Tuesday, December 13, 2011

And So It Began…


I start today, owing a big thanks to my buddies Hardik and Ravi. If not for them, this surprise trip would not have been possible.

When my friend Sindhu asked innocently “What will you do if it rains ?”, I did not in my worst dreams imagine the weather to turn around so drastically from a pleasant full moon sky to a full on storm.

Hardik with his SENZ (Thanks to TEDxDelft) umbrella, me with my normal umbrella and Ravi with no umbrella took off from our cozy boxes at 2:15 AM. It was time for me to leave for Schipol to catch my flight heading home for my sister’s wedding a.k.a winter vacations ;)
Dragging two huge bags through the almost horizontal rain and stormy wind and heading towards the Delft train station proved to be much more than a walk in the park.
Both the guys having classes at 8:45 today, they still agreed to come help me out. Makes me glad I have such good friends :) Hope they went for it :P

I am sitting in the Paris Airport as I write this. It sure lacks the charms and glamour of Schipol. Did love the Schipol atmosphere in the early morning. Much less crowded and very well organized.

The scary part was that I kept falling asleep on the train and the airport. And as I boarded the plane for Paris, I dint even bother checking out the girl sitting next to me and fell asleep (Thanks to last 3 nights of sleepless nights to meet the assignment deadline :P). Got up to hear that the weather is very turbulent and will be served only sandwiches and cokes. Gulped both down and off to heavenly sleep again. Not before I peeked outside the window and mannn… It sure was worth it. The landscape created by the clouds and the rising sun adding all sorts of shades on the stormy clouds only strengthened my belief that God truly is an artist with skills beyond imagination.

Anyway, here I am, this is me, there’s nowhere else on earth I’d rather be .. Damn !! Listening to too much of Bryan Adams does get you side tracked :P Sorry bout that. Better keep this blog short.
On an ending note, I would like to address two points:

1.      1.The girl I was sitting next to had really pretty and happiness filled eyes ^_^. How can I not check her out ehh ? ;) :P
2.       2. The SENZ really is a storm umbrella. Do buy it if you intend on roaming around during a fully fledged storm.

A bientot, more to come soon with news on how my family got a surprise with my arrival (not talking about my first arrival 22 years ago ;) :P). Except dad no one knows so hushhhh :D
Have a great week :)
Love,
Ab9

Monday, December 5, 2011

No More Thousand Butterflies...


It was only a couple of months ago that I saw this beautiful spectacle. Something that so moved me that I did not even reach for my camera. There are few such moments when you know that it cannot be captured by a camera but only experienced.

This happened one evening when I was sitting in my spacebox and gazing out through my window. The gleaming golden light of the setting October sun fell beautifully on to the tree tops. The ever speedy Dutch winds were busy rustling the leaves. And for that moment, it felt like I had seen the true beauty of God’s creation as he always intended us to. The best metaphor that I can come up with which will do justice to my sight is a thousand butterflies shimmering, rustling and swaying .. I only wish I had the right words to describe them. But I guess there are no words to describe such sights. Just a silent appreciation from one’s heart for this experience of true peace and oneness with the creator. After that, I made a point to witness this sight almost every day.

But alas, as they say, all good things must come to an end. And so it did. Autumn came and slowly the butterflies flew away. And now as the December sun shines on those trees, only the barren twigs welcome them. Swaying slowly in this cold December wind.

And so I shall wait, for the time, when once again, a thousand butterflies shall greet my sight :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Curious Case Of Dreams

It has always been a mystery how the dreams we dream are connected to our lives or sometimes even related to us. But no matter what, it sure affects your day if you let them.

It was only today when I was dreaming about driving a nice big SUV and it was the only thing on my mind all day. Made me want to go back home and drive my 'Red Princess' :)

It was only after some time of day dreaming that I realized that I was driving the car on the right side of the road while back home, we drive on the left side. Netherlands sure did affect me pretty fast in this aspect :P

Some of my dreams are so action packed that it puts Hollywood action movies to shame. Sadly with increasing time after waking up, the memory of the dreams fade away. Well, but sure is fun to snooze a bit more and see how the end turns out ;)

It also happened to me once that I saw this old house with very intricate designs on the floor and after a few months, I went to this house in a village which had the exact same designs and it was the same house. Strange ? Well, people do claim that they have premonitions in their dreams.

