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Random Thoughts of a Scrambled Mind

A new beginning

It has been a long time since I have last updated this blog. 7 months to be exact. Phew, that is a long time indeed. Keeping in mind the fact that I do love writing that is a very long absence. A long abstinence from writing however it has not been. I have been posting articles for my WordPress Blog, the Mercator College Blog and the Mercator Website. Those posts however deal more with my opinions rather than my day to day activities or events of note that have taken place (in my life) since I last updated my blog.

Sweeping changes, should I say? For a lot has changed, for starters I completed my bachelors at Jacobs University in Computer Science. A picture … (the only one that I have with me right now – I am still waiting to collect pictures from friends )

Then there was the summer. Thinking of doing something constructive, I decided to revamp the Mercator Website (old -> new). Took me the entire summer, but the satisfaction of completing the project was immense. As I explain in the About Section on the website seeing other colleges maintain a superior website to ours was not a pleasing experience, hence the effort. Hopefully the website is at par with the other college websites.

Posted by Rahul on November 20, 2009 | Posted in Random Ramblings | Tagged , , , | Comment

HMS Ulysses …

A very good book, but it was the reference to Ulysses (Tennyson) that still remains fresh even after having read the books nearly 6 years ago…

Come, my friends,
‘T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Posted by Rahul on February 20, 2009 | Posted in Random Ramblings | Tagged | Comment

14 days in hell and fried salad

Past 14 days = {Assignments, College Office}* U {Eat,Sleep}.

How I have managed to survive the past 14 days, I do not know. Nearly two assignments due each day, quizzes in between, some work here and some work there. And in between all this one has to find some time for sleeping and eating as well, and when the caterers are Aramark, one wishes that survival without food was possible.

And here I must say that I am thankful for the summer that I spent interning in Aachen. Granted, that I wanted to go home and would have loved to be there, but the time I spent alone taught me to how to quickly fix a nice and edible Indian meal in Germany and that has indeed come helpful over the past couple of weeks. One of my innovations that I am really proud of is frying rice and salad. (Mmmm, I can even smell it as I type) It is often the case that there is nothing edible (vegetarian) for dinner, but there is always a lot of Salad. And this is where my recipe comes in, just take some tomatoes, cabbage, onion, paprika and pepperoni. Chop it in small pieces, fry it and add boiled rice to it. Cook for some more time (using Indian spices, of course) and you have a wonderful Indian dinner. Other than that, there is pasta and my new love – Spaghetti.

Another saving grace has been that we usually study in groups and I personally find that really effective, it is easier to work at 5 in the morning when you are surrounded by a group of people who are as famished and tired as you are.

What with group work and my innovations with regard to cooking, I have managed to survive these couple of weeks with just a bout of flu. Hoping things improve in the future.

Posted by Rahul on September 26, 2008 | Posted in Food, Random Ramblings | Tagged , , | Comment

Aachen, Euros, Internship

The city is indeed full of students, and most of them are Chinese. (after Germans, of course). Then there are of course Indians as well. Apparently, the Audi Max at RWTH can house 1500 students. that is indeed a lot. And unlike Jacobs, there are no weekly quizzes or exams at RWTH. Just final exams, which count for 100% of the grade.
 
And yes, it is indeed amazing to watch the soccer fanaticism in Germany. Ponttor is definitely the street to be, full of restaurants and TVs. The scenes after the Germany Austria games were amazing. People blowing horns, jumping up and down in the middle of the street, quite a spectacle. Though the next match (Germany vs. Turkey) might be a bit volatile. Nonetheless, it would be one hell of a game. Rooting for a Germany vs. Russia final now that Italy is out.
And the Internship, have a desk and everything. Turns out that all the computers are named after German beers. The internship is interesting, though staring at assembly codes all day and checking for data aborts can get quite tedious. Still, the idea of booting linux on a virtual platform is cool enough to keep me interested.
 
Hoping the weather improves though, it is hot even for an Indian.

Posted by Rahul on June 23, 2008 | Posted in Random Ramblings | Tagged , , | Comment

Internship

I reached the office at 9 am in the morning. Not big at all, just about 20 people and three interns including me. Both are masters, so I am the least qualified there.
 
