Monday, November 19, 2012

The Emperor Has No Clothes

So, finally the American elections are over. The madness has ended. The so called under-the-belt attacks from both parties are done with, at least for another 4 years. I get appalled each time during the American elections to see the hoopla around it, the magnanimous amount of money being spent on it. A campaign which resembles a completely corporate like thing. The candidates wearing chic dresses, driving top class cars, attending charity dinners at some of the top restaurants and hotels, all in the name of bringing better life for its citizens. Everything is so prim and proper and meticulously planned to every minute detail that it appears so fake and false. The candidates seems to be totally cut-off from the 'real' life of the people. It somehow gives me the impression of the olden times when the emperors used to live a life completely opposite from the lives of its folks. The thing which surprises me the most is to see common people getting so emotionally involved in the elections, taking part in huge numbers during the rallies, crying and cheering and waving. It find it quite unrealistic.

I felt kind of sympathy with this cute kid and her innocence when I saw her on youtube. I could completely understand her pain.

 
And then I read this article today, titled 'Jose Mujica: The world's poorest president'. The first thoughts in my head reading the title was that he must be from some small and unknown country, but to my surprise he was from Uruguay. Yes, it is a small country but not like it can be ignored from the world. Anyways, I was quite surprised that people with such thought process could also live and lead a complete nation in today's world. I could relate very well with his ideas and comments mentioned in the article. But then I asked myself, does the majority of the people living under his leadership also share similar ideas for life? Do they also want to live a life like him? Is he correct in his thinking? What would be the shape of the world if more and more people would think like him? Are we not making our lives more complicated day by day by increasing our consumption appetite? There were so many more questions running in my head like wildfire. I could not find a concrete answer to any of my questions.
 

Friday, October 12, 2012

The University and Religion Analogy

As a continuation of my previous post here, I wanted to draw an analogy which I have in mind.

The organization of Religion to me is analogous to a university where you take admission to learn. You take up a religion to learn about how to live your life.

University:Your end goal is to get a graduation degree.
Religion: Your end goal is to "reach" God and become "one" with God.

University: There are different departments at the university like Mechanical, Computer Sc, Automobile, etc
Religion: There are different religions in the world with different names like the Abrahamic religions of the West and Middle East or the religions of the far east.  
[Just like after school anyone can take a subject/department of his choice at the university due to liking or on recommendation of friends and family, similarly one can take up any religion based on choice or recommendations.]

University: There can be different uniforms for the different departments, different mode of teachings, different set of rules and regulations to follow in each department etc.
Religion: Each individual religion can also has its own set of rules, different methodology of teaching, different sense of dressing etc.
[Just like one religion say it is okay to eat meat and the other prohibits it. That does not mean one is better than the other. It should just be taken as a rule or condition keeping in focus the end goal to get the graduation degree. More often than not, people who take up religion keep fighting on such petty issues and forgetting the end goal.]

University: There can be different forms of test for each department.
Religion: There can be different set of tests for each individual religions.
[Just like the tests and exams for the mechanical department maybe on a Lathe machine and that of Computer Sc on a computer or laptop similarly one religion might test you by asking you to fast or another by asking you to give up worldly possessions or another by asking you some rituals etc. But the end goal is still to be with God.]

University: Once you end up with all the learning and going through all the tests taking your time you finally become a Graduate.
Religion: At the end of the complete process or even a lifetime you are finally one with God.
[Just like at the end of time you are recognized more as a Graduate with a particular specialization in a department, similarly at the end of your religious life once you are one with God it is not much important which path (religion) you took to reach Him. The end result is that you finally found Him.]

I know the above might sound very naive and unrealistic but still I feel if we allow others to follow what they want until it does not harm others in any way, things might be better in the world. No religion is above any other and should be considered as different paths to reach the same end goal. Because as a believe of faith I cannot believe or agree that "if" there is really a supreme power running this universe, then it distinguishes between someone eating meat or not eating meat, fasting or not fasting. I think HE would be more interested to see how you lead your own life and how well you treat others around you and how well you make you world a better place to live in.

But, till we realize what I said above, I also cannot deny the saying ... Misinterpretation is an easy stick to beat people with. I hope TIME prove me otherwise.
   