So, keep dreaming but dont let the nightmares/bad dreams spoil your day :)

I hope you have a sweet dream tonight :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And So Stops The Game Of Hide & Seek…


For almost a week, the little town of Delft seemed like the perfect location to shoot a haunted movie more likely the sequel to “The Mist” (No prizes for guessing but this one would have been called “The Fog” :P)


The tall and famous landmark (EEMCS), which you cannot miss even if you try to, had completely vanished. You could not see the 22 floor mega-structure standing 10 meters in front of it. Maybe the fog is the secret to the famous vanishing acts. Something to ponder on don’t you think ;)

Such mysterious weather and how can we forget our beautiful Library? So my friend and I head over only to find a soothing glow emanating from the cone of the Library. To give this glow a more mystifying angle, let me simply put them in my friend’s words - it is the result of students getting enlightened :P


And how can the "Foolosopher" not talk  philosophy in such unique weather conditions ? ;)
So here goes : In life, the path is never clear. There are many uncertainties and bumps. So do not worry nor be discouraged. Have faith and move forward and take them on as they appear.
Guess I better run after my friend now and tell him to walk on the walking path just to be on the safer side :P


It sure was a fun week trying to figure out places, faculties and especially people. With layers of clothing, jacket and cap, the fog definitely did not help ease our plight in recognizing people. It happened only yesterday when a guy waved to me and I had to squint and really go close to figure out who he was :D


The fog has finally cleared and faces and buildings are again visible and so resumes my wait for the first snowy day :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Lesson Rightly Learnt :D


Kids, when someone tells you to dress as per the Onion Layer Theory (Dress in layers), you better heed their advice. I obviously found that out the hard way.

This happened to me on the 10th of November 2011 a.k.a yesterday. Making full use of the last few days of my vacation period (exam period for others :P), I wake up at 1 PM only to find the sun shining brightly which was definitely a big surprise after the previous day’s cold and gloomy weather(General opinion). If truth be told, coming from a South Indian coastal city where it rains for 6-8 months in a year, I loved the weather :D

My friends and I decide to hit the Thursday market and I start dressing up based on the Onion Layer Theory. But the weather being so bright and sunny, I decide to put the theory to rest and dress up in a normal T and a half sleeved jacket which I am so gonna regret. But let’s save it for later ;)

On the way, for the first time I see the big bridge, between TU Delft and Centrum, open up. Quite a nice start for my day I think. Little did I know what was in store for me :D


We reach the market area only to be greeted by 4-8 flower shops. Wow, quite a bummer. So we head over to the St. Joseph’s church and it turns out to be magnificent. The architecture, the design, the atmosphere, everything blends in so well. It sure is a sight to marvel at.




We come out to find the weather turning around pretty quick. The sun was setting and the temperature dropping along with a ghastly misty effect. In short, the Dementor effect (Credits to Harry potter Encyclopedia ;)). So we enter our regular Turkish shop to catch a bite and the hot Kapsalon in that cold weather felt so good. It sure hit the right spot :D


When we come out, it has gotten worse. It is freezing cold and windy. It was like rubbing salt to our wounds :( Worse was to hear this duck quack out loud. Sounded more like “You forgot to get your jacket.. Qua, qua qua qua qua (Donald Duck Style)”. It really did sound that way :D

Thanks to a lovely puncture, I had to walk back home now. By the time we reached home, the mist had gotten so thick that the EEMCS building was looking more like an illusion than a real building and I couldn’t even feel my nose :D

All the way I kept wondering if I had shivered at any point of time. As I had read somewhere, your body shivers (vibrates) to generate heat. If it stops shivering, it means that the body is starting to give up. I know .. Gives you the creeps :D

Anyway, reached my warm humble abode in one cold popsicle piece and stuck myself to the heater which I am sure is gonna be my best buddy during winter :D

A lesson rightly learnt and in time too. I am so going to respect the Onion Layer Theory from now onwards. The weather forecast for the coming few days is 5, 5, 3, 2, 2 with possibilities of snow next Friday.. Now that is something to look forward to ;)

Well, I sure hope you know by now that you should not underestimate the weather :D

More updates after my weekend visit to Amsterdam .. Till then, a very warm good luck to all for a very cold winter season and the coming academic quarter :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ab9's Day Out - TEDxDELFT


This being my first official blog, I wanted to start with something unique about my university TU Delft and the people. I kept pondering for days and wondered how I shall convey my thoughts in a way that people will read and understand. Well, today is your lucky day because I just found out how :)

      On this cold, damp lazy morning, I finally wake up at 10 am after a night long (till 4 am :P) of research. As customary, I log on to my Facebook page and I find a message from my next door neighbor (Yea that’s how we communicate :D). He wanted me to have his ticket for TEDxDELFT event since he had exam that day.. I realize that it had started at 8 in the morning and I was already late. And so I finally walk out of my lil cozy spacebox (totally impressed by the concept :D) and walk out in the cold and windy afternoon.


