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 ? :)