Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Police Story - Delft Style

Even before I set foot in Netherlands, I had heard several encounters of the Indian public with the Dutch Police. After coming to Delft, it was no different.

- Dont ride after dark without lights else the cops might catch and fine you.

- Dont drink or smoke weed in the streets else the cops might catch and fine you.

- Always carry your residence permit else ...

Of course, my bike light has a mind of its own and never switches on when I want it to. This made travelling in the night quite a scary experience. Not because I might hit someone but because I might get "fined" :P

Okay! This encounter with the cops was totally unexpected and my first time too. But the way it unfolded, I would never have guessed unless it was in India :D
Saish with his usual pose :D

After an amazing Avengers movie viewing at the Pathe in Rotterdam, my friends, Chetan, Saish, Winoi, and myself made our way back to Delft way past midnight. We get down at the Delft station on platform 1. We start climbing the over bridge while notice a couple of cops walk down from the over bridge to platform 2. My friend Winoi and I notice a glass fall from under the stairs and we look around to find no one. So we continue on. We hear the cops say something and approach us from the side. We just keep moving until we realise he was talking to us and stop.

He approaches us and starts speaking in Dutch. We tell him we dont know Dutch and if he could speak in English. He starts, "You think I did not see ?"

We are kind of confused and ask him what happened. He goes on, "You drop a glass of beer and think I would not see."

Chetan goes ahead and tells him that he can test us for alcohol since we never drank any beer. The police guy gets a bit irritated and says, " So you think I am lying ??"

Now when a cop says something like that, things just might get nasty. Moreover, he shifts his hands from the front of his belt to his gun on his hip. Powerful move. Definitely. But we stuck to our story hoping he will believe.

Then he continues, "Usually, you would get a ticket for this."
So we dont get a ticket ?? Hurraayyy !!!
"But this time, I will let you go. Do not repeat it again."

Of course not.. So we thank him (still dunno why) and leave.

Later enlightened Chetan (Cos he knows everything ;)) told me that there was nothing to fear. If we got a ticket, we could wait till we get a mail from the court or go to the court website online and file a complaint where you can put forward your version and moreover also add how the person was rude and not willing to listen.

So another lesson learnt and the discussion is still open as to if his pistol was a real one or if it was a stun gun. Trust me none of us had any intention of finding out ;)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Poker Face

When I first came to Netherlands, the word poker reminded me of only 2 things. The song Poker Face by Lady Gaga and my lab partner in my Bachelors Fahad Ali trying to tell me how he used to play poker which at the time I never understood nor tried to understand.

After coming to Netherlands, one fine day, my friend Hardik tells me that he has found someone selling a Poker set and that we all should pitch in and buy it. I go oh what the hell and agree reluctantly. After that day, we have played a few times and I grew more and more familiar with the rules.

Now you would be wondering why am I boring with these worthless details about poker. I ll tell you why.

Recently I came across this ad:

Now who in their right mind would go if they only started to play a few months ago ? But I had to try. Who knew ? I just might win ;)

So I go register for the tournament and try practising for it only to realise I lose every single time :P But the D -day came and I start off into the sunset, walking towards the Sports Centre. The tutorial session was going on and there was a huge crowd around the 4 beautiful poker tables. We all wait patiently till the tutorial session finishes.

Then Anoeshka Ishwardat, the lady in-charge, calls our our name and allots us to one of the 4 tables. When my name is called and allotted to table four, I gingerly make my way to the table and join the others.

4 Tables. 10 at each table. A little bit crowded but that is okay. Rules are explained and we begin. The first hand is dealt and the dealer for the table asks for folds. This was new to me. I was still trying to pick my cards and I thought he was asking it back because of a mistake. I then realise I just folded before I even saw my cards. I felt like a jackass and was so glad my poker buddies Hardik and Ravi werent there for if they would have been, they would be laughing on the floor then and there.

Embarrassed I play and see my coins begin to dwindle. I waited for the right cards and then voila. I strike big. There were only 2 Indians out of the 40 and both of us were at table 4. He kept losing his coins till he used to go all in and like a Phoenix he used to rise again. This happened 4 times till on the 5th time, I took him out :P

So many different kind of players all playing for the Ipad 3. While some stared so hard at you that you thought you were gonna melt there were some friendly ones as well and of course there were some who just dint care about you. It made me think back to the scenes from James Bond. And as the bar girl approached us for our drink order, I was so tempted to say "Dirty Martini - shaken not stirred" but all I managed to say was "no thank you". Of course, it is a different issue that they do not serve it in the sports bar :D

It was great fun till our table players were reduced to 5 and we were shifted to other tables. I sit at table 3 and see the players go out one by one till players from table 1 and 2 all join us to make the final 10 at table 3 playing for the prizes.

Not bad I thought. Made it this far. I just might pull it off ;) But alas I played a hasty all in and lost it all. In the end, made it to the final 9. Saw the numbers dwindle to the final 3,2 and the winner.

The winner had kept going all in for the last hour or two and had finally won the Ipad 3. Oh well, guess I will have to buy one after all :P

PS: My friend Ravi was telling me yesterday that he ran into the guy who won the Ipad and apparently he was saying that he attended the tutorial before the tournament and that is where he learnt the tactic to go all in and win.