    I reach the Aula Auditorium to find it swarming with cheery people. That’s a bit odd for Monday mornings. But oh well, I go in and explain to the registration guys about my friend’s ticket and they happily comply without questions (Now that’s something really new to me. No doubts ? Well, wasn’t lying anyway). So I move on to the grand lunch area where I lay my hands on some yummy SoufflĂ© and orange juice. By the time I reach the main course, my friend calls me out for some urgent work and I miss the grand lunch (Sniff.. Sniff.. :( ).


    I do come back in time for the start of the second half of the event and I sit down wondering what TEDx is all about. An old lady comes and sits next to me and she is so full of energy and enthusiasm. Clapping actively and conversing with me. I listen to the talks and the crowd and there is this mysterious aura floating around in the room. After several talks and videos, we had the coffee break and off I went and had a good hot cup of coffee with some really good cookies and muffins. I meet Riccardo whom I had once met during the campus games and he introduced me to a bunch of people and suddenly we were discussing the “talks” and relating them with our own observations and experiences and before I knew it, our talks had become philosophical :D And once again I could feel that mysterious aura in the room only this time, it was starting to surround me too.


    Then something happened that kind of reminded me of my childhood. We were offered lollypops. Some might find this normal and some ridiculous. But this lollypop made my day :D

 
    And so I return to the auditorium all beaming and having conversations with people I don’t know and learning something new every minute. As the show began and the other speakers came on the stage and gave their talks, I finally figured out the cause for this mysterious aura. I noticed that every speaker, no matter what topic they spoke on, brought something unique to the table. They all successfully connected with the crowd and inspired them to do something with their lives. This mutual feeling resonated throughout the crowd and what we had was a group of people who are inspired like never before and brimming with ideas to do something. We had all in a way become connected to one another and become a part of something big and beautiful. 
   
Each one of us today, is taking back with them a unique experience maybe in the form of interaction with people or friendship or knowledge or maybe something else or maybe a combination of these. But one thing is for sure. We all came out as better and more confident individuals with a dream to excel in our respective fields.


    As the day came to an end we moved on to the evening drinks and talks. After a while, as I was about to leave, I come across this odd looking platter of chopped cubes with a black sauce. As a foodie, and imagining it to be cheese, I dig in. Only to realize that it was raw fish (Sushi!!). Even as I write this now, I can relive that moment, trying to get it down my throat as soon as possible. But as they say, you gotta try them at least once and I am glad that Sushi is off that list :D


    On an ending note, I would like to thank the TEDxDelft team and all the organizers and volunteers who made this event possible and in turn ensured its big success. You could see the pain and effort taken to piece this day together and I can only say, kudos to all of you :)


     I would also like to thank the team for their generous Oprah like gesture by giving each participant the lovely SENZ umbrella (Woohoooooooooooo!! :D)


    Last but not the least, I would like to thank my sweet neighbour ‘Hardik Pandya’ who made it possible for me to witness this great day in my life and also for being the reason why people I met kept staring at my name badge (bearing his name) with a puzzled face, trying to figure out why the name I told them sounds so different from the one they read :D

    Anyway, the next time you get a chance to go to events like TEDx, do not hesitate and experience for once how it feels to be a part of something big and unique.


That’s all for now folks. Do take care and we shall next interact when our paths cross once again :)

Until then, it’s nap time for the Foolosopher ;)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Getting In Touch With The Dutch



The theme of the orientation programme for the International students was “The Process of Acculturation to the Dutch Culture”. Each international student was assigned to a team and the team had to come up with an idea that will help this cause. Totally lost on the concept I met my team members who were from five different places in the world.

Our captain Hugo was from Mexico, Kristian from Germany, Narita from Indonesia, Qiyi from China and me myself from India.

We sat down and discussed what we thought the topic meant. After a heavy session of brainstorming, we came up with a plan. This plan itself was going to conflict with the way of life of the Dutch.
Our plan was to approach a typical Dutch family and better get to know the Dutch culture by cooking a traditional Dutch cuisine under their guidance. But as the Dutch tradition goes, home is a very private place for a family and inviting strangers over and allowing them to use the kitchen was way over the line. But still we decided to take the risk and approached a Dutch lady named Ineke de Bruin.
Her surprised expression did not help our cause and we expected a straight “NO”. But she gave it a thought and told us that she needs to ask her husband first and if it is okay with him, we are welcome.
As luck would have it, those moments of anxiety paid off and we got a positive reply and off we went to gather the ingredients. Heeding our coach’s advice, we bought bottles of wine as presents for our host.

