Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Things are going smoothly, I'm getting used to the weather and all such
minor things which become a major problem if you try and fright it! so
I'm officially "with the flow" now. Things are quite 'European' with me
too. I spend like crazy and spend like crazy for food and travel! Bought
a lot of healthy stuff. Being a leaf-eater is kinda frowned upon here
(up yours! Europeans!). Finally cleaned my room on Saturday, don't even
try to imagine how much of my own stuff i had to sweep out, then moped
it with dettol and had it smelling like a hospital for a few hours. Now
things are getting back no normal! some dirt is unavoidable though.
Had bought some chocolates in the flea market (no, not second hand
chocolates, they sell them first hand at cheap price, 1 EUR for each bar
of Lindt & Sprungli). So I'd bought a bar each of milk+choco, 85% coca,
99% coca, pure milk and caramel and a bag of small dark chocolates. I
finished the milk+choco, and opened teh 99% coca and man was it
something! you can't eat more than 1 square at a time! it's the espresso
equivalent of chocolate! but anyway, I'm not giving it away or anything,
even if i have to eat it for two years!
Finally made my first few bowls of rice this week. Have to say, it's not
that easy as my folks had scared me back home, as long as you're hungry
enough to be prepared to eat anything which comes out of the vessel at
the end of half an hour of being on the stove, you'll be be the best
cook in the world! simple! But, that said, it wasn't awful either. I'm
surely short of all the spices, and having to cook anything i want in
just one vessel! but then, I've never been starved of food here. I have
been starved of time and so have had to make some compromises on my
afternoon lunch on most days! (BTW peaches taste yum, and i don't mean
The German class is going on quite ok too, German is a confusing
language, much like Sanskrit, they have a very strange similarity with
each other, in the terms of addressing people formally (with respect)
and informally, and singular, double and plural of nouns. and also the
way some pronouns are used when referring to some objects which are
classified as masculine (dog, book pencil, stool) or feminine (watch,
lamp, spectacles, plug-socket) (plug is masculine) (those two were the
only ones i could guess why!) and so depending on the gender of the
noun, the possessive pronouns (like mine, yours, his, hers, it's, ours,
theirs) and the articles (like a, an, and the) also change. This is
kinda difficult to catch and I'm guessing, comes only with practice and
experience. There's one more aspect which adds to the confusion. The
forms of the verbs, derived from the infinitives, are sometimes the
same, as the infinitive itself, depending on where it's used! in
English, at least that is easy cause the infinitive is "to live" and the
different forms will be "live" "lived" "is living" "was living" "has
lived" "had lived" "has been living" and "had been living" (present,
past, present continuous, past continuous, present perfect, past
perfect, present continuous progressive and past continuous progressive
respectively) (please correct me if I'm wrong) (if you thought the last
line was confusing, then German is not your cup of tea, try chamomile
:P) and then the corresponding infinitive in German is all confusing
(at least to me) cause just the present form of the infinitive "to live"
in German "Wohnen" becomes
I live "ich Wohne"
you live "du Wohnst"
You live (with respect) "Sie Wohnen"
He/she/it lives "er/sie/es wohnt"
we live "wir Whonen"
he lives (with respect) "ihr Wohnt"
they live "sie Wohnen"
(i think i got this right, but corrections always welcome, I'll have to
write a test in any case!)
Maybe i find it confusing because i try to correlate everything to
English and then learn German by English (that's cause i don't get a
Kannada-Deutsch/Deutsch-Kannada dictionary)! Some people say it's wrong,
but then, I'd like to invite them to learn Kannada or Sanskrit, and I'll
have their head on my wall the minute they open a
I now feel like I'm in 6th and 7th Standard again and it's all coming
back to me, the exercises i used to solve in McMillan English -2 books!
the scoldings of Mrs. Sudha Rao and Mrs. Geeta Venkatesh and Mrs.
Lalitha Jagadish for using bad English is all coming back to me! Today,
if i know some English, then it's because of the foundations that
they've laid in me and my fellow classmates, of the 1996-97 batch!
But sadly, nobody has time here to teach us in such a systematic manner,
it's a crash course, and they're expected to drill and cram and we're
expected to get drilled and get stuffed with German down our throats, so
nobody uses a word of English, it's all taught purely in German, and
very soon you begin to recognize the phrases and words and will be able
to compose some broken German sentences yourself (with quite a lot of
help from the dictionary). So i guess things are not that bad. Later if
I'm interested, i can always read up on my own and learn more German.
