France, Russia and the Ukraine. Since there were very few men left, the men’s choir came closer with Littenweiler’s ‘Frohsinn’ and Herr Weiss was the conductor then. World War II brough a heavy loss to the Männergesangsverein because seven singers didn’t return. It was August Dold who brought the old and young singers together in 1946.

The new men’s choir ‘Liederkranz,’ which means a wreath of flowers, was founded on July 13,1947 after the then French government gave permission to the men to sing officially. The first chairman was Pius Trescher, who held his office till 1959. After that Herr Weiss, a senior school teacher, took over with twenty-four active and 67 passive members.

Comradeship and socialising together have always been important to the men’s choir, and excursions were undertaken together to the different towns and hamlets and the neighbouring countries: France, Switzerland and Austria.

The 16th and 17th of July 1950 was a special day for the men’s choir flag inauguration, and it began with a festival mass and honouring of the dead. And in the afternoon there was a big procession with the Kappeler verein. The people rejoiced and it took on the character of a folks-festival. On the following Monday there was the children’s and family-festival.

After the choir had sung the Grablied and the priest had sprinkled the holy water and bestowed a small spade of earth and spoken the words ‘from dust to dust and ashes to ashes,’ it was the turn of the men’s choir to do the same. Richard Lindner, the standard bearer of the Männergesangsverein, lowered the decorative flag of the verein into the open grave and marched out in two in their blue and black uniforms, after having spoken words of condolence to the sons and their wives of the deceased, waiting below the arcade to the graveyard.

He was a loveable person and that is why his love shall remain in the places and the hearts of those who knew him, for love goes beyond death. What remains is something eternal and becomes a part of eternity.

The epitaph goes thus:

Wenn die

Kraft

Zu Ende

Geht,

ist die

Erlösung

Gnade.

Autor Biographie

Satis Shroff ist Dozent, Schriftsteller, Dichter und Kunstler und außerdem Lehrbeauftragter für Creative Writing an der Albert Ludwigs Universität Freiburg.  Satis Shroff lebt in Freiburg-Kappel (poems, fiction, non-fiction) und schreibt über ökologische, medizin-ethnologische und kultur-ethnische Themen. Er hat Zoologie und Botanik in Nepal, Sozialarbeit und Medizin in Freiburg und Creative Writing in Freiburg und UK studiert. Da Literatur eine der wichtigsten Wege ist, um die Kulturen kennenzulernen, hat er sein Leben dem Kreatives Schreiben gewidmet. Er arbeitet als Dozent in Basel (Schweiz) und in Deutschland an der  Akademie für medizinische Berufe (Uniklinik Freiburg). Ihm wurde der DAAD-Preis verliehen.

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Männergesangsverein Freiburg-Kappel

  1. Tenor: Wolfgang Busse, Adolf Fressle, Heinz Hamburger, Rainer Keller
  2. Tenor: Walter Fuß, Richard Linder, Satis Shroff, Klaus Sütterle, Herbert Tombreul
  1. Bass: Frank Keller, Franz Lachmann, Andreas Schiessle, Franz Wißler, Ulrich Mauer
  2. Bass: Werner Heise, Wolfgang Keller, Dirk Schneider, Michael Stotz.

* * *

Charmant bleib immer,

so wie du bist,

ganz gleich, wie alles um dich ist.

Du bist ein guter Mensch,

Hast immer ein offenes Herz,

Darum lieben wir dich so.

(Kurt & Waltraut, Freiburg)

* * *

Schön, dass es dich gibt

Geburtstag

Ist wie eine kleine Pause.

Du stehst da und staunst:

Einen Tag lang hält das Leben den Atem an

Und sagt:

Schön, dass es dich gibt (zitat von: Thomas Knodel)

(Gabi K., Tuttlingen)

* * *

Anita Tombreul, Creative Center House of Art, Ziegelmattenstrasse 14, Freiburg-Kappel

Lieber Satish,

zu Deinem Wiegenfest wollen wir Dir mit einem kreativen Wochenplan und der Farbe Rot eine kleine Freude machen.

Sonntag,

gehört der Farbe weiss,

Montag,

gehört der farbe Blau,

sie führt auf den Weg der inneren Freiheit.

Dienstag,

gehört der Farbe Rot,

sie führt auf dem Weg der tatkraft.

Mittwoch,

gehört der Farbe Gelb,

sie führt auf den Weg der geistigen Klarheit.

