One man and 600 women

On International Women’s Day, German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner invited more than 600 women “from all walks of life” to his lawns. Many of them came – but to what end?

What could have been a nice idea in fact was a disaster, because no one seemed to have thought about what to do with these women once they were all greeted personally by the embassador with a super-glued smile.

To have at least one item one the agenda, the embassador entered the stage and uttered a sometimes trivial, sometimes embarrassing statement (when he talked about how he would love to be a women) – instead of giving his wife Eliese Steiner the advantage. Then actress and social worker Nafisa Ali Sodhi adressed some words to the women – but they weren’t translated.

And then – nothing. Most of the interesting women on the lawns weren’t accessible for me because they didn’t speak English and the interpreter that was promised to the journalists either didn’t show up or wasn’t locatable. So all we could do was looking at interesting dresses. Wow. (No wonder sports the official embassy website only a photo gallery and not an article.)

embassador's wife

Okay, there was one benefit: Everybody was allowed to take a picture with the embassador. Or at least with his wife Eliese.

A tiny buffet had been prepared to feed the crowds. But as many of these women came from very modest backgrounds, they tried to eat as much as possible. And there wasn’t much. When some of them started filling their pockets with sandwiches, the tables were empty after a couple of minutes.

The staff tried to bring in more supplies, whatever eatable they found. So in the end they offered Christmas stollen, a sweet german bread. And Christmas cookies. In march. Apparently leftovers from December that had been already been served to journalists in february – but we didn’t finish it.

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