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Don't ask, don't tell

After reading a post by a fellow blogger, there was a rush of thoughts that went in my head. I wanted to document them as a post. Though a bit late but still, I wanted to keep my word of writing my own post on the same topic. The topic of Religion.

This post is not meant to offend any one or any thought process but merely reflects my opinion on the topic. I strongly feel that religion is a very, very private concept which should be kept personal. It should be your own personal duty to explore religion and understand it rather than blindly following it by imposing your own ideas and concepts on others. 

Usually, I don not even talk on this topic openly. A friend of my father once gave me a great advise. It was when I was going on my first individual trip away from home all alone for a trekking adventure. I have great respect for him so went to meet him before my trip to take some tips. One of the tips which still stand firm in my head is related to this topic. He told me that if you are alone and away from home and suddenly you find yourself sitting with a group talking and chatting and out of the blue, the topic of religion comes up, stand up and walk away from that group at that very moment. At that time I hardly understood what he meant. But slowly with time I realized its true meaning and importance. I experienced over time that - Misinterpretation is an easy stick to beat people with. This is the reason I said before that this should be very personal and private. Thoughts and ideas can sometimes conflict and cause problems leading to severe consequences specially on this topic. Events mentioned by the fellow blogger are a good proof of this.

It is an open fact that in history there is more blood spilled on the name of Religion than for anything else. Wars have been fought. People have been slain. Generations have been wiped out. It comes as no wonder that even learned and famous people have spoken against it since ages. One of the most famous comments come from Karl Marx who said - Religion is the opium of the people. Even Friedrich Nietzsche could not resist in saying - Faith means not wanting to know what is true.

Incidentally, I was in discussions with some colleagues lately on the same issue. Last month a colleague came to work and gave us the news that he has officially left the church. Actually in Germany, as a catholic or protestant you are officially registered with the church. Being a member of the church, you also have to pay a church tax from your salary every month. There are a few perks which come along paying this tax. This way you are officially allowed to attend the Mass and also the right to religious burial etc. I asked him the reasons to leave the church. He said he was not very happy to see the current state of affairs relating to religion, particularly his own. He rightly mentioned how in history horrendous acts of brutality have happened on the name of his religion. Also, the latest abuse scandals totally distanced him from the church. This is not just his story but as I observed over the years, the story of many in Germany. A few days later, I read a related news which did not surprised me and proved that this phenomena is really challenging the church. My colleague also suggested me to watch the movie, Magdalene Sisters. It was quite new for me to learn about that true story.

It immediately reminded me of all the scandals happening in India related to the so called "Holy Men" like Nithyananda to name a few, tarnishing the meaning of Religion. None of the religions I know have been spared by the misdeeds of a few bad men. There have been and there will be people misusing the name of religion for their own benefits. But that does not mean the whole concept of religion is bad.

Even after listing all the criticism against religion, I can still say that I am a religious person. I still have a faith in which I believe strongly. Because for me an atheist is also believer of a faith. The faith in the "absence of God" because like a person who cannot prove the existence of God, an atheist can not prove its absence.

I follow my religion which is relatively new and open. The interpretation which I made from it on the topic of religion can be compared and related to the structure of a university. Let me elaborate it in my next post.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Composer

Life is going through a super fast mode right now with many new things happening daily to my otherwise mundane life. I am liking the changes but sometimes it scares me too.

Anyways, not going too much in my private life, I thought it is high time for a post. I realized recently looking at my last posts that I put up too many serious and boring stuff on my blog which not many people like to read. So, I thought of a more light post.

I have been living in Germany for more than 8 years now. Yes, I am also surprised on myself. But there are many new things I discovered after coming here and I feel good about them. Maybe, living in India with my IT job and stuck in a traffic jam mornings and evenings might not had given me enough time to explore the world, the way I like it. I might have made some money in India like my peers and then booked a Europe trip visiting all the touristy places, clicking cliched pictures at Eiffel Tower or Jungfrau and then posting them on Facebook. I might have never really absorbed the essence of those places, their cultures and their real lifestyle. Anyways, who am I to judge people.

