Monday, August 4, 2008

Joker In the Pack

In case if you are wondering if I am the Joker in the pack, you are wrong.I am not and you will know why did I choose this title for my 3rd blog. I know, I haven't been writing much for you to call me a blogger and I am not sure if I can be called an avid reader because I have seen people read many many books, be it novels or textbooks. I do love reading books,but if that was the case, I would have performed better in my academics by reading my textbooks:-) .Yes, I would certainly have faired well if all the information in these textbooks were fictional because I love reading fictional books. I have read a lot of them and these books continue to fascinate me. This blog is about some of these books which I got to read out of boredom rather than intent. I am speaking about the books which have been selling in the market like hot samosas and more and more people are writing such stuff which makes me worried that it might lead this to saturation. All right, I dont want you to keep guessing what is that genre of book which is making me to write an entire blog about it. Five point someone,One night at call centre,Anything for you Ma'am, Joker in the pack ( yes, this is where I got my title for this blog) ....I think you know what is the genre of the book my blog is about....
All these books are fictional or rather contain fictional characters woven around a story which seems too real that we feel each time we read a line.. Yes, I have gone through this. First one out was, "Five point someone" which to this day remains my favorite in this genre and will always be. It was cleverly written with the backdrop of IIT . More than the storyline, it was the way in which it was written drove to me reading more such books. Each line I read had some connection to the events in my college days .No, I am not an IITan by any stretch of imagination, and one doesn't have to be an IITan to find some uncanny resemblance to the events written in this book. I finished reading it and was awestruck by the writing skills of Chetan Bhagath. Then came his another work which was half as good as his previous one, which relates to a few guys working in the call centre. This failed to impress me (probably because I have never been in a Call center environment ) but the ending of this book was way way too fictional for me to love it. But the most recent one was "A joker in the pack". This is about the life of a guy from another premier institute IIM. This again goes around a guy who enters the College with loads of aspirations
(wish i had them too) and its the same thing here...All of it is about a guy who is not fit to be in such an environment in the first place, but somehow makes it at the end with flying colors.Another one off the shelf was "Anything for you Ma'am" . Although it is not about a students life , the characters are students and the story is entirely based on love between a guy and a girl who happen to meet by chance...For most part of these books, they seem to go in plain yet so realistically true, that It amazes me....where in the world do they get the ideas from.Apart from "Five point someone", the rest of the lot seem to end in a plain and rather boring way to my liking. By reading all these books, my hand has been itching quite a lot to take a pen and start writing a book ..but what is the use, even my blogs seem to end rather pathetically as the authors of the above mentioned books and most important thing is I do not want to be a "Joker in the pack" by writing another book of the same kind.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Duestchland..Here I come

Well, heres another blog...this is actually about my trip to Germany(Deutschland) in Nov 2006(I know its a long time since then and i should have posted it a long time back). the saying goes,Its better late than never.Here it goes:

First Weekend

The Journey

My first weekend outside India for the first time in my life!!! I was a bit Homesick at that time and was eager to just stay out of my room as much as possible. One of my colleagues was in köln with whom I had a good rapport. He came to my room on Fri night and both of us along with 8 other RBINites had planned to go to Neuschwanstein .We got up at about 3:35 on Sat Morning and left for Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof ( Main station) at 4.45 and reached there at about 5:20. Most of our friends had already come to the station. The train was at 5:35. We got into the train and the train started chugging along at medium pace and initially we were all sleepy. So all of us caught up with our 40 winks and after about an hour of sleep everyone started to come out of their slumber and to freshen up we started with Dumb Charads and played all along the way till we had to get down at a small station to catch another train. The other train arrived in about 10 minutes . We got into the train and almost immediately started from where we had left ( Dumb Charads ). We finally reached the place and we had to get into a Bus which took us to the foot of a mountain.