We headed off on our bikes from the TU Delft campus with our host. We reached her home and after the initial round of beverages, she gave us a tour of her garden where most of her vegetables and fruits grew.

Under her guidance, we cleaned and chopped the vegetables and prepared the dish. She also taught us many Dutch concepts and gave us tips on how to set a table. It was a very productive evening and it was literally getting in touch with the Dutch…

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Life In A Place So Far Away ...


To have lived in a place as good as heaven,
Showered with love and pampered by all,
Life was easy and life was great,
But things do change and so did I.

With hopes and dreams of a better life,
I am on my way to a foreign land.
And greeted by the gloomy skies,
I find myself in an unknown land.

Lost in a flurry of memories,
I think about the days to come,
Sitting alone in my room,
I miss my family and my home.

As I wander in this foreign land,
I find people from places far,
As I come to know them more,
I start to feel more at home.

Across oceans and miles apart,
From the place where I wish to be,
Here I am here we are,
Here is where we all want to be.

Blending cultures and blending ways,
I learn something new everyday,
And varieties of food from cultures vast,
It’s now become a welcome change.

Curious about local food and ways,
We planned a visit to a local place,
But the culture here being a different one,
It was easier to say than to have done.

Finally successful in our quest,
Deciding a menu with all our zest,
We head over with bottles of wine,
For a night of fun, learn and dine.

We start to cook with lots of zeal,
And the hosts will guide that’s the deal,
We finish cooking and its hours late,
Yet patiently with a smile they do wait.

A great meal with people few,
A feeling of family in a place so new,
Bringing back memories of days back home,
No complaints, but now, this place is home ... 
Team Edam - 3 With Ineke's Family :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Ray Of Sunshine In The Monsoon


The looming sky filled with gloom,
Brought a darkness of impending doom,
The air was cold and the land was wet,
And that's when fuel ran out in my jet.

Crashing down into land unknown,
Surrounded by nothing but earth and stone.
And With the cold drops pouring down,
I found a companion for tears disowned.

Day after day I sat in vain,
And day after day we shared the pain.
Devoid of hopes and devoid of dreams,
We sunk together to the bottom of sea.

But maybe it was not meant to be,
For, a ray of sunshine came to me.
And I swim up towards the source of light,
To find a new world in my line of sight.

It had cleared away the clouds of rain,
And, with it also my suffering and pain.
Dampness and darkness replaced with warmth and light,
And so began the era of flowers, birds and butterflies.

Filling me with hopes and dreams,
It made me realize how happiness feels.
And Thus I came to experience,
The best times of my existence.

But as all good things must come to end,
The sunshine left with a hole to mend.
And so returned my dear old friend,
Glad to be back and to make amends.

I can feel the rain once again,
Pulling me down as I resist in vain.
Sinking deep towards the ocean floor,
My eyes close and shall see no more.

The memories of all those dear to me,
I feel them now as they sink with me.
With no intention to let them down,
 I begin to rise with new resolve.

I start anew with a heart of stone,
To live for those who need me most.
Until the arrival of the promised day,
When another ray shall find its way.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

DESIDERATA

Go placidly amid the noise & haste, & remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly & clearly; and listen to others, even the dull & ignorant; they too have their story.




Avoid loud & aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain & bitter; for always there will be greater & lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.


Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.


Be Yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity & disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.


Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue & loneliness. beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.


You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees & the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.


Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors & aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.


With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful and strive to be happy.


- FOUND IN OLD SAINT PAUL'S CHURCH, BALTIMORE, DATED 1692

Monday, June 20, 2011

Blessed By God And Cursed By Devil

Blessed By God And Cursed By Devil,

We Are The Mortals Always In Peril.

We Live In Darkness And Think Its Light,

So Terribly Misguided Is Our Sight.



We Speak Of Justice And Righteous Ways,

Which Causes Destruction With No Regrets,

And Then The Declaration That World's In Peace,

With The Death Of Billions With None To Grieve.



The Cries And Pleas Of The People Echo,

But The Media, As Usual, Bids Them Adieu,

Masked By The Ads, Sports And Usual Gossip,

Who Shall Stand Above The Rest To Hear Them Out ?



The Test Of God Does Still Prevail,

To Seek The Human Still Humane,

The Creation He So Lovingly Made,

With Hope And Faith Of A Better Race.


With Every Move That We Make,

We Seal The Fate That We Love To Hate,

Wouldn't You Say Its Up To Us,

To Be Blessed By God Or Cursed By Devil ?


Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Crimson Moon

Looking At The Crimson Moon,
I Think Bout Days Come And Gone,
My Life Plays Back The Moments Lived,
And I Watch What My Memories Reveal ..

