Sunday, December 27, 2009

What was Europe like? : People

I traveled around Europe in 90 days. Made great friends. Loved some of the places. Hated others. Found my love. Realized it was too unrealistic. Lost my love. Partied hard. Was sad like anything on my way back.
But the big question which everyone asked back home was, "What was Europe like?"
And my answer, "It was great!"

But is it that simple to define the experience? Now, that I have lots of time to think about it back at my hostel room, I think not just about the places, but specially the people that I met. I started my journey not with the purpose of having fun, but experiencing every bit of life in every nook and corner of Europe that I went to. And as every strategist says that the vision defines the actions and the outcomes, so it was in my case :)

Here are some of the people who touched me in some way or the other in no order of preference ;)

Alix: The captain of our boat called KPI (Kot Partenaires Interculturels). Compassionate. Caring. And cool :) She was the one who looked after my room allotment and ran like anything from one corner of university to the other just to get my work done. She is really energetic! Wow girl!

Vincent: The serious guy with a smile :) Always remains on the back with a serious face. But only till someone pokes him, then, he is like smiling and saying something fast and then......serious again. Mano says, "He never gets angry". I agree :) He can't....he is just tooo serious! :D

Florence: Fake American accent :P "annnkussh" :D and I love that! She eats a lot.....and then stumbles a lot. Kicks something here and then pushes something there. Holes in her jeans are awesomely funny! And then she makes a big face, big eyes! OMG.....great.....

Claire: Strange smile ;) to start with......but when she starts laughing.....everyone follows. Her laugh is contagious. And the strange smile looks so beautiful. Pity that my camera could never capture it, but my memory did! :P Oh! I could I???.....She is the one who made me drunk for the first time! "Gold strike" :)

Crok: She comes to me quiet often and....and.....tries to speak in English "Are you alright?". Then she shows her thumbs up. I reply, "I am doing great!". She smiles and heaves a sigh of relief. She is the most caring girl I have even seen. I didn't know french and she was never able to understand my English. My fortune: language barriers are not for friends! I felt her eyes speaking to me.

Manoelle: My techno dance teacher. My french teacher. Top dancer. Energetic! Always on the top of her moods. Always happy. Sarcastic. "Oh p......" and "Excellent" her favourite words out every 2 minutes. And..... she was actually the one who is responsible for something big for me. I met.......let's keep it unsaid!

Cylaine: Mysterious girl. Her smile was a puzzle to be solved. I always felt that there was so much to be understood about her. She always seemed to be close and distant at the same time. But, it all changed while we served together at the bar. She was honest. She had nothing to hide. It was all clear, it was just a mist to be wiped by the hands of time.

Cedric: Naughty! Naughty! Naughty! Always flirting. I have had so much beer with him. "I have some friends at the bar, come let's get some beer." He would hold my hand and off we go towards the bar. There he gives me 4 glasses then 4 more and says, "Drink fast! We need to refill!" He deserved the superman underwear! :D

Sean: One drink and he is OK. 2 drinks and he is dancing. 3 drinks and he is on the table, or on the chair, or anything which can make an Irishman taller ;). He works hard and parties harder. Sincerity is what defines him!

Hubert: Anthropologist from the French speaking province of Canada. Quebec. Interesting. Great guy to speak to. Great haristyle. And surprisingly he was everywhere and knew everyone. interesting.....

Olivier: I met him on the voyage from Greece to Italy. On the first look I took him as a fraud. Then we talked. Ship journeys are long. But, pleasant if the skies are clear and it is sunny. It was exactly that sort of a day when I met this person. From fraud to friendship in just 2 minutes. We talked like age old buddies. He going on 35+, I am going on 26 and we talked like we were 18. He was painter, graphist, poet, singer. I was a globetrotter (in every sense!) Together we were free friends. He defined french people for me. He took me through his experiences as a poet and a photographer. We experienced together his plight as a singer who sings to earn money just so that one could prevent hunger! We explored Paris together. Paris which was far away from romance in every sense and yet made great memories for people. Paris which was a hell made up of rude people and angry stares. He took me through the vineyards and forests on the west coast of France. He gave meaning to my feelings for France.

Christine: Aha.....zoom goes her hand over her forehead and she smiles! She smiles and I smile. She asks, "Why do you laugh at me?". I reply, "I love it when you do that". She smiles even more! She blushes....:) Cute. She told me what China was, what it is and what it will be. She was frank. China was no more the same for me after I met her.

Jamie: Progressive yet traditionally rooted. Appreciative. She asked weird question for which I scrambled for answers, "I have seen Indian women in movies and in pictures of some friends. I have even heard that they really beautiful. But I don't see them in Europe. Where have you guys hidden them? Why don't I see them?". She is truthful in every sense.