Moving on to the post. Of many new things I explored after coming to Germany, one was the music of Beethoven. Honestly speaking, I had never knew about him living in India though there had been many incidences when I heard his music without knowing the composer and truly liked it. I had been brought up watching cartoons like Tom & Jerry, Popeye, Looney Tunes, Roadrunner etc. Many of these classic cartoons use classical music. Then, there are also many movies which have used classical movies over the years, specially Beethoven. I only got to know about the man behind those compositions after coming to Germany and staying close to Beethoven's birthplace in Bonn. I saw his museum, read about his history, experience his official music with the distinct symphonies he created. I got the opportunity to go and experience an Orchestra playing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at the Opera House in Bonn. It was a mind blowing experience for me.

What is so exceptional about Beethoven or what amazes me about him is that most of his famous work came out when his hearing capabilities were close to none. I mean how can you write music when you cannot hear it. I think this is an achievement in itself and what makes Beethoven so distinct. A movie which comes to my mind instantly when I talk about Beethoven is "Copying Beethoven". Though it is more closer to fiction than the real deal still I found the moving fascinating. I would definitely recommend it.

All this introduction was laid out to share a short video I made last time I attended the Beethoven Festival in Bonn. It was pretty cool to see light, sound and water synchronized to Beethoven's Symphonies being played in the night. It was an open air presentation bang right in the city center at M├╝nsterplatz in front of Beethoven's statue. Here is the video:


P.S: I know the video snippet is more like a teaser but unfortunately I lost the bigger video.        

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bare Reality




I took this picture from the Reuters India website while reading news today. Here is the link to the full article.

Frankly speaking, I was yet again heartbroken. A kind of sadness overshadowed the joy of triumph I had after reading the article and seeing this picture. An Indian athlete performing at the highest International level for sports (for the disabled) with one bare feet and rubber slippers in the other. No shoes or spikes even for the right foot. I feel ashamed of myself. Not because of the athlete but for the Indian authorities for not even providing the basic and the minimum to a sports person even if he is disabled, for the society we are now living in the shiny India. I feel so guilty and disgusted at myself right now that I cannot explain it in words.
 
Some would argue that maybe it was the athlete's choice of being like that. Maybe he felt more comfortable without any fancy shoes. Maybe this is how he lives his daily life in India. Maybe that led to his triumph. I will bluntly reject all arguments and maybes thrown at me in defense of the authorities or even me. I can also give many maybes in reply.

Maybe, it would have been a gold instead of a silver with the shoes.
Maybe, the shoes would have increased the comfort level.
Maybe, his training over a longer period would have helped him.
Maybe, it simply looks more dignified.
Maybe, I am just over-exaggerating and blowing it out of context and proportion.

This picture bares it all for me and the world to see ... the double standard society that we have developed in the 'India Shining' era.

My heartiest congratulations to him for still achieving this feat beating all odds that laid in his path. May thy tribe increase!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Unsatisfied temptations

There has not been a post on this blog since the last one month. I thought no one would give a damn and frankly speaking who would care if there is a post on an anonymous blog or not. But I received a couple of comments on my last post checking up on my status. It felt nice. It felt being acknowledged. I thank them for giving me some motivation to continue with this blog.

Actually, life suddenly has changed gears in the last couple of months. Life is going at a pace like never before. It has been quite overwhelming for me and to some extent exhausting. I feel like taking a break from life and cut myself from it for at least a week. But since that seems like a distant dream right now, I tried to get some comfort in browsing through some of my travel pics. It also gave me the idea to write a post on my travel to Antalya in Turkey.

I happened to travel to Antalya in around mid of October, 2010. It was an interesting trip from a different perspective. Antalya is one of the biggest tourist places in Turkey. It has a rich history behind its name since it has seen many different kind of rulers. The Roman Empire, then the Byzantine Empire and then the Seljuk Turks, all have taken pride to rule Antalya. It is in fact a beautiful city along the Mediterranean cost of south Turkey. But as luck would have it, I was there to attend a 4 day business meeting and not for vacation.

I would have liked to visit this place for a holiday but accepting the facts of day long meetings at beach resorts was like teasing me to the core. It was like giving lolly to a kid and then asking him to just keep holding it in his hands. Anyways, I accepted the facts and tried to console myself that at least the meeting is scheduled in a nice city. My work place also complimented us by booking us a nice Resort for the stay. My work place has never ever booked such a fancy place of stay ever. Even I was a bit taken aback when I arrived there. Here are a couple of pics from the Resort. 