Donnerstag,

gehört der Farbe Orange,

sie führt auf den Weg des Reichtums.

Freitag,

gehört der Farbe Grün,

sie führt auf den Weg der Freundschaft.

Samstag,

gehört der Farbe Violett,

sie führt auf den Weg der Innenschau und

Grenzüberschreitung.(Anon)

Wir wünschen Dir Gesundheit, Lebensfreude, viel Liebe und vor allem Spaß bei den nächsten Schritten auf Deinem Lebensweg in Glück.

(Anita & Herbert, Ziegelmatten, Freiburg)

* * *

Broadway Songs und Deutsche Lieder aus dem Dreisamtal (Satis Shroff)

Ich hätte nie gedacht, dass ich alte Deutsche Lieder und Broadway-Songs mit den einheimischen Deutschen des Männergesangsverein (Männerchor) in Freiburg-Kappel singen würde.

In den vergangenen Jahren wurde ich öfters von Alois aus Zähringen gefragt, ob ich nicht auch singen möchte. Aber ich hatte gezögert, weil ich zu beschäftigt mit meinen Vorträgen und Kinder gewesen war. Inzwischen ist der alte Alois an einer Herz-Attacke gestorben und ich vermisse sein freundliches Gesicht, wie er mich jedes Mal, wenn ich ihn in Zähringen traf mit einem Lächeln begrüßte.

Hier in Kappel singe ich nun als zweiter Tenor und es ist wirklich spannend. 20 Euro für die Mitgliedschaft und weitere 100 Euro für den blauen Rock, und Sie sind Teil des Chores, bereit für das Singen bei eigenen Konzerten und als Gastchor bei Festen in den verschiedenen Teilen des Dreisamtals. Ich konnte es nicht glauben. Tatsächlich probten wir deutsche und englische Lieder in Hochdorf mit den Damen dort und sangen mit den anderen Chören aus dem Dreisamtal in Buchenbach mit 600 deutschen Zuhörern und Applaudierern.

Das Dreisamtal besteht aus Kirchzarten, Oberried, Buchenbach und Stegen. Man hat einen herrlichen Ausblick auf das Dreisamtal, wenn man aus Buchenbach in Richtung Höllental über Himmelreich geht. Die angrenzenden Täler sind sehr romantisch mit grünen Wiesen, rauschenden Bächen und malerischen Schwarzwald Bauernhöfen, eine Mühle, die noch in Betrieb ist und die Ruinen der Burg Wiesneck. Da ist dann noch der Hansmeyerhof, ein Bauernhof Museum in der Nähe von Wagensteig. Unweit entfernt liegt Stegen, auf der sonnigen Seite des Dreisamtal. Das Schloss von Weiler wurde im Jahre 1663 erbaut und ist einen Besuch wert, ebenso wie die Schlangen-Kapelle in Wittental.  Die barocken Kirche von Eschbach ist einer der schönsten in der Freiburger Gegend. Es gibt viele Schwarzwälder Bauernhöfe, die darauf warten von Ihnen entdeckt zu werden. Vom Lindenberg haben Sie einen ausgezeichneten Blick auf das Dreisamtal.

Die Chor-Mitglieder trugen ihre traditionellen Kostüme. Was für ein wunderbares Gefühl. Man spührte wie das Adrenalin in den Blutkreislauf strömte als mit den Anderen gesungen wurde. “Ein Chor ist nichts für Individualisten. Man muss einen harmonischen Klang haben “, das war immer die Mahnung des jungen Dirigenten Felix Rosskopf, wenn wir probten.

Es war das erste Mal seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg, dass alle Dreisamtal Chöre kamen und zusammen sangen. Während des Krieges waren die Deutschen angehalten, Kriegs- und Vaterlandslieder zu singen. Buchenbach scheint ein Problem zu haben, das mittlerweile in den meisten Männer-gesangsvereinen in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz deutlich wird. Die ältere Generation bricht wegen des Alters und aus Mangel an Mobilität weg und die jüngere “Love-Parade” Generation kümmert sich nicht um die Pflege der alten Tradition des Vaterland.

Die Sänger von Buchenbach sangen: Sing mit mir, Oh Shenandoah, Mit Musik geht alles besser.  Die Sängerinnen und Sänger von St. Peter aus den hohen Schwarzwald sangen: Freude am Leben, welches mehr gesprochen als gesungen war. O du schöner Rosengarten, das war eine Liebeserklärung und ein anderes lyrisches Lied, welches Rot sind die Rosen hiess. Liebe ist immer ein beliebtes Thema.

