The capital is no more the charming, laid back city that they left 33 years back. But the friendships that they struck here only got deeper and dearer with every passing year. That is one reason why Alfred Kastning and wife Astrid Kastning keep coming back to the God�s Own Country.
Former Head of the Department (HoD) of German at the University of Kerala, Dr. Kastning, 70, has once again come visiting the city after a span of nine years. One of the last native German lecturers to teach at the department, he served as the HoD from 1974 to 1977. He was posted in Thiruvananthapuram by the German Academic Exchange Service, Berne, where he was working then.
�It was my first appointment outside Germany and it was challenging to teach German to foreign students. But you know, you people are very bright and pick up languages quickly. So it was not so difficult for us after all,� said Dr. Kastning.
Dr. Kastning and Ms. Kastning are on a five-week visit to India. On Thursday, the couple went down memory lane at a get-together with former students and colleagues. Former HoD Celine Mathew, present HoD Latha Thambi, former Department librarian Abdul Khader and former students Janardhanan Nair, Fr. Mathew Thiruthil, Mohammad Kazim and Marian Stadermann were among those present at the occasion.
�We made so many friends here. We had a great rapport with our students and colleagues, with most of whom we still have contact. It is a pleasure to meet them all after such a long time,� said Ms. Kastning , who also took classes at the department.
It was during Dr. Kastning�s tenure that the M.A. German course was introduced at the department. He also launched the Indo-German journal �German Studies in India� featuring contributions from German teachers and students from across the country.