Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Flashback- of a Not so Distant Past..

There is jubilance in the air (and so are we – we haven’t landed yet :P), and the crowd breaks into applause. I’m surprised that anybody would express their joy for a mere phenomenon of landing, and turn to look at Amit in astonishment. He looks at me like as if their reaction is normal, and I begin to see reason. After a few pictures on the runway, the three of us walk to the bus stop, where we buy tickets to the Termini. The bus ride is unpleasant to the extreme, and I believe that if I had spent a minute longer inside, I would have suffocated to death. Rangit and Amit however, find the bus journey pleasant.

I haven’t had lunch and hence hungry (also to the extreme- it’s around 7.30 p.m), when I spot an Indian restaurant and exclaim loudly, “There’s an Indian restaurant here! Let’s go!” *Amit and Rangit’s comments for this will be a spoiler, and hence not included.* We walk in, and Rangit speaks Bengali with the Bangladeshi in the restaurant. One might think we’re taking a stroll on the streets of Kolkata, and have decided to stop for dinner.

I order a Vegetable Biryani (though the item doesn’t exist on their menu) and Rangit gets complimentary Dahi thanks to the common language.

Stomachs full, we walk out, calling thanks to the Bangladeshi for the good food. We reach our hotel, and the view from the window is Spectacular (with an S capital). We’ve gotten a hotel at a picturesque location at a price so reasonable ( the girl in the group is obviously delighted. Not that the guys are not, except they’re more conservative about expression). We speak to the owner if there is any time restriction for us coming back, and much to our delight, he says we might come and go as we please; we will have the keys to the main door, the keys to the door on our floor and the keys to our room (of course :P)

Strolling down the street, I cannot stop staring at the beautiful buildings adorning the streets; every turn I take gives me more eye candy, and it seems like the place is filled with unending candy!

Rome, as is said, was not built in a day.

Woot. Woot. Woot. :D

I now truly understand, why Rome, and not any other place on the planet, is said to have not been built in a day. The beauty of the place marvels you, and it has been a fortnight since I visited the place, but the aroma of the food tasted, the places visited remain etched in memory..

We return at 1:30 odd back to our floor, and try the key. It doesn’t work. The Chinese teacher has already taught Amit how to use the key, and she’s even made him try it. I’m too sleepy even to stand, so I just sit near the steps and wait for Amit to open the door. Second Attempt, No. Rangit takes the key and tries. Nope. I try. Nope. And then I remember the notice on the other side of the door: “Please do not lock the door from inside. Otherwise, the other people will knock on the door anytime, and you cannot sleep”.

Obviously, the lady/gentleman who has locked it cannot read English.

We now call the owner, and by the time he arrives, I have snoozed off.

I am awakened by loud shouts from the owner, “Hello? Please open the door! You have locked it from the inside”. No response.

3.30 am: I’m slightly aware of the happenings around.

The owner is almost screaming. “HELLO! I’M THE OWNER OF THE HOTEL! PLEASE OPEN THE DOOR”

I am worried. No alive soul can sleep with so much noise around. Or so I thought, until the next morning, when the hotel owner informs us that 6 people (all alive and seemingly normal) inhabited that floor and managed to sleep through all the noises we made! I still don’t believe it.

The next morning (afternoon rather), we set foot in Florence (Firenze) - a beautiful city, known as the heart of Renaissance and not for nothing. The city has the air of a bygone era, where horse carts pull the passengers (which totally reminds of the Kathryn of 1969- The Vampire Diaries) and yet does not seem to be backward in any case.

Preserving the look and feel of how cities might have been centuries ago , and yet being furnished with all facilities accustomed to the 21st century man, that’s what Firenze is all about.

Next on the list was a visit to Pisa. If you have never been drunk in life, you must visit the Pisa. You will know how anyone who’s sloshed feels, quite precisely. The tower leans 17cm every year, and the lean is actually felt once you enter, and that is just the beginning of the thrill.

Circumambulating around the tower (at the top) once was much more delightful (however scared I was, much to the amusement of the other two who claim to be brave souls… nah, just that they aren’t weightless like me :D) than the view from the top (remember? It leans!).

The visit to the Collosseum is like an orange juice extract of history, and if you haven’t opted for the guided tour (like us), you probably won’t appreciate it to it’s worth (unless you know all your facts before you get there). One of the present wonders, and definitely worth a visit. (But if you ever get there, take the guided tour!)