Die Sängerinnen und Sänger aus Ebnet traten als gemischter Chor auf. “weil viele Männer verstorben sind oder den Verein verlassen haben.”, so Klaus.

Die Ebneter Sänger sangen: Capri Fisher, Ich brech die Herzen der stolzesten Frauen, ein lady-killer song in deutscher Sprache und ein Walzer für dich und mich.

Der Männerchor aus Kirchzarten sang: Die Sonne erwacht, ein traditionelles deutsches Lied, Hymne, O Iris komponiert von Wolfgang Mozart.

Ich sah eine Menge von Sängern, die eine fliehende Stirn, leuchtend unter den Lichtern der Bühne, hatten. Die meisten von ihnen trugen eine Brille und alle waren für diesen Anlass gekleidet. Die Damen tragen lange, fließende Abendkleider oder kamen in den traditionellen Dirndeln des Schwarzwaldes, und die Männer in Trachten oder tadellosen Anzügen.

Kirchzarten liegt auf dem Weg zum Hirschsprung, Hinterzarten und Titisee, einem Gletschersee.  In Kirchzarten können Nordic Walking machen, Golf spielen, entspannen im Kneipp-Zentrum mit Wassertherapie und man kann Französisch Boule spielen wie Peter Mayle (A Year in Provence).

Die Sängerinnen und Sänger aus Zarten sangen: Heimat, deine Sterne, Strangers in the Night, Are You Lonesome Tonight (deutsche Version).

Wir, von Kappel, sangen: “Ein Freund, ein guter Freund und La Le Lu ein Wiegenlied für Jung und Alt aus einem alten deutschen Film mit Heinz Rühmann in der Hauptrolle.

Die Sänger aus Oberried sangen am besten. Oberried ist für die höchsten Gipfel des Schwarzwaldes bekannt: Feldberg und Schauinsland. Es gibt ein Heimatmuseum genannt Schniederlihof, einen Steinbruch auf einem Hügel, das in ein Museum umgewandelt wurde, und natürlich die Unterhaltungpark Steinwasen. Die Vegetation in diesem Teil ist sub-alpine. Im Sommer kann man jede Menge Bergsteigen, Spaziergänge genießen und Picknicks auf den saftigen grünen Wiesen. Im Winter ist Oberriede ein Skiparadies. Hier ist ebenso Deutschlands erster Bergnatur Friedhof.

Zu einer anderen Gelegenheit wurden wir von den Hochdorfern als Gastsänger eingeladen.  Das Thema war Filmmusik und wir sangen Lieder aus: Adiemus, Jungle Book, den Blauen Engel, Truxa, Gasparone, Lena’s song, Gabriella’s Song, Fünf Millionen suchen einen Erben, Frauen sind keine Engel (Frauen sind keine Engel), True Love, mein Heart Will auf (Titanic) Go, Nur nicht aus Liebe weinen, In mir klingt ein Lied, Für ein Nachtvoller Seligkeit (Kora Terry), Moon River (aus Breakfast at Tiffany’s), Midnight Blues und Conquest of Paradise.  Ein großer Bildschirm in der Nähe der Bühne wurde benutzt, um Szenen aus den Filmen zu zeigen. Auch wir Sänger wurden digital aufgenommen. Das deutsche Publikum zeigte sich sehr empfänglich und Felix Rosskopf gab sein Bestes. Der Applaus in der Hochdorfer Halle war donnernden. Die Standing Ovations am Ende haben uns sehr gefreut. Das war ein tolles Gefühl, als wir alle Die Eroberung des Paradieses mit Begeisterung sangen. Der Text ist eigentlich albern und künstlich, aber die Wirkung auf das Publikum ist großartig. Man konnte fühlen, wie der Funke vom Dirigenten über die Sänger zum Publikum übersprang. Das Singen dieser Lieder war eine fantastisches Wellness-Erlebnis und extrem in seiner therapeutischen Wirkung. Das tut im Herzen gut. Nachdem das Singen beendet ist, ist es üblich zusammen zu sitzen und etwas deutsches Bier oder Wein vor Ort zu Trinken. Man spricht über das Konzert, reißt Witze oder diskutiert über private Angelegenheiten , wenn man Lust hat.

Wenn man sich so einem Verein verpflichtet hat, lernt man alles über sein Dorf und dessen Leute kennen.

