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 :)