Drunkard at the Czech bar: Loud. Friendly. He was falling all over the place when we called him over for beer with us. He spoke only German, we spoke only English. He spoke in German and we spoke hindi! :D And then we had so much fun.....he was a nice guy. He worked in another pub and was there with his friends to party. And then he clung to us like anything. We were leaving the pub and he forced us to sit for just another drink, the drinks being on him... :)

Lady at Fragonard perfumery: The best French girl I think I will ever meet. She was the "french" girl who I always imagined in dreams! She explained every detail with such enthusiasm and interest that 1 hour passed like 1 second. She selected the perfume for me after knowing all about me ;). The glint in her eyes while saying goodbye.......

Prof Semal: ha ha ha. He was the "naughty professor" jumping around the class. His cute screen-savers popping out frequently were a sight. One of them being a bat! And he told, "That bat is in my house for years" :D Teaching while making fun of everyone was his forte. No one felt like sleeping in his class. Apart from that he was a great knowledgeable person with superb personality.

Prof Gaily: If Semal was funny, Gaily was strict. His mails were also funny, although only for him. His subject line for an assignment mail, "Gift from Santa Claus". His first lines in a class, "Some people come to me and ask for deadline extensions. I already told you to take liberty in extending the deadlines. But, please don't submit the assignment late as I am not interested in your freedom. Some people mail me asking this and that. I am not your personal assistant. Hire one!". And then he would politely say, "I have to do all this before saying good morning since this is my job". His looks could easily get him roles of deadly vampires. His terminologies were even more sarcastic than his comments: MBS: Management Bull Shit. BS: no not balance sheets but again Bull Shits. And his favourite line, "An investor is one who marries you to divorce you one day"

Aydan: I did not know what belly dancing "actually" was before meeting!! She grooved to the music like OMG! It was an art which I would have never known if I would not have met her. She has made me add another country in my wishlist "Turkey". Although I always want to go to Istanbul, but, now I want to go around Turkey not just Istanbul. Hope she is there to take me around the maze of belly dancers :)

Liliana: "Grazie"...."Italiano"....No, she is not Italian. She is instead from the country with the largest Christmas tree. And the country known for being laidback. She had to reach the bar at 10:00pm. She reached at ... 10:00pm. Portugese time. Actual time was 11:00pm. Yeah she is from Portugal. She said she was "shy". Ask anyone else and one will laugh. She acted Italians better than Italians themselves. :D...Lili.....

True Berliner: 21....She was studying history in Berlin. She called herself a true Berliner. She ate lots of fats, she loved my pictures, she loved to sit on the stairs of the giant architectures and she loved the warmth of cold Berlin. In just 2 minutes we were talking like chaddi buddies. We smiled, we laughed, we shouted, we kissed and we departed, leaving it to destiny that we meet again......

Vicky: Masti from China. She was all fun to be with. She was one of the best company to be around, be it factory visits or La CASA. And she made good food. Although, Jamie is to be credited for food too when I mention food here, since she did most of the hard work. But Vicky weaved magic on some of the dishes.

Denis: Bacchha from Russia. His smile widened like it would tear his face, he would even blush, when he heard the name of Russia in any conversation. He was partying around on Russian scholarships. And when I threatened to spill the beans...I got beer.....So I also partied on Russian Scholarship :)

Emily from Singapore: :D That is how she introduced herself to everyone. Elegant (if she didn't speak a word) I think she knew it, that is why she "tried" not to speak much. But then she was so talkative that she had to open her mouth. And then she went on and on and on.

Emili: US girl who was highly influenced by India. She accompanied me in most of the Erasmus parties when I was alone. She shooed away the buggers who made even one joke on India. She was the elusive girl who showed up like Spider(wo)man only to rescue me from boredom in big parties.

Mr. Joseph: Kaleti hostel is situated around 100 mts in front of the Budapest railway station. The hostel is in a very bad shape. But being so close to the station makes it good for 1 night stay. But what makes it very special and worthy for staying much longer is Mr. Joseph. He would receive you on the doors, then take you around the hostel explaining everything like you are his grandchildren. He was caring, polite and modest. He spoke with such humility that I can't imagine anything wrong going with him. When he coughed, half the hostel came out to ask him for any help. He held his pipe in his mouth, smiled and said, "No, I feel great. I will have some wine and it will be alright". Great man!