Neuschwanstein is a place which has a Castle ( Very Big infact ) perched on top of a mountain and is covered with dense folia of bushes and some trees. And Luckily the whether was very nice.. It had snowed the previous night . So the entire mountain was snow covered and this was the first time in my life that I was seeing snow.( Of course I had seen it on TV, But to experience it first hand is something worth to cherish for a long time ). There were several options to reach the castle like Bus, Horse driven Carriages and trek along the snowy path. We, being the adventerous kind, preferred to trek to the top. And started our trek along the path which was covered with snow and some dense Bushes… We played all along with the snow.. Made some snowballs and hit everyone in sight ( Literally!!! We even hit some of the localites!!! They gave a pretty mean stare at us.. but in the end laughed it off).

It took us about 45 minutes to reach to a place which had a Famous bridge connecting two mountains.. The bridge was pretty amazing considering the fact that it was built without any support other than at the two ends.. The view from the bridge down was really scary!!!!( I have the fear of heightsL) So I stayed at one end of the bridge for the initial few minutes while all the others enjoyed the breathtaking view from the center of the bridge. There was a small waterfall directly below the bridge.. ( and it was about 300 mts below ) and exactly opposite to the bridge was the Castle . The view was fantastic and sight to behold. After sometime, some of my friends started calling me to come to the center of the bridge.. I politely refuse saying that I am happy standing where I was.They coaxed and cajoled me for a while and finally dragged me to the center without giving an ear to my pleas for letting me go.

Finally I was able to muster up some wee bit of courage that was left in me and looked around the place for a breathtaking view and ran off to the end as fast as I could. We stayed there for some more time and started walking to the Castle . It took us 15 more minutes to reach the castle. We had seen so much of the Natures captivating beauty that Castle looked like any other building to us.. We just went around on the outside of the castle and started our journey back to Stuttgart. We had a train at 3:35 and were able to catch it in the nick of time and as usual started our dumb charads. We get down at a small station called Buchloe to change the train. We had 45 minutes before the other train would come. So just roamed around the village. There was not even a single person visble to us on the streets. NO shop was open. It looked like a ghost town. ( In fact any city you roam around in germany on Sun , it will be like a Ghost town as people here chill out at home on Sundays). Our Connecting train came 10 minutes late and we got into it and reached Stuttgart at about 9:00 PM. Went directly to the room, fell flat on the bed and got up the next day at about 10. Then idled around for a while and roamed around stuttgart till evening.

Second Weekend

The Journey

We had planned to go to Munich the next Weekend. So we had to catch the 5:48 AM train from Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof and it was a direct train to Munich. We ( 8 of us , of which 5 were from the last trip and 3 new guys) reached Munich at 9 and proceeded to the Deutches Museum.

The Location

The Deutsches Museum is the Largest Museum in and around Germany and is supposed to be the Second largest Museum in Europe.( Don’t know the Biggest one J ) . It actually requires 3 full days to cover each and every part of the Museum. We reached the Museum at about 9:30 , purchased the entry tickets and went in.

About the Museum:

The Museum is housed in a Six floor building. And once you come up to the entrance after purchasing the tickets, you will be facing three pathways. Each one of them will lead you to a particular section of the Museum , And also there is a guide map which helps us to decide from where we should start our tour of the museum. There are many many sections like Marine, Mining , Electronics, Electrical, Astronomy, Aerospace, Aeronautics, Computer science, Physics, Chemistry, Agriculture, Mathematics to name a few.

We were able to see some of the sections as time was a major factor that limited our tour of the musuem ( We had to catch a train back to Stuttgart at 6:51 in the evening ). It is very difficult to recollect the entire trip of the musuem, but some of the best ones will be described.

One of the Best Sections of the Museum is Electrical where there is a demonstration of Electrical and electromagnetic power. Two guys demonstrate the artificial lightning and magnetically generated sparks on a Huge piece of Glass. It was amazing to see the lightning at such a close distance. Electronics is another wonderful section where we get to see some of the worlds oldest computers like ABACUS, UNIVAC ( UNIVAC is supposed to be the worlds first super computer) . The processor of UNIVAC wieghs 19 tons and occupies an entire room . It was amazing to see such a huge computer.