The morning view from the lobby with the sea in the background. Fancy, eh ?


Below is the view from the pool side to the balcony of my room. I was quite looking forward to use all the facilities at the hotel.


But that was a myth since in reality, all I used at the Resort was their Restaurant for the breakfast and dinner. The day meetings were so long that it used to get dark by the time we came back to the Resort.


I used to be left only with enough energy after the day, that I could have my dinner and pull myself to the balcony of my room and then enjoy these views and envy the people who came to this place for vacations.


So by the end of the trip, number of facilities used at the Resort - Zero. Number of times going to the beach - One. Amount of time spent at the beach - 2 mins. Days spent at the Resort - 4. It was really a tease.

Anyways, not giving up on my hopes, I tried to wrap up the meeting on the final day quite quickly and then tried to utilize that time for some sight seeing since our flight back to Germany was in the evening. I even managed to ask some Turkish colleagues from the meeting to come with us since they were also not locals but from Istanbul. We thought it would be handy to keep local people with us for guidance and sight seeing. It turned out otherwise.

So, after receiving high recommendations to visit the Manavgat Waterfalls from our local hosts, we decided to go there. It was around 70 kms from our Resort. Personally speaking, I was quite excited about the idea and was thinking something along the lines of Niagara Falls. It took some time for us to reach that place in our rental car driving through the country side. Finally, on arriving at the Falls, there was no limit to my disappointment. The reason can be easily chalked out by the picture of the Falls below.


I tried to calm myself by have the local chai at the Restaurant beside the Falls. The fresh cool breeze and the tea brew helped me get back to my senses and get excited for our next destination of the day.

Expecting our next destination to be more exciting than the waterfalls, we headed to a place called Aspendos. This was actually a local heritage site from the time of the Romans. Our local hosts advertised this place as a Roman Amphitheater built on a large scale perfectly preserved till date. I dont know why but again the combination of Roman and Amphitheater built a picture of Colosseum in my mind before even visiting that place. It actually turned out a bit smaller in proportion to my expectations.

But it was still not bad. It was impressive. A lot was truly intact but to some extent, not very well restored or maintained. Still the view from the top gave me a satisfying view and convinced me that it was worth coming here.


Below is the close up picture of the wall on the right side of the picture above. It always fascinated me how large the Roman Empire was over the years and then eventually fell apart. Later, these places taken over by Empires of different culture and religions but many of them still surviving the wrath of time.


As per the guide book we received at the entry gate, there were many other related sites of history around the Amphitheater. We decided to check it out but it turned out a big disappointment. There was not much to see to say the least. The picture below is of the stadium of those times. Now, a lot of imaginative effort had to be put to work to actually see stadium there.


The picture below is of the Basilica which was again a total ruin. There was no ceiling and even the walls were hardly standing.


My favorite of them all was the picture below of the Market Place as mentioned in the Tour Guide. Me and my colleague had a good laugh trying to figure out the real market scene incorporating the structures with the Roman time. Our imaginations went quite wild after some time so we decided to check out the last exhibit.


This last exhibit was a ruin of the famous aqueducts which the Romans were quite fond of building. I think that the aqueducts were quite and essential and remarkable feature of the Roman architecture. Not much was left of it but still one could make out a lot from the picture below.


After all the efforts and time put into visiting this place, it was worth to take home a souvenir from this place as in the picture below.


So, the trip was a success from the work point of view but a disaster from a sight seeing point of view. There are so many good places to see there but due to lack of time and bad judgement ended up missing them completely. But, there is always a next time. 

I was planning to skip this travel post on this blog since it was not one of the best ones but still it might remind me of my first visit to Antalya years later when I read this post again. Also, this post will serve as a reminder to me to fulfill the temptations left unsatisfied in a future visit. Antalya, I will come again. This time with my own money and time.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Touched

In continuation of the last post on the 2012 Olympics, I could not help myself posting this video I saw today morning. A rush of emotions went through my body and I was drenched in pure bliss.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Bigger Games !

I am a sports loving person. I like to stay fit and for that, I indulge myself in various sporting activities. I also do enjoy watching sports but not purely for entertainment or for mindless fan following. I enjoy watching it because I love some games and follow them closely to get amazed by the new feats achieved by the sports-persons involved in them. For Example: I love playing basketball and had been following NBA since a long time. By that I mean since the times of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. I am fascinated to see how the standards of this game have come up over the years.