Right now there's no problem as such, but a general discomfort, but,
also, some confidence seeing the smiles on the face of the Chinese and
the Middle-Easterners (the can't speak jack of english, forget German!)
I spend most of the morning doing homework (we're given a lot). And this
weekend i spent fiddling with the new blackberry that i bought, the
BlackBerry Bold 9000 (number attached to my signature), an awesome piece
of machine (sometimes requiring a battery-pull). It was a pretty lazy
weekend, compared to the week which vanished away so quickly! Monday is
here again, and my half-british/half-German teacher will be breathing
down my neck by noon tomorrow! Well, that's about it, expecting a huge
shipment of stuff from back home! i hope it all arrives in one piece and
hope I'll have enough space to keep all in my room! else I'll be in big
trouble (will have to stuff all the kitchen shelves with my stuff!).
Well, I'll get some more sleep and will see how the week goes! Till
then! Auf wiedersehen!
Things are looking good, finally woke up early, all on my own! guess
it's the jet-lag. Had some more formalities to do, bought a map of
Stuttgart. It's folded in a weird way and i had two people in the store
warn me about that. They're quite concerned.
Had been to the super market again! and this time took some time in the
fruits section and bought a load of fruits! something to get me going
for the next two weeks! Spending money like crazy here, guess it's that
or spending away my health! It started raining here and when it rains,
it's really cold! i mean, biting cold! doesn't seem to bother the
Europeans though, they walk around like everything is warm and sunny!
The trees here are weird, can't even recognize what kind of trees they
are! but they don't seem to flower and they don't seem to fruit! some
life they're living!
Ok, so, formalities, I'd been to the Rathaus which means "city hall" and
got a taste of German bureaucracy, they wouldn't accept my photo for the
visa extension as, it seemed, to them, that my face was two millimeters
two short according to their scale. And luckily, i had another photo in
my bag for ze Germans which they agreed to accept. They bureaucracy
doesn't stop there. The office times are weird, like one office works
from 9-12 on Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays, and from 3.30 to 6 on
Tuesdays and Thursdays and so on and so forth! I was like, can't we have
a fixed timing like everybody works everywhere from 9-5????? would be so
much easier to get things done!
The problems don't' stop there, I'd been to the post office to get some
stamps and i waited my turn at the counter and asker her politely if she
knew English, the old granny goes, blah blah blah blah Deutschland....
Blah blah blah blah DEUTSCH! I was like, "ok I'll ask at the next
counter, Danke". Anyway, i managed to buy what i wanted anyway, but
then, these people not always make it a pleasurable experience. Well,
it's nobody's fault. i guess.
we had a introductory lecture on Thursday regarding the German courses
which starts from Monday. Thankfully, there were English and German
Speakers on stage. We were explained about the courses and stuff like
that, I don't remember, it's been three years since i attended formal
college, i can't remember everything that's said! but i managed to write
everything down and am too lazy to look at it again too! Well, so far i
haven't missed anything, amen to that!
There was a big party at the IZ , the Internationales Zentrum or
International Center welcoming all the international students to
Universitat Stuttgart on Friday. There're parties arranged and city
tours, Excursions, Booze, some cinema, meetings at pubs, dancing etc
etc... The whole lot! There was complimentary lunch too this afternoon!
My first European meal, Kinda difficult, kinda scary, that I'll end up
eating something i shouldn't be! But it was fun nonetheless. There was
all sorts of greens and conveniently helped myself to a plate full of
raw veggies. Then there was a noodle packet and i had to get somebody to
the serving counter to ask the serving lady if it contained egg.