Man sagt, wenn drei Deutsche zusammen kommen gründen sie einen Verein. Und so war es, als vor 75 Jahren ein Gesangverein versuchte die alten Lieder zu retten. In Buchenbach gründeten sie den Verein Edelweiss und ein Motto ist: “Wir amüsieren uns zu Tode.”  Ein Gesangverein ist ein Ort, wo man unterhalten wird, in dem Sie über Ihre Probleme mit Ihrem Gesang Kameraden sprechen und sich gegenseitig helfen. So war es seit Generationen, und diese Tradition wurde fortgesetzt.  Zum Beispiel, wenn mein Freund Klaus Sütterle einen Teil seines alten Haus renovieren will, fragt er nur jemand aus dem Verein in einem der sozialen Trinkgelage nach Hilfe und schon ist bereits alles im Gange, ganz ohne Bürokratie. Es ist eine Politik des Gebens und Nehmens, wie in den alten Tagen.

Viele suchen nach einem Grund im Leben. Durch die Texte der Lieder und der Prozess des zusammen Singens im Chor hilft in der Gemeinde und dieses Handeln wiederum führt zu Begegnungen und Austausch von Ideen und Spaß am Leben.

Die Texte tragen dazu bei, die Werte, die in dieser technischen Welt verloren gehen zu erhalten, wenn Arbeit entfällt, Plätze wegrationalisiert werden und die Angst vor dem Verlust des Arbeitsplatzes steigt. Das hängt über dem Kopf wie das Schwert des Damokles. In einem Gesangverein ist es üblich seine Sorgen und sein Glück zu teilen, mit einander zu reden und sich einzuladen.  Es gibt sicherlich eine Menge Vorzüge und Vorteile Mitglied in einem Verein oder Club zu sein.

Ich persönlich denke, es gibt nichts Besseres für die Seele, als laut zu singen, ein Gedicht laut zu rezitieren, weil wir alle mit einer Stimme ausgestattet sind, mit der wir eine Melodie erzeugen können.  Wenn du mit anderen zusammen singst beginnst du zu realisieren, wie gut man singt, so verbessern Sie dann Ihre Stimme, Atmung und sozialen Fähigkeiten.  In einem Chor können Sie Alltagsstress loswerden, kreativ sein und sich einen positiven Stress machen, anstatt einer negativen Stressbelastung zu erliegen.

Man hat immer ein Gefühl der Hochstimmung, wenn der letzte Akkord erklingt. Ah, das Singen bereitet soviel Freude.  Statt deprimierender, frustrierender Gedanken, haben Sie positive Bilder und Gefühle, und entwickeln die Kraft in Ihrer Stimme mit Elan und wachsen mit dem Lied. Sie machen Musik mit Ihren Stimmen. Man sieht nur lächelnde Gesichter und so lächelt man zurück. Dieses Gefühl ist ansteckend. Man knüpft Kontakte zu Anderen vor und hinter der Bühne. Wenn Sie allein und traurig sind, singen und jubeln Sie sich froh.  Ihr Gesang erheitert auch andere und Sie sind sozial integriert, bevor Sie es realisieren. Plötzlich singen Sie bei Konzerten alte, deutsche und neue, englische Lieder die bei Jung und Alt bekannt sind.

Singen hilft Hemmungen und soziale Barrieren abzubauen und führt zu einer Gemeinsamkeit unter den Menschen. Es gibt ein Miteinander, statt Vorurteile und Egoismus. Sie tun etwas für die Anderen und erwarten deshalb nicht, dass jemand etwas für sie tut. Sie teilen ihre Freude. Durch die Lieder bringen wir unsere Gefühle des Glücks und der Freude, der Trauer und des Leids zum Ausdruck. Wir erfreuen uns und finden Trost in den Texten der Lieder und lassen uns mitreissen von der überragenden Wirkung sakraler Musik. Durch das Singen werden Hormone wie Endorphine und Epinephrine (Adrenalin)  freigesetzt. Das ist gut für den Kreislauf und fördert die Gesundheit.

Unter den Sängern haben wir Sprichwort.

Wo man singt da lass Dich nieder, böse Menschen kennen keine Lieder.

Das ist genau das was ich gemacht habe. Ein wunderbarer Ort auf dieser Erde, dieser Schwarzwald.

Herzlich Willkommen im Schwarzwald! Welcome to the Black Forest!

