What has Happened?

Kathmandu, Nepal

Reading the news-headlines these days I get the impression Europe is in a state of war!

Police forces in Denmark and Germany claim to have prevented terrorist attacks and even in my home-city Vienna potential young Muslim terrorists were arrested! At the same time new videos of Osama bin Laden hit the Internet…

… and he appeared in ‘a new look’ with his beard trimmed and dyed black, a clear call for war… some experts say at least…

The German government wants to start observing Germans who have converted to Islam and demonstrators hit the streets in a district of Vienna to show their discontent about the planned expansion of a Muslim center.

What is happening? Is everybody going nuts?

That is ‘Muslims’ and ‘Christians’ at the same pace!

I remember ten years ago I lived in a relatively peaceful and tolerant city in a relatively peaceful and tolerant European Union! Or was I only a little naive kid who didn’t want to face reality?

I feel like things have changed slowly but drastically!

For example, ten years ago it was unusual and, therefore, irritating (for me at least) when I saw young Muslim girls and women with a headscarf on the streets of Vienna. Ten years later it not that unusual anymore and, therefore, even more irritating (for me at least) to see young Muslim girls and women with a headscarf!

What has happened?

I don’t know! I guess the way people treat each other has changed.

I guess people of different religions and societies treat each other with less respect and perceive each other shaded much more by prejudice than before.

Before I left Vienna for this trip a year ago I clearly felt a difference in the way people treated and perceived me. And even a few people who know me for a long time started treating me strangely.

It seems to me that at the latest since September 11th, a common subconscious Western perspective of the world-religions and their followers has evolved. There are those that are more or less good and then there is the evil and aggressive one.

Islam = Islamic fundamentalism = terrorism?!?

I personally I don’t think this is a matter of religion. I believe it is a matter of the way governments and society face and treat each other in every aspect of life…

People in the West are more and more in fear of Islam. I believe that fear is something that grows only when it is fed. So is it with terrorism! There is a reason why people are in fear and there is also a reason why people turn to terrorism!

But maybe I am wrong. Maybe the religion I was born with is inherently evil and aggressive and I simply don’t see it…

So this is how I perceive it and the way I start to feel like is that back at home in Vienna (the West), in the perception of those who don’t know me personally, I pose a potential threat!

Sounds like a very nice way to be perceived…


Reality Check III

VIE – long day, long night… I finally arrive at Vienna airport!

Vienna is hot… it’s hotter than hot… it’s hotter than India!

Arriving in Vienna… it really feels good this time… I stay quiet for three days… on the fourth I meet the usual suspects at a graduation party!

Welcome back to Vienna!

How long will I stay?

I really enjoy Vienna this time… well, it’s summertime!

And then… a nine day “retreat”…

ReAliTy CHecK!!!

I’m like a fat, lazy politician with a pumped up ego who’s clowning himself!

I get disillusioned by the one who called himself my master!

It’s true… I’m fat and lazy and I truly have a pumped-up ego…

That’s something to work with… here and now… not looking for something to come up in the future!


I leave in respect!


One last week in Vienna… short but intense!

I can’t get no sleep…

I feel like in a dream!

Twenty eight years have passed… my father meets his best friend again…

A family reunites!

And then… an unexpected job offer!

So at last… might I really become a big, fat, lazy politician with a pumped-up ego?

Well, for now I’m back to India…


A Last Night In India

Mumbai (Bombay), India

The last two weeks were quite intense. Perhaps I spend more time on buses and trains than in places. Along the way I visited India’s three biggest ashrams (although the one in Pune I don’t really consider to be an ashram). So in the last two weeks I saw ‘all’ of south India 😉

Yesterday I started feeling a bit tired and weak. And although I had just arrived at the ‘ashram’ I was really looking forward to see and experience (where meditation includes funny things like jumping, yelling, dancing, hyperventilation, etc.) I decided to return to Vienna a few days earlier than ‘scheduled’. So I booked a ticket today (Sai Baba bless the Internet) and took the next train to Mumbai.

