Dec 25, 2008

December Greetings..!!

Ok, its almost the end of December and I finally decide to put my laziness to rest and get back to posting after almost a month's hiatus. This post is a poem (well, thats what I call it! :D), which has been in my mind for sometime, but as this is my first one, I needed sometime to collate them into what we call the 'poem-like' structure. Its about the month December, which is quite evident, and my first winter here.

the Dawn seemed to take its time
the Sound of Wind devouring clear

the Snowy Mantle lay serene

on the color of Spring, which is green.

the Sprouting charm demeanor ornamental
to the damsel Landscape,
whose delicacy cannot suffice in narration,

embeds one's misery to oblivion.
the conspicuous grace of the Nature

drew me to an entangled delusion

and now I knew, how to say,

the December here, Greets its way!

Dec 7, 2008

Another change in Blog name..!!

Greetings to December, and with it a new name for my blog again, and this time I hope its the ultimatum for the name changing spree. I know this could be irritating and my apologies for that. Nevertheless, the gut-feel says, this is here to stay longer. Just a brief explanation on what it means, radical has the meaning of revolutionary, unorthodox, resurgent, etc and I seriously dont know which of them suits this blog, the closest could be unorthodox and impulsion refers to those miniscule impulses that are mentioned in the description.

Nov 21, 2008

The Terrace - A Trip down the memory lane..!!!

Right then, now that I have renamed my blog, although, not necessarily I will be writing in relation to the caption everytime, but it sounds savvy, :D. This post will ring a bell to a few of my blog's followers, and guys just correct me if am wrong anywhere. This also is a description of a few of my most enjoyable days in Chennai. The characters here, Ma, Mu, Ab, Ant and ofcourse myself (cant hide me, since its a personal story!). The moment, ok I dont remember the exact date (like hell I would!), +2 graduated and preparation for entry into Professional Entrance Exam (TNPCEE). I guess these people, if they are reading this post, already know what I am going to talk about.

Scene 1 (Ma and Harish, during the +2 -Board exam preparation)

A very typical day for a student going to give the board exams for the last grade in school, revising the books, looking through question papers, just to get one more mark in the practice tests, except that this misses some reality in it, keeping me on bed with the door of my room closed and fantasies just within my reach. Just then annoying ring of phone wakes me up and mom yells out "Harishaa" (Mom seemed to be comfortable adding a few a's always to my name, making it sound to eternity!!). "§$&%%§$&$%&, nice timing, just a few minutes more and I would have been a state topper". Anyways Ma and I almost had talks everyday, atleast twice, discussing 'also' about studies and just to know how much time the other has wasted, without studying. A mutually extended knowledge about the amount of time spent not studying, always helps in pacifying for the time I used to end up sleeping. However, on that Ma had a few things more in his mind to analyze. Being in +2 grade, options get streamlined and yes it was about a girl in his neighborhood.

Ma - "Machan (machan is a synonym to the common hindi word between two buddies like yaar and synonymous to dude of english!) saw this female from my balcony da, I think she studies in the school nearby, +2 grade, drives to school in cycle daily! looks like we 've quite a 'look' at each other. Her name's, Ry".
Quite evidently, my response, "I am coming over in the evening, at what time she returns? ". Ma- "I think 4pm, but then what will you tell at home?".
Me- "The usual, group studies! :D :D"

Scene 2 (At Ma's place, evening 4 15 pm, being on time atleast for some reasons!)

Me- "So where is she? did I miss her?"
Ma- "I dont think so, she must be coming this way in another 10 mins, atleast if she hasnt taken any half day!"
After an eternal 30 mins, the street continues to remain full of kids playing cricket, which was also good, as we can have a better look at Ry. But the Man above, had other plans, for no female driving the cycle went and we ended up sitting with books atleast for sometime.

The next few days, breezed past as the exams began, nevertheless, our gang Mu, Ab and Ant also came to know about this female, Ma had been 'looking' at, but we hardly got time to stalk-out again. Nevertheless, Ma enjoyed those instances of divine coincidence, and he also had a talk, or did he. I guess he will reply to this post, when he reads.

Scene 3

Mu's place, terrace, along with Ma, Ab, Ant and myself, pretty worked up times, for the entrance exam for Professional studies lay ahead.

Mu and Ma stayed nearby, separated by a street and the houses along the street were quite visible. For a change, the 5 of us were far from distraction, the seriousness of getting into the lines we wanted and in good colleges elevated and at times we realized that a break was badly required. The time 5pm, still very evident in my mind, coz that was when it started. I had just got up to give a stretch to a rather stout me, then, and turned around in the direction of Ma's house, when a sudden movement on the terrace near Ma's place caught my sight. Quite obviously, it had to be a female, so I asked the other guys, to check it out. And boy, did we have interesting scenes there, only for me to realize, that the other guys were already seeing in the direction. The girl, with open hair giving quite casual and suave walk on the terrace, with a good mix of some sleazy moves, intentionally or unintentionally, kept us glued to her for quite sometime, giving us the much required break (am not in for detailed description here..!!). It was a few moments until Ma realized who she was and he ended up screaming, thats Ry and thats her house's terrace. We only wished that the terrace would start moving, so that we could have glimpse of her face, only in vain, which Ma had already had a premier of. The next half an hour, flew past like it was just minutes, giving us the indication that break time's over, and time to get back to work.

That was the last time we saw Ry, Ma although had a few more glimpses, before she shifted her place. This post came forth, after I went through another blog of a friend of mine, retrospecting a few of my +2 grade experiences, as they were one of the best days of my life, bringing a smile whenever they creep in.

Nov 19, 2008

Blog name changed..!!

Its been more than a year, since I started my blog, which got active only in the past few months and the previous blog name sounded a bit lethargic. So after spending an hour before my lappy, the current name comes forth, which also happens to be a synonym for "observation". I hope this one should stay a longer than the previous one, ofcourse under the condition, that I keep hanging on this blog...!!!

Nov 12, 2008

Rendezvous with Kitchen..!!

My Mom's word's still echo in my ear, " Dei Harishaaa, come here, and atleast see how to make this Sambhar, I don't know what the hell are you going to do there(in Ulm)?" and as usual I'll go, "Mom! chillax, I will manage". I used to feel silly sometimes at those continuous recursion of words from Mom, and they always used to end with a warning, "No one will be there to cook something for you when you return from University, so better listen to me!" and evidently, I have never regretted those words more than now (Well, Mom also used to tell that, you will regret it there!). You are in a country, where there is only one Indian shop for selling Indian food and only one Indian restaurant, which sucks big time and the worst, you are not earning, so money management needs to be absolutely precise than those of the Chartered Accountants. Damn, these stats should have hit my head in India. Nevertheless the rendezvous had to be done someday.

The first day I arrive here and check out my room, the Kitchen appears as some alien land, with some hot plates. Oh boy, here we go. However, the first month somehow I managed, as mentioned before, with Bhuvan the saviour, who's an amazing cook. Nevertheless, the guilt finally took the better of me and I told Bhuvan, I can take from here mate. Hell I was ready. only if I could have foreseen, that huge disasters awaited me. I can't even think of those days of experimentation, which my stomach was put under, it would not surprise to see the stone get dissolved as some edible stuff making me burp! Everytime I would be talking to my stomach, consoling it, making it ready for the food. Suddenly for a brief moment the lunch at the Uni, who provided only-salt-spiced-German-'special' lunch tasted like elixir. The fact that I had no job till the first 4 months made it even difficult, as my brusque brain would calculate faster than a Casio 991MS for the spendings and we would provide the Indian shop with all the profits, who still enjoys his monopoly here.

Finally, in the month of June, the job came calling, for once something went right, and the first thing I do, get some great spices, though cooking lay in genesis. Incourse of time, I was getting better at combining the spices and my first decent-tasting-dish turned out to be noodles (not maggi!). For the next 2 weeks, noodles would be the main part of my menu with all sorts of combinations, with vegetables, egg, tuna (another disaster!), etc. However, there was a new problem now, with the exams creeping upon, the cooking would squander 2 hours atleast, if the work load at the Uni was not enough. Everytime I would enter the kitchen, Mom's words would automatically playback, as if someone forgot to change the record (I almost ended up playing music the next time!). Towards the end of July, finally I make something good to taste (ok, this is relative to me!), Pulao, what was even better that it would take a maximum of an hour and a half to finish it, and this time decreased subsequently. Now I can't say that I am good at it, but I can make something edible (very positive from my perspective!). Mom's words still echo, but feels good, makes me feel at home.