(The original article in English was published in The American Chronicle, a syndicate of 21 newspapers in the USA. Translation by my friend: Klaus Sütterle, Männergesangsverein Freiburg-Kappel). If you want to read more articles & poems by the author please yahoo or google for: satis shroff).

About the Author: Since literature is one of the most important means of cross-cultural learning, he is dedicated to promoting and creating awareness for Creative Writing and transcultural togetherness in his writings, and in preserving an attitude of Miteinander in this world. He lectures in Basle (Switzerland) and in Germany at the Academy for Medical Professions (University Klinikum Freiburg) and the Center for Key Qualifications, where he is a Lehrbeauftragter for Creative Writing at the ZfS Uni Freiburg). Satis Shroff was awarded the German Academic Exchange Prize.

* * *

Satis Shroff with Swiss geologist Toni Hagen at a Freiburger pub …

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Satis Shroff with Swiss geologist Toni Hagen at a Freiburger pub.
www.flickr.com/photos/28329074@N02/2645811732/

* * *

Zeitgeistlyrik: Literature Nobel Prize Herta Müller 2009:

UPROOTED & BANISHED (Satis Shroff)

A Banat Swabian poetess

Was born in 1953

In a hamlet called Nitzkydorf,

Which lies in Romania.

She came to Berlin in 1987.

Wrote verses to mete out justice

To the fate of German Romanians,

Who were departed to work camps.

The other way round.

Jews died in concentration camps,

80,000 ethnic Germans from Romania,

Uprooted and banished,

Suffered hunger and death

In the Ukranian camps.

Survival strategies and dreams

At the end of the Second World War.

If Bertold Brecht’s Furcht und Elend

Im Dritten Reich

Told us about the Nazi terror,

Hertha’s verses and prose reveal

The sadness and angst of her lost people.

In a small hamlet in Banat,

Small Herta tells us

In her hard, Banat-German accent,

How hostile her home environment was.

She speaks of her doubts and fears,

For it is plain to see:

She’s made of another genetic material

That made her vulnerable to her environs,

Like underdogs everywhere in this world.

How unbearable for Romanians,

The Banat-Germans had their own

Culture, tradition

And way of life.

But pray, don’t ethnic Germans say

The same things about migrants

Eking out a living here?

Hertha speaks a poetic language

Of a gone but not lost past,

Of the misery, angst and terror

Felt by her people.

Her books emphasise

The cruel, inhuman face of communism,

Under Nicolae Ceausescu.

A chronist walking

Along the thin line,

Between poetry and terror,

Where every line is a cry

Against injustice

With pregnant titles:

The Fox Was even Then a Hunter (1992),

Herztier (1994),

In the Hair-knots Lives a Lady,

The King (Ceausescu) Bows and Kills (2000)

The Pale Gentleman and the Mocca Cups (2005).

Herta said:

‘My innermost desire is to write

I can live with it.’

Her literary style is precise,

Laconic and matter-of-fact.

Despite her publications,

Ms. Müller was a nobody.

Without her notes on Oskar Pastiors

She couldn’t have penned ‘Atemschaukel.’

It became more than a swing of breath.

She was shadowed, interrogated and persecuted.

Günter Grass said:

‘I’m very satisfied with the Literature Prize

For Herta from Stockholm.’

Karasek quipped:

‘My mantra is always for Philip Roth,’

And sounded like: ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy.’

Germany’s literary pope

Marcel Reich-Ranicki:

‘I plead for Roth and wish to say

No more.’

Literary critics form the USA commented:

‘We suggest Philip Roth, Thomas Pynchon,

Joyce Carol Oates

Or Bob Dylan.’

The Swedish Academy gave the prize

For the fourteenth time

To Germany.

Poor Romania.

* * *


(Sketch © 2007 Satis Shroff, Freiburg)

THE AGONY OF WAR (Satis Shroff)

Once upon a time there was a seventeen year old boy

Who lived in the Polish city of Danzig.

He was ordered to join the Waffen-SS,

Hitler’s elite division.

Oh, what an honour for a seventeen year old,

Almost a privilege to join the Waffen-SS.

The boy said, “Wir wurden von früh bis spät

Geschliffen und sollten

Zur Sau gemacht werden.”

A Russian grenade shrapnel brought his role

In the war to an abrupt end.

That was on April 20, 1945.

In the same evening,

He was brought to Meissen,

Where he came to know about his Vaterland’s defeat.