After hearing that, I have nothing more to say and I rest my case...

After Exam Masti

Well, if you have been following my blog, you definitely might have found out by now that April has been the best of months in terms of fun and activities. But there were a few more events I forgot about (Can you blame me ? ;) )

So after the tiring week of exams came the weekend. I wanted to just hit the sack and sleep and sleep but I had signed up for an After Exam Masti event organized by the Indian Students Association Delft.

Getting up early on the morning of 22nd April, my neighbour Sindhu and I bike in the early morning (9:30 am :P) chilly air towards the tram station. We meet the rest of the gang and catch the next tram to Hague along with our guide Amrit.

We switch trams and along with a couple more people, head to the Gurudwara in Hague. After almost 22 years in India, I finally visit a Gurudwara and that too in Hague. Well, there is a first for everything :D

We tie a saffron coloured cloth on our heads and enter the main prayer hall. The bhajans and verses from the Guru Grant Sahib were being recited in Gurmukhi. The feeling of liberation and attainment of inner peace could not be denied. Although I did not understand the meaning of the the recitals, they still struck a chord which vibrated within me making me feel a energy so positive. It did feel good to finally experience this feeling, after so many months, in a temple in Hague.

After the prayers, we got "Sheera" as prashad or the sweet which is offered to God during the prayers. This was followed by lunch. We all sat in line for the food and we were served hot rotis (wheat bread) , along with carrot and potato mash, green gram dal, boondi-raita, gajar ka halwa (Carrot Halwa - Sweet Dish).

As I always maintain, temple food has a taste which cannot be replicated, no matter as hard as you try, at home. It was very delicious and we all ate till we could no more.

From there, we all headed towards Scheveningen beach with a big content smile spread over our faces. This was my first time here and although the weather was sunny, it did not stop it from being cold and windy. This ruled out our Frisbee plan since it just kept moving in one direction. At one time it just kept rolling away with the wind and my friend Karthik had to go chasing after it before it just rolled out of reach :P

So we sat there and chatted away till we got bored and headed off to Hague. We roamed around for a while and ended the tour at McDonalds.

This ended the saga of the After Exam Masti. Although there wasnt much of "Masti", we had a great time and isnt that what matters ? :)

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Keukenhof Trip

Ever experienced how during the study break the weather is so good and as soon as the exams are finishing up the weather Gods turn their backs at you ? The same happened to us too. We were holed into our rooms or the library while the sun shone bright and the spring atmosphere made me just want to lie on the grass and laze. My last exam was at 6:30 in the evening and voila, it starts to rain. It dint stop at that. it went on for a week.

The classes and the assignment pressure began as soon as the exams ended. The week ends and the weekend begins with the Keukenhof Trip organised by the International Office. As the weather channels predicted, it was supposed to rain that day. We still hoped it wouldnt and went to bed the previous night. I wake up the next morning to hear the heavy showers pelting on my roof.

Well, no point backing out now. So off I get ready and stuff my hoodie in a backpack along with my trusty camera fully charged and raring to go :D
It was cold and drizzling as I walk towards the Aula where the buses were parked. I meet and greet the various gangs (Roland, Van Hasseltlaan, Poptahof, etc) ;) and bitch about the weather a bit until all are asked to climb aboard.

The trip was pleasant and uneventful but it was pouring down heavily. Some had bought umbrella and the rest squeezed their heads into the available extra space :D Luckily for me I had a reversible rain jacket which did manage to keep my upper body dry but the weather was rather cold and so the onion layer theory came to my rescue once again.

We make our way towards the world famous tulip gardens where my friend decides to buy a raincoat. We had a great time laughing as he tried to find his hands in the rain coat :P But by the time he did manage to find it, the rains had stopped. And so began our photography session.

To be frank, my camera had never been pushed this far in terms of battery and memory card limitation. It usually lasts for weeks with a single charge but Keukenhof demands a lot out of a camera. Luckily for me, it survived till the end which was 5 hours and I was a proud owner of my little camera which captured amazing pictures.

Sadly, I missed out on the endless fields of tulips but maybe in another trip or next year I shall capture it too :) I really appreciate International Office arranging this trip to Keukenhof and hope that next time, it is arranged on a sunny day :D

PS: It is the ultimate test for a camera and a photographer's paradise. So if you plan to visit this side of the world during this time of the year, do not miss out on this beautiful garden on the face of this planet :)

Industry Excursion : Opra Turbines

On the 5TH of April, we had a industrial visit planned out at OPRA Turbines located at Hengelo. Hengelo being almost close to German border was a very long journey by train. Luckily for me, my friend Ashan offered me a ride in his car which turned out to be such a good drive. Me missing my car and an opportunity to drive was making me nostalgic but none the less, it was a great feeling to be travelling in the beautiful highways.

We reach the place after almost 2 hours and are welcomed in by our host Regine Mowill who we later found out was the founder's daughter. They had prepared a sumptuous lunch for us and it is by far the best Dutch lunch ever I have got to experience. It still was sandwiches as usual but it had so much variety and so very filling.