At the railway station in Mumbai a homeless guy came up to me and asked for some food. At first I tried to get rid of him but the moment he said he was a traveller like me I stoped for a moment and had a look at him…

This guy was different!

First of all he spoke fluent English without ANY accent and apart of that there was something different in his eyes…

A homeless (Indian) who speaks English without an accent?

I started to get interested in this guy’s life…

So as I had no plans other than going to the airport anyway, I decided to ‘hire’ him as my ‘city guide’ for the night!

I asked him to show me some places and told him that it was up to him what we’ll do (as I was more interested in his psyche rather than the city). So he showed me some things around the central railway station and then headed towards McDonald’s ‘It’s the best food in India! It is American quality!’

Hmm… well I guess he’s sick of cheap Indian food…

“They have the best service as well!”

McDonald’s? Service?!?

So we entered McDonald’s, sat down and my guide tells an employees “Hey, get us some water and the menu!” The guy came up to us and replied that it was a self-service restaurant. My guide exchanged a few words in Hindi with him and after a few moments the employee came back with two glasses of water and the manager. My guide also exchanged a few words with him…

We ended up being served food at the most famous self-service restaurant in the world… hmm…

While eating my guide suggested to watch ‘India’s best action movie ever!’

Again, I was not really convinced so I said, I wouldn’t understand anything as the movie was in Hindi.

“Come on, it’s an action movie! You’ll easily understand it! It’s all about guns, blood and dancing!”

Dancing? A bloody action movie with dancing scenes? Hmm…

So I had a look at the poster:

‘Shootout – Based on True Rumours!’

Based on True Rumours?!?

The movie started and after seeing a rough’n though murderer shouting people in five minutes of bloody scenes the killer starts dancing and singing in the next! Image Bruce Willis dancing in the middle of Die Hard 😉

Nice experience…

After the movie ended we headed towards the airport. In the end I didn’t really find out too much about my guide’s bio other than about an eventually ‘traumatic experience’ he seemed to have had 15 years ago in Texas where a lesbian denied to sleep with him. He told me that story about five times in the few hours we spend…

Still, paying that guy was much worth its money… being served at McDonald’s and watching a bloody ‘action-musical’! Especially that situation at McDonald’s tought me a lot about life and mind-borders!

So now I’m at the airport… at the end of ‘Part III’ of my trip… and I’m really looking forward to this upcoming reality-check!

Summertime in Vienna is really cool!


Monkey Mind

Kottayam, India

Ten days of a silent meditation retreat was an interesting and intense experience…

Hmm, at least in my head it didn’t seem to be too silent. Actually I didn’t realize until the final day that I wasn’t talking for ten days as my head was “a little bit” noisy most of the time.

Just try it for yourself… just for a minute:

Sit down, start to focus on your breath and think about nothing else (i.e. the past or future)… NOTHING!

Did it work?

Well, if it didn’t… isn’t it pathetic that we cannot even control our mind for a minute?

Come on, it’s just a minute!

Ok, well, don’t feel like a looser… almost nobody can do it!

But just imagine how much your life would change if you actually had your mind under control! Just imagine how much your life could change if you were no longer a slave to your mind!

Well, i personally cannot tell you how it is because the technique I applied during these ten days didn’t work very well for me… in a way at least 😉

One thing I know now is:

I really would like to take over control, rather than being controlled…

So, well, I guess it is up to me now!


Curry for Breakfast

Kochi, India

I spend one month in Sri Lanka. Some people wondered why I wasn’t writing anything about the country…

Well, I didn’t see too much of the country as I was working and studying in an acupuncture clinic… except for my last week. Apart from that I consider this whole trip and my weblog as an experience and description of my inner travel…

My body travels and my mind is on a trip!

Anyway, Sri Lanka is a fascinating country. Not only that it’s nature is bright and colorful but so are it’s people!