Nov 10, 2008

Diwali Dhamaka..!!!

The previous 7 days were the most happening days, so far, for me in Ulm. Saturday, November 8, 2008 was a celebration of the most awaited festival back home, Diwali, in Ulm, the delay of 2 weeks could be accounted for the preparation time. It all started with gathering of few families and few students, in the early weeks of September, to organize the events, which had been going on for the past 5 years. Frankly speaking, thanks to Vamsi, I got myself involved in this, which otherwise wouldn't have brought in the feel of student (talking from the extra-curricular point of view), which was the only missing point. The first gathering, we end up meeting a few families, discussing the over-all layout right from the welcoming to the end. It looked quite simple then, with the layout looking just like, Welcome-Cultural Event-Dinner-End. However, I was quick enough to realize that this was not as simple as it looked and thoughts of giving my own performance also crept up my mind.

The following weeks breezed past as I had to finish another exam of my first sem, which turned out to be a bit disappointing, despite a better preparation. Nevertheless, I was happy that I sailed across. In the meantime, I start to plan on my performance, which would mean it was the 2nd time I was going to be on stage, the thought would just give a wobble to my vulnerable stomach. The best response for the event was the number of events we had in our hands, going upto 17, right from the families to the students and even the kids. Boy! those kids steal the thunder, just displaying their innocence (a prized possession!) on the stage, makes me go back to good old days. As the day neared, the excitement just increased. Just to know that you have an Indian festival being celebrated here, makes you feel at home and want to get back soon. Whats even better, the number of Indians one gets to meet here and one never gets surprised at the Germans' curiosity to check us out. So when the day came, we were not ready for only one surprise, the time. We were supposed to start at 5 30pm, and what do we see, the Germans storming in from 4 45pm. Being on time is something which is Germans' specialty, but hello, being ahead of time, was a bit too much to handle. Nevertheless, the welcoming team was already there.

Once the event started, I didnt even have the time to watch the time :). One moment it was 5 30pm, and next it was 11 30 and the best part was the end, where the stage was open and everyone including the Germans and others, grooved to fast-paced Indian music. I remember teaching some moves to William, his sister, Daniel and Diana (Colombians), who for change, tried on some Daban-kuthu (tamil folk) and a bit Bhangra (Punjabi folk). Not only they, but many other nationalities tried on some Indian moves. This had to be most eye-catching one. The clock hands had just struck together, when a friend of mine and me decided to call it a day and take leave. So after dropping her half way to her house, I took the usual path from my bus stop to my dorm. There was mixed emotion there, one where I was happy that the event was over, so that I could get back to what I came for, Studying and one where I was surrounded by emptiness, thinking about all those excitement which I will be missing for quite sometime. It did take me sometime to get back to books on sunday, and I ended up making a report with some music and doing a bit of dance while sitting on the table (I hope my report is not messed up :D!). I believe its a usual cycle, that one has a day of excitement, followed by an emptiness around oneself.

Oct 31, 2008

Entry into Swiss - A yearned dream earned..!!

Switzerland, the name throws flashes of those snow-clapped mountains, where the hero and the heroine would be celebrating their mutually expressed feelings, the scene then changing to the beautiful landscapes and gardens, where one would wonder if such flowers ever grew on this planet, the wooden cottages that match so well with scenery, that one would feel if this is a natural phenomenon or did someone create this country. Evidently, it is one of the best places one would ever expect to be at and right from my childhood, after being exposed to our 'bollywood-style' movies, Swiss has been a yearning place, and for anyone I have come across, even for a visit. One tends to think the unfair scenario in films, where the actors are present in the hot-humid climate for once and the next scene, they are in this beautiful landscape which is a perfect compensation for time spent amidst the humidity. I remember the countless number of times I have closed my eyes and wished only in vain, opening then only to face the harsh reality, as if being there was not sufficient. Well for once, I had the last laugh, with the success of my plan to come to Ulm, which is a great place to study (the reality, not form the previous line!) and which is 2 hours from the Swiss border.

So on a particular weekend, which was just 2 days before an exam, Vamsi happens to ask me about a plan to visit Rhinefalls (Rheinfalls), one of the largest waterfalls in Europe, and I was like, what a timing, 2 days before my exam! I was thinking about that, when it struck me that, I was going to Swiss, whats wrong with me, what was there to think about! Immediately, with a conscious effort not to think about the exam, I make a call back to Vamsi asking him the itenary. Luckily, the trip turned out just as a perfect plan, with one day trip, giving me enough time for my exam preparation in the later part of the day.

We were a group of 8 people, 3 Indians, 4 Pakistanis and an African (talking about being multi-cutural!). One of the advantages in our State (Baden-Wuttemberg), is for the weekends, we have something called BW-ticket which is generally bought for a group of 5 people for 27 euros. That made our expense lesser. So we started our journey towards Rhinefalls and one I reached there, with all the thoughts of exam and the bits and pieces which I had prepared, creeping in my mind, I realized it was worth to give it a break. The beauty of the river flowing all-along the road, that we took to reach the falls was simply amazing and Vamsi and I stopped at almost every opportunity to sneak a snap. I was not surprised to see the count of pics on my mobile to 200, from 8 in the morning. I would love to give an entire description of the journey, but then it would take an eternity for the post to get over and the words never bring out the true picture.

On the way back to Ulm, we had a beautiful view of a lake, that we crossed, and decided to give it a shot. The Lake Konstanz, as if giving a perfect finale to our trip, turned out to be a stunner. It was unusually hot then and just sitting beside the lake was so soothing, that one would wish for the time to stop. The lake does attract attention during the summers and being a weekend, it was pretty crowded and just before leaving we thought of a small trip on the paddle boat. The water with the greenish tinge and the beautiful birds (damn, I dont know the breed!) just ascended its beauty. Only if I knew swimming, wouldn't have hesitated to jump in the water. When I returned home, I was thoroughly satisfied that day couldn't have gone better. Thinking so and smiling, I light up my table lamp and open the book to start my preparation. The album on the right pane shows all the pics.

Oct 27, 2008

The Warrior's Scar..!!

Taking a piece from Biology, of what I know, skin is a layer who's basic function is to protect the internal organs (ahem! bioligists need to stop laughing at the naive description of skin). Its not like I don't know the other functions, but its not related. So when there are damages, the skin has a change of colour, from its normal colour, due to dead cells on them. Ok this post is not a scientific one. Just to make it sound fancy and not painful, right from my childhood, whenever I got hurt, my dad used to call them 'veera thalumbu' (Warrior's Scar), in telugu. Now one of the most common 'battlefields' (wanting to sound fancy!) to get them has to be the kitchen. I remember seeing numerous of those brown marks, on my mom's arms. Everyday, I would witness atleast one new scar on her hand, boy, never realized how painful would that be, until I started cooking. Right from the smallest, it would go upto around 6 cm in length, atleast the longest I have seen. Every time I used to tell her, just be careful, which she always is, but somehow they sneak upon you. My battle started with small cuts with the knives, again its not that am careless, but again they somehow sneak upon you, and yesterday had the fierce battle with a hot pan of oil, spilling over my hand, and thanks to my roomie who was quick to get a cloth and wipe it off and I spend the next 15 minutes keeping my hand in a pot of cold water. Something really funny happened then, the water was cold, but I felt it hot for sometime on the place where oil spilled. I tried switching hands, wondering if I had turned the tap in the wrong direction, it was correct. However, it was good to see that my senses didnt go crazy, as I started feeling the cold water in a few minutes. Those brown marks did appear by evening. I didnt know if I was happy or sad with the scar on my hand, eventhough it kept on burning for sometime, nevertheless, I have another of those 'Warrior's Scar' on my hand. Returning to the battlefield (kitchen) I did have the last laugh, as I always will, because the food was as delicious as it could be.

Oct 20, 2008

Play time's over, nevertheless, Seinfeld continues..!!

I had never realized when I stopped keeping a count on the number of days in Germany. It turned out that the day denomination was small and I had to get on to the next one, Months. Yeah, that seemed easier, so as I write this post, its 8 month running. The going, so far, has been pretty good, with lots of surprises, quite expected, and a bit of studies ('lot of studies' wouldn't be doing justice on the amount of time I spend!! :D), which made me realize that this journey is not only about studies, but an over-all improvement. Well now what are we looking here, overall-improvement, lets see, I can cook, plan my day (execution of the same still remains a question!!), or rather "have to" plan my day, go out for a stroll at midnight - wait, thats not improvement- yes "have to" manage my expenses, separate wastes or again "have to" separate wastes, arrange and clean my room (though it does not need special mention, as I have kept my room clean, not sounding very over-whelming! :D), well the list does look pretty good.

