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Posted in October 2011

Exaaaaams

It’s exam period. Yeah, I know it sucks. But it’s not that
bad. Hey, at least I have time to write this blog J. To keep things in context I’ll
talk about the TU Delft Library today. Don’t just leave yet! It’s interesting.

For starters, the library here is a, well, architectural
marvel. It has a sloping grass roof (real
grass) and is covered with reflective glass on three sides. The top of the
grass slope is pinnacled by a concrete-metal cone which I call, umm, ‘the cone’.
Picture it? This might help

 

A rare side view

 

 

On the inside, you wonder how the hell it managed to be so
spacy! It’s really quite huge. And, not going by convention, there aren’t
endless rows of shelves decorating the main hall. The books, and there are a lot, are confined to one side thought
that one side is three storeys high. The rest of the main hall is dotted with
study tables. I prefer this kind of a set up since you don’t feel a towering
presence of monolithic shelves and you can study with a free mind J

 

The Great Wall of Books

 

 

Apart from the main hall, the library houses quite a few
study rooms. They are excellently sound proofed and have quite soothing wall
art that enable you to be more relaxed even under the immense pressure of
exams. For instance, In the study room ‘Asia’, you might just get the feeling
that you’re studying in a sunlit Asian market. Never imagined that did you? J 

Then there’s one section reserved for silent studying. Okay it’s
a library and you’re supposed to be silent. But we’re only human J. So for the hard-core
students and people like me that get distracted easily, the silent room is
quite a haven though you do get to hear the occasion loud sigh of relief or
frustration. I’ve got my money on the latter J.
 There’s a ‘no phones no food policy’ but
there’s a mini café area in the library itself. Though on sunny days I prefer
lying on the grass roof and talking to friends (when I’m on a break of course J).

 

Shhhhh.... It's the silent room!

 

 

If there’s one drawback then it’s the lack of space to accommodate
everyone especially in the exam periods. I’m actually studying in another
building called ‘The Fellowship’ at the moment since I couldn’t find a place to
park my bicycle let alone find a place to sit inside. Oh the irony. 

But things could be worse. I could not be studying at all!

Good luck to those with exams right now! 

Tot Later

 

Two Gigs- One Night

As promised, I’m here with a follow up of the TU Delft
Diwali event. And an event it was J

After a hectic day of a morning class in Rotterdam, postal
duties, Skype obligations and a quick 15 minute birthday celebration of a
friend I was finally ready to cycle to the culture centre. I reached at around
six in the evening, two hours after the rest of my band. As expected, things
weren’t really in place yet. After some heavy lifting of the drum kit (my
weapon of choice) to the performance area, we were ready for a sound check
(Take five of courseJ).
The sound check happened amidst several other performers preparing. But,
possessing Indian attributes, we were all happy to ‘adjust’.

The show started with a quick religious ceremony, while my band-mates
and I were, umm, chilling outside. This was followed by a bharatnatiyam solo
dance by Radhika. And then, what do you know, It was time for the awesomeness
of ‘Brown Town’, my band (pun intended). We played two instrumental pieces
somewhat blended into each other. The first one was our rendition of Prasanna’s
‘Kalyani Conection’. The second was something composed by our guitarist Gaurav
which he likes to call ‘Indian Heritage’, though I have my reservations about
the name J.
We did quite well and managed to get a genuine applause! There might have been
mistakes. But hey, only we knew! My sporadic bursts of laughter while playing
had nothing to do with mistakes, I promise J.
Hey, Nishant, the rhythm guitarist was laughing too.

 

Radhika's moves

 

 

 

Brown Town- Hell Yeah!

 

 

 

Followed by Brown Town was another dance, a more contemporary
Bollywood number. There was another dance followed by that. But that was unique
in quite an expressionless sense. It was a group dance where actions were
performed out accompanying a medley of Hindi songs. But the faces of  the performers were to be kept deadpan
expressionless throughout. To their surprise, they were joined by a toddler
from the crowd who imitated every one of their moves! That tore the crowd in
burst of laughter and applause. It was cute.