Lady at the souvenir shop in Athens: We go inside the shop and ask the price of a souvenir. She replies, "Where are your from? India? Then why do you buy anything from here? India is great....." And then she goes on for another 2 hours. We talk. We talk about everything from Greece to India. Form the Indian millions of gods to the 3 major Greek gods. The resemblances and the differences. She praises India for left to right. Then she becomes sad, she asks, "Why do you have so many caste systems? Why do you look down upon some of the castes? Why don't you abolish the bad things?".....talking to her was a tremendous experience of what people actually think about us. We took it upon us, the young generation to change India for good. We told her, "We are going back to change India. You will find it as the same heaven but without the filth!"

M____: This was the girl who I was in love with. Her smile took away my breath. Her killer dance moves were amazing. If I still look at her pictures then I can't sleep for hours. She had that innocence in her voice that is only comparable to those sounds of the sea waves. Her eyes resembled galaxies of unimaginable depths with two sparkling stars. The dimples on her face were the most exciting things to look out for when she smiled. I feel lost and confused when I even imagine about her. I could never have the courage enough to go and ask her out. If I think of getting another chance I don't know if I will still make it. I will surely be spellbound.................

Saturday, August 01, 2009

SOM rus

Thursday, Friday and Saturday in hel(L) are meant to be the JD day in this semester. The subject has been taken very well. Each funda is imbibed with great logic and thought. Deep thinking will permit you to appreciate this "SOM rus" as spread by god himself.

"If you think you can stay away from data, I have some bad news for you! Data can't stay away from you"

"History reflects future"

"Don't lose heart! Even if you do you have your Excel along with you :) "

"Smart heuristics can make life easier"

"The numbers look rosy on a spreadsheet"

"Work hard! You might be known tomorrow as a stand alone person who is a wiz kid with numbers"

"Life still begins with means and standard deviations"

"I am not a powerpoint person"

"I can sleepwalk thorugh Excel"

"Honeymoon period is much longer if the processes are not in place."

The best one is yet to come:

"How do you calculate the length of an arc?
You simply have 2 choices:
1. Pay someone else to do it
2. Do it yourself. Now how to do it yourself? Simple. Divide the arc into small segments so that they look like pretty staright lines. Now, you measure each line with a scale. Add all the numbers and you have the length of an arc."


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Matrix in real world

I am not the "ONE"!

But then for some people I am the only one, for others I am someone and for the still few left I am noone :), I am happy (fullstop)

But then I was elated, overjoyed, ecstatic, jubilant and jumping when one dear friend said good things about me. Particularly this pic was praised :P, the compliments are saved for life!
"My" life which runs like a matrix for me.
Sometimes I feel like everything around me is running in a fast mode. Everyone and everything is moving around very fast. I am not in sync with the rest of the world. But I am not worried at all, I am in my own world. I will give an example from today morning. I was initially running....jogging to catch the 9:15 bus. Exactly 5 mins into the run I realize "kahan ke liye?"!
Why am I running? I relax. I see around. I watch the puddles of water from last night. I see people rushing to office. I see motorbikers coming out of all small alleys and gelling into the astoundingly fast traffic. They seep around like a big funnel with its mouth at every junction and every stopover. There the next funnel opens its mouth to suck them all!
The cars, autos and buses rush around like there is no tomorrow. Recklessly they splash the filth around. I see splash leaves ripples in the water...ripples reflecting the morning sun light. Then another splash wakes up a sleeping dog :). The dog takes a long time to realize, "It's morning :) , again :D".
The bus leaves just in front of my eyes :( I have no problems.. I will catch the next one :) I see people behind me running hard to catch the same bus. They do. I have made up my mind!
I see young boys running behind their father pulling a cart. The smiles are contagious. I see a man selling stickers of gods to autowallas. He comes to me too. Says something which I can't understand. I anyways buy a sticker for Rs. 2 obviously with a smile. My eyes search for an auto which has the least smoke. They are all like dragons, coughing out like anything. I am getting angry! I am getting disgusted! I find auto with almost no smoke. I hand the sticker to him and tell him to keep it up! He is happy, the most auspicious thing happened to him this morning.
Happiness is contagious!
And time passes quickly! Another bus comes up. What was the need to rush for the earlier one? I get on the bus with a smile (again) :)
But then at other times, I feel everything around me is moving slowly.......People moving in slow motion.....things moving around like they have been played in replay mode of an IPL 3rd umpire screen. Extremely slow! The bus is about to leave. I am walking normally but the bus door takes hours to close....I jump in the bus....the bus moves on slowly......
Someone on my back is asking for change. The conductor is saying no change - no tickets. He has just a Rs. 500 note. Oopss! Can happen to anyone if that anyone is careless :D. He is too slow to ask for a change. I hand him Rs. 50 and tell him to return back soon. What has happened to me!!!! :O
He thinks twice ;) he who is getting the money :D He takes it and gives me his phone number. Takes down mine and says today itself. He works in the same place as I do. EGL, Bangalore.
And a traffic jam. Every car, every bike, every auto is moving as if they don't want to move ahead. I get down and start walking. It is good to walk down, one can see so many things. A group is playing a gamble. 3 hundred rupee notes are out. I watch the game. It is exciting. A person won Rs. 300. Wow! :) I congratulate him! Big day for him. I move ahead. Still the bus is behind me. Poor traffic :))
I feel like there is so much to see, so much to listen to, so much to do and so much to experience. I have done so much yet so little. I have so much to do and so less a time. Who believes in god??? Who believes in rebirths?
I believe I have just one life! I believe I have the god within! I believe one has to decide for one's own self. I believe the destiny is not destined for anyone, but the person paves the way ahead for one's own destiny. I believe I should be happy to reach my destiny. I believe I will find sorrows on every corner of the way ahead.
But I believe that sorrows can't face my smile. I believe that the sorrows will either be too slow or too fast to catch up with me.
I believe only the happiness remains with me. Happiness brings smile.
Smile is contagious :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bangaluru: Shoes from US