So coming back to the point, amidst the schedule and Naruto spree, we received the announcements for our exams, and instantaneously there's a wobble in my stomach, as if my stomach had taken a roller-coaster ride. It did strike me, that I had given my previous exam almost 2 years back, but didn't think it would be difficult to accept the fact the I was heading for another one. Somehow, when one plans higher studies, I guess they miss the fact that exams do exist, or rather they have an overwhelming expression that it can be done (with the consideration that it would be a piece of cake!). Well, it was the latter in my case. Nevertheless, I had to get ready for it, the sooner I realize, the better for me, I figured. In between, I would think sometimes, boy am I really in Germany! This thought is like an alarm, I have been getting them atleast once in a month. Well in one sense its better, keeps a check on me :D. I thought, I better start burning the lamp for books. Well, the start was pretty good, you know those first day hysterics, or rather hype, where you plan to finish almost the entire 1st lesson, which is a third of the syllabus and you think that, that was not difficult, and still have a lot of time for exams, except you forget that its hypothetical. However, the good thing for me was, it did not take me long to figure out that it was hypothetical.

Amidst these, the 220 online-stored episodes were just getting over, and I was thinking what would be the next one (Ok, perhaps I shouldn't sound very enthusiastic here, I do study also!). While I thought this, I was on the usual practice of browsing though my laptop, as if to find some hidden folder, which would have been provided, mentioned as 'time-pass'. As expected, I was disappointed, I think I should suggest this to Microsoft, might just increase the sales, due to suspense factor. Sometimes, I find it difficult to figure out, if I am bugged off my laptop, or am addicted. So as I was browsing, I happen to see a folder called Seinfeld which my friend had given me, when he got the laptop. Suddenly there was an answer, as to why I was browsing through the laptop, there was a folder, which I hadnt been to for long :D. So I start searching for this sitcom and fail to find any episode online and I had no access to Torrentz, making it even difficult to get the episodes. In the meantime, one of my friend had just arrived to UK and he was talking about movies which he downloaded from Torrentz, and then, eureka! You guessed it right, we made a deal that he would download all the episodes of Seinfeld from Torrentz and transfer them to me. Although it takes around 3-4 days to get all downloaded, as long as I dont extend the limit, it was a good plan. Just for your curiosity, Seinfeld is a sitcom on the daily lives of 4 friends, something similar to F.R.I.E.N.D.S, but it came before and it does not involve any emotions, just laughter. This series was the best stress-buster for me, and I believe it will be for anyone. You feel depressed, then you have to see this to get light and feel yourself again. This turned out to be a way for me to take breaks while studying, where I would study for an hour or 2, with a break of a half an hour episode, especially, when you find yourself completely inside your dorm, for more than 15 days, on any context. Eventually that turned out to be the most difficult part of preparing for the exam. Nevertheless, the first one did help me figure out on how to prepare for the next ones.

Oct 7, 2008

Annoyment at its best..!!

Its just that there are few moments, when you reach a point, where you would crack your brains out in deep frustration, trying to understand why some events happen just to test your limit of patience, or more easily put, if you think you are good, handle this brother! I come to my home, on cold evening, with a certain urgency for which I had to rush to washroom, suddenly the phone starts ringing, I come out, water dripping from my hands, reach for the headset, to attach it phone, only to find that its entangled in the worst possible way. Well there is nothing to wonder about it, unless I would have just removed from the same entangled position, a few hours back and kept it "loosely" on the table (I'l remember that now!), so that I could put it back easily on the phone. The result, nothing worse (something positive!), I couldn't attend the call, and I spent the next 5 mins unwinding the same wire, which I had unwound in the morning. I just cracked my mind, like what makes them to entangle, is it male-female bonding between the wires (Oh, dear, long time no see) or the positive-negative attraction of physics. I mean common, a person just unwinds it to find it entangled again. I remember the same situation, sometime back home, I was asked to remove those boxes of wires from the top (yes, being tall has some price to pay!), and those words were enough to raise my emotions to epitome of irritation. My father asks me to unwind a wire, and what could be worse, slowly and carefully so that it doesnt brake, and predictably the opposite happens and I end up tearing it. However, it doesnt change the fact, the minutes after this incident, I would give up thinking, as to why I would to reach to such an extent and end up laughing about it (thats the best solution to overcome such situation!). As I type this post, I have an eye on my headset, for each move it makes, to get entangled again, the worst part is I cant keep it separated for long, as it would occupy enough place on the already overflowing table of mine, so I have to keep it loose again. Well, I dont understand the ulimate motivation behind these moments, but I guess its just another emotion, but this has to be one of the worst, because you dont know the exact reason as what drives this irritation to such peaks. I wonder if this post, makes you ponder about such instances.

Oct 6, 2008

The Schedule and The Naruto Spree..!!!

Coming back to my experiences with lectures and lifestyle change in Germany, oh yes it did change a lot, for once I started bunking the lectures. Ok, bunking doesn't really count here, as the attendance is not compulsory, but for a person, who's got a good record for attendance in schools and college (except for last 2 yrs of my college!), this was a "big step" :D. The schedule for a subject is divided into two, as lectures and exercises, and I used to make sure to attend all the exercises atleast, as that was more important from the exam point of view. The only lecture that had 100% attendance here was German, as I was desperate to learn it at the earliest. To make it more effective, William and I came out with a pact, that we would speak only in German, which didn't seem to work most of the time, and the only German words we used to exchange, were Guten Apetit (Have a nice meal!) and Gleichfalls (Wish you the same!), as we shared the same kitchen. The other reason for the plan failing would be our complicated conversation whereby we would end up talking in English. In the mean time, I had just completed with the entire 10 seasons of friends, comprising of 220 episodes, which seemed to be an achievement for me, but after talking to others I discovered that I was one in a crowd. One day, William came to my room and told me to watch an anime called Naruto. I told him, dude don't kid me, this is a cartoon (its not like I don't watch cartoons, as Tom & Jerry is always my favourite and ofcourse I like watching animated movies! but still animated cartoons as to running 250 episodes was something I couldn't accept to be associated with!)and am not gonna watch it, however he insisted to watch just the first episode and decide, which turned out to be quite boring. It had been a week after that, since he insisted to watch the episode and gave me link for further episodes. On a particular day, I happened to hear some voices of laughter from his room and came to know that he was watching Naruto, I thought what the hell!, lets watch it and it was episode 8, and thats when I saw why William wanted me to watch it. The imdb ratings prompted me even more to watch the anime.

Naruto is an anime about a normal boy, who aims to be the leader of his village and vows to protect them. The boy is not a born superhero, or one with special abilities, but its just the opposite, he is stupid, funny, annoying, neglected, one with big-mouth, etc. But the best thing about his character, is his will power, which has a never-say-die approach and he never gives up trying, and this is the reason for his success. The anime itself has the bottom line "Believe it". Well thats the catch that I had from this anime and its history from then onwards. This spree of mine was even bigger than F.R.I.E.N.D.S and it became one of my favourite cartoons. It still continues to be, I found it very distracting from my studies and that was one of the reasons why I had to finish it soon, so that I can have more time for preparation later for the exams. However, the anime still continues, even after 250 episodes, waiting for each episode, now, is pretty painful but the struggles of Naruto always keep you on the edge of the seat. The best thing about the anime is, some of the moments are displayed so well, that one would find it difficult to give up on it. It has everything required for a cartoon, to be a hit, which it is. The free internet and the google search made the job easier for me to locate all the episodes and stream them online. The next 2 months until july, my days would jam-packed with lectures, cooking, work (which I had started from second week of June!) and Naruto, quite obvious why I didnt realize when and how May and June got over.

Sep 25, 2008

The so called PUNKS..!!

