By Kanakshankar Mukherji, Educator, Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, Kolkata

“Budapest enthralls visitors with its fast public transportation network. My host Gabor Csikos and I reached his apartment within no time in the public transport. In the process I got onto the bus and trams. I was delighted to get into the trams as it was the first time I was getting such swank trams. Needless to say in Kolkata we have trams which uses old technology.

Due to individualism the people may not fall over you to be friends but they are friendly and warm. It is just that they may take a bit of time to open. But in the AFS office I felt as if I had known them from ages. Whether it be the National Director or the others their warmth was infectious.

In Szeged and Pece along with Gabor, I did presentation in front of high school students. They were curious about India but at the same time not too curious as for them maybe other destinations were far more charming. But the seeds of AFS India were planted nonetheless. However, what was noteworthy was the questions asked showed that they knew about India and in some depth. That was indeed heartening.

We travelled to Mezoberrani, the hometown of Gabor. His parents and sister and her family presented to me any family home in any part of the world including India. So much of similarity with an Indian country home. I have spent my time in childhood in my aunt’s home and my mother’s ancestral house which were either in rural area or semi-urban areas. The farm land of Csikos Sr, the chickens, the warmth of holding a freshly laid egg reminded me so much of my childhood.

How can I forget the cheese coins made by Gabor’s mother? The most delicious snack in the world which is tasty to the point of being addictive. Made in a jiffy but humongous in its taste!!! Food in Hungary is largely meat based but doesn’t give any trouble in digesting as they are done up in light sauces or spices which are digested easily.

It was a lovely two weeks of inter-cultural learning for me. But never felt I am not at home. The matter of fact attitude with a good mix of warmth charm and wit of the Hungarians made the stay so. Enchanted… that’s all I can say”