We visited an umpteen number of churches (all of which were beautiful in their own way), the private museum of Da Vinci (Woot), the Vatican City – the eponymous Sistine Chapel, Spanish steps, the Trevi Fountain and a beach over the next two days. And yes, we ate as much pizza and pasta as we could (which is a lot, believe me. Three humans, and one giant pizza. Humans and Giants, we are some match :D) After the 3 whole days- which went faster than we’d wanted- we did not want to return from the city that has so much to offer.

We boarded the flight to Dusseldorf (which is my temporary home), with the only consolation that we had tossed a coin over our left shoulders into the Fountain De Trevi- there is a saying that anyone who tosses a coin over their left shoulder into the Fountain De Trevi, shall return to Rome someday!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sailing a New Boat.. Germany!!!

Forget all the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate writing

So, here I am… Forgetting all rules, and forgetting about getting published.

Though I always write for myself (and there has been no exception to this rule), I don’t know about the ‘Celebrate Writing’ part. That, only the readers can tell- whether the writing brings out not just a part of myself, but also the joy or celebration in the action itself (perverted minds, concentrate :D)

Straight to topic, I have just read a few more pages of this world.

As I’m sure you didn’t get what I meant, some great person has quoted so: “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”.

Allow me to bask in a moment’s glory, before I revert to my normal down-to-earth self. :D

As I’m sure many of you know, the girl has always claimed to be a travel enthusiast, and though she has hardly seen a part of India, she always has claimed that given an opportunity, she’d pack her bags and be off, without a second thought. Let me introduce you to that girl, the very same owner of the blog, Sandhya Nagaraj, aka Me.

So, the girl who never traveled alone even from Bengaluru to Hyderabad, had to travel from Bengaluru to Dusseldorf, Germany, and not so surprisingly, the girl was scared right out of her wits about how to go about.

And so the days passed by. July 27th, 2012. The thought was, It’s ok, I have to travel on 31st July, there’s a looooott of time left. Somewhere in the corner of my brain, a tiny neuron lit up, saying, “31st July is 4 days away”. I successfully managed to bury that thought and went to sleep in peace.

29th July: I was officially freaking out, and I had no qualms in letting the world know about it. Traveling alone to Germany, transit at Dubai, are you kidding me?! What girl in her right mind would agree to travel alone, even when her manager had asked repeatedly if she had any issues traveling alone? Me, apparently. I know I’m 22, and I must be completely capable of traveling alone and all that, but that was the very first time, and I do believe I get some consideration for that.

31st July came in no time, and I was at the airport, with mixed feelings. I tried to be extreme rational instead of becoming emotional, because once I get emotional, I’m gone and I wreck everything that comes my way. So I check in with a cool head and board the flight, one cute steward offered me vodka with orange juice, which I politely denied. (I don’t know my alcohol threshold, and I have no intentions of testing it on my first lone travel in air- I’m sure you empathize!) The steward looked at me in surprise, (I guess no one rejects a drink from him) I smiled stupidly; he nodded in understanding and walked away.

I had my meal – Rajma, Roti and Rice- I was totally surprised that they serve authentic Indian food (I expected Bread and Cheese when I opted for the vegetarian meal). I’d hardly finished my orange juice (just the orange juice, yeah), and we landed in Dubai. I was thrilled! Whoever said that traveling alone was difficult?

There was a waiting time of about an hour and a half (approx) which was welcome, and then a 7-9 hr flight to Dusseldorf.

And I was a little worried, because I don’t particularly enjoy the feeling of being in air. I don’t get sick, but that doesn’t mean I like it.

I was hoping I’d be able to distract myself… I found myself seated beside a German family (the father and mother were beside me, their son and daughter right behind). He told me that they were returning from a trip to Thailand, which they really enjoyed. I smiled and spoke a bit, all the while trying to find something to keep me distracted… and Voila!

I was browsing through the movie and soap collection the flight had, and found Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, and over a dozen comedy soaps, and that was exactly the kind of distraction I was looking for!

Time flew by, the flight was not as smooth as the one from Bengaluru to Dubai- but we were soon at Dusseldorf airport, and none the happier than me.