The war was lost long ago.

He realised how an ordinary soldier

Became helpless after being used as a tool in the war,

Following orders that didn’t demand heroism

In the brutal reality of war.

It was a streak of luck,

And his inability to ride a bicycle,

That saved his skin

At the Russian-held village of Niederlausitz.

His comrades rode the bicycle,

And he was obliged to give them fire-support

With a maschine-gun.

His seven comrades and the officer

Were slain by the Russians.

The only survivor was a boy

Of seventeen.

He abandoned his light maschine-gun,

And left the house of the bicycle-seller,

Through the backyard garden

With its creaky gate.

What were the chances in the days of the Third Reich

For a 17 year old boy named Günter Grass

To understand the world?

The BBC was a feindliche radio,

And Goebbels’ propaganda maschinery

Was in full swing.

There was no time to reflect in those days.

Fürcht und Elend im Dritten Reich,

Wrote Bertold Brecht later.

Why did he wait till he was almost eighty?

Why did he torment his soul all these years?

Why didn’t he tell the bitter truth,

About his tragi-comical role in the war

With the Waffen-SS?

He was a Hitlerjunge,

A young Nazi.

Faithful till the end.

A boy who was seduced by the Waffen-SS.

His excuse:

„Ich habe mich verführen lassen.“

The reality of the war brought

Endless death and suffering.

He felt the fear in his bones,

His eyes were opened at last.

Günter Grass is a figure,

You think you know well.

Yet he’s aloof

And you hardly know him,

This literary titan.

He breathes literature

And political engagement.

In his new book:

Beim Häuten der Zwiebeln

He confides he has lived from page to page,

And from book to book.

Is he a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

Doctor Faustus and Mephistopheles,

In the same breast?

Grass belongs to us,

For he has spent the time with us.

It was his personal weakness

Not to tell earlier.

He’s a playwright, director and actor

Of his own creativeness,

And tells his own tale.

His characters Oskar and Mahlke weren’t holy Joes.

It was his way of indirectly showing

What went inside him.

Ach, his true confession took time.

It was like peeling an onion with tears,

One layer after the other.

Better late than never.

* * *

On Her Majesty’s Lyrical Service:

Poet Laureate (Satis Shrof)

Wanted:

A person who writes in lyrical form,

Composes verses for occasions,

Good stanzas in favour of kings and queens,

Princes and Princesses,

For the price of 5000 Sterling pounds

And, of course, 650 bottles

Of Sherry,

To inspire the poet.

And the title of Poet Laureate.

A court poet is a smith of verses,

Not a bass-guitarist

Of the royal band

Based in Buckingham.

Beginners need not apply.

Candidates should be

A professor of English Literature.

The last Poet Laureate penned

Verses in praise of Edward

And his beautiful Sophie,

A hundred years of the Queen Mother

And the latter’s sad demise.

The Queen’s diamond wedding anniversary,

A rap-rhyme for rosy-cheeked Prince William,

When he turned twenty-one.

Yeah! ‘Better stand back

Here’s a age attack.’

He even congratulated Charles and Camilla

On their belated marriage.

The Prince was overwhelmed

When he heard Motion’s

‘Spring Wedding.’

But all verses weren’t,

As we say in Germany:

Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen.

Motion’s ‘Cost of Life’ on Paddington,

Causa belli’ emphasised

Elections, money, empire,

Oil and Dad.

Themes and lyrics that bother us,

Day in and day out.

The rulers and battles won are expected

To be praised to Heaven,

Like Master Henry,

Ben Jonson et al have done

In 1668 John Dryden was sacked

Not for his bad verses,

But for changing his confession.

Sir Walter Raleigh and William Morris

Didn’t relinquish their freedom

And said politely: No thank you, Ma’am.

And with it a keg of wine

From the Canary Isles,

That could have been theirs.

Free literary productivity and court-poetry

Are strange bedfellows indeed.

In these times of gender-studies,l

Women’s quotes and emancipation,

It wouldn’t be far-fetched

If Carol Ann Duffy,

A Scottish poetess,

Became the next Poetess Laureate.

What a lass!

She’s openly gay,

Didn’t you say?

Has fire anyway.

What a thankless job:

A royal lyrical whisperer,

Striving for public relations

In poetry prize panels,

In the name of poetry.

A thankless job:

Take it

Or leave it.