We all settled down and the presentations began and we were explained about how the came came about and the work they do and the methodologies to utilized to come up with their dual fuel turbine and how it compares to the other turbines out in the market.

I have to admit, that their turbine design was very innovative. It opened a whole new world to us and inspired us to open up our minds and come up with such unique concepts.

The founder Jan Mowill is of Norwegian origin and is a recipient of  the Royal Norwegian Science Council Honorary Prize awarded to him by King Olav V of Norway.

What inspired me more was the fact that Jan Mowill and his wife Hirako (a Japanese) founded this company in 1991. They did R&D for 15 years to come up with their first successful product a 2 MW OP 16 Gas Turbine. More impressive was their R&D approach. Most companies never employ the methods and techniques we study in the universities but OPRA employed these procedures to come up with a wonderful product. Moreover, the atmosphere was pretty international and this made many of us feel at ease.

It does seem like a great option to work in such a company where you can learn and innovate so much and a company where the atmosphere is so welcoming and inspiring.

*Fingers Crossed* for now :D

My First Birthday Experience In Netherlands

As my birthday approached closer, I made sure that no one found out when it was. I hit all the notifications in FB, Skype and everything else I could think of. Now you would ask why would I do something like that. Well, for starters, I am shy. I hate being the centre of attention and this is the BIG day :P Secondly, I dint wanna get beaten up :P

As the clock ticks closer to 12, I have a feeling that these people have found out and are up to something. I hear voices and then the hushing to not let me know and I silently chuckle to myself.

And so then they knock and come pouring in questioning first why I had to hide my birthday. Then they bring out a small piece of chocoboy and ask me to cut it. Too bad for them that I had seen a couple of them hide outside with a big cake :P So I go out to call them in. Problem was trying to find places to sit for 11 people in my little spacebox. Once everyone managed to find a place to sit, the cake was set and I take out my huge kitchen knife for the honour :P

The songs are sung and cake is cut .. The cake was so yumm and good that no one wanted to waste the cake on my face :P

Then they escort me out only to beat me up :P So they lift me up and manage to land 2-3 blows before I manage to get out of their grasp :P

Then starts the treat call .. So we head out to centrum only find places closed. Finally we go to Doner King and the guy gets us in and locks the door so that the cops do not come give him a ticket :P

After a good round of hot food in the stomach, we walk back content :)

Later in the day I had an appointment with my professor Dr. Arvind to clear up my doubts regarding internship possibility at TUD which he said it is not possible. So I asked him for chances abroad in other universities and he gave me a few good options. Hoping it works out ;)

Overall a wonderful day and I liked it thanks to wishes from family and friends :)

TU Delft's April Fool Saga

A week ago when there was event posted online by TU Delft organising a Anti-Gravity experience, few doubted that this was a con that TUD had prepared for us.

Spring was setting in and there were colours all around. The cherry blossoms turning from pink to white and tulips and various other flowers making an appearance everywhere.

Exams were a couple of weeks later and preps were yet to go full throttle. The sun was out more and we all waited hungrily for exams to get over and go around and have fun for as the saying says : Make hay when the sun shines ;)

So when we heard about the anti gravity experience to be held on the 5th of April, we all got excited. Many started signing up for it. Even the sceptics for who wants to be sceptical and miss out on such an opportunity ?

And so we waited eagerly and on 3rd, I get a notification which said that this was a prank set up by the Social Media Team on the occasion of April Fool's Day. However, on 1st, Facebook locked them out of the event page for 2 days and hence the delay :P

So in the end, FB ended up making a fool of TUD :D

Funny part was, I get a call from a friend on 5th asking where the event was since many of the people have showed up and are waiting for the organisers to come and take them for the anti-gravity experience. Apparently, the posts were not getting delivered to all and many still kept joining the event even after the plot was revealed. Had to tell him then that it was a prank and it wasnt true.

But at the end of the day, I had not guessed that TUD would play with us in such a fashion :P

PS: This cartoon was made by a friend of mine Anurag who was part of the Social Media Team .. Still havent made him pay for fooling us. But some day soon. After all, what goes around, comes around ;)

My First Dutch Interview

It has been long .. Very long indeed but so much has been happening and I have so much to tell. Not a day goes by when I dont think how I am going to tell you what I am experiencing. And so here I am after a long long absence. Amidst you. To share once again, what I want to.

As I stand on the verge of completing my first year of my Master's, I start feeling a bit suffocated and nervous. On completion of my 60 ECTS, I had to do an internship in a company or a university (sadly not in my own). My application rejected numerous times for reasons unknows and my efforts to apply for positions turning out to be futile. Finally with the help of my Professor Dr. Arvind, I set up a interview in a company named Innecs located at Ter Aar.

March 27TH: The Interview

The appointment was at 10 AM. I plan my journey and find out that although the place was around 25-30 KM away, it was not we connected and I had to switch between trains, take a bus and walk for half an hour to get there. Now that was a pain. So off I set out at 7 AM from my little abode and ventured off into the cold chilly air. As I travel, I notice such beautiful scenes. Nature in such glory. The morning mist gently floating on the canal waters and on fields absorbing the first rays of sun to give a heavenly glow.