We went around the sections (which sounded interesting to us) till 4:00 PM and then climbed up all the way to the sixth floor for the Planetarium. The show started at sharp 4:00 and went on for half an hour. It was not that good as the explanation was completely in German language. Finally we came out of the museum at 5:00 PM and were walking back to the Munich Station when on the way we saw an Indian restaurant called “Indian Mango”. All of us barged into the restaurant and had some delicious food after a long time ( Almost 2 weeks for me ). We sat in the Restaurant for about an hour enjoying the food as well as the Hindi songs which were being played in the background…. And finally boarded the train at 6:51 to Stuttgart. We reached stuttgart at 11:00 PM in the night and made plans for the next day. We planned to go to Bad Urach which is about one hour journey from stuttgart.


As planned on the previous day, we got up at about 6:00 am and we met at the Station at about 7:30 and boarded a train to a place which was nearby to Bad Urach. We reached the place ( Don’t exactly remember the name of the place J) and got into a Bus to reach Bad Urach.

The Location:

Bad Urach is an amazing place . There are three waterfalls situated on top of the mountains. The view of the mountains was simply amazing. It was completely covered with Huge trees , the leaves of which had turned to a mixture of orange and yellow as the winter had set in. We did not have any idea on how to reach to the waterfalls. Luckily one localite was on his way up to the waterfalls and he asked us to join him. As we started our trek, the localite informed us that we have to walk for 3 hours to reach to the top!!!! (Phew!!!) We trodded along the muddy path of the mountain with some small waterfalls here and there to reach the top. Once there, we were amazed to see a completely flat green patch of grass and at the end of the patch was a vertical ( 90°) drop which was very very deep and to the left of the patch there was a small road which led to the waterfalls. We spent sometime on the green patch and then started walking along the small road to the waterfall the road went through a dense forest . some Huge trees had fallen down because of heavy rains. After about half an hour, we reached the waterfalls. It was a breathtaking sight ( although it was not a big one, it was a pretty sight ). And we spent about an hour there and then started our journey back, tired but happy. Reached the bottom of the hill in about 2 hours and got into a train and headed back to Stuttgart!!

Third Weekend

The Plan

We had no specific plans till the Friday evening. Finally one member from our group suggested that we go to Wilhelma! So we all agreed since we did not have any other ideas.

The Journey

Wilhelma is a Zoo in Stuttgart and it takes 7 minutes to reach the place from Hauptbahnof. All of us had planned to Catch the 10:59 Train and reach there by 11:06. Myself and two other guys who were staying in the same hotel as mine got up late and missed the 10:59 train and as expected, the others left us and went to the Zoo..But we were able to catch the next train which was at 11:27. We reached there at 11:45 and entered the Zoo.

The Location

Well, Wilhelma as I said is a Zoo located in Central Stuttgart. It is quite big by German Standards. ( Germany does not have any National Parks or Scantuaries). But the first impression you get on seeing it is.. It is nothing when compared to the Mysore zoo or Hyderbad zoo. However , it has some animals which are unique and cannot be found in India, like Ploar Bear ( 3 of them ) . They are really huge ( Really Really Huge!!!!) and you get amazed at theier size…Insects Museum , where they have several insects like spiders, butterflies, bugs and many such things and Seals .. There is a seal show every two hours where seals will play with ballons and balls…

Other than these, I could not find anything interesting. So I would like to stop this here…


On sun, Me and 3 other guys planned to go to the Mercedes Benz Museum. We got up at about 11 AM that day.! And started to the Museum at 12:30 and reached there by 1:15. There was a big queue at the entrance which we had not expected ( Being a Sunday that too in Stuttgart , which would usually be a dead city on Sundays!). After spending about half an hour in the queue , we got in the Musuem. The Entrance ticket cost us 8 euros which included Audio guided tour also.