* * *

GORDON STILL WALKING 2009 (Satis Shroff, Freiburg)

‘I will not walk away,’

Said PM Gordon Brown.

His ministers had walked out on him.

Disgusted with his inner circle

Of soccer-fans

And other fads.

Manchester is United,

Labour isn’t.

Was he walking by a rule?

Mr. Brown ruled with two circles:

His soccer-crazy inner circle

With Ed Balls,

An outer one with grey mice.

He was walking down a lonely road,

It seemed.

When he walked in,

He walked into Blairites.

Gordon was walking into his political savings.

Could he steer Britain’s economy

Out of the big recession?

He walked his legs off,

Pleading to Labourites to stay.

It wasn’t a walk over

For Brown’s pride,

When ministers refuse to walk

Together with him,

After the debacle at the Euro polls.

He racked his brains,

Came up with a belated inquiry

Into the Iraq war,

To save his skin.

In a last bid he reshuffled

His cabinet cards:

Darling, Miliband and Balls

Held their jobs.

Gordon promoted:

Johnson, Jowell, Mandelson,

Cooper, Burham, Ham.

Eh, was it worth to promote Ainsworth?

A soap-opera supper,

Where guests prefer

To sit and walk out at will.

Gordon is certainly walking on air.

It’s become more a walk

On a razor’s edge.

If this silly Labour circus goes on

In Downing No. 10,

He is most likely to walk

On all fours.

The battle is lost,

Er steht auf verlorene Posten.

The rats have sprung overboard.

Councils like Lancashire, Derbyshire,

Stafford, Nottinghamshire

Have become Tory counties.

Labour lost 250,

Conservatives gained 217 seats.

Captain Brown remains adamant,

And runs his ship.

I’m afraid it’s not Trafalgar.

Perhaps Cap’n Bleigh?

He clutches his crutches

And mutters:

‘I will not walk away.’

Brown has a strategy:

He hopes to limp towards autumn,

Defying the wind against him.

Can he bend it like Beckham?

Captain Brown, still at the helm,

Insists: ‘I will not waver,

Or walk away.’

Britain doesn’t know:

Whether to be awed

Or amused.

And thereby hangs

A tale.

Drinking Darjeeling Tea in England 2008 (Satis Shroff, Freiburg)

Beware the Ides of March

Manchester will be a milestone

In Gordon Brown’s polit-life.

Your economic ‘competence’

Has become an Achilles heel,

Your weak point.

The people’s party of New Labour

Wants to get rid of you.

These are the rumours

Heard in the trendy streets of London.

Twelve months ago Gordon Brown

Was the Messiah of Brit politics,

After Blair’s disastrous role in the Labour.

Alas, the new Messiah

Lost his face,

Within a short time.

His weakness: decision making.

England is nervous, fidgety,

For Labour fears a possible loss,

Of its 353 Under House seats.

Above the English cabinet

Looms a Damocles sword.

Will Labour watch,

Drink Darjeeling,

Till a debacle develops?

Labour is in a dilemma.

Hush, help is near.

David Miliband is going vitriolic.

A silly season indeed,

Drinking Darjeeling tea in England.

About the Author:

Satis Shroff is based in Freiburg (poems, fiction, non-fiction) and also writes on ecological, ethno-medical, culture-ethnological themes. He has studied Zoology and Botany  in Nepal, Medicine and Social Sciences in Germany and Creative Writing in Freiburg and the United Kingdom. He describes himself as a mediator between western and eastern cultures and sees his future as a writer and poet. Since literature is one of the most important means of cross-cultural learning, he is dedicated to promoting and creating awareness for Creative Writing and transcultural togetherness in his writings, and in preserving an attitude of Miteinander in this world. He lectures in Basle (Switzerland) and in Germany at the Academy for Medical Professions (University Klinikum Freiburg) and the Center for Key Qualifications (University of Freiburg, where he is a Lehrbeauftragter for Creative Writing at the ZfS Uni Freiburg). Satis Shroff was awarded the German Academic Exchange Prize.

His lyrical works have been published in literary poetry sites: Slow Trains, International Zeitschrift, World Poetry Society (WPS), New Writing North, Muses Review, The Megaphone, Pen Himalaya, Interpoetry. He is a member of “Writers of Peace,” poets, essayists, novelists (PEN), World Poetry Society (WPS) and The Asian Writer.

Copyright © 2009, Satis Shroff. You may republish this article online provided you keep the byline, the author’s note, and the active hyperlinks.

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