 

Someone got lucky :)

 

 

 

Work in progress

 

 

My friend Nishant had invited me to play along with his
friend’s to some likeable Hindi/Urdu songs. With some great vocal work by Raj
and Chetna and some very good guitar work done by Nishant and Yash (who laughed
too by the way J),
the show finally came to an end. They called us for an encore and I was tempted
to play some more. But I had already moved the drum kit off stage. I thought of
playing something on guitar and singing along but every Hindi song I knew vanished
from my mind into oblivion. Oh well, another time J.

 

Hawas ke mareez

 

 

 

Told you he laughed! - Nishant Jain

 

 

I almost forgot. There was Indian food! And I ate like
nobody’s business. Ahh, the bliss J

My friends and I then headed to the centre of Delft for a few drinks
to end the night in style. It was a great experience overall and my first real
performance for an audience in Delft. Let’s hope there’s more to come.

I’d like to thank firstly the organizers, Sumit, Sriram,
Maneesh and Sneha. You guys made it possible. I know it’s hard to get these things done
but good job in the end!

To the members of Brown Town who are also some of my
closest friends. Gaurav Genani with some face melting solos. Nishant Jain with
some awesome courage to play having such little experience and so well in the
end! Deepesh Toshniwal for helping us out on bass in the nick of time. And to
Leon who was our silent hero on the piano J

I’d also like to thank the members of ‘YashRaj
Productions/Hawas ke Mareez/Tharak ke Pujari’ or whatever you guys like to call
yourselves. Raj, Yash, Chetna, Nishant (again) thanks for letting me be part of
the experience you guys!

Thanks to Martin, Ilhan and Ruksandra for finding time to
come watch the show and get some Indian experience J

Finally, and most importantly, thanks to Gaurav Durasamy for
lending me your red shawl which, lets face it, looks better on me. You’re not
getting it back. Sorry J

 

As for me, I’m going to get into study mode now. Exam
week. Library here I come!

 Happy Birthday Sasho!

Tot Ziens 

Diwali in Delft

The air doesn’t smell like gunpowder or sulphur and it’s
nearing the end of October. Strange. I can’t even hear any loud bangs that
might normally shake a well hardened man to his toes trembling in fear. And I
don’t have an arsenal of bombs and rockets stashed away in the attic or the
storage room. Very strange. I’m not
referring to a war zone nor do I have a bottled up inner desire to blow stuff
up for no good reason. Or maybe I have a good reason. I just miss the fact that
I haven’t lit a bomb or a rocket with my own hands in, well, three years.
Diwali is just a few days away. See,
I have a good reason.

Diwali, the festival of lights, is to Indians what Christmas
is to, well, everyone else (including Indians). It basically is the celebration
of the return of Rama to his kingdom after fourteen years of exile in a, umm,
jungle. Oh yeah, he also did some cool heroic stuff in that time like rescuing
his wife and defeating her abductor Ravana and……..wait. Explaining Hindu mythology
is going to take forever or a few lifetimes at least (provided I am reincarnated
as a human who can operate Microsoft Word). It, in a nutshell, marks the
triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and all that jazz. It’s called
the festival of lights because, as far as I can recall having been taught, back
in the day the cool citizens of Rama’s kingdom of Ayodhya came up with a plan
to light up the kingdom to help guide him home.

 

 

 

Today Diwali is synonymous with fireworks, new clothes,
freshly painted houses, presents, sweets, cards (the ones with queens and kings
and aces), alcohol, okay fine lights too and a quick trip to the temple (if you
don’t have mini one in your home already).But mainly fireworks. The bombs and
rockets I mentioned before belong to the fireworks. I know right? You can put
down your telephones now. There’s no need to call the police. I’m not going to
blow anyone/anything up. It’s DiwaliJ,
soon anyway.