With the civil war going on one might get the impression that there is a religious or ethnic conflict. To me it seems to be a conflict over power rather than something religious or ethnic. At least in Colombo and Kandy all communities of different religious and ethnic background seem to live in relative peace and tolerance. Everybody I talked to condemned the civil war and feels betrayed by the government.

So someone seems to make some good money with that war going on 😉

At the clinic I worked at I learned a lot! Not necessarily about acupuncture but, well, about certain patterns of life and people. And of course about myself…

One thing I talked about already is that stereotype thing. People like to think in boxes it seems… I guess it makes life ‘easier’! That is nothing unique to Sri Lanka… at least not the way I experience other places…

The other thing is money and wealth. Many people seem to believe that if they had more money everything would be better. And then, of course, there is the ‘rich Western kid’ thing. From the Asian perspective all Western people are rich (what did I say about stereotypes?). For some funny reason, those who think all Westerners are rich have either 400 Dollar mobile phones or golden watches… so it’s not surprising to me they usually have little money ; )

One thing I learned about myself is that I cannot work for people I do not believe in or respect. That was perhaps the reason why, for example, almost all of my school teachers didn’t like me (apart from being a spoiled kid). I do not respect people simply on the basis of a titel, their family background, age or whatever. Respect is something you have to earn!

If you didn’t earn it *@&# off! At least I won’t bend over… maybe those who believe that golden mobile phones create happiness will…

Another thing I learned is that there is no point in continue writing this weblog for my friends back home to keep up to date. Some of them seem to be offended by the things I say about Vienna, being rich, about fear, love etc. Apart from that it seems to me that some people don’t really (want to?) understand what I am writing about anyway. Even some of my closest friends seem to be quite ignorant about me and my struggles in life. So for example some of them seriously believe that I am/was not confronted with racism and discrimination back ‘home’ on a regular basis. Others think I am on an extended vacation… aha… I mean are these people seriously reading my weblog or just pretending?!?

But most likely I am equally ignorant about their lives too… so what am I complaining about?

Anyway, Sri Lanka was a very good experience. In a way it was a period of transition after having left Iran. Since Iran I feel like I’m not searching anymore, which essentially changes the way I’m trippin!

So yesterday night I arrived in Kochi. Tomorrow I’m heading towards a meditation center to do my first ten-day Vipassana retreat (if it works out this time).

I’m really curious what India, by many considered to be the ‘Holy Land’, has to offer…

This morning it was a vegetable curry for breakfast…

I really liked it!


Being a Rich Kid (Part II)

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Being rich…

I’m a rich kid! At least in my perception!

I’m rich because I live, love and feel alive!

Because I’m healthy and can go to whereever I like, work whereever I like, live whereever I like.

I’m rich because I have my family and friends loving and supporting me.

Because whereever I go I encounter very special people and things.

I’m rich because I believe that all the barriers and borders I face are only in my head.

I’m rich because no material thing is really important to me and therefore I’m happy and wealthy!

That’s why I consider myself to be a rich kid…

… or maybe I’m just a hippie ; )


Being a Rich Kid

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Being rich…

I am a rich kid! At least in some people’s perception!

I consider myself as being rich! Though perhaps in a very different way than many of those who consider me to be.

Some people think I’m rich because my parents are financially wealthy. Well, my parents are, I am not…

I grew up as a spoiled kid… that was as a kid!

When I left Vienna for the first time with 19 I realized how spoiled I was! By the age of 23 I managed to abolish this lovely aspect of my character almost completely. Well, I’m coined… so some of it will have remained perhaps!

I was always confronted with jealousy. I even heard some funny rumors like I’m waiting for my father to die to get all of his money 😉

Sounds like a very sophisticated life-plan to me… waiting for some decades for that little bit of money…

Anyway, one thing is true: My parents always supported me and I would never be where I am today if it wasn’t for them!