A bit of a deja vu, as they all use Dells! And yeah, it is a Windows free place, every computer runs Linux! Nice to see that in a corporate environment. My supervisor is really cool, he is really chatty, and I feel nice when he comes and talk to me. I am terribly talkative myself, so I need someone to talk to.

Posted by Rahul on June 22, 2008 | Posted in Random Ramblings | Tagged , | Comment

A night to remember

An expectant crowd

The expectant crowd had started coming in an hour earlier, the Mercator Servery, bedecked with decorations was unusually festive, was buzzing with excitement; for it was the night of the Indian Country Information Day and everybody wanted to make sure that they got a front row view of the proceedings. The audience were given an official welcome by Vikram and Nicole, the Mercator college masters. The fact that the Pakistanis on campus had helped in the organization of the Indian CID came in for special mention. And then it was time for the show to begin.

Cricket

The Indian CID, themed on an Indian wedding,  began fittingly with the clip of a cricket match. Time to show everyone how mad Indians are about cricket. The groom, ( played by Devashish) in stead of attending his wedding was engrossed in the match along with his entire family. Only when India won the match did they all proceed to the wedding. And then, Jensen gave a presentation on the sports played in India which apart from cricket also include hockey, polo, kabaddi, chess and tennis.

Baraat Dance

 

Jaimala

Meanwhile, the bride’s family was anxiously waiting for the groom’s family and they arrived amongst much singing and dancing. And when the bride (played by Neha) finally arrived flanked by her sisters the groom was so captivated by her beauty that he took a walk down the memory lane thinking of the first time they met. He soon snapped out of his dreams and the “pandit” (An Indian priest, played by Rahul) continued with the wedding rituals. The bride and the bridegroom exchanged garlands symbolizing their mutual acceptance of each other.

Argument

And then lightning struck. The bride’s grandmother (played by Radhika) was infuriated that her granddaughter was marrying someone from another caste. The pandit managed to placate her and also gave us information about the evils of the Indian caste system and its historical background. The Granny was soon as calm as a lake and even agreed to bless the couple.

The argument ends amicably

Then Deepika told us about the secular India, about the 7 different religions practised in India, and about the numerous festivals that the country as a whole celebrates irrespective of religion.

Vilasini, Charitra, Swetha, Sheetla, Ravi, Anneysha and Ankur wanted to discuss where the couple should go for honeymoon and thus we were introduced to the various scenic locales of India, from the Royal Rajasthan to the Romantic Agra, from the backwaters of Kerela to the tea gardens of Darjeeling, from the serene beaches of Kanyakumari to the party all nights in Goa and then to the only paradise on earth – Kashmir.

And for those wanting to travel to India, there was interesting information from Tanmay who informed everyone that there are more than 1500 languages spoken in India and it might not be easy to communicate with everyone you meet.

Roy, Hozefa and Pranjal then decided to challenge the triumvirate of Ananya, Anneysha and Swetha to a dance session and what followed was a fun filled dance performance to some groovy bollywood tunes.

Tabla

But Indian Music is not only about Bollywood and we were reminded of that by Radhika and Shikhar who informed us about Indian Classical Music and the various dances of India,  both classical and folk. Rahul chipped in with a performance on Tabla, one of the most popular Indian Classical Instrument.

Roy, Dipesh and Vilasini had some interesting information about technology and science in India which you just can not find on wikipedia. Everyone was amused by the concept of “jugaad” – a quick dirty fix.

And then it was time to go back to the wedding. The pandit over the “pheras”, the most important ceremony in an Indian wedding where the bride and the groom exchange seven vows which declare then husband and wife. There is also the ceremony of “kanyadaan” where the bride’s father (Mitul, here) gives his daughter in marriage to the groom.

But there was something missing, and it was the rise of India as an economic power. Mitul gave a detailed presentation on all aspects of the Indian economy, with the take away message to all other countries – Beware. We are coming!.

With the pheras over, so was the wedding. And it was time for the “vidai” where the bride;s leaves her father’s house to go to her new home – her husband’s house. Her parents and family bid her a tearful adieu and the curtains came down on what was a roller coaster ride through India and the life of Indians.

