Don’t get me started on how much Germans love their Beer fests. We spent first two years just circling the festival area, eating chocolate fruits and took an occasional roller coaster. The ride really began when we found some like minded friends and we entered ‘the tent’. Imagine a few thousand people standing and dancing on the benches, with a mass in one hand and the other hand swaying to some live music with the rest of their bodies. The music they play is a mix of German folk and English rock. Everyone is unbelievably well behaved considering most of them are nearly out of their senses.

Last night while coming back from the Spring festival (April version of the Oktoberfest), we took a train back home at about 11 PM. As Stuttgart is not Munich, it sleeps early on most nights. But looked like everyone was out last night to let their hair down and their spirits up. I got to sit next to a cheerful old woman with fresh lilacs with green leaves in her hands. She smiled at us, offered to move just in case our group wanted to sit together and merrily watched us jabber away in 65% English, 15 % Hindi and 20 % German. When she got off the train at Weinsteige, she wished us good night and even after going out waved at us from outside. After nearly 10 hours of memorable time spent at the fest, all I can think of is that old lady with lilacs in her hands. Was she going home? Was she visiting someone? She definitely seemed Deutsch. I have stopped thinking about how am I perceived as an odd woman out in this strange country, but I still wonder what she thought of us. Who were the lilacs for? Probably a beautiful, ancestral vase. Or for a family member, a friend may be a date.

For some reason, I’m still thinking about her. But what was she thinking about? She has definitely seen many festivals in her lifetime and been in our shoes a few decades ago. Did we make her nostalgic? We all have back stories in our lives. The old lady with lilacs definitely has one. Probably I am never going to find her back story, but somehow she has almost become a part of my back story.

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