But yeah, all that jealousy got me thinking, was it right to take all these things they offered me? Shouldn’t I have worked harder? Shouldn’t I have worked more?


Why should I have?

I mean, I was born into this family. It might have been luck, God’s will, Karma or whatever! I’ve always been working ever since I was 18. So why should I have worked more instead of accepting their support while studying?

It’s like: just because there are people starving around the world, people in West should not eat healthy food.

Yeah right!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you shouldn’t work if you are wealthy! And I have the utmost respect for those who were always self-sufficient, worked hard, fighted and made it! Perhaps I wouldn’t have!

A few days ago a ‘rich kid’ friend of mine wrote me about her inner dilemas at the moment. For some reason most ‘rich kid’ friends I have, feel like they shouldn’t get financial support… all of them being students or working for some good cause.

Why? To prove one can be self-sufficient? Almost anyone (non-psychotic) in the West can be!

Independent of wealth, social standing, personal characteristics or… well, anything, I truly believe in one thing:

Life is not about what you have but if you can value and be aware of it! I truly believe that in life it isn’t so important what you were given but what you make out of whatever it is you were given… inside and outside!

… but yeah, maybe I’m ignorant and just don’t understand ’cause I’m a spoiled rich kid…


PS: Yet not to forget, form the Asian perspective we all are rich kids 😉

Being Clear and Precise

Colombo, Sri Lanka

My first week in Sri Lanka was… interesting?

So… I experience the usual stuff you do when you are trippin…

For instance, for some reason local people everywhere (I’ve been to so far) seem to ask the same questions in more or less the same order to get an image of you in a minute or less:

What is your name?

Where are you from?

How old are you?

Are you married?

Are you Muslim?

What is your job back home?

In Iran the only difference was they didn’t ask me if I was Muslim but rather if I came to Iran to find a woman to marry…

I’m really amused 😀

People ask me clear questions and they want clear, precise and short answers.
I cannot give them these the way they want… and they usually get very annoyed!

“What’s my first name?”
Hmm, which one shall choose? The Greek one? The Persian one?

“Where am I from?”
So, originally… but… – I could start to explain! (“But you are not Greek! So why do you have a Greek name then?”

“When’s my birthday?”
My god, in my case even that one isn’t so straightforward!

“If I’m married?”
Yeah, perhaps I should be… at my age…

“If I’m Muslim?”

“What my job is back home?”
Which one?
And which home anyway?

“Come on… it’s easy! You must have one first name, one place you are from, one home, one date of birth and usually one job and one religion… and at least you must be able to state clearly if you are married or not!”

Hmm… in my case nothing is so clear-cut!

So maybe that’s the reason why I am a little neurotic soul 😉

But more importantly: for real, what would all the answers tell people about me? So why is it so important to people to have all theses questions answered (clearly)?!?


Seven Months and Trippin

Colombo, Sri Lanka

So for those of you who thought – reading my last two posts – that I finally found the true meaning of my life by becoming a suicide bomber… I have to disappoint you… well I am in Colombo now but I have nothing to do with the bomb attacks yesterday night!

No no, my last message was not my final prayer and the one before was no hidden hint indicating a final mortal action (so even if I […] die, I die happy)!

Seven months ago I started this trip searching for something and in a way it feels like I have found this thing… though I cannot put it in words…

So in a way this trip is over and if I believe those strange dervishes I should stop writing! They say someone is going to kill me for saying (writing) these things I see. That is perhaps the reason why (I guess) Socrates should have become a poet like those dervishes.

Or maybe I just didn’t get the meaning of their poems…

Anyway… I’m not Socrates and I’m no poet (in a way this blog gets repetitive… or I have a deja vu).

So I could also listen to that Viennese crackhead’s advice called Falco who said in one of his songs:

“Lass diese Reise niemals enden, das Tun kommt aus dem Sein allein”

Yeah, I’m not gonna stop trippin… and I’ll write some thing 😉