Without getting much into what I do, let me focus more on the actual topic of this post. The latest buzz word in town right now is the mother of all sporting events, The Olympic Games of 2012 in London. It’s one of the oldest mega-event of sports which is truly international enduring the highest standards. Getting an Olympic gold is the epitome of all competitions for a sportsperson. It’s the holy grail of medals in a sportsperson’s life. There is no doubt that these games have become bigger and grander over the years. One of the reasons is that more and more money has been pumped into these games over the years by sponsors which definitely raises the standards of the games and the participants. Because of the increase in the magnitude of these games, security has also become another issue to be dealt with around the games (both for participants and the audience).

Now, I am neither a socialist nor an idealist. The above mentioned two aspects of these games this time had been disturbing me for a while so I thought of venting it out here.

I totally agree with the need of security around events of such magnitude but at the same time I feel there should be some humanity and sanity involved while arranging for it. On the contrary, the things I had been reading in the news sound much more like tyranny to me. News like deploying a ground-based air missile systems in residential areas, deploying acoustic devices which emits pain inducing tones to disperse a mob, deploying 3,500 extra UK military personnel for Olympic security after a private security firm failed to deliver its agreement. It really makes me sad reading all of this. Are we not perpetrating a culture of fear amongst the masses with all this?
    
I don’t want to compromise the security of anyone but I think there should be a limit to all this. I mean there is even a wiki pagededicated to the security around the games. To me, it looks more like preparing for a battlefield or a military zone than Olympic Games. If we are really living in such a scared world, then it makes me think whether we really need such games? Rather than concentrating on such games why not use our efforts and energy to first make this world a better place to host such events. All this security hoopla makes me think that we are trying to take medicines for a disease without actually diagnosing it properly and hitting the root cause.

The other aspect of the games which disturbs me is the amount of money involved. Like I mentioned above, I totally accept that it is needed for raising the standards of the game and also the local economy.  But then again, I read some disturbing news around this topic, especially an article on the current state of venues in Beijing prepared forOlympics last time. Except the main stadium much of other venues are almost nonexistent or unusable for the benefits of local people. I mean is it really worth putting in so much money for something which would be discarded at the end?

My major source of concern with the money issue is to see some big sponsors endorsing the games and athletes with businesses which have nothing to do with sports. A big burger company chain and the biggest supplier of aerated sugar drinks are one of the biggest sponsors for these games. I hope you must have figured out the name of the companies yourself. I always used to chuckle after seeing pictures and logos of these companies at sporting events and used to say to myself, oh – what a paradox?! I also used to wonder why the mainstream media never talk about such things. Then finally last week, I read one such article stating how big and paradoxical role these companies are playing to sponsor such sporting events. I mean how you can justify a burger company and a sugar drinks company promoting a sporting event when it has been shown again and again how unhealthy those products are for people. Will those athletes actually consume those products to stay healthy and competitive for such events?

It is not just the immorality showcased around such sponsorships but like the article also states it is way how the Olympic copyright bans are being forcefully imposed on normal people. I also understand that the companies throwing so much money for sponsorship would like to gain the most from it but there should be a limit to the greed. A complete monopoly on even the Olympic logo is quite disheartening for me. Are we really not losing the actual spirit behind such an ancient sporting event by overindulging in sponsorships?  The most appalling for me was this story of banning an 81 year old woman, knitting Olympic jersey for dolls only for charity. I hope that a healthy debate is carried out in the future on such topics by the organizing committees to keep up the spirit of the games. Otherwise, I think we are very close to organizing prelims for the Hunger Games in the future.