I still remember, seeing Amitabh Bachchan / Rajnikanth in movies earlier, fighting these huge- sized, weirdos, with almost shaved head except the center part, where they have quite long hairs and with colours like red, blue, green,etc. all over them, calling themselves as villains. The image got embedded in my brain, that this is how villains looked. I used to wonder, are these people crazy to have a style like these, even though they were called villains. Well, one does do crazy stuffs for movies. I happen to see these styles more, when I started watching star movies, the mid-80s rock star, with complete weird styles, like shaving just half of their head, tattoos, small are fine, but having tattoos covering almost the entire body looks pathetic! I thought such practices of shaving just half of the head were done here, to humiliate a person (chehre pe kaala rang and gadhe ki sawari!).

Anyways, I hope one would have understood, my personal reaction towards such styles, I dont mean to offend them, after all they are also called ' "styles" ' (its not gramatical error, but just extra quotes, for extra effect!). Well I never thought, that I would be a spectator to such styles in reality (again, not sounding very offensive!), but common, imagine I walk out of the Hauptbahnhof (Central station) here, I see a person, with half shaved hair, with magenta colour on the remaining hair, the ear on the shaved side of head with rings (4 or 5), black jeans and black leather jacket, and the best part was when I realized it was a woman. And what was even astonishing, she was only one of the many such stylists (I wanna sound optimistic!) I saw. My face was, woah! am I in TV, any shooting going on here? Nope she was a reality, I knew I should have taken a pic. Anyways, the tough part was to differentiate between a guy and a girl, black being their dress code, only the tops they wore helped in distinguishing, as their styles were so similar, a casual glance wouldn't be sufficient. What amazes me everytime I look at them, is their creativity on experimenting on their body (tattoos, piercings!), with the worst combinations of colours (blue, lavender!), thats the reason I have separate kind of respect for someone like Lasith Malinga (lighter note!). Some observation helped in distinguishing between the male and female a bit easily, the guys wore jeans so low, that at some point you would wonder, how is that jeans still on him. Apparently the women, wear tight jeans. Well, even if you are comfortable with these tattoos and stylish hair colours, and just when you start thinking that there not much abnormal about that, the piercings will freak you out. I still remember, when I got on the bus, I saw this female right before me, with almost 5 rings around her mouth, I mean who pierces in mouth, and 5 rings, 1 or even 2 rings are quite common and how does she even eat! Gimme a break! Well I had to turn my face immediately, or I would have ended up either shouting or laughing. Well, on one side, I cant stop being amazed at them for experimenting with themselves at these extreme ways, in which one would imagine and thats a pretty difficult thing to do. I mean even if I would want to do such stuff (which will never be in this lifetime!), just for say, I dont think I will do it, just thinking of others reaction, but for them to reach to such an extent, they have my appreciation.

Sep 22, 2008

The Real Game Begins..!!

After the fun-filled snow war trip to certain place in Alps, the name of which I have finally discovered as to be Oberjoch (pronounced as Oberyokh!), we had a small session of music exchange with our German class batch. As I had told earlier, our German teacher became quite a good friend of ours and we had decided on a small musical exchange session of each country, 2 Australian (Peter and Matt), a Costa Rican, a Columbian and an India, ofcourse me, in our dorm. This was good time, listening to some famous typical Australian music, there's difference in the type of music, even though they have the same language of English, Pablo (Costa Rican) playing some of his Reggae tunes, William (Columbian) playing some of his Spanish songs (which I have found a certain liking to!), our German teacher, Ivana, playing to some of her favourite German songs. From my side, they danced to the tunes of Delar Mehendi's 'Rang De Basanti' and the melody of 'Malargale Malargale' from Love Birds. This was happening on April 13, 2008 Sunday evening. The next day was the big day, April 14th, when we started some serious studies.

So the day begins, with me getting up on time, for a change, 8 am and starting for my class, which was to begin at 10 am. I didnt want to be late here also, and hence reached the place 10 mins before time. The lecture was Communication Engg., which as per the seniors, is the second most difficult paper in Uni Ulm. There I sit in the lecture, with a hope to make sure that I understand each and every word uttered by the professor. Taking about whom, this was the first time I was sitting in a lecture, where I can really say its a Professor, coz he was a Doctorate, and he had published some innumerable papers and he was having the latest laptop for lecture (its the fancier part!) and he was the head of 2-3 research groups. Back in India, we get to see such professors only in IITs. And I realized something else, when the number of degrees for a Prof. increases, the extent of one's comprehension of his words decreases proportionally, atleast thats what I experienced. Nevertheless, being the first class, introductory and history of communication, there was nothing much to understand, it was not the same in the subsequent lectures. The lecture lasted for around 2 and half hours, which made me feel worse, coz my limitation for any lecture back in India, never lasted more than 30 mins, with my ultimate concentration levels, and here all the lectures lasted atleast an hour (Oh brother!). Well I figured out, at some point, the early, the better, I have to get used to this, if I have to reduce my stress during the exam days. My schedule was not very grueling, it was comfortable, with 1 Technical Lecture on Mondays and German class in the evening, another Tech and Cultural Crossroad on Tuesday, 2 Tech and German on Weds, free Thurs and one 4 hours Tech on Fris. In between we can have an appointment for lab, whenever the supervisor and we were free, which was generally on Fris after the lecture. Finally I was relieved, that the technical course had started, however, relief is just related to my feeling that the course had started, the part which came next was not so relieving.

Sep 16, 2008

Gender Variations..!!

Yesterday, I was helping out one of my seniors move out, and we were having a normal conversation. In between conversations, she would stop and think and then again start talking, quite evident that something was bothering her, which she revealed that she was thinking if she had taken everything or missed out anything. This reminded me of the situation when we used to travel out of station, my mom would always start freaking out just an hour before we start for the station, thinking if she had switched off the gas, is the house locked properly, are the windows closed, the balcony door locked, etc. and by the time the train starts, both me and my father would make big attempts to tell her that everything is in place at house, but still those small doubts keep bothering her. So when I told her this scenario, she told me that this was because women are responsible people, i.e, they take responsibility easily. So we had quite a calm argument on who takes the responsibility better, the conclusion for which was brought about by she telling me to watch after my marriage. Nevertheless this scenario only makes me wonder, when does a woman have the ultimate sureness that the job is done and perfect. I feel this is the precise reason why they take such a long time shopping also. Men know what they want, and goto the place where they know they would get what they want, however, when it comes to woman, the moment they enter the shop, they start getting unsure, if they have reached the right place for the stuff and even if they have or have not, they would not leave the place until they have a look around for stuff which is present there, whether they want it or not. Without doubt, this is the only reason, which would drive any man crazy while shopping with a woman, who knows what she wants but is unsure whether to buy the stuff she doesn't need now (there is difference between what you want and what you need!), just because she is not in the right place. Whats even worse, men are posed with the question, do you think I should buy this. Consider the situation, that a woman wants to buy a saree, but the same shop, knowingly or unknowingly, has a jewelery section, now anyone would be attracted to have look, which is quite understandable, but the thing that really puts one off, is trying out on almost all the pieces, and finally deciding on the buying a particular piece of jewelery, which has to be one of the costliest (ok, money does not count in every time, but still!), and which is not the need of the hour, and by the time you reach the saree section (which is why you came for shopping!), it would have been two hours since you started. Well if thats not enough, consider this, reaching home and saving up the bill, just incase if they wanted to exchange, I mean common gimme a break. Exchanges are acceptable if the thing gets damaged, but exchanging almost every time you shop, what was the necessity to buy it on the first place. No wonder the word shopping lights up any girl's face, but its opposite incase of a guy, when he has to take her (well not incase of all, but most atleast!). However, all this doesn't change the fact, that they help the men choose, one of the best, though that takes some eternal time, but ultimately its a better one than what the man would have selected. The only conclusion I can make, is for any woman the thing called 100% surety on anything is out of question.

Sep 15, 2008

Trip to Alps: Episode 2: The Snow War..!!

The evening on the first day, gave us a small idea on what have Hillary and Norgay
would have gone through, while climbing the Everest, though this cannot be compared to even 1% of that, but atleast we knew what they had achieved, was not a piece of cake. The storm was so enormous, that our visibility levels were zero, we couldn't see the our neighbours, when we were outdoors, and neighbours here I mean who are standing like next to you. I cant even imagine going out in that storm. Just to give you an idea, this was just the start of the storm. But in a way it was good, as none of the students ventured out and everyone was forced to stay together and we ended up having a great time.