Unfortunately she said yes. But, there was some potatoes and some sort
of cheese or, later, as subbu told me, mayonnaise or something of that
sort which they announced was completely free of meat or fish or egg,
so i poured spoons full of it only to later find out that it was weird!
but then they said it's veggie and so, weird or not, i stuffed myself
with it, especially cause it was hot! I'd gone for a second helping too
for all the greens, and came back quite full actually! got to say hello
to a few new people. Then had been shopping with a guy from Malawi who
hadn't eaten in three days except for that lunch! Loaded my card with
pista, almond, cashews, raisins, some chocolate bread, apples, walnuts,
bought some rice as well. will see what to do with it maybe today or
Today, Saturday, there's a flea market going on on campus where people
sell all sorts of stuff, weird and usual most of it is around 1Eur,
50Cent etc. Friends got some jackets for 4 Eur, i got a bowl to eat
breakfast with for 50Cent, 4 bars of Lindt & sprungli and one bag of
small chocolates, all for about 5 Euro! All dark! it's the chocolate
equivalent of Espresso! Got a lanyard to put my key in so that i don't
lose it! (losing a key == replacing mail box + replacing door lock set =
250Eur!, You DO NOT lose the key at any cost!) and that's about it! It's
been biting cold here from the morning, the temperature is just over 10
degrees! and it's been that way from the morning! if you go out without
a jacket, a good one for that matter, you're sure to come back all blue,
unless, if you're European! in which case you'd still roaming around
like you would on a beach! weird people i tell you! The doors are
freaking huge and freaking heavy! Probably built to their size and they
never, ever open easily, unless of course, again, you're European. It's
been 6 days since i had coffee! i really miss it! today or tomorrow, i
need to have coffee, even if it means i have to take a ticket and go all
the way to the city to find a cup! Coffee and water, the most important
things in life, these people don't use! There's soda everywhere! plain
water is unheard of! you'll just have to drink from the tap and hope
nobody is sleeping on their job at the treatment plant! (like homer
Well, i guess that's it for now, it's the weekend, everything is closed!
yes everything on campus, the cafes, Mensa, bookstores, supermarket,
everything! it's deserted and there's nobody around! guess, I'll have to
make some plans for the evening, or make some tea (finally) and just
have a good nap.
Oh, and some updates, Finally got my visa extended, but there're still
some problems with registering with the university and stuff like that.
Will hopefully get settled on Monday or Tuesday. Further updates are
yet to come. Have fun and wish me luck for the weekend! Cheers!
My stint with the university is going on well. Had dinner (noodles) last
night and crashed around 2100hrs, Got up today only at 0830! Thankfully
my feet were no longer swollen. Had a lot of things to do in the
university, some registration with the stuttgart city council,
insurance, etc. Right opposite the stittgart city council is a huge
supermarket called Schwaben Gallery, Where you have some supermarkets
for food, clothing, fashion and then a place called Media Markt, where
they have everything electronic! Everything except the Grundig World
Band radio i was looking for. And one more thing! i wonder who got this
concept of importing things from abroad saying it's cheap. I certainly
didnt't find anything cheap here! the Sony 7600G World band radio which
i was following in india, it costs 199Eur here and it was around 7K in
india! Apple iPod touch is 219Eur, and 14K in india. A swiss army knife,
which i bought costs 63Eur here but back when i bought it, it was around
3K. Oh well, the stuff like bus ticket and stuff is explainable, a
4-stop bus ride costs 1Eur 95Cent for one direction. A map of stuttgart
costs 7Eur. A Veggie Delight Sub at Subway with 0.5Ltr coke and a cookie
costs 4Eur 99Cent. I'm like "just take it and go!" to the people at the
billing counter! One thing though, nobody ever complaing about change!
every place, every bus and every train station has change, in abundance!
And things are kinda over-organized, like say if a vending machine has
something for 50Cent, you can either put in 50Cent, or 20+20+10 or if
you put in 1Eur, it gives back the change! Crazy i tell you!
Everything is German, I get damn scared whenever someone asks me to sign
at the bottom of some printed paper, scared, that i'll end up signing
the ownership of my own life. But then the thought occurs to me, my life
is nothing important to them, why would they take the trouble of
printing a two sheet document just to own my life :P when they can do it
by flashing a knife!
Eating habits are still not optimal, Had Noodles last night, breakfast
cereal this morning, 0.5Kg of fresh grapes in the afternoon, Sub + Coke
+ cookie in the evening. Not sure what to do at night. But i bought some
bread, jam, some more breakfast cereal, soups, ketchup, milk, yoghurt,
buttermilk, sugar, salt...... everything pure veg and edible! yippie!