If heavens existed and if heavens had houses, then this is how it would look. This was my thought as I was journeying past a place called Alphen aan den Rijn. Beautiful houses with a beautiful garden. And the start of spring bringing out flowers and colours of all sort along with the blossoming of cherry trees with the petals floating down gently onto the green grass covered with a layer of dew.

I had never seen such beauty and it was a perfect start to my day.

The interview was more of a discussion and my first experience of a Dutch interview. I was very nervous and I am sure I made some blunders while speaking. It is a small start up company and all the people there were really nice and welcoming. They even allowed me the option of working from home since I did not have a car or bike which made travel very tiring. The call is mine to make and I am still pondering on it while searching for other good internship opportunities.

Look out for a series of events that made April one of the most memorable months :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Schedule

Well, I havent really talked to you about my day to day life now have I ? :) So let me give you a small sneak peak into what I do with my time here apart from writing these blogs once in a while ;) :P

This quarter I have stuffed my schedule of classes again and yet have lots of free time. It sure is nice when the subjects are so well arranged. Kudos to the person who does it :)

And so I decided to join the sports club and a few activities. I was browsing through the classes available and suddenly my eyes fell on Climbing - Beginners. Ooh .. This flashed the scene from Mission Impossible 2 where Tom Cruise rests his hands in the middle of a steep climb by wedging his legs into a crack. Wont that be fun and join I did along with a friend of mine, Saish. I had no idea it is gonna be so 'not easy' :P

The classes are held on every Thursday evening. By the end of the classes, my forearms become like that of Popeye's minus the anchor tattoos :P But none the less, a good workout and introduction of new techniques every week keeps it pretty challenging. Not to forget how I almost got stuck in such a position and the instructors were sniggering from below and asking me to not dislocate my shoulders :P It is hillarious when you are stuck in such a situation and your strength is failing (PS: I had footholds) :P The instructors are pretty fun and the new one is too awesome and cool. It sure is fun and you tend to look forward to it :)

However, I might have to miss out on my class because I almost broke my left leg at the knee which is a long story. So hoping I recover soon n continue next week onwards :)

But this week is pretty interesting from my view. I have signed up for the Harmonica workshop on Wednesday and hoping to start a nice little hobby and make sure I irritate the hell out of my neighbours who speak loudly at un-Godly hours in their rooms and keep me from sleeping :D

And Thursday there is a Air Hockey Tournament ;) Hahaha .. Am glad the Sports and Culture centres keep having such interesting activities and workshops in addition to a number of sports. I am hoping to start Fencing classes next quarter and hopefully it works out as planned :)

As for socializing, this Sunday we have the screening of 1st One day international Match between India & Pakistan at the Sports Centre. The atmosphere is gonna be electric and fun :D Of course there are regular concerts and other musical nights arranged by TUD. But there are also movie or Culture nights arranged by the Indian Students Association or other such associations by different countries which open up a nice stage for inter-cultural mingling and awareness.

Looking forward to many more such opportunities and secretly hoping I dont have to say goodbye soon :)

The Festival of Colours - HOLI 2012

PS: That is my hand print ;)
If you were to pass the Sports & Culture center on a Sunday afternoon (i.e. yesterday), your attention would be grabbed by the blaring music to which people were dancing, in the nearby park. But then try to take a closer look. If you are unaware of this festival, the sight might highly surprise you :D After all, people going crazy and throwing colours on each while still dancing to loud music is something you don’t get to see every day. The sight was the celebration of Holi, a Indian festival (Please refer to my previous blog for more details), organized by the Indian Students Association (ISA).

To start with, it was a perfect day. After a gloomy and drizzle filled week, it was a perfect ‘Sun’day. It was not very cold and people could easily strip down to their T’s and not shiver. The prep’s for the stage, the music system, drinks bar and the snacks bar all went on without issues. Once everything was set and a small crowd had gathered around, we brought out the colours :D

Colours being 'applied' is an understatement. Every new comer was greeted slowly and then tried to be put down to the ground n buried in coloured powders :D Now that you are one of them, you do the same to the next victim ;)

Well, of course it scared some people away like a friend of mine who came from Hague to attend the festival but looking at the way colours were being applied, she simply slipped away :D

We definitely had a great time. Almost dropped one of the guys into a canal since he was mischievously trying to put the colour powder onto our teeth :D But then we were in no mood to fish an icicle out of the canal :P

The ISA board had also organized a Indian snack bar with Samosas, Vegetable Bajji’s, Gulab Jamun’s & Mango Lassi. They all tasted fantastic and hit the right spot after such a amazing time :D

I hope that next year if you are in Delft at this point of time, do drop in and celebrate our festivals with us :)

Last but not the least, I would like to thank my friend Lakshmeesh Rao for his fabulous snaps. You can see more at:

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Holi - A Festival of Colours : A History

 *** Disclaimer: Over time there have been various stories as to how it originated but I will be sticking to a more widely accepted one. If I have not followed the version you are familiar with or have hurt any sentiments, it was unintentional. I seriously hope I do not get chased down and coloured bad for not writing your version ;) No hard feeling right ? ;)

Most of the Indian festivals have a divine and mythological root and Holi is no exception. As always this story is again the triumph of good over evil and Holi is the celebration of this victory. 'Holi' however means 'burning' and its origin is very old. So, I will tell you with 2 stories both of different eras starting with the real one and later on to how it got the colourful front.