So the next morning was pretty good, except for the breakfast. The worst part of this trip has to be the food. Not sounding very negative, it was pathetic, especially, after going on a spree of cornflakes, milk and honey, imagine on the trip you eat bread, cheese, salami, etc, I don't even want to think about it! But still had to suffice my hunger. Fruits were a good substitute, but again not as good as it sounds. So we start our hiking trip now, but even before the trip we started the 'The Snow War!'. Its sounds something very childish, but a person of any age, cannot stop the temptation of making rolls of that snow and throwing at others. Bhuvan, tried to act brave by wearing just the kurta and no overcoat, and was submerged in a pile of snow as soon as he came out. It was a lesson, that dont take such chances when you are in a place surrounded by snow, you make enemies within seconds :D! Vamsi and myself were already involved in war, but the heaviest contribution and fierce rivalry came from the Egyptians, as they were making rolls of the size of bowling balls and throwing almost at everyone. Finally not withstanding it, a group was formed between the students from India and Pakistan (wow, now you didnt expect that, did you!) against the Egyptians. Here started the real fun, during the trip, around every corners, the Egyptians would gather themselves, and start rolling up snow, and we would send a bait, which had to be Bhuvan most of the time, and start throwing of snows. Bhuvan would always find himself submerged in the snow. During all these, the students from China, acting very diplomatic, would be the spectators.

I suppose, this was the best part of the trip, it was great fun, especially coz our team would huddle up like those american rugby teams, forming strategies to bring them down. Finally the war ended, with both the sides doing equal damage to the players ;) and by the time we reached the our dorm, we were tired enough, that only beds miraged before our eyes. Again in the evening, the weather got worse and we regrouped together to have some good time in the common room. Winding up, here's a pic of the people who fought the snow war.

Sep 11, 2008

Trip to Alps: Episode 1 - The Start...!!!

So finally, after a month of knowing about Ulm, getting my German fiasco corrected (sigh! I actually dont have a count of them!), the cooking experiments (in this case I was the test piece! not a big surprise, no one would have given an attempt even if I agreed to pay them!) and lots and lots of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, we finally had the technical group gathering, where we were told the schedule for the next 3 months and though it didnt sound hectic, it was. However, the best part about the beginning was, we were to goto a place in Alps (its some complicated name, I cant recollect now!) and we had this induction program there, on the top. Now thats what I call an induction program! So we were supposed to gather at the Ulm Hauptbahnhof (Ulm main station), a train journey of 2 hours and then a hiking trip of half an hour. So the preparation for that, ahem, was quite overwhelming. I ended up wearing 4 layers of clothes and then a jerkin, just to be cautious, as it was the month of april and still snowing.
So the assembling time was morning 8am, which meant that I had to wake up early (damn!), which I managed to. Just had the usual amazingly healthy and boring breakfast of cornflakes and juice (man, am becoming a foreigner!) and started off the Bahnhoff (station). By the way, if I am using more German words in the subsequent posts, it must be considered the extent of my knowledge in German and not that am blowing my own trumpet :D! Talking about breakfast, sometimes, I wonder if I am really eating anything in the mornings. There was a time when I used to have chapathis, dosas, upmas, etc and never ate rice, nor drank milk and its just the opposite now, eating cornflakes in the mornings with milk, the afternoon food includes rice. Makes me wonder am I really in dreamland and is this reality. Anyways, but cornflakes does give lot of energy, even though its thoroughly boring. So I pack up some fruits and take water, and leave the dorm with Bhuvan. Surprisingly, we were well ahead of time, a change from being the usual late person, which made me really uncomfortable. Guess being on time never suits for a person of my caliber :D. And so we started our 2 hour journey in the train, which was not so entertaining, as it was crowded and I ended up sitting in corner listening to music on my ipod, which most of the others followed.

As we came near to the station, the beautiful scenery reflected on everyone's retinas, and people were swaying between the two sides of the train, wondering which side to look. The amazingly beautiful snow, covering the tip of the mountain, with greenish tinge of trees appearing in some places, is simply unexplainable. The digicams kept on clicking, even though the clicking speed was slow, making the pictures the worst representation of those scenes. And I was still trying to use my 2.0 Megapixel mobile cam in Sony Ericsson K750i, to bring out the best images possible, only in vain. The person beside me, William, using his 10 MP digicam, would just look at me, and I could comprehend each and every word:

William: "Dude, I am using a 10 MP camera and am not getting a descent pic with the train moving so fast, and you expect to catch a pic with that 2MP mobile cam of yours. Gimme a break!"

I was obviously intimidated by his digicam, nevertheless my pride didnt give up and returned a look telling, "Duh! you dont know unless you try!" Anyways, I was on the loosing side, for obvious reasons, else the Cannon company would have shut down. So we finally reached the station, and then we were able to take some good snaps, ofcourse in William's cam, I had to give up.

We took a bus from there and moved on further, and again those snow covered mountains, with traces of greenery in between, just got framed in my mind. Even though I repeat it a million times, the words dont express the real beauty. We reached to a certain part of the hill, and the path ahead was a small hiking trip of 10 mins. Well it was not really a hiking, just walking on the road, but the it was such a slant, that once if you would start rolling, you could easily return
all the way back to the station from where you took the bus. It had to be atleast a 60 degree slant on which the road was laid and walking up the
slant makes you feel even bad. To make it worse, I happened to realise my 4 layers of clothing, due to which I had started to sweat, and the baggage that I had packed. Well, I am sure, that i would have reduced most of my excess fat in that
particular strip of road. When we finally reached the top, which seemed to take an eternity, it was like heaven and it was just for a moment, as we had a storm approaching and had to get into our rooms immediately.

The evening was really good, except for the dinner, which I dont even remember what I ate, which explains how worse it would have been. But after the dinner, the real fun started, we had one of classmates playing some amazing tunes on the guitar and a few of them indulging in an entertaining game of cards, which included us. Perhaps the only moment so far, where the entire batch was together. We had to hit the bed by midnight, as on the next day, 2 long hiking trips, amidst the mountains, awaited us.

Sep 4, 2008

On a F.R.I.E.N.D.S spree..!!

One very common tradition for people, during their studies is, getting used to sitcoms, atleast from my perspective, and having a whole database of links, where you can watch DVD Rip of movies, sometimes even for those that have not been released, etc. I will be concentrating more on sitcoms in this post, especially only one, which is quite obvious from the title. Among the German classes and fluctuations in my emotions, they kept me occupied. A year back, or never would be precise, I knew that I will get hooked up with sitcoms to such an extent. It like a permanent closed gate, once opened, never closes (Ok! Its metaphor! :D).

So there was this sitcom called Friends, started in 1994, I guess thats just a few years after we got cable in India, when The Bold and The Beautiful, used to be the words in everyone's mouth, for quite obvious reasons. However, in the next few years I saw a major transition, and Friends was the buzz word everywhere. I did want to start watching it, but I couldn't bring myself to sit before the tv, exactly at 7:30pm or 8pm, waiting for the show, or whatever. The internet came and it was quite sometime until a few years back, where one could easily download any episode, anytime and watch it anywhere(Sounds great, perfect for me, but who will give such a large amount of free download capacity on net!). Well things happened, a few years later, when I was in Ulm, for my Masters and free 24 hrs, high speed internet, awaited on me. A thought came, that this was my best chance, not that I had only this in mind, but I realized I had to use this opportunity efficiently.

When I was among these thoughts, something even better happened. I went to William's room, and happened to see this pack, called Friends, 40 DVDs, 10 seasons, and I was like, Oh My God! (you can say its equivalent to Jannes in Friends! :D). And thats when it started. I started completing 2 DVDs a day and each DVD had 6 episodes. It was as if I was getting tired of borrowing DVDs from William or frustrated waiting for him to get a new DVD, when he wasnt there in his room, that another classmate of mine, provided all the 10 seasons on the hard drive. And I was like, what more could I ask for. I still remember, every episode, was just tears of laughter, great timing dialogs, and I just couldn't get over it. I was able to complete this sitcom in less than 2 months and some of them told, you took so long to complete it. I mean, what the hell, I have to go for lectures and they were like, yeah right! No wonder, it did the buzz word for so long. A brief intro on the characters for those who have not watched it yet:

Monica: The super competitive, organized-freak Friend, always looks to be best in whatever she participates.
Phoebe: The sweetest and sexiest of all the Friends, always in her own world.
Rachel: The spoiled beautiful girl of a rich doctor, who runs away on her wedding day, when she realises that someone else turns her on, than her fiance.
Chandler: The sarcastic Friend, uses humor as defense, thats what he says, and works as Process blah blah, even I dont know that.
Ross: The geek Doctor who is fanatic about his Paleontology profession, and gets divorced thrice before the age of 30 :D. Also Monica's brother.
Joey: The stupid Friend, who cant use his head for anything but is a master is wooing the women.