Got a sim card this evening, darn thing still ain't working! it seems
T-Mobile is experiencing some problems! if it doesn't work by tomorrow
then i guess i'll have to spend 4Eur to go back to the T-Mobile store
and get it sorted. Thinking of buying a better phone, a blackberry
perhaps, my eyes took a good glance at it and made my body fall in love
with it! so don't blame me! I know I know, i'm a student, blah blah! but
dast ist Zuper, Zehr Gut!"
By the way, i did the shopping and the sim card and the Subway stint all
alone, taking a bus to the city and carrying back around 10kg of stuff
back to my room! i lack a fridge here. The staying arrangements are
quite weird, There's like a flat.....err...... an huge room with a door,
and that huge space is divided into separate rooms, two separate
bathrooms and one kitchen. All this in the huge room i mentioned. The
kitchen has just one fridge, which is kinda crowded, gotta ask around
for prices of a small fridge!
Well, these few people taught me some stuff which i'd forgotten, like in
the supermarket, things at the eye level are always the highest prices,
things further down and further up will be much cheaper than things at
your eye level. But sometimes these people, i think, try to save too
much. Well, I'm not the "extreme saving" types, but i'm not a
spendthrift too, I guess people in the hostel are gonna faint if they
hear i ate at subway! Well, it made me happy! Felt like home! :)
It's 7 in the evening and the sun hasn't set, this can create some
problems in the future with my sleep cycle! My German dictionary is
finally coming to use! It's helpful till you memorize some translations
and some sentences like "where is the toilet" :| I kinda finished my
calling card quite soon, in one day :| 20 Eur in a day to call India!
This can't go on forever! but then, tomorrow is the day i'll be getting
my internet (hopefully) and so i guess i'll have to manage till then!
without cellphone and without internet, is like, too bad! That's all i
can say, cause i'm lost for words! The weather is very pleasant, it's a
warm 26 Deg Centigrade in the daytime! Clear but busy skies, cause of
the nearby frankfurt airport, the sky, when you look up, is at least
full of 2 or 3 planes. Sometimes the whole sky is cris-crossed with
streaks from airplanes, with as many as 15~20 streaks! people are so
happy with the weather that they come is all sorts of short clothes! the
only people wearing full clothing are the ones from the middle east,
Asia, Micronesia, Africa and India, Everybody else, take most of it off!
Met some classmates too, So far one guy from India, former techie - IBM,
2007 passout from chemical engineering, Arkapovo Goshal, one girl from
Greece her name is pronounced "Andro-mahi", gotta ask her to write it
down and paste it on her chest, Chemical engineering masters holder.
Another one from Philipines, Angeli, Civil Engineering. Two guys from
Africa, one from Ethiopia and one from Eritrea, I don't remember the
names, cause they needed another African to explain, in German, how to
write the name, to the insirance office girl! So i saw no point in
trying to remember it on the first day! There's William (i think) from
There're two seniors i know so far. Alexander Mack, Civil Engineering
Graduate, German National, a real fit guy and Ameen, Irrigation
Engineering Graduate, From Iran who knows everything about the Hostel
and the university, a pro-active guy, and quick witted, but quite
friendly, sometimes "bossy" and the "all knowing" type, but a real nice
Bought plug converters (with grounding)! so finally my MacBook is safe!
There're a lot of things that happened yesterday and today! I forgot
what i have tomorrow! with all my mails in IMAP and no connection to the
internet, I'm kinda stuck without internet! well, that's cause the
college corresponds to me only via email. I'll have to search out my
fellow classmates and ask them what's up for tomorrow!
One more weird thing i notices is when i'd been to the insurance office,
i saw 4 book which showed you how to exercise various parts of your
body! they have that here cause if you don't do it and you end up
falling sick or injuring something, they have to pay for it! :)
Ah the first drops of rain in Germany! :) nice to see! Cheers!
sitting in a boeing 747 i noticed one thing, it's something that they advertise, and it's something else on the inside, at least as economy class goes. First things firsts,
1. the remote at your side switches on the light of the person in the front seat.
2. in flight entertainment reboots without warning.
3. touch screen isn't so touchy.
4. it's more crammed than a night train to tirupathi!
5. you can stretch your legs, AT ALL!
6. Lean on the side wall and you hear a creak and then a "Thud" sound. You wouldn't wanna try that more than twice.
7. pillows suck, like just as much as everything inside the plane.
