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.