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Posted in February 2012

Two nights- One Town (no cup)

Ahh spring break- alcohol, beaches, parties and wet t-shirt
contests. Yep, TV is quite misleading.

After a hectic week of due reports, assignments and quizzes it
was time for a much needed break. So on Friday, after handing in a massive
assignment and sitting, quite successfully, through a quiz, my roommate Antanas
and I travelled to an unknown town called Heidelberg in an even lesser known
land called Germany. Why Heidelberg? Well it’s close (about 5 hours by car), which
means that it’s not that expensive to travel to. And let’s face it, I’m always
quite broke. The most important reason, though, would have to be that it’s a
nice excuse to visit my sister who has been living there long enough to be

So we carpooled to Heidelberg on Friday evening and headed
straight to the pub where my sister works, The Dubliner. Yep, it’s quite Irish,
and unlike pretty much everything else in Germany, the majority of the people
inside were speaking in English. After healing a dying Antanas with hot whiskey
and having an Irish dinner myself (also known as Guinness), we decided to head
to my sister’s place and rest for the madness that would be Saturday (we were
actually just pretty knackered).


And this is where you choose your dinner (at the Dubliner)                      The view from my sister’s apartment (I hate her for that too) 

The greatest thing about having an older sister is that she’s
your mom when your mom isn’t around (minus the extreme protectiveness). So come
Saturday morning, there was a fresh batch of pancakes waiting for us. After
devouring the pancakes like medieval monkeys, Antanas and I headed out to
explore the town. We started off by walking across the river (on a bridge, not
like Jesus) and made our way around the banks and then headed off into the main
street again. From there we hiked (what seemed like a million miles) up to the
Heidelberg Castle. Being cheap bastards, we didn’t really buy a ticket to enter the
castle and just walked around it, which was enough if you ask me. After some
heavy panting and some ‘oh my god we need to f-ing  stop smoking’ we made our way down to the main
street again. I’m told that this main street (Hauptstrasse) is the longest
shopping street anywhere in Europe. Hey, even Wikipedia says so. And we all
know that Wikipedia is never wrong.  After a coffee, we headed back to my sister’s
apartment and watched a two hour long documentary on Heavy Metal. It was part
of a deal which included him watching a documentary about heavy metal with me
and me watching one on House music with him.


                                 Antanas doing his usual thing of blocking nice views around town 🙂

Then, after hours of lazing around, it was time to hydrate
and get ready to go out. Starting at home, we then headed to town to various
bars whose names I really cannot recall. The night ended with a visit to a quasi-nightclub/bar.
Or at least I think it ended there, whatever, I cannot recall.

The next morning, Sunday, began like many a Sunday I have
experienced in my university life. My head felt like it had suddenly become the
size of a watermelon (minus the juice of course) and my throat was dryer than
most of Bill Murray’s humour. Hello hangover.


Becks                                                        We kinda missed the Absinthe boat  

We then said our goodbyes and headed back to Holland. And let me tell you, a
five hour car ride seems like an eternity when you’re hungover. But we
eventually got back to Delft. And it was actually kinda nice to see my room

Getaways are good. I only wish I could afford more of them.

Tot Later!

The Windy Tunnel

I just got back from my first wind tunnel experiment in two
years and it was pretty cool. Well to be honest this was supposed to happen
last year but I found out I had missed my date by two weeks. Yes, I completely
empathize with the Lazy College Senior.

So as I woke up at 7 am, I had to muster up some courage to
get out of that ever so inviting bed of mine in order not to repeat this course
next year again.

The test took place at the low speed wind tunnel laboratory
of the faculty of Aerospace Engineering. Interestingly, the lab is nowhere near
the faculty. Nonetheless, I found it.

The test consisted of a wind tunnel with a symmetrical
airfoil wing with varying angle of attack and variable speeds. I won’t get into
the details of the test because, to any normal person, they have to be quite
boring. What I found interesting was the fact that the wind tunnel looked like
it was built in the seventeenth century. And it also looked like it belonged
there. When I made this comment to my instructor he smiled and told me that
this was one of the world’s best wind tunnels because (insert some fancy
technical specification here).


The medieval wind tunnel                                                                        This is where we control the world from 

The test turned out to be quite fun and at one point I
noticed a guitar amplifier. I almost wanted to quit my studies and sign up to
work there, as anything. But it turned out that the amplifier was just for a
microphone that would literally capture the sound of the turbulence of the


A teammate entering the tunnel                                                    Time to jam? (the amplifier being tested) 

A cool experience nonetheless! I’m looking forward to my
friend Sid, a masters student doing his thesis at the lab, inviting me for a


Tot Later!