Some of my favourite dialogs from Friends:

Joey to Monica: Common Monica, you are going out with a guy, there must something wrong with him.
Chandler: I wish I were a lesbian, Oh did I say that loud!
Ross to Chandler: Whatever dude, you kissed a guy!
Rachel to her dad on phone: May be I dont need you money (the phone goes dead), oh wait, I said may be!
Phoebe to Ross: Oh oh, you aura is so dirty!
Monica on her prom video, where she is fat and weighs around 150 pounds: Camera adds 10 pounds on your image. Chandler: So how many cameras were on you?
Ross: I did give up a career in Basketball, to Paleontology!
Joey: You are hurting my Joey's Apple! (relating to Adam's apple)
Chandler: I can't remember, which of Joey's 7 sisters, I slept with!

I guess, everyone should watch this atleast once, not necessarily at the same pace as mine, but yeah its fun and best way to beat stress. Also tells us, that nothing remains unsolved, if we start talking.

Pearls from the Sky..!!

I was going through my posts, just for review, actually feels great to know that people do find the blog good, just builds up more confidence, not sounding very overwhelming though (:D), I came across a comment. Well, it was not a bad one, my friend had just posted that, this was more like a personal diary (Thanks Aparna!). Now, I dont know if I am stupid or what, I actually never realized that. Its not bad that this is like my personal diary, but its just that I never realized that, and thats not the only reason I had my blog for. Actually, I shouldn't be talking about that, as when I started the blog, it was like I would be reviewing everyday activity, back in September 2007. Thinking of which, I restarted my blog around the sametime, I hope this again doesn't meet the same fate, as earlier. Ok now this post is not all about this blog being a personal diary and me going crazy over, why I never realised it, but just posting a different topic. I will continue with my experiences in Germany, in the subsequent posts.

Anyways, when I was in Kindergarden, I remember looking up towards the sky and wondering if there was a big shower somewhere above, for the rain. I am sure everyone would have had their own theories. The cartoons would display the cloud to be a packet holding water and the lightening acting as scissors and cutting through it to drop rain. Kindergarden, is supposed to be the days when the brain is most active, as we develop our own theories, within our limits, and with pretty satisfactory results too, until they are proved wrong by those printed pages of bound organizatons called Books (I hate when they are right!). So coming back, but apart from those theories development, the one thing I never forget is the smile it brings on my face. I would just want to go, run, roll, sleep, play, whenever those pearly, white drops come down from the sky, but in vain, as when you are that small, you are supposed to be heavily watched over, even one step out in rain, and Harish you are grounded for the week(Crap!). Well they had their reasons, who would want to keep going to Doctor with illness, for playing in rain, almost everyday. Especially, after a sunny day, however, being sunny or rainy harldy brought a big difference, but there always used to be some connection between those rainy days, when I was more happy.

As I grew, I came to know the real reason behind rain, those evaporation and condensation, blah-blah, however, this hardly changed any effect of those rainy days. It was just that during these rainy days, most eventful things happened for me. Ok, remembering, I had my first serious accident also during a rainy day, not sounding very pesssimistic, blinded by rain and going at a speed of 60kmph, on a scooty and trying one of those movie stunts, where people drive with their eyes closed in rain, what do you expect? Well I learnt something, movies and real lives are different. I would simply find some reason, just to go out get wet in rain, even if it meant pushing my scooty pretending to be punctured, or reaching half-an hour late for my computer classes.

Now, am in a different country and I see that my inclination towards the rainy days hasnt changed a bit. Just one shower, and everything seems so fresh and so green. Even the smell of rain, the smell of sand or earth during rains, just brings on the goosebumps. Well looks like I ended up making this post also personal.

Sep 2, 2008

The Following Month..!!!

Over the next few hours, after our German exam, and my short-lived happiness (higher German level, with no chics..!!! hmph!! cant get a better sad-happy condition), we were alloted the classes according to our level. The classes start everyday at 8 30am in the morning ('Darn, so early, I haven't managed to get up before 9am!') till 12 noon. So the next day keeping that in mind, I try waking up early, but only in vain. I found this amazing ability, where I could switch off the alarm subconsciously. When I woke up it was already 8am ('Class in half an hour, forget it Harish! But yeah first classes always have albeit, searching for the class and stuff'). So somehow, I get superfast and manage to have my breakfast and dress up within half an hour ('Man, am I a super human!'). I have always wondered, should there always be a critical situation for me to act super efficient. Anyways, so I end up going half an hour on the first day of the class as usual('I could see the reactions of the others, what a guy to come late on the first day!'). However, I was surprised by my German teachers reaction. She was pretty cool, ('Thank God!'), actually she looked pretty good too, and was quite young compared to other German teachers, for Vamsi and Bhuvan (ha ha..!!).

The next four hours were tough and superb. Tough, because we were allowed to speak only in German in the class and good coz I learned a lot in the first class. The other good thing about my class, was the huge cultural diversity, 2 Australian, 3 Egyptians, 1 Finnian, 1Thai, 2 Chinese, 1 Costa Rican, 1 Columbian and 1 Indian. Wow, I really didnt think it was this big, until I mentioned it here. There was one thing about this class that I could never forget, again something to do with my name, thankfully not a great deal. While passing the name list, I mentioned my name as Harish N and German teacher, started calling me as Harishn (just for pronunciation it sounded- Harishen). ('What the hell, thats my Last name.') I didnt have the energy to correct it again, only to see hear everyone calling me Harishen, and William continuously asking me, that isnt supposed to be your real name right?, suspiciously. Everytime I bump into the Egyptians, they ask, what is your name, Harish or Harishen?, which I do clarify to them, but everytime, common that was not funny. So finally, after one month, when my introductory German class was finally over, I told Ivana(German Teacher):

Me: Mein Name is Harish und nicht Harishen. N ist mein Nachtname. (politely, my name is Harish and not Harishen. N is supposed to be my Last name).
Ivana: Achso, tut mir leid, du muss früher zu mir erzählte. (You should have told me earlier).
Me: Ja, aber mach nichts, das ist ok. (No problem, its ok)

So finally I correct my name. Talking about Ivana, she became quite a good friend of ours. Before finishing our classes with her, we also happened to go out for a get together. It is always good to have someone younger, as a teacher, compared to the oldies (:D). Not to forget the fact, that I ended up going late on all days. My earliest to class was a day, when I was late by 5 minutes ('It has to do something with my Bus driver, I reached the bus stop at 8:15 that day!').

There was quite a lot of mixed emotions in this month, for me, like the first thing was the course had not started yet, so there was no pressure. In weekends I would spend sleeping, till late in the afternoon and once I wake up, lunch would ready for me, courtesy, Bhuvan. Before going ahead, I have to mention here that for the entire first month, my eating urges were taken care by Bhuvan. Everyday, it would be like an order, the dinner would be either salami sandwich, or if am bugged with that, I would call up Bhuvan (I try hard not to bother him, but in vain! :D):

Me: Dude, whats for dinner?
Bhuvan: I havn't made anything yet.
Me: Ummm, how about besibela?
Bhuvan: Yeah I make real good Besibela.
Me: You expect that I was gonna say, that am making Besibela bhaath, ofcourse you are only making it.
Bhuvan:$&%&$%&, atleast for a change, make something dude.
Me: Machan I have no probs, but I dunno anything in cooking, so eat at your own risk.
Bhuvan: &§$%§$%, alright, come up in an hour.
Me: You are the best, buddy.

So this is how I end up, giving no other choice, for Bhuvan to cook. He does cook well though. But yeah, now I have started making my own food, dont wanna be bad mouthed by him always (lighter note), but seriously dont want to be dependent on him, though cant say much about the food I make. On the other side, Vamsi had already started his tests and his experiments were turning out to be more than successful( once when I had a chance to taste, his food, it was pretty good). ('Boy, could have I asked for anything more, if Bhuvan doesnt cook, Vamsi dude, am coming over for lunch/dinner'). A normal weekend routine would be, wake up at 11 or 12, log on to orkut, call Bhuvan at 1pm for lunch, watch some movie, again call Bhuvan at 9pm for dinner, goto sleep at 2am. However, among these were moments, where I would feel pathetic, as I had no part time job, and I was learning German, even though I knew that Technical course would start in a month, having the thought that around 325 euros were going just was learning German in the first month would drive me crazy, I would end thinking if this was a good decision. But somehow, I would gain courage to calm myself. These things made me realize, the different reasons, why studying abroad has never been a piece of cake and I guess it never will be.