The Location

The Museum is pretty big ( 6 Floors). And the shape is quite amazing. The entire bulding had only cars cars and more cars. Right from the first ever car known to man to the latest one which no one has seen as yet! One will go crazy seeing at the cars. There are some Videos as well which gives the info about the growth of the Mercedes Benz as a Automobile Company and its struggules during the World wars and the amazing recovery post world wars. Each floor is nicely divided into sections like Vintages in one floor, Celebrities ( This section contained cars which were owned by Renowned personalities like Diana, Einstein and such ppl) in another to F1 cars, racing cars in some other floor. There was also a floor which was meant for Racing freaks which had two huge Race Simulators. One can sit inside these simulators and you get the feeling of driving an F1 Mclaren Mercedes ( This is a must see part of the Museum). Then there is a floor which houses all the latest Benz Models in the market now including the Maybach plus a shop where we can purchase some Mercedes Benz Souviniers. By the time we came out of the Museum it was 7 PM. Tired but elated we went back to our room for a nice sleep.

Fourth Weekend

On Friday evening, Me and Rakesh ( My colleague) went to cologne. We left at 6:30 PM and reached there by 11:00 PM. Mahesh ( who is my colleague and also cousin of Rakesh and stays in Cologne) picked us up from the station . We went to his house, had dinner and slept.

We woke up the next morning and started from his house at 11:00 AM. We roamed around cologne. Went for a one hour cruise on river Rhine. Then, just roamed around the streets of cologne ( Cologne is famous for its shopping malls ) till evening 7:00 . On Sunday we went to the Chocolate Museum where hot chocolates are prepared and it is available for all to see how they prepare it. There were some chocolates which were free for all. Then went to the Cathedral of Cologne. The Cathedral is one of the largest in the world and is listed in the 77 wonders of the world. The exteriors of the castle is covered with black soot kind of thing due to Pollution and much of its sheen is lost due to this which is otherwise a pure white Castle.

The Interiors however is amazing. Huge Pianos , wall paintings and one really Huge ladder which was used in the ancient times for cleaning the castle. The ladder is as long as the Castle and almost touched the roof. I have never seen such a big ladder in my whole life and I am sure I will not see it in the future also.

We had a train back to stuttgart at 5:20 PM and it was an ICE!!! They are the fastest trains in Germany as well as in Europe. The journey was amazing with the train reaching speeds of 312 Km/h.
Finally reached stuttgart at 7:30 and went home and slept thinking of what was an amazing four Weekends which will be etched in my memory forever.!

Land of Dreams???Duh!!!

It all started on Dec 12th 2005 at 1:30 PM...This was the time i completed my GRE exam and got to know my score(lets not reveal it)....this was the day my dream of going to USA pretty much materialized...and then the planning on where to go....when to go, went on for almost a year and a half until it was finalized on June 7th ...when the Blond guy at the US visa consulate behind a glass counter hit the approved seal on my passport confirming that i am going to USA just for studying and nothing else. From that day on...till the moment that I landed in El Paso International airport i had been dreaming of all those high rise so called skyscrapers which appear to bore a hole in the low lying clouds...and dreaming that i will be living in one of these places where the view from my room in which i would be spending the rest of my days while doing my Masters would be filled with these skyscrapers.
All of these things vanished into thin air on looking up through the window of the airplane (which was smaller than the Indian buses and had seats that were upright with zero degree tilt.For once I missed the Volvo buses that were screeching and screaming through the busy Bangalore roads).All the buildings(yes...all of them) were at best 2 storey tall,not an inch more than jaws dropped,I asked myself..Where am i???(In a tiny village in a remote area in India?).This was too hard to be true,all i could see was acres and acres of plain land with some houses scattered here and there.
This is not USA...or is it????All my dreams of skyscrapers crash landed the moment i landed in USA....And the view I got from my apartment was of plain mountains which appeared to drill a hole through the low lying clouds .I will be continuing this....after some time though..