*** For those who arent interested in the history, kindly scroll down to the INVITATION section ***

Recommended Prerequisites for the story (TUD Style ;)): There are 3 main Gods according to the Hindu belief. Brahma - The Creator, Vishnu - The Preserver & Shiva  - The Destroyer. This story involves the first two namely Brahma and Vishnu. Now that we have fulfilled the prerequisites, lets begin the story :D

Once upon a time, there was a Demon (Asura) King named Hiranyakashyap who wanted to avenge the death of his brother by the hands of Vishnu (Gods and the Demons keep fighting always!!). So he decides to pray to Brahma for a boon which will enable him to defeat Vishnu. After years of penance, Brahma grants him a boon which almost makes him immortal.

He returns and forces his subjects to pray to him and not to the Gods. But to his disappointment, his son, Prahalad,  turns out to be a devoted follower of Vishnu. This enrages him and he decides to kill him but all efforts go fruitless. Finally he asks his sister Holika, who thanks to a boon was immune to fire, to carry the child and burn herself on a pyre. However, she did not know that her boon came with a conditions apply * and was applicable only if she was alone. So she was burnt to death while his son was unscathed from the fire who was saved by his devotion to Vishnu. Later, even the devil King Hiranyakashyap was killed by the hands of Vishnu but that is a different story.  

Holi celebrates the death of Holika symbolically evil. That is why on this day people have bonfires as a symbol of victory of good by the burning of evil.

Now you might wonder then why on this day we play with colours if the real story is celebrated by bonfires. That brings us to the age of another character named Krishna a reincarnation of Vishnu.

Krishna often asked his mother Yashoda as to why Radha (his childhood love) was so fair and he wasnt. To this his mother asked Krishna to apply colour on Radha's face and see how her complexion changes. This slowly became popular and went on to become a village ritual. It increased in popularity as Krishna went on to become a King and his involvement in so many stories to bring justice resulted in a large number of devotees who carried on this tradition of colour.

Since it is celebrated during the time of spring and harvest, it also became a way of celebration for the farmers at the prospect of properity and so burn their first batch of crops as a symbol of offering to Agni  (The God of Fire) and then use the rest for personal and other use.

Story is done and now to the most important part.


We the students of Indian Student's Association (ISA) will be celebrating Holi this year on the Campus of TU Delft on the 11th of March 2012. So do come join us and let us celebrate together the setting in of Spring with colours, Indian snacks, Drinks (alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic) and not forgetting the all important music with a DJ.
The location is the park opposite the Sports Center from 12:00 to 15:00 hours.
So do save it in your schedules and dont forget to bring your friends too.

For more information and updates, please check:   

PS: Please wear your finest clothes ;)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Dutch Education System - The Bad Part + Tips

Well, as they say, everything has its pros n cons. Well, lets jump straight into the awaited part. And mind you, they are just minor inconveniences and not “Bad” bad :)

The Bad Part:

The most important thing I find lacking here is the link between the Professor and the student. The professor arrives, teaches and goes. Maybe you talk and discuss on certain topics in class but that’s how far the relationship goes. He will know your face but not your name. And in some cases, not even your face. It does feel really odd and uncomfortable because from where I come from, we have a bond that in most cases exceeds outside the college too. Here it is too professional in nature. When I pointed this out to my friend, he said it is mainly because lecturing is not the only job of professors here in technical universities. They are involved in various projects sometimes national or even international. They constantly keep in touch with people from the industry and keep updating themselves. This makes lecturing only part time for them thus making things the way they are.

Moving on, the next thing that I feel can be put on the negative side is the software dependence. Having done most calculations and solutions by hand, it really feels like a new world where even for normal reports you end up using softwares. It turns worse when you don’t know those softwares. Here the level of problems and complexity is totally on a different level and this demands the need and use of these softwares. It is in fact good to be exposed to industry level complex cases and use various techniques to solve them and be more familiar with it.

Lastly, scheduling appointments. If you need to meet or talk to a professor, you need to mail him and schedule an appointment. While this basically is a good call, it does seem silly to schedule appointments for small queries that you might have. So you either mail him/her your doubts and he gets back to you or you can clear it during the breaks in the next lecture. Of course there are Professors who tell you to drop in anytime and if the door is open, it means you can come in and discuss your doubts.

Surprisingly, I guess this was all I had .. As I mentioned in the beginning, just minor inconveniences :)

Now for the tips :)

For the first part, if there is any professor whose subject interests you and you would like to work with him/her, go meet him/her. Make sure you meet them enough times either to get your concepts cleared or to share your ideas, so that they remember your name. This is level one. You have managed to make a place for your name. Next is all up to you. You can maybe put forward a proposal or tell them what you wish to do and ask for guidance and they will be willing to help you :)

Another major tip is, don’t waste time typing mails. Their time is more valuable than yours. So jump straight into the question or doubt. And no they wont judge you based on your mail. They get hundred’s of mail and they probably will spend only a few seconds to read and reply to your mail.