Aug 26, 2008

The German Exam

I return home, thinking about the German exam, not worrying a lot, but the thought of 14000 bucks almost being wasted was disturbing me. My dorm, named Frauensteige 2, is a doublet, with 2 individual rooms sharing, a kitchen and a bath. So I happened to meet my room mate, William Enrique Fonseca Barbosa (and I thought only we had long names) from Columbia (South America), when I returned, who seemed to have arrived in the morning on that particular day. Later we ended up talking about the cleaning and the purchase routines. In the evening, we got our internet connections, and boy what a relief from some heavy boredom! I started to think, that walls were to be my companions for the next 2 years. One would have easily guessed my next step, yep logged onto gmail and importantly orkut, " now everything felt right!" Thats it, I began wondering how the entire evening had passed and suddenly it was 10pm. No wonder, there was a certain amount of pain in my stomach, indicating my hunger. Having worked in a software industry, I should have known that computers are addictive. "So what do I make for dinner", was the thought that came up, not that I had an entire list of options to select from, but I didn't have anything. "Sigh! Ok, lets have some cornflakes" , it was a pretty enthusiastic decision, considering the fact that I had apples, milk, cornflakes and honey. That pretty much shows that, that was the best option. So for the first 2 days, this was my breakfast and dinner, thanks to Mensa, that I got to eat something different at the university.

So the next day, on the day of German exam, I wake up at 9 am (Test was at 10am). "Damn! what the hell?" , it seems that I had kept the alarm, but somehow I managed to turn it off, when it rang, one can understand these oblivion sleeps, due to the change of timezone. "Hurry, hurry! I dont want to be late as usual, and that to for this exam!" , was my only thought, but in vain. Luckily, I had an accomplice "ha ha, much better",William too was late. So we goto the particular room, "damn those two, Vamsi and Bhuvan, how come they are on time? traitors, grrrr!" I went to the last row, as it was the only empty place we had. "Why is Vamsi not writing anything? Not a good sign!", I thought to myself, then I realized that he didnt learn German in India. "Anyways, lets do it!" We were given the question paper, and the instructor told that the exam was for 45 mins. "Wait, wait, we arrived 15 mins late, so we have only 30 mins then?" , I had just finished thinking that, and then, "No grace time!" , I heard. "Are the Germans Telepathic." "Ah! well, cant do much about that now."

But when I went through the question paper, I was full of smiles, as I was able to do most of the questions, and only if I had come earlier, I could have completed the question paper, well before time. In between, I saw Vamsi giving me a smile and leaving the room, within 10 mins, and even Bhuvan was not to be seen. William did tell me that he had learned a bit of German. So, we were the last to leave the room. I had to leave last 15 questions, allowing me to attempt only 45 out of 60. We were told to wait for the results and in the mean time, the instructor would help us to know the Erasmus team. There were around 80 students taking the exam, I suppose. We were given an invitation for the Erasmus party in the evening. And then came the results. They said that they would be calling up names classified by the course level as 1a, 1b, 2 and 3, in the ascending order. However, after giving the exam, I was sure that this performance would not put me in basic course again. As they had started calling the names, Bhuvan and Vamsi were put in leavel 1a. And I was surprised to see, that my name was not called in the course level 1b too. All the 14000 bucks utility came to my mind and was such a relief. And then I heard my name, again sounding really bad, "Neanndaaa.....gopaall Harish, did I say it correctly ?". I was already embarassed, nevertheless "Never mind, it was fine!", (Whats with this Germans, why do they stress on 'a' so much!) in course level 2. William was also out in course level 2. I was happy, but only for a moment, something caught my attention, there were no chics in Course level 2. When I had entered the examination room, I saw some great beauties in the 2nd row. "Wow, after all Germany was never a bad idea!", all the hopes in vain. It was as if my fate came with me from India all along. Even worse followed, all those beauties in course level 3, "damn, damn! if only I was earlier. Why didnt I wake up early?". I even had the temptation to ask for a re-test (lighter note), but whats gone was gone. Summarizing, course level 3 had around 70% girls and 30% boys. Anyways, I was happy that attempting fewer questions I was able to get that level. 14000 bucks, very very useful. I came to realize, that I was lacking in communication but written and reading skills in German were pretty good. But yeah communication still had a long way to go, nevertheless, it was good to see that this development will be in a country where German, oops Deutsch is the mother tongue (Deutsch ist die HauptSprache :D).

Aug 25, 2008

The Next Day...!!

After a wobbling start to the next stage, the next morning greeted me with some beautiful snow around my dorm. However, this took sometime to sink in, as I got up with the usual gloomy, swollen eyes, asking for some tea, except that I didnt hear any response. It struck me immediately, that am in a different country, and what was worse, I didn't have TEA (damn, this was a bad idea..!!). This was something, I was really addicted to, back in India. Whether I eat or not, tea is a must for me, and now as I write this blog, I am surprised, that I have lived for 4 months, without having a taste of Tea. Not that am very happy about it, but still its good to know, that I was not actually addicted to Tea. Ok, if am mentioning Tea in caps, it has a certain amount of importance in my life, guess my close buddies will be knowing it.

So I wake up, to find no Tea, no newspaper, no TV (didn't get my internet connection yet), no music (both mobile and ipod were dead), hmph..!!!, one cannot ask for a more boring morning. However, I forgot all these, when I saw the snow outside my window, and thought of taking sometime off and viewing its beauty. It was amazing. I had seen snow earlier, in Kullu-Manali, but this was different. There were people rushing to cover their cars, some of them trying to start them, and this particular scene got embedded so deep, that I still remember every detail of that day. But I had to move on, I had to goto the university, to meet our coordinator, for doing all formalities.

So Bhuvan and myself, start off to the uni, thanks to the detailed map, it was pretty easy to spot the bus, except that we had to argue about the direction of the bus to be taken. The best thing about the uni was, for starters, the engineering department was located separately and easy to find. On our way, we happen to meet our first batch-mate, a girl from China. Even though we are the closest among all the neighboring countries, and we compete in all the fields, the biggest competition between both the countries, will be "Who memorizes whose names first?". I guess it took us 10 mins, to explain her our names and get her name, and still I dont remember her name. However, she had a pet name, which was rather simple, Jojo. There is no link between her pet name and her original name. So this is how the conversation went:

Me/Bhuvan: Hello, so are you looking for the Commn Dept?
Jojo: !?!?!?!?
Me/Bhuvan: Are, you looking for the Commn Dept? (extremely slowly)
Jojo: Ya, ya (shaking her head up and down..!!! I feel this is very common in China..!!)
Me/Bhuvan: Hi , I am Harish (Me)and I am Bhuvan (Bhuvan)
Jojo: Haaiisssh??? Poooovan???
Me/Bhuvan: (Great never knew my name could sound so bad..!! Bhuvan please take the honours of explaining) I guess I can write the name (Bhuvan) (Brilliant - Me)
Jojo: Ya, ya (Again shaking her head). Oh oh Haariisshh (r extremely silent)(Chalo, a bit better than the last time..!!) and Boovan (ha ha..!! mine was better - Me)
Me/Bhuvan: Whats your name?(Bhuvan) (I am not going through that again..!! - Me)
Jojo: §$%§$"$%..!! (believe me, i still don't know..!!)
Bhuvan: May be you can write it..!!
Jojo: Ya ya

And so somehow Bhuvan got her name. And then, the impossible happened, 5 more Chinese appeared, and we ended up explaining our names for the next half an hour, and thanks to our coordinator, we had to stop. Then came the usual, formality section, filling up of n-number of forms, (isn't there an easy method to do this..!!), but I had to appreciate our coordinator's patience to put up with us for almost 2 hours. Vamsi, arrived late, as usual, and then we set out to have a tour of the uni. Our bank accounts were opened and then we went to mensa, (Lunch canteen in the uni), there again I gave a failed attempt to reclaim my lost heroics, in German. So this is how it was:

Me: Entschuldigung (Man this is the only word in German that I have mastered..!!) Was haben Sie .... für Mittagessen ?(Tanslation - What do you have for lunch?) (Ok, that was better than before)
German Guy: %§$%"§%&$%&$"$" in German
Me: (damn, I havn't learned food names in German..!! fine, lets go step-by-step) Sigh, Können Sie Englisch sprechen?
German Guy: Ja, so we have .....!!!
Me: (Someone, grab and pull me inside the earth..!! I can see Bhuvan and Vamsi, with all giggles behind me..!! Guess they could have done this better..!! well it can't be helped)

What came next was going to be really interesting, we were supposed to have a German classification test the next, to put us in different levels, based on our German knowledge. (Man with this kinda remembrance, I spent 14,ooo Rs. on German course in India, and I will be back where I started..!!), and to make it worse, I didnt bring any German course books with me (damn the baggage limits). Ok Harish, get ready for going back to Basic Course Level in German, not that anything is bad with that, but I spent 14000 bucks learning German. And so, I go back to my dorm, waiting for my German exam the next day.