 

 

 

Diwali in Delft is not really the same since the fireworks
are missing and thank god (or the Dutch government) for that. Apart from that
it’s pretty much the same. Sure there’s no family, but there are new friends.
Oh and there’s Indian foodJ.
For a couple of years at least, there has been a Diwali celebration at the TU
Delft Culture Centre (this really awesome place that I will dedicate a blog to
soon). Bollywood music, dance, colourful attire and smiling faces are sure to
be seen. My experience at last year’s Diwali celebration at the Culture Centre
was quite fun. I met a lot of new people and ended up making new friends. And
there weren’t just Indians. Students from all over the world had joined in on the
celebration. You see studying at a university like TU Delft has its benefits
when it comes to learning about new cultures, however alien they might be to
you. And they usually are quite entertaining.

 

 

 

This year at the celebrations (on Friday the 28th
of October), it’s going to be a little different. I’m going to be performing
with friends I made at last year’s celebration! We’re going to perform, as a
band, a few instrumental fusion numbers. To be honest we haven’t really
completed the preparation of what we’re going to play. But in true Indian
fashion it will all come together in the end J

Apart from my band, there will also be other performances
like a solo dance and another band playing a few likeable songs. Of course
there will also be a dance floor and everyone is welcome to join the party! I’m
not sure about the food, but I sure hope there will be Indian food served this
time around too.

Diwali is actually on Wednesday the 26th of
October but we’re celebrating it two days later on Friday. Because, hey,
everyone loves Fridays right? J

If you’re in Delft, make sure to drop by at the TU Delft
culture centre at 8pm on Friday. And if you cannot make it then stay tuned for
the follow up of the celebration!

In the end, it’s going to be fun even sans fireworks. The
essence of Diwali will still be contained thousands of miles away from its
place of origin.

Happy Diwali Everyone!!!

Tot Later J

 

 

 

Is Delft a city?

The answer, apparently, is yes. Now this might not be intriguing
to most people, but seriously? A town maybe, but a city? I can walk from one end of the
Delft to another and it would take me less than an hour. In the city that I
grew up in it took three hours to maybe drive from
one end to the other, if lucky. Therein lays the reason for my bewilderment. I
grew up in New Delhi, India.

I’ll start with a quick introduction. I’m Haider. I’m currently a
third year bachelor student at the faculty of Aerospace Engineering here at the
TU Delft. I come from New Delhi, India. I’m used to crowded streets, the
constant honking of cars and heat. An abundance of heat.

 

Delft is, obviously, quite different compared to the city I call
home. I must admit that in August 2009, when I first arrived here I was, well,
a little unnerved. The bicycles, the silence, the old architecture, the canals,
the square, they were all foreign to me. But they grow on you. I’m used to
chaos and noise. But this was a refreshing change. Oh, and did I mention that
it is conveniently located in between two of The Netherlands’ biggest cities,
Rotterdam and Den Haag? It literally takes less than twenty minutes to travel
to either one of the two cities by train, but more on that later.

 

To be honest, I had never heard of Delft before I started looking
up universities that would maybe suit me. And as ignorant as I was, the Netherlands,
to me, was synonymous with stereotypes- most of them notorious worldwide. But
as I read up more and more about the university, the city and even the country,
I was more and more convinced that this would be one heck of a place to be in.
I wanted to study Aerospace Engineering in English and at a university I could
actually afford. So I stumbled upon The Delft University of Technology. It was
very highly ranked, and lauded as one of the best technical universities in
Europe. Though the icing on the cake, to me, was the fact that the Aerospace Engineering
had an undergraduate program in English! Oh, and compared to its American or
British counterparts, the TU is quite a bit cheaper. After having been here for
more than two years I can safely say with conviction that I made a very good decision by choosing to study
here. Hopefully, it will reflect through my blog.

So, ladies and gentlemen, stay tuned. There’s a lot more to come!

Tot later.

I’ll leave you with a fun comic for the day (courtesy Nishant Jain, the Testimonial Comics http://testimonialcomic.com/)

 

© 2011 TU Delft