Thirdly, for people like me who aren’t much familiar with softwares, do contact the last batch students who are currently studying and ask them what softwares they work with so that you can familiarize with that software and be comfortable using them.

Rest, I am sure you will figure it out :) Good luck and have a good Spring :)

The Dutch Education System - The Good Part

My friends back home always ask me how I find the studies in Netherlands and I always tell them it’s different. And then I proceed to tell them how. So today I will tell you some things related to study and how things work around here.

The Good Part:

The first major difference between the studies back home and here is the approach. The studies here are practical in nature and up to date with latest developments. This way, when you graduate and step out into the industry, there is no gap that needs to be filled.

Next up is Blackboard. Blackboard here is much more than the usual blackboard we had back home. Blackboard is the TU Delft student-studies connection software. You enroll for your courses, you download softwares, the lecture slides are uploaded here, to order the readers (textbooks) and much much more. I cannot imagine life without Blackboard now. It has even simplified the interaction between the professor and the students enrolled for the course.

Then the library website Discover where you can see if the book you need is available or not. If it has already been borrowed, you can always reserve it from the comfort of your home and when it is returned, you can go pick it up from the library. Now that is so convenient. Although I wish they had more than a couple of copies of each book, looking at the collection of books in the library, there might be a problem of storing them :D

Facilities: If you need it, you can get it. If you are working on some flight simulation project and would like to use the flight simulator Simona, you can always put forward a proposal and it can be arranged. The way things work here is simply straight and to the rules. It feels comfortable working in such an atmosphere.

Lastly on the good side is the flexibility. It is really something when you can tailor your course according to your needs. You can highly streamline your stream and work towards your thesis in the same stream or you can keep it normal, try everything out and then choose the topic u like to write your thesis on.

And I have to add that there is no race for excellence or cut throat competition here. Everyone does what they love. On a scale from 0-10, 6 is usually the passing grade. Although 10 might be on our mind, but 6 is pretty good in itself. People here value how much you have learnt rather than how much you score. Of course you can argue that if you know it, you can score better but lets leave that for a debate later ;)

Since the atmosphere is so relaxed and its all you and no one else that matters, people tend to join clubs like the Energy club or the Rocket club Dare or the Hydrogen Car or even the Solar car (Nuna) club. They do more with their lives and that helps them get out of the books and apply what they have learnt. Student here are involved in so many different projects in different countries trying to make a difference where it is needed. Rank, marks or competition hardly holds here. And maybe that is the reason why it does not matter if you fail once or twice or if you score less. You can always take the exam again and the better grade is taken.

Sorry for the long post. Guess I ll have to shift the Bad part to the next page :)
PS: Will be sharing some important tips so do check it out ;)

Game of Cricket - The Ice Breaker :)

Well, hailing from India, since my childhood I have heard and read about the wars and bad relations with our neighbouring country Pakistan. This scarred history prevents us from starting a new chapter where both countries live in peace and help one another out. The feeling of brotherhood.

Well, TU Delft offers us students a chance to acquire one of the crucial management skills and that is interaction with different multinational students. In fact this is one of the reasons for the orientation project to help u settle down comfortably with other students from different backgrounds.

Now, whenever you look at some “Indian” looking people on the way, you always start wondering if they are Indian or Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshi’s etc. But after a period of time you stop thinking that. You become one. This feeling indeed get proven when I recently saw a poster on the TUD page by some students who called out others interested in a game of cricket.

Well, cricket to Indians is like the unofficial National sport. There was a time in the 90’s when the whole nation was into it. You could bond with total strangers over a radio commentary of the match. And cricket match against Pakistan was more important than dinner or work (Thanks to the war still being so fresh). Every kid of my era has played cricket at some point of his life or another. It is more like a religion back home.

Now that you get the picture, let us continue. So, the thought of playing cricket here was something so wonderful. And so we arrange to meet in the Sports Center (The snow still hadn’t cleared) and realize that the majority of the students playing are Pakistanis. Okay! Tense moment! But it’s Cricket!!! So my friend and I go to play. Turns out one of the players had his birthday on that day do got welcomed with some delicious cake.

Then it begins. The nagging, the fun, the comments added to the wonderful moment of playing cricket. No more religious or national difference but simple and pure bonding over a game of Cricket.

Later that week, there was a Pakistani Cultural Night hosted by the Pakistan Student Society. Great food, music and atmosphere. It surely makes you feel that all is not lost and that there is still hope when peace and oneness will become a reality :)

Btw, if you do get an opportunity to watch a India Pakistan match, do watch. There is nothing like it when both sides give their best :)

The DDB Saga - How To Get The Best Out Of Career Fairs

To be frank and honest, many people were not satisfied with what the DDB had to offer. To some extent I agree with that. But I would like to differ. There were company stalls and presentations along with CV checks etc. It was a great atmosphere where you could meet people working in the companies and knowing what they do and what they look for. Many of my friends expected them to take CV’s and maybe screen them later. Except a few, others did not accept the CV’s on the spot and instead asked us to apply on their online portal. So many failed to see what the DDB was all about.