8. A luggage conveyor belt can cause more delay than you would've ever imagined.
9. Volvos have better cushions and rugs than this.
10. having said all that, the flight to mumbai was cool. A little turbulence at the end but then, mumbai is next to the sea, can expect that much convection at night. The snack was cool, err.... hot. Take off and landing was perfect, almost.
11. But, this, on the other hand is yet to fire up the engine after 1 hour and 40 minutes of delay!
12. Finally they decide two hours is enough to bake us all and start off.
13. The acceleration is outright brute compared to the tiny A320 which got me to bombay.
I landed! safe and sound. But thats not the fun part, it was the the part when i opened the window while everyone was alseep and the view i got! of snaking rivers, city lights, mountains, The sea. We were well above the weather, 35000 feet the onboard telemetry showed, and were cruising at 900kmph with the temperature outside at around -45 degrees centigrade. I could see that the few droplets of water on the window, which were present at the time i took off form bombay had now turned into beautiful ice crystals and soon started to bounce the sunlight like diamonds. As we entered Frankfurt, i could see the first skyscrapers appearing in view. a river "Main" (spelt 'my-ne') running in the middle of it. The 747 now started it's regular dance before landing banking continuously from left to right while decreasing altitude. finally it touched down, temp outside was 9 degrees centigrade, the snow crystals had melted and i too limbered up my joints to get out.
Customs procedures were cleared off quite easily. and i was on my way to the train station. A 3 stop ride, lasting no more than 10 minutes cost me 3Eur 50Cent. well, but it was fast though. Once at the Frankfurt Main station, i searched for something to eat. Picked up the worst posible sandwich for 3 eur 70 cent! i should've learnt my lesson then, but well, i was too hungry, i'll tell you what the lesson is in a while. I ended up wasting half the sandwich as i could not bite into the cold bread with my false teeth! Now it was time to freshen up! and take care of stuff. I went in search of the restroom. That's when i had to par 70Cent just to enter the rest room. Lesson: Stop multiplying numbers with 70! it doesn't mean the same anymore. Well, it's either that or peeing in your pants, you decide. I already did! Got some chocolates for the guy who's coming to pick me up. couldn't think of giving him anything else. No, i'm not gonna hit on him.
Sitting in the ICE (Inter City Express) to stuttgart, the weather outside and the scenery looks like i'm on the Chamundi hill road again! oh well, that's a relief.
Ppl here seem to mind their own business all the time, and if they ever happen to cross your path, they'll surely flash a warm smile, like they mean it! Passing thru some sub-urban independany houses no. They all look the same, like how I used to draw houses with triangular roofs, but with a DTH antenna on top of them all. They hang clothes out here as well. Speaking of which, they really are quite different when it comes to dressing, for many its almost like they just need a piece of cloth, for society-related reasons, not that they're trying to cover anything! and not that other take notice of it as well, well, most of the other would be in a similar state as well.
Seen some indians trying to dress like them casually. They really "TRY" to be casual in showing off skin, thus making it look vulgar!
There's a lot of graffiti culture going on, with some really beautiful pieces drawn on some walls. Saw a paaan-spit mark at a staircase Frankfurt Main. Guess they're here too! Their taste of coffee and my German is the same! Whatever you may decide. Ended up paying 1 EUR for a sugarless brown liquid, which tasted kinda ok. Guess it's my fault that i don't understand German and ended up guessing what it contains, milk/sugar, nothing! crap!
I smell like airplane fungus! No, really! I'm that bad, and i guess i baldy need a shower, hope they guy puts up with me or rather the manly odour! :| Similars repell see..! It's gonna be a tough job to get the luggage out of the train considering the train stops for only 3 mins at each station! Well.... even With all that complaining, i've made it this far. Will let you all know about more updates later! Till then!
P.S.: Yes! PDA is the big rage!
P.S: My address is :
Studentenwohnheim Straußäcker III
Allmandring 3 F 122
Some explanation. This is exactly how you write the address. But for your info:
1. Studentenwohnheim Straußäcker III is the name of the bigger unit which houses all the hostels.
2. Allmandring is the name of the hostel, there're two pfaffenwaldring and allmandring.
3. 3 F 122 is the room number - 3 F is the block. 122 is the door number.
4. 70569 is the pin code.
5. guess the rest is clear. :)