Even with all these concerns in mind, I still look forward to the Games in high spirit and hope to see some records slashed! At the same time I would like to wish best of luck to the India Olympic team!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A stroll in DU ..... Part 4 - The Experience


Anyone who knew me back then and got to know that I was admitted to St. Stephen’s, did not quite believe me in the first place. After telling them that I really made the cut, they all said very bluntly that I would be the biggest fool in the world if I don’t join it. I was somehow still not convinced if I should go there. Then, my father told me an untold story, his story. My grandparents came from a very humble background. They struggled hard to settle after partition in India. Thus, my father grew up within limited means. He told me that back in the days, for his graduation, he had also got admission at St. Stephen’s (in sports quota). But he went there just for few days and joined another college after that. He said, he did not felt very comfortable in that environment. He was ridiculed there because he could not speak high class English. Coming from a humble background, he could not gel up with the kids of the top brass. There were a couple of more reasons for which he had to move to another college. But that spark was still there in his heart for all these years. He wanted to see his kids one day to study there. Since, I was lucky enough to get through the college of his choice, he asked me to just go there, get enrolled, get the ID card and decide later if I wanted to attend its classes. Then, I finally understood why he asked me specifically to fill Stephen’s admission form. So, for my big man I finally decided to join it.

And so, started my short journey at Stephen’s. The new students were invited a day in advance than other colleges for orientation and a lunch. I was quite amazed to learn that. The day started with an assembly and a welcome note by the then principal, Dr. Wilson. It was my second interaction with him after the interview. His introductory speech just blew me away. I was already in awe of that person but after that assembly, my respect for him just kept increasing. And I made a point to attend each and every assembly possible which he addresses. Actually, the first year students had to attend it compulsorily but I went to them not to satisfy the rule but to actually listen to the guy. It was a treat to listen to him. The personal experiences which he shared during his speeches were the things I cherished the most. Even though he is no more with us today, still my love and admiration for him holds on like a rock, firm.

After the assembly we had to deal with some administrative work. It was then followed by the gala lunch. The dining hall was pretty huge with long laid tables and benches. All the students were served lunch along with the teachers. The white bowl of chicken curry and its taste is still fresh in my memories. I was a non-vegetarian back then. The day ended with meeting our class mates and introducing ourselves to each other. I was quite impressed by the first day. I had not expected such reception.

Then came the ragging part. It wasn’t as intensive as I had expected it. I heard the local resident student faced it more in the evening than day students like me. But it was a great phase to learn about our seniors and make connections and relationships which sometimes last for a lifetime. Slowly, I was learning my way into the college. The different canteens, some of them designated for students of a particular department. The sports and extra-curricular activities which this college had just blew me off. They even had a Hindi Shakespeare Society!! I got enrolled in a couple of such societies, played basketball with the top players from the sports quota on the college courts. I was really enjoying my time and getting an experience of a lifetime.

Before I knew, the official college festival, Symphony came with a bang! Things got more interesting. The activities, the concerts, the fun, the people just took over me. I was slowly realizing the qualities of this unique place and why it stands out from the rest of DU. My respect and admiration grew after getting first hand experiences. Even people among friends and family started seeing me in a different light. Cousins begged me to get them the official college apparel at any price. I felt privileged to study at that place and truly understood its importance.

But like all good things come to an end, this experience was also short lived. I got a counseling call from an engineering college and got through there as well. Finally, I took the hard decision to leave the fun of DU and the comfort of my house to study what I really wanted to in a far off city. It was easy to leave but I still cherish every moment I spent at Stephen’s.

More than anything, I lived my old man’s dream which left me more satisfied than ever.
  

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A stroll in DU ..... Part 3 - The Interview


Previous parts here [1] [2]

On the D-Day, I went for the interview. As I reached the college, I got slightly nervous watching students there with thick books in their hands preparing ferociously for their respective interview. I, on the other hand reached there just with a folder in one hand with some certificates I had won in school for extracurricular activities and a bottle of water in another hand. I was even dumb enough to not reach there before time to even ask students coming out of the interview for the questions they were asked. The few minutes I had before the interview, I just walked through the corridors, looking keenly around to see what exactly makes this college stand out from the rest. All I could see was an old building with old furniture and notice boards. Who cares, is all I said to myself, shrugging my shoulders. Finally, I was called in for the interview.

As I entered the room, I noticed it to be relatively huge with windows on one side with a netted grill. The room had old but sturdy wooden furniture. I was politely asked to sit. While getting into the seat, I saw three people sitting on my left in a row. They were the Head of Departments of Physics, Chemistry, and Math. Right across the huge table from me was the then Principal of St. Stephen’s himself, Dr. Wilson (more about him later).  Formal greetings were exchanged and the interview procedure was explained to me. First the 3 HODs would ask me technical questions and then at the end, a round with Dr. Wilson himself.