This is about what I feel about this concept and how you can get the best out of any career fair you plan to go to.

To start with, you need to have checked out the companies you are interested in and are going to be there in the fair. You need to see what they do, what markets they are part of. What roles they play and how you can fit in. Then, if you really would like to be a part of it, go ahead and check out their career page and apply for positions if available. See what obstructions you face in terms of eligibility or availability or even visa issues. Make a mental or physical note of these.

Next, move on to what your interest lies in and how flexible the company can be in incorporating those. Go ahead and send them a mail if you would like to know more. Check how the company is divided and which department applies to you.

During the fair, you can ask for the person who can come closest to that department and ask them about the work atmosphere and relevant technical questions. If none, they will give u the contact details of the person who can answer those questions. Next you can meet the HR (who usually is present during these career fairs) and ask them about any issues that you faced while applying and learn more about the process involved.

Of course, I have to agree to this one point my friend Ravi made and I am sure many others did: When there are international companies in the fair and when you approach them, they say they are looking only for Dutch students or at least students who can speak Dutch. It does not make sense when a Multi National Company says so because even if the position is based in Netherlands, they will be interacting with offices in other countries and obviously it cannot be done in Dutch. It is sad but since you cant do much about it, no point cribbing, just move on to the next ;)

Basically, career fairs are not about what they offer. Almost everyone can find out about it. You should not expect to receive a job/internship there on the spot. It is more about what you can get out of it. Clear your queries and learn how you can apply successfully. Moreover, you can learn about the personal opinions & stories of the employees and learn more about how the company operates and the opportunities and other factors involved.

Last but not the least, they did have good food and drinks and we definitely got a pocketful of goodies ;). So go ahead and have a good time .. Good luck for the next one :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

The General Update

After a long long time, I finally met my friend from Eindhoven when he came to Delft for his interview with IBM for an internship. We had a great time rushing to IKEA (IBM is next to IKEA) and he was against taking a bus because he was worried what he would do if he misses it "somehow". And so there we were holding a huge map of Delft which I had got during the introduction days and figuring out the shortest way to walk towards IKEA. Well, we did manage to reach on time despite having to wait at signals :D He was telling me how in Eindhoven that is not the case and people just jaywalk without worries.

So I left him there and headed back home. He came back later and told me it went good and was still worried. He kept on bugging me till yesterday saying the results are still not out and today they told him that he has got the internship (Phew :D).

Ok serious stuff now .. 

On 7th of Feb I had a training organized by De Delftse Bedrijvendagen (DDB) or The Delft Business Days. It brings in companies and students under one roof. It is something like a campus fair. The training I had was an Application Training for hunting, applying and achieving a job in Netherlands. I know, I know that it is too early for me but it is a great chance for me to use it in finding internships too :) The training was provided by Nannette Ripmester who works for the institution Expertise in Labour Market.

We were provided with valuable tips regarding how the Dutch society works and what approach works best. We were also briefed on how to make an effective resume and what questions can be expected in an HR interview. So overall, a great training session.

Tomorrow onwards we have the Presentation days till 15th of Feb and many companies will be coming and setting up booths in the Aula. NLR - The Dutch Aerospace Laboratory will be coming tomorrow and I hope to get an opportunity to talk to them and get some crucial insight. Day after there are many more aero companies coming like EADS, Rolls Royce, Fokker, Atkins etc. So do wish me luck for that :)

Catch ya all soon :)


It sure has been a long while since my last post. Exams beating down on you sure isnt a pretty time but it aint no excuse either. It was on 3rd Feb that we had a very heavy snowfall and we sure as hell had a good time packing snowballs (not as easy as I thought) and hurling at each other. After some time we got so tired of making snowballs that we just carried the snow around n hurled it on people :D

After a few days I was walking by the major Delft canal and I saw this black bird happily walking away on the ice making a nice plop-plop-plop sound. And suddenly the ice gave way and the bird had a dip into the icy cold river. It crawled its way back onto the ice and sat there with a totally new expression staring at the place the ice broke. Looks like the birds do find the water cold after all :P

The snow experience was great. The whole city covered in a blanket of white. It almost brought in a spirit of Christmas. Too bad it dint snow back then. But everything has its own time :)

Few days into the snowfall, it had been walked on, compacted and turned into ice. It was sometimes slippery made getting around scary but it was fun none the less :)

We tried walking on the canal first and boy it was fun until a Dutch lady came to us and told it can be risky and guided us to the frozen pool in front of the Industrial Design. There were people skating and sliding. It was a great atmosphere. Then my friend and I had to be idiots and walked to the other end near a bridge and as we approached it more, we could hear the ice cracking. We panicked and scrambled back to safe ice and told the others. Maybe thats human tendency but they had to disprove it. So off they went and heard it cracking again and came back running as fast as they could :D

Chilled Beer

Will be back with more news. So stay tuned :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Journey Back Home

The return home is always something very special and after every trip you just wish to be back home and same was the case with me. However, I still had to make my way to my cozy spacebox from Schipol in the early hours of the day.