Brown Town Again

The eight minutes were coming to an end when suddenly I
realized what I was playing was wrong! So I slowed down and tried to match my
guitarist, Gaurav. I was smiling as I had known that the last thirty seconds
were completely out of time. I finally made it back and it was all good. We
ended our performance and got quite a welcoming response in the end.

I’m talking about my band, Brown Town’s, performance on
Friday at the Pakistani Cultural Event. We played two self-composed
instrumental numbers, which we still haven’t found a name for. A week’s worth
of practice finally culminated into an interesting performance with a few
mistakes. But I’m guessing my band (Gaurav, Nishant and I) were the only ones
who knew about the mistakes.


                                                                     Painting the town brown- Brown Town 

The event took place on Friday evening and it was quite a
success. It started off with a couple speeches (one of them by the president of
the Pakistani Student Society, my good friend, Osama…. I mean Usama). His
introduction was humorous as the presentation slide showed a picture of his
infamous namesake Osama bin Laden. The rest of the event consisted of
presentations on the various sides of Pakistan ranging from sports, to music,
to geography and culture.

There was quite a funny skit set on the premise of a
Pakistani male student that goes to a speed dating restaurant in the
Netherlands. It was a funny tongue in cheek version of what might actually
happen if he did go to a speed dating restaurant. It was done quite well by
Umer and Sanaa. Other parts of the event included a couple karaoke numbers by Ahsan and a dance medley. And of course a performance by our band Brown Town.


Speed dating Pakistani style (Sanaa and Umer)                                              Ahsan singing a popular Pakistani number

Oh and how can I forget, there was Pakistani food! Which is
quite similar to Indian food, so I was a happy man. I ate to my heart/stomach’s



I’d like to thank the PSS for organizing a great event and
for inviting an Indian band to play at the event. I guess the India-Pakistan
clashes occur only at political levels or on the cricket field. But the TU
Delft is no place for it. Just pure humanity and friendship.

Here’s a link to the performance 🙂  

Tot later


Time to Jam

Free afternoons are the best. They’re a reminder that waking
up to the blaring cacophony of the 7 am alarm clock was worth it. That now, yes
now, you’re free. Free to do what? To go to the Culture Centre of course!

The Culture Centre (CC from now on) is one of my favourite
places in the TU Delft. It’s definitely one of the smaller buildings on campus.
And it’s orange. Yes yes, this is Holland, there has to be some bit of orange
in everything. But what’s more impressive is what’s inside.

It houses various rooms where you can learn/play/practice
anything from the banjo to the balalaika. I usually go there to practice with
my ‘band’ and jam. It’s fun every time. 
There are two large jam studios in the basement. One of them actually
has seven drumsets! Yep, that’s seven …. SEVEN. I wonder why. Though,
ironically, the best drumset is the one that’s in the other jam room. The other
room has a couch too. I guess to rest if you’re tired of pounding the drums. Or
maybe even to call a member of the opposite sex to watch you perform. I’m
guessing it’s the latter reason.


A view from behind the drums                                                                             The ‘orange’ exterior of the CC 

It’s not just music, but the CC has art classes and
interesting workshops too. One of them once actually involved building a whole
new guitar. It’s a nice change to enter the CC after a day of heavy lectures
and confusing derivations. The welcoming interiors and the relaxed atmosphere
are a perfect place to let your right brain evolve!

That’s enough from me for now. I’m heading off to the CC.
Gotta practice one last time with my band for tomorrow’s Pakistani Cultural
. Do come check it out!

Tot Later 

Blues Karting

The first week of the third period just ended, the new one’s
starting in a few hours. And it’s been a busy one already. 
Keeping up with a tight schedule, new courses and new assignments is quite
tiring. And the weekend is always something to look forward to! It’s better
when the weekend coincides with the Delft Blues Festival. What’s even better is spending it with one of
you best friends visiting you.


                                                                                  Busy Lecture..phew! (Strucural Analysis) 

Angad (the friend I mentioned above) and I have been friends
since high school where we were roommates (it was a boarding school). He
studies in the States and is doing a semester in France. And like every
American student he decided to make full use of the closeness in diversity of
Europe and made a trip to The Netherlands. 