Now, you see, I had 30kg of luggage, and a cabin bag apart from the company laptop, and I thought it’d be pretty easy to just pull the two bags, while carrying the cabin and laptop bags. What was I thinking, really?

I struggled to reach the taxi port (which was just a few yards away), and was none the gladder when I got into the cab.

The accommodation blew me away. No, I don’t live in a 5-star with spa and gym facilities- like how Sunny does- but a 3-star with kitchen facilities and an hour’s worth free Wifi :P and a girl like me is happy with this much. Easy to please, eh? :D

The places I’ve seen, the food I’ve tasted, the people I’ve met and the things I’ve done.. All in the next post, and I promise, the quality will be better than this one.

I welcome your comments, be it on my writing, or the topic itself!


P.S: It's when you care about something that the best in you comes out, because otherwise, there's no reason to bring out your best. I know this is not my best piece of writing, but something I checked this morning, gave me that drive to write. And that something I checked, is called IUquotes. The fact that the site is designed by a Friend was all the more the reason, considering I'm miles away. Even small things like reading a quote from a site designed by a friend makes me become emotional, well er, I'm human, too.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Year Since.. Performance Evaluation

June 30th,2012.

It’s been a year since I joined Huawei, and I look back at the year-gone-by, and as is tradition, see how different I am today from 30/06/2011. Progress reports were misleading in the sense we only needed to track our academic performance, and the time has come when no one’s going to hand me over a report card measuring pure academic performance. The time has come when I need to make my own assessment, and see where I stand.

I see what I’ve done, what I’ve let pass, how I have spent my time, the challenges faced, the defeated battles, the wars won, the maturity attained, the (disastrous number of) books read, the people I’ve met, the tits and bits I’ve learnt and what I’ve become, overall.

And what I see, not so surprisingly, is a changed person.

The old me wouldn’t have thought of investments (I used to dislike financial management, and now have to terms with the fact that money will slip through your fingers, if you aren’t careful), wouldn’t have thought of contributions to society. I definitely wouldn’t have thought of extracting outputs from the few talents that I have been gifted with, and a few others I have painfully developed and many other perceptions have changed.

I was rather disappointed yesterday, that I cannot measure to perfection, the amount I have learnt and the skills I have acquired over the last year. *Which is when a delightful idea struck me*

I have hence decided to maintain a daily activity report which will later be plotted as a graph of things done over the year, to show me my standing precisely, which can be compared to the previous year, year after year.

The only downside to this idea is I must take a few minutes out every day and dutifully fill up the report, which is a little difficult for me.

But as long as I remember the reason I’m doing this, I guess the motivation will last, and next year this time, I will be a more content person, with accurate data staring at me in the face. Such joy. :D

And I quite on purpose, have not covered how office has been over the past year, I think that deserves a separate post, as that isn't about performance evaluation.

Here’s to another beginning of sorts, to what this year sees me through!
My fella batch mates, seniors, juniors.. Good year to ya'all :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Damon Demystified.

I got my hands on (the much talked about) Vampire Diaries yesterday. Was curious to know what the hype was all about- around the Damon Salvatore guy- I was in total judging mode when I sat down to check S01E01. So the guy who plays Matt Damon appeals to most people, and as the discerning reader has already guessed, I am not 'most people'. I'm not saying I can't care less about Damon on screen. His character is interesting enough, compelling me to see if he has a soul or if he is nothing but a hot looking cold blooded monster. (Cold blooded seems so fitting a description, pardon the pun!) Stefan -the younger brother- on the other hand, is a completely different story. I ain't objective about him, and I'm still trying to figure out if I am rooting for the good guy here. (Coz I think I must've hated Snape at one point of time or the other, but I didnt hate him when he killed Dumbledore. I dont conclude till the author / scriptwriter concludes a story.)

But I must say, however objective I am about things, Vampire Diaries is interesting enough to make me want to get back and watch more, which is what I did today, after work.

Three hours later, my respect for Damon (and the scriptwriter) has grown, and now there's nothing to dislike about Damon. The cold bloodedness of the charatcter, the (over)acting skills of the actor (which Krupa soo dislikes :P), the arrogance of the character, the extreme fake smile of the actor- I love all of that! 8 hours earlier, at office, I was almost clapping my hands in glee that I would finally be slaying Damon on my blog (much to the bemusement of most friends), but that sadly, was not to be.