Food

But wait, do not go away yet, for it is time for the most awaited part of all CIDs – food. The culinary delicacies prepared by the Indians, with help from some of their Nepali’s friends, were appreciated by one and all if the queue at the food counter was at any indication of this fact. Though nearly everyone seemed in a hurry to get a glass of water or the sweet and delicious “payasam” prepared by the college masters after the spicy food, yet they came coming back for second helpings.

All in all, it was a wonderful night, and the Indian community can be pleased of the fact that all their hard work paid off and they managed to stage a successful CID. And all this was realized on stage through the technical expertise of Prashant, Deepu and Kevin.

The End

Posted by Rahul on October 21, 2007 | Posted in India, Random Ramblings | Tagged , , | Comment

Spring Semester, Home and back!

Yeah, after the intersession came the spring semester. Wasn’t much different than the fall semester, now was it. Yes, there was studying to do and there was homework to do. There was the same old Aramark and there was the same great Bremen weather. And in between, there was something called the cricket world cup to forget which is the duty of all Indians.
 
There was some fun to be had as well, I finally managed to pay a visit to the Other Side, after ignoring it nearly for six months. It was not that I could not resist it any more but then sometimes you have to give in to your friends as well!
 
Soon enough, or was it four months, it was time to go home. Before that there was this beautiful thing about having to clear your room which was no fun at all. Having never packed a suitcase in my life before, I was a bit apprehensive. Though, soon enough, I got hold of the general concept which is to get all the stuff that needs to go inside the suitcase inside it and then somehow close the suitcase. And yes, I managed it, without much difficulty. Within minutes, or it seemed so, I was on my way to India, my home!
 
The trip back was not long at all, Shx was traveling on the same flight, so there was no question of boredom. And the excitement of going home ensured that the time flew as fast as the airplane. My family was there at the airport to welcome me, and when my brother hugged me, I knew I was home. I was eager to New Delhi, so that we could begin our six hour journey to Dehradun, our home. And when we finally reached there in the evening I was home physically as well.
 
It was great being back, Everything seemed somehow new and yet it was the same. There was home cooked food to be had, and all I can say that my mouth is still watering at this moment as I am writing about it. Yes, and I did meet most of my old friends from school, and it felt wonderful to be together again, after a long year. Words are not enough to describe my feeling of satisfaction of being back, of spending three long and yet very short with people who genuinely care for me and whom I love more than myself. There is no need for me to say anything for it was time to go back to Jacobs University, to Bremen and to Germany.
 
And so here I am, back in Germany, back in Bremen and back at Jacobs University starting my second year, a crunch year. Just waiting to see what lies ahead.

Posted by Rahul on September 21, 2007 | Posted in Food, Random Ramblings | Tagged , , | Comment

The Intersession 2006-07

The Ahlen trip was wonderful but it had to come to an end and so it did and I was back to IUB. The first week of intersession was very boring to say the least, nearly everyone was home and there were only very few people on campus. And then there was the trouble of having to go to the College II servery to eat and that was the reason that I missed breakfast nearly everyday. There was literally nothing to do. Though we managed a trip to Hannover meanwhile. I guess it is even bad to call that a trip, that would be the wrong term for it. It was more of a hangout really, but it turned out to be nice.

With the start of the new year, people started to come back. Some people had BCCB labs and then there were some like me taking the Introduction to Law course. Guess that was probably not a cheerful reson to come back, but people did come back for that very reason.

And then there was the course, Introduction to Law. Guess it was a bit tiring to say the least with more that 6 hours of classes daily. We also had to prepare a presentation for it and write an essay as well. Inspired by exploits in the field of History of Science, I decided to do my essay in one night, and I did manage to do that, though I was not very satisfied with what I came up with. That is what happens if you leave stuff for the last minute.

But the best part of the intersession was still to come. We planned a trip to Amsterdam and we did go there, as planned. The trip was great to say the least, it was nice to be in a city where people actually spoke English. We tried different cuisines everyday, Mexican the first, Indian the second, Chinese the third and Italian on the fourth. But that was not the interesting part was it, the interesting part was to see people stoned on all kinds of stuff. As Keno and I were the only one who had their feet firmly on the ground, we had fun watching the others. But I think that Keno had a bit more fun that I did for I was even affected by the smoke of the stuff and he was unaffected by it. It was fun watching him ask the high guys silly question to see of they remembered stuff or were they completely gone.