Place: Microsoft Office
Time: 10:00 am
Serious stuff going on all around. People checking mails, orkuts, tweets, last night's IPL matches, Wall Street movements, Redmond activities everything. I hear voices of conversations from everywhere. The work places are heating up and people are buzzing with life. Moving all around to find what will the next move of the customers so that they move with the moves to keep abreast of their purchase decisions. This is the Sales and Marketing floor of Microsoft.
On my left:
Hey Venkaaat!! What is this yaar? Where are the updates from the Rajasthan Royals vs Bengal Tigers match? We have to get on that asap. Put on some more Microsoft banners up there.
On my Right: We got to create 70000 Ids for the teachers. It will work. The teachers would log on for the Teacher's award and voila! This will definitely work. What else do you propose? No your idea is a bit.....
Diagonally opposite: Sir, are you able to connect to your live chat? Yes, now switch off the video, it's taking too much of the bandwidth.
On the office entrance and slowly moving inwards: AArvind!
Evil in formals!
Came in shouting....Hey all I got shoes from US. Finally! See......Yeeesss they are white in colour. Hey I lost them there. Then I filed a complaint in the Hotel. They really liked me so searched for it and now I have them.
Wait I will wear them and show them to you. (Amazingly) He raise his leg (astounding!) over the 5ft cubicle walls!! (Just to show his shoes!! wow!!!)
Then we walks all around the floor. One foot with black leather formal shoe and the other with white gleaming shoes imported from the states.........That's Aravind!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bangalooru: Making the rotis!

Well well! bangalore....bangy.....bangalooru....whatever one says its is one hell of a city....:)
And the closest hell mates here are DK, bhoda and hary. People have changed....but not these 3.....still the same wine in old bottles.....
Scene: DK's home
Situation: Dinner has to be made. There has been rice made for the last 2 years. Once before an attempt was done to make rotis. Sadly it failed :D. The rotis were hard enough to play freesbee. :D
Problem: Now the hunger for rotis was again up! But who would again try the long process? And the pointed fingers, all five of them for : Me!!!

Easy task! ha ha(this was DK laughing!)

Its the toughest!
Step 1: The mashing up of the atta itself is herculean. I think even Herculeus made his muscles by making the doughs on a regular basis. No gyms required thereafter!

Step 2: Use the dough to make rotis. (I forgot to tell that rotis are round in shape.) I know perfection is difficult to attain! But close to round would have sufficed. But :(( they were of all shapes bu round!

Step 3: Put on the tawa on low heat and put the rotis on it after it warms up.

Step 4: When the roti seems to be a bit cooked, take it off. Put it directly on flames for final finishing touches.

Walla! You have the rotis ready.

Yes agreed that they didn't look like rotis. They were maps of different countries around the world. I particularly liked Sri Lanka coming up nicely. :)

But in the end what really mattered was that they were SOFT!!!!
We enjoyed the rotis! Aur DK ke ghar main saalon baad roti ban gayi! what else does a contended man wants !

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Love of Traveling

I love traveling. I love traveling on trains. I love traveling on trains in India. The sounds of people all around. The local languages buzzing my ears. The salesmen and saleswomen pestering every person to sell their products is unique ways is amazing. The sights of our diverse India from the barred windows is rejuvenating.

Well, I got pretty bored of studying. I have to do that cause 2 quizzes tomorrow and mid terms starting from the day after should be reason enough to start studying! Study!
But I needed a break. And what could have been better then seeing the pics while I was traveling to Ahmedabad from Lucknow recently on a sports meet Sangharsh.......

No journey is a travel into the unknown, rather it is an exploration of possibilities........Ankush (4.2.2009) :)