While I waited for my baggage to arrive, I recalled my journey from Delhi airport to Schipol. The Delhi Airport has to be by far the best airport I have seen and trust me it is a very proud moment for an Indian who says this after having seen the Amsterdam, Paris, Dubai, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysian airport :P

While it was technologically advanced as per international standards, they had a huge wall with different hand mudras on it. It simply made my heart leap and my eyes tear :) I was so glad that we had finally learnt to combine and showcase our heritage with modern advancements. Moreover, it was really a proud moment when I heard the ground staff using Standard Phonetic Alphabet Codes to guide the passengers :D Sure was surprised when the Indian ground staff asked me to head towards the '10 Bravo' gate and then decoded it 10 'B' hoping I understand :D

Well, I settle down in my KLM flight and I am perfectly positioned (Thanks to me having selected my seat ;)) behind the wing and I am all excited to observe the flap positions (Comes with being a aero engineer :P). But then the sleep God decides to bless me and I am trying to stay awake long enough to see the take off positions but the pilot has his own ideas and decides to taxi around for 20 minutes. And finally he takes off and we must be around 2 Km from the ground when I am all out.

I wake up just in time for breakfast. Most important meal of the day ;) As we came closer to our landing, the land below was so beautiful. The wasnt out yet but the lighting down in Schipol was so ordered. It looked like mini circuit boards. Everything in perfect alignment and in straight lines. Sure was fascinating to see everything in perfect order :D

I finally breathe a sigh of relief as I spot my bag. And after 2 train changes and a bus ride, I walk another 400 Metres and 3 floors up to my lovely cold room :P Luckily the weather was much nicer than when I left. Felt good to be back and Delft was really welcoming :) Felt so perfectly synced with the birds, the people and even the wind .. Had kinda started to miss it :D And from the next day the deadlines and sleepless nights began :D One of my friends even went all broke with no food or sleep for 24 hours. But thats just us keeping things for last minute ;)

Exams creeping up and still a few assignments and presentations to do :) Will surely share any juicy news that come up my way ;)

For now, awaiting my neighbour's return from India :) Hope you all have a lovely time too :)


My 'Self Declared Jealous Girlfriend' ;)

Well, as promised this section is for my 'girlfriend' :D

But let me first tell you about the 3 girlfriends of mine :)

Dont get me wrong, aint a playboy but without each of em, my life would not be the same and currently now that I am here, they all miss me back home :)

Well, the first one is my 'Royal Princess' :D She is my Purple coloured two-wheeler :) Too many close shaves and yet we both are going strong ;)

Then came my beautiful and strong hearted 'Red Princess'. This 4 wheeler beauty of mine is my soulmate. I was afraid I wont be able to drive her when I go back since I was used to riding my bike on the right side here while back home its on the left side. But once I sat in and powered her on, things just switched into gear automatically like it was in my DNA. I almost remembered every pothole and every turn. I say almost because there were new potholes added to the collection of old :P However, we both had quite a lovely time these few days and spent many a days together ^_^

And finally, my last and definitely the star of this blog, is my third and final girlfriend. She is quite something. She gives me access to the whole world but the moment I start talking to a girl, she switches off and wont listen to me no more :( For those who did not get it, she is my beloved modem :P She has a mind of her own and loves controlling my virtual social life :P No amount of coaxing pleases her once her mood is off and its only the next day that she shall forgive me :P

I am sorry if I have bored you away with this one but do come back for the next one because things are just about starting to get interesting in Delft :)

Until next time :)

And so the King of Procrastination finally gives up his title …

I am really sorry for the long gap since my last post my beloved avid readers. If you remember, my last post was from the Paris airport. A lot has happened since then and so I am going to give you all a crash tour ;)
I land in Bangalore and was supposed to be greeted by my Dad. But his flight got delayed and I ended up receiving him :D He was the only one in on this plot of mine ;) So the next day we take a bus to my hometown Mangalore. We reach there by night 9 and head straight to my grand aunt’s place .. She was so pleased to see me :D Then headed over home where mum was praying and thinking it is dad asked me to come in as the door was open. So there I was still ringing the bell and she got irritated and came out only to find me .. Surprises sure are the best things in life :D

Btw, I don’t think I told you but I had come home to attend the wedding of my favourite cousin sister. Little did she know I was making my trip :P And so the next day she sees me and was so shocked that she asked me to go back :P

All in all, her wedding went great and was glad I was able to make it. I met many of my relatives and friends. Was back with my old job of getting people around in my 'Red Princess' ;) And I so loved it :D They say Christmas is a time for family and friends and in that sense I had the perfect Christmas :) I hope you all had a wonderful one too :)

But once all the excitement got over, I was missing my beloved city of Delft and all my dear friends here ..
Wow .. The ‘Grass is greener on the other side’ thing really plays up :D

I wanted to write things for so long but as my dad always says, I am the king of procrastination :D But had many a deadlines to meet and still do. More on those but my next blog I want to dedicate to the ‘self declared jealous girlfriend’ of mine and my 'Red Princess' ;)

Have fun people :)