So, the grilling started. To be frank, I answered most of the questions. I can’t say I was 10 on 10 but I was surprisingly satisfied by my performance. Then started one of the most interesting and pleasant conversations I ever had, with the Principal. He had in the meantime gone through my folder with certificates and then asked me some details about them. He made me very comfortable with his casual approach and shared a couple of laughs. There are people who straightaway impress you with the first few words they say. He was one of them. I can still clearly remember his face and the scene of the interview in his room. At the end of the interview I was so charged up after the conversation I had him that I could not believe myself. I was pumped up with more energy and self-confidence after leaving that room than that with which I entered it. I think these are the common aftereffects of meeting great men. I still have the highest regard for that man in my heart even till this day.

After the interview, I went back home quite happy and satisfied totally regardless of the outcome of the interview. In the evening, I thanked my dad for forcing me to just go and attend the interview, just for the sake of experience. And boy, I was not disappointed. The final result was supposed to come after a week or so and I had completely forgot about it in a couple of days. I was busy finding people around my place and from my school batch with whom I could go to DU (Khalsa College), in the future.

A couple of weeks passed by and I did not even bothered to go and check the results. I was being lethargic to go so far in the heat to just see a list where the probability of my name appearing on it was the same as Baba Ramdev quitting yoga. Honestly speaking, even my father did not asked me about the results seeing my lack of interest.

After those two weeks had passed, my Chacha (Uncle) was supposed to return from a trip to Jammu. It was Sunday that day and I was supposed to go with my Chacha’s driver to Old Delhi Railway Station to pick him up. My intention to go was strictly for personal reasons. Being a foodie that I am, I was interested in hogging upon the road food at Chandni Chowk early in the morning for breakfast. I had already asked my Chacha’s driver that we would leave a bit early for me to accomplish my plan. As, planned after having a solid satisfying breakfast at Paranthe Waali Gali, we went to the Railway Station which is very near to Chandni Chowk only to find that Jammu Tawi was running late. We were a bit disappointed to know that we would now have to wait at the station doing nothing. I hate to wait and get bored soon. So after getting restless, waiting at the station, I thought why not go to DU just to kill time. Since it is not too far from Kashmere Gate, it would be a good chance to go and also have a look at the result at Stephen’s. It would be interesting to see whether the few people I met there made it through. It would be definitely better than waiting at the station.

So we went to North Campus, took a round and finally reached St. Stephens. It was quite early in the morning around 7, I think. The college looked quite deserted but one could imagine that on a Sunday morning. I didn’t even knew where could I find the results list. I walked through the front corridor and finally saw a notice board with a lot of information. Eventually, I located the list I was looking for and scrolled down through the names. I couldn’t find any familiar names. I started feeling sorry for the people I met and couldn’t make it. Then, just at the end of the list before the last name, I saw something familiar.

My heart skipped a beat. I rubbed my eyes and pinched myself before I went blank for a minute like a formatted USB drive. Boom Shakalaka, it was my name. I was selected for admission :|

More in the next concluding part !

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A stroll in DU ..... Part 2 - The Dilemma


Previous part [1]

As fate would have it, I got through the cutoff list of all colleges comfortably, even at Stephens. I made it there as well but it was too close. It was quite a surprise for me to get through so easily. I had heard of horror stories from students and parents about how tough it is to make it to the North Campus. Of course, I had applied for a B.Sc. degree but still people told me it was tough to get through. Anyways, amongst Hindu, Khalsa, Ramjas and Karori Mal, I decided for Khalsa college. People suggested me that Hindu would be a better choice but I personally wanted to go to Khalsa college.

I asked my father for the admission fee to register myself for the same. Again, my father asked me that why don’t I go first for the Stephen’s interview? I told him that it would take a long time for their process to finish and I don’t want to risk my place at Khalsa. Moreover, I always thought that Stephen’s was just over-hyped. If a student is really interested in studies and has talent then it does not matter much where he graduated from. But he insisted again to go for the interview first.