The First Few Minutes after we reach Ulm...!!!

So, thats what it was to begin our journey. Sigh!!!. We just hoped, we did not have to go through the same coldness for the next two years, if you know what I mean. And I must say, we were in a place, where this has to be far from reference. Ofcourse, I did not mean that all the rooms here have heaters (uh..!! ok bad one..!!). There we were in the station waiting for the person, to accompany us. We met the station master, and here, I thought of bringing out my heroics, as the other two friends of mine, didn't goto any German class. So this is how I went about:

Me: Entschuldigung...!! (Whats next..!! what next..!!) Kannst du, nein, konnen sie... (uh..!!! sigh..!!) Englisch sprechen?
Station Master: @#%@##@$ (in German)
Me: bitte..!! (so it was true, not many of them know english)
Station Master: directs his hand, and shows us the direction...
Me: Danke... (darn..!! any tom, dick and harry, without finishing a single level of German would have done that..!! and I am supposed to have finished 2 levels..!!screw me..!!!)

Well, I finally ended up making a big fiasco, as I had realized that it was more than a month since my German classes were over and I had forgotten whatever I had learnt as I had lost touch, not that I would done any better if I had, just a mere satisfaction that those classes were useful, however, which was not to happen (not sounding pessimistic, as later those classes came in more than handy). So after this fiasco, I ended up talking with him in half english and half german. And then we were able to see the person waiting for us, relief crossed our face.We were given a file for each of us, and the first thing I noticed, that the address was just 2 lines (saves me energy, to write those big addresses, as back in India!!!). It was decided that among the three, Vamsi, Bhuvan and me, Vamsi would be going in a different dorm, and Bhuvan and myself to the same dorm.

As we started our way outside the station, we had to buy the bus tickets, and thats where I spent my first exchanged euros, and believe, it aches a lot to spend some money when you know that its actually being converted some 60 times of the money at your country. Well I realized, that I had to get used to it. The best thing about that evening was, I saw the first snowfall ever. It was not heavy, but drizzles in the form of snow. Summarizing, cold wave entry, german fiasco, euro expense within minutes of getting to Ulm and then snow. Not a bad start at all, Harish.

We get to our respective rooms, and believe me people, tracing where you are in Ulm, is never going to be difficult, which anyone coming from a crowded country, would easily realize. I figured out that it must be the same through out Germany. To make it even simpler, we were provided maps by the university and so well detailed, that no one can ever get lost. The person, who brought us, also invited us for the dinner and the returning part was a challenge, as we were on our own. We still had some arguments, and luckily we got on the right bus back home. Special note, our dorm was near Ulm's biggest brewery (not sounding very appealing, but just as a landmark). And so we move on...

Aug 21, 2008

First Step outa Country..!!!

A normal software professionals' day, it sucks, was coming to an end, just when I happened to open my mailbox and the usual filled up inbox, but my eyes kept searching it, as it did for the last 2 months, the news that would lift me off this boring, monotonous, software job (am not against software, but it was the kinda job I did). Well those drained twins, keep searching, even after viewing the high radiation monitor for around 10 hours, they kept searching for the news, until their persistence paid off. The mail had come, from the University of Ulm, for a 2-year Masters course in Communication Technology. The day of excitement and enthusiasm, started, as for the first time, I was going to step outa country.

Well the preparations had started much before the mail came, not sounding over-confident, but still the German class, learning a new language is always fun. The next 3 months were full of discussions, with seniors, friends, batch-mates (luckily found two of them) and was good to know, that someone will be there to accompany throughout the the next 2 years. So some spice was added to my software life, every evening would be full of excitement, with all the preparations for visa, traveling, studies ofcourse, etc. I still remember, this friend of mine, who conducted a 100% fool proof visa interview, from Germany, before my original interview, giving me different tips to answer. The biggest challenge was laid forth by the airlines, giving a baggage limit of only 30Kgs. But then, thanks to a comprehensive check list of items, I was able to save some expenditures, except for the unavoidable ones and luckily my baggage was just enough.

And then the D-day had come. It was good and I was really overwhelmed, to see most of my friends turning up to see me off (thanks guys..!!!). So it was first trip to the airport, the inside precisely, and I still reckon my walk being dead slow, and my head turning almost 360°, hope my eyes could go back too, not amazed at airport, but just to be careful checking if anyone is calling me. The baggage check was done, after a last wave of bye to my parents, there I was with flight ticket, moving towards the plane. The only traveling mean, I hadn't used yet (well Helicopter and Rocket do not count, i hope). It was the Qatar Airlines, and was ahem, a bit crampy till Qatar. But then from Qatar to Germany, it was quite comfortable, nevertheless, I spent most of my traveling time sleeping.

And then we landed at Frankfurt, I was still trying to believe that I was 100s of miles away from my country infact in a different continent. Well realization soaked in once I was in one of world's busiest airports, the design, the complexity, just eluded any other airport I have been to (ok I have been to Mumbai airport). The first step in Frankfurt was not that bad, as we did feel a bit cold, but what awaited us later was a complete shock, as we were struck by the cold wave, which is supposed to be usual, when we stopped at Ulm. None among the 3 of us were ready for that, we were just with our jerkins, and we were literally frozen, when we got down at the Ulm station. Probably that symbolized the way the next 2 years was going to be. Instinctively we reached for our Big baggage, only to find it sealed, luckily I had my winter clothing in hand luggage and put it on (thanks to my friend's advice). So there we were in the Ulm station, still recovering from what struck us, and waiting for the person to receive us. The three of us realized that the journey had just begun!

Jan 16, 2008

A wasted Post or Rapid Propagation of Thoughts..!!!

After nearly a month, realization struck that I had a blog to update. So there I sit back and start to think hard, on the topic, and this process takes another week, not helping though, with me just going to my blog and clicking on the new post link and then signing out and again I start to think of a topic but in vain. So here I sit just to fill this page up with a random lines, just to see on how many different topics can I think at the same time. After all blogs are meant to drop in your thoughts, irrespective of meaning, until it serves a purpose.

Time to reverse and I go back 4 months somewhere in September, where I decided to put up a blog and taking a resolution to update it everyday, atleast once in a week, with all sorts of infos, in all fields, right from politics to fashion, giving my views and thats I named the blog. But time plays a cruel role of stealing those moments from me, where I read the newspaper or watch news or read something useful on the internet. Internet, the mere word reminds me only of computers, which I relate to irritation and I come to realize of the proverb, too much of anything is always harmful. But we have gone to an extent, where we cannot eradicate comps from our life. A thought immediately comes to my mind, that have gone that bizarre that the moments not spent before the comps comes as a surprise. Guess only the people under the age of 10 (exceptions) and the CEOs of various concerns can do without one. Coming back to the issue of my blogging, I failed to keep my resolution of giving a daily update on events, weekly update for that matter, but I pity myself when I consider that I have to sit and type out such a blog on a comp, why couldn't be there a better option. But what could be a better option, another comp with an added feature of voice recognition or a notebook which can take in hand written scripts. The very thought makes me nostalgic and I revive all those times, when I used to long for a comp and internet, I do not and cannot remove its positives though. Else, I wouldn't be writing up this blog or sitting before one for that matter.

So having said this, I feel like a hypocrite who wants to make a journey towards technology which demands more of intelligent machines, in other words making more comps and serving a purpose of making life easier, but I think now, is it easier? Guess I could never give a satisfactory answer for this question, as I myself propagate the need for people to buy comps, so I finally come to a debatable question, why did I ever write this post?