Lost In A Flurry Of Memories,
I Gaze Upon The Crimson Moon,
And I Curse, I Hate And Despise,
The Person I Have Come to Become ...

In Transition Is What You Are,
That Is What People Say,
But Deep Down In My Heart,
I Know Its Turning Back To Stone ..

With A Hope, A Wish And A Dream,
I Shall Break These Shackles Of Destiny,
For I Know, That I Can,
Become The One That I Was ..

With A Promise Of Another Day,
Another Chance Shall Come My Way ,
With Nothing To Lose And Everything To Gain,
I Shall Rise, Once Again ...
 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A tribute To Sachin .. And No This Is Not By Harsha Bhogle

A very touching article by "Some Mystery Guy" who said it was by Harsha Bhogle but its worth the read .. Great Work :)

Remember when you failed an examination. How many people recall that, your class, friends, relatives? You failed to make it to the IITs or IIMs. Who remembers. How many times have you had the feeling of being the best in your class, school , university, state….., you failed to get a visa stamped this quarter…, you missed a promotion this year…, how did it feel when you dad told you in your early twenties that you are good for nothing…..and now your boss tell you the same...

You keep introspecting and go into a shell when people most of whom don’t matter a dime in your life criticize you, back bite you, make fun of you. You are left sad and shattered and you cry when your own kin scoffs at you. You say I am feeling low today. It takes a lot from us to come out of these everyday situations and move on. A lot??? really?

Now here’s a man standing on the third man boundary in the last over of a world cup match. The bowler just has to bowl sensibly to win this game. What the man at the boundary sees is 4 rank bad bowls bowled without any sense of focus, planning or regret. India loses, yet again in those circumstances when he has done just about everything right.
He does not cry. Does not show any emotion. Just keeps his head down and leaves the field. He has seen these failures for 22 years now. And not just his class, relatives, friends but the whole world has seen these failures. We are too immature to even imagine what goes on in that mind and heart of his. That’s why I would never want to be Sachin.

True, he has single handedly lifted to moods of this entire nation umpteen number of times. He has been an inspiration to rise above our mediocrity. Nobody who has ever lifted the willow even comes close to this man’s genius. His dedication and metal strength is unparallel. This is specially for those people who would have made fun of him again last night when India lost. They are people who are mediocre in their own lives. Who just scoff at others to create cheap fun. Who have lived in a small hole throughout their lives and thought they have seen the oceans.

Think about the man himself. He is 37 years of age. He has been playing almost non stop for 22 years. The way he was running and diving around the field last night would have put 22 year olds to shame. The way he played the best opening quickies in the world was breathtaking. He just keeps getting better which is by the way humanly impossible. Its not for nothing that people call him GOD.
But still I don’t want to be in those shoes. We struggle in keeping our monotonous lives straight, lives which affect a limited number of people. Imagine what would be the magnitude of the inner struggle for him, pain both mental and physical, tears that have frozen with time, knees and ankles and every other joint in the body that is either bandaged or needs to be attended to every night, eyes that don’t sleep before a big game, bats that have scored 99 international tons and still see expectations from a billion people.

And he just converts those expectations into reality. We watch in awe, feel privileged.
Well I think its time that his team realizes that enough is enough. They have an obligation, not towards their country alone but towards sachin. They need to win this one for him. Stay assured that he himself will still deliver and leave no stone unturned to make sure India wins this cup.
This is not just a game, and he is not just a sportsman. Its much more than this. Words fail here..... 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Missing Ingredient


                An evening spent in the beach can be such a spectacular experience. The hot Sun glowing in all its grand splendor and yet getting tucked away into the mighty ocean leaving behind the last few rays to linger in the sky. The splash of the waves, the ever active wind throwing the sand into our faces. In short, nothing but a perfect way to end a day. But is it then ??

                Memories in our lives act like salt. Lack of it, leaves the dish tasteless. More of it, makes the dish a waste. Yet, in a balance, it completes the dish to give our taste buds a royal treat.

                Well, today was just one of those "its not your day, mate" day. Memories of the past year came rushing in and the flow was too much to stop. It made me realize that this so called 'perfect' day with the beautiful sunset is not perfect at all. It lacked the missing ingredient. It lacked that main ingredient that can make a bad day turn good, flood the darkness in your heart with light and replace your sorrows by happiness... The ingredient called "FRIENDS".


                   Dedicated to all my friends who made my past days so memorable and who have a big hand in the making of the person I am now. Wish you all were there with me today. But I could only imagine how it would feel to have you all by my side, staring silently into the dimming light of this glorious evening only to realize that this day, couldn't have ended in a better way.