More than anything else, I was trying to save myself from the Delhi heat and the next numerous rounds I would have to do if I decided to go for the interview. One to go block my seat at Khalsa, then for the interview, then to go and check the result, if I made through (0.0001% chance) then cancelling Khalsa’s seat and registering again for Stephen’s. Since my place was quite far from North Campus, I hardly had any will to get into that ordeal. But parents being parents, I had to do what they said.

So, I blocked my seat at Khalsa and checked out the date for the interview at Stephen’s. It was not immediate so I was quite relaxed. So much so, that I almost forgot about it. Just 2 days before the interview my father asked me how were the preparations going for the interview. I told him all is good though I had hardly even opened up any books. Actually, the interview was supposed to be both Technical and non-Technical. I didn’t even knew anyone who had been for such an interview before so there was no one to consult. I was not much Internet-savvy back then since it used to cost (I think) Rs. 25 per hour for a dial-up connection. Yes, I was so cheap back then. So, I did not even cared to check for interview questions online. I think it was the only interview I remember for which I had been so casual about. Maybe the reason was that I has no hope or interest for it. I was pretty satisfied with my seat at Khalsa college. Still I decided to go for the interview just to see what actually goes around at the pride of North Campus.

More about the interview in the next post.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Latest on the Playlist

Being a big Qawalli fan and also of Amir Khurso's poetry, I could not stop myself from posting this latest rendition of Rang presented by Coke Studio. Some verses of the poetry have such deep meaning that they just blow you off. The ending is just amazing. Revival of classical Qawalli, quite well done !


Monday, June 18, 2012

A stroll in DU ..... Part 1 - The Application

Before I loose the 2-3 readers of this blog, I thought of finally posting something :)

Since the “Delhi University (DU) Admission” was the hot news in the past days when I was in India, so I thought of sharing my short experience with it. I completed my schooling in the fateful year of 1999. Since I had taken the science stream at school, my next target was to study engineering like most of my peers.

Now, I must remind you that 1999 was not a year with many engineering colleges. We only had a few bunch of colleges with really tough entrance tests. It was hard to get an engineering admission back then. We did not had an engineering college in every locality back then like I see today in India. Maybe this was another reason why an engineering degree was a treasured possession and the quality of engineers were also high in those days.

So, like many of my fellow engineering aspirants, I also could not get through the tough entrance tests. But I was not disheartened and decided to drop a year and prepare for the tests for the next year. My father did not liked this idea but made a deal with me that I should at least get admission in DU for graduation and to be more clear, he wanted me to go to North Campus.

Now, I was an ignorant and an arrogant fool back then. I was quite narrow minded back then. I considered DU only for people who can’t get anywhere and this entire North Campus thing a bit overhyped. I also thought that only kids of the rich and famous end up getting admissions in colleges like SGTB Khalsa, Hindu, St. Stephens etc. The only other way was to be a super intelligent freak. I was none of them and maybe this was the reason for the complex. Moreover, the idea of going out in 45 degrees of Delhi heat to fill up forms for the colleges where I had no interest was holding me back. But due to the constant push by my father, I finally went and filled up all the forms. The only good thing about filling up the forms was to have Chole Bhature and Lemon Banta in North Campus. I selected only a handful of colleges to apply for. Hindu, Khalsa, Ramjas and Karori Mal. I did precisely what I had planned and came back home.

The first thing my father asked me in the evening after coming back from work was that why did I not filled up St. Stephens. I clearly told him that neither I am a 99% holder nor the son of any famous personality. Moreover, I told him that this college is so arrogant that it does not even accept normal DU forms. You have to specially buy their individual prospectus at a special price. It was no point discussing with him. He made me go again the next day to specifically fill the form for St. Stephens. With absolutely no interest, I still did it. Then, I got to know about their new level of arrogance. They do not just have a cutoff list but also an interview after that. I was quite furious learning that since I considered it very unfair that even being a part of DU, they have different admission procedures. But, I tried to keep my cool and told myself that since I won’t even get through the cut-off list so there is no point getting angry. I even forgot about it in a couple of days.

The only thing I was happy about was to really feel the DU experience. Seeing students of all shapes, sizes, colors and of course from different walks of life. More than that, the foodie that I was back then, places like Chache-di-Hatti at Kamla Nagar for Chole Bature, Bhelpuri at Patel Chest and the Lemon from the local street vendor are still stamped pretty well in my memories even after all these years.

What happened next will come up in the next post ...