But in general, the trip was great fun. It was very nice to be someplace other than the university with all your friends and being able to chill out. Hope we could do that more often, but with the workload at IUB, that would be nearly impossible.

And so with the Amsterdam trip, we were done with the intersession, and the new semester started. Guess it didn’t start that brightly for me as I had to write an exam for introduction to law on the first day of the new semester – the joys of taking an extra intersession course. But well, there will be a lot more exams in the intersession and I guess I wouldn’t have much to complain them.

Till then, life is as normal and peaceful at IUB as it could be!

Posted by Rahul on February 7, 2007 | Posted in Random Ramblings | Tagged , , , | Comment

Ein Tag in Ahlen

The semester ended finally. It was a long and tiresome semester to say the least. Anyhow, all “good” things must come to an end! So, IUB went on holidays for ever as it will be (or already has been) rechristened as JUB. Anyhow, it was Christmas time! My host family had already promised that they will take me with them to Ahlen where they will be celebrating Christmas with their family. We left Bremen on the 24th. It was not a long ride to Ahlen! (If you can drive at 150 kph, I don’t think any distance would be long enough!)

We reached Ahlen safely, though. It was not that I was afraid that we would not, it is just that back home it is not possible to drive at 150 kph. The first difference between Ahlen and Bremen was the temperature. Ahlen was definitely colder, but still not cold enough to be uncomfortable. (thankfully!) We went to the church and the strangest imaginable surprise awaited me at the church. The head priest was Indian, imagine that! Well, Alexandra’s mom insisted that I meet the priest and she introduced me to him. He was from south India and thus could not speak hindi. Therefore, we conversed in English.

Coming back from the church, we got ready for dinner. Alexandra’s sister and her husband also arrived by then, and so it was a nice family gathering. And the food was simply delicious! What a pleasant change from Aramark. Wish I could have more pleasant detours like this. We sang some carols as well and Andreas seemed to be enjoting himself a lot! Then it was time for exchanging presents. Well, I got some nice presents (he he he). The Werder cup was good!

The next day was equally good! We first went to a tour of Ahlen. Alexandra’s father, Dieta (hope I spelled that correctly) took us! Then we got back, I guess I was half asleep in the car for most of the time! We then got back and I had some good proper German cakes. My word, they were brilliant, the way they were melting in my mouth. AHHHH! It still makes my mouth water. Easily the best cakes I had ever had in my life! Well, then Dieta showed me some really nice card tricks! Awesome man! We played Jenga and Andreas, showed us how good an Architect he was! He was impossible to defeat. If I remember correctly, I think he only lost once. Then it was time for dinner, and it was again brilliant! Why doesn’t Aramark learn something!

And then on the next day it was time to say goodbyes to everone! Oma, Dieta and Alexandra’s mom (I forgot the name, sorry! But her cooking was brilliant!) Well, it was a very nice christmas and yes I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

Posted by Rahul on January 22, 2007 | Posted in Random Ramblings | Tagged , | Comment

Diwali at IUB

Yes, we Indians do enjoy our festivals, don’t we? And it was no surprise when we decided to celebrate Diwali at IUB this year as well. The preperations were done in collobration with the Nepali Population at IUB, which doubled the fun. The festival was held in the Krupp College common room, and we witnessed quite a turnout.

For me personaly, the celebrations started with me and Shikhar cooking papars. Ha! That was not difficult was it? All we had to was to put them in the microwave and then take them out when they were cooked. Though some of us who knew how to cook made better stuff such as Chhole, Chawal, Mixed Vegetables(yummy) and there was chicken for the sizeable population of the non-veggies. So, we ensured that the preferences of a lot may people were taken are of. The actual celebrations were quite fun as well. My host family were here as well, and they said that it was quite enjoyable, and we had a presentaion where we explained all about why we celebrate this wonderful festival. Though we couldn’t burn as many firecrackers as we do in India because of the different festivals in Germany, we still managed to have quite a gala time, attired as we were in our Indian clothes. And yes, it was quite a experience celebrating Diwali with such a diverse population which was not possible bak home. Oh, I wish all life at IUB was like this.

Some pictures from the event.

 

Posted by Rahul on December 23, 2006 | Posted in Random Ramblings | Tagged , , | Comment