Friday night was abuzz with a different band playing in
practically every bar in Delft. Standing close to the makeshift stage with
face-melting blues solos was the highlight of the night, and not just in one
bar but quite a few! We went from Café Sport to Café Bebop to Het Keldertje to Café
de Engel to ….. my memory is little hazy after that. I blame it on Het

One of the many bands at the Festival (Forgive me for the shitty quality) 

The next morning invited us to a rigorous and adrenaline
filled rush. It was fifteen minutes of speed, fuel, dangerously close skids and
helmets with scratched visors. Yep, I’m talking about go-karting. It’s not
really known to everyone, but Delft has quite a mean go karting circuit!(see
Race Planet). After getting the sensation in our fingers back due to the
numbing cold of the fifteen minutes of speed, we decided to treat ourselves to
a warm lunch in the centre. Though very very cold, it was quite sunny and it’s
always nice to go into the city centre. The big Church looks even more towering
and the square looks bigger and brighter.

Post lunch I decided to walk Angad across the TU Campus and
realized, by being reminded by him, that our Campus here in Delft is quite
cool. He was in awe. So was I, strangely, since I pretty much visit it every
day. Yes we even went to the library for a few minutes.


Of old and not so old friends (a post karting coffee/cola)                                         The snow covered library

Reaching home cold and tired we decided to call it a day and
stayed in as opposed to going out to the second night of the Blues Festival.
Come Sunday morning, he we said our goodbyes and I got back to ‘the schedule’.

It’s always great to meet childhood friends in a new place,
in a new time under newer circumstances.

I guess I have to go to Metz, France now.


Tot Later

And Then it Snowed

There’s something about snow that makes the cold bearable.
Something, which makes you forget that it’s cold in the first place. I was
disappointed this winter. Snow is something I really look forward to after a
grey autumn and winter. But, it hadn’t snowed.

As I was cycling to the Fellowship on Friday, a few flakes
floated down and I dismissed them as just that, a few flakes. Later, as my
team-mates and I descended upon finishing a massive report, I looked out the
window. And there it was:


Before (Looking out of the fellowship window)                                                                                                      After 

Of course, this meant we had to take a break and go check it
out. The first snow is always the best: powdery, clear and dry. It also lifts
you in a way. So yes, productivity increased and we managed to finish the
report (after working on it all weekend). I think the snow had something to do
with it.


On second thought, I might need new sneakers (Outside the Fellowship) 


The bike rides are always fun, that is if you manage to stay

Now, a new semester to look forward to and a snow covered
library roof. I’ve got to slide off it this year!


Tot Later 



It took me two and a half years of living in Holland to take
light of the fact that Belgium is just a short train ride away. Okay ‘short’
might be debatable but two hours isn’t that bad. And it was quite a revelation
to find out that the train tickets were not something I’d have to save up for a
year for or sell one of my kidneys for.

As the weekend of the 14th of January came closer, I decided to
visit a friend, Nishant, doing his internship in Leuven, Belgium. I had heard
great things about the place and had never been to Belgium. A perfect
opportunity, I thought. We decided to meet in Brussels first and then head over
to Leuven later in the night. So I bought my train ticket and headed to

Stepping off in Brussels, I remembered thinking to myself ‘wow,
this is a proper city’, or something on those lines. You see, I hadn’t been out
of Delft for a week. As I stepped out of the station I was taken in by three
music stores right across the street but contained myself until I met Nishant.
We headed straight to the music stores and revelled in the shine of the
polished guitars and the even shinier cymbals. It was then time to head to the
place that was the reason for our being in Brussels, the Delirium Café.

The Delirium Café is supposed to be one of the coolest drinking joints in Brussels,
famous for serving 2000/3000/12476192876 (I don’t exactly remember the number)
different kinds of beers. It took us a while to find the place but in the
process we got to see the narrow cobbled streets of Brussels where friendly
waiters tried to sell us chicken curry (I’m thinking the colour of our skin had
something to do with that). When we finally found the café we were not
surprised to see it packed, though it wasn’t hard to find a place to sit. After
four beers, a few conversations with friendly strangers and a list of songs we
might want to perform sometime in the future, we headed out to try and find the
station so we could head to Leuven.


Narrow cobbled streets of Brussels (Courtesy: Nishant Jain)                          An interesting ‘Opera’ we came across (Brussels, Belgium)

On the way to the station a friendly man walked up to us and
asked us for directions to the station. Being new to the place ourselves, we
pointed in some vague direction and told him we were headed there ourselves. He
found out we were Indian and started joking with us about cricket and we
thought ‘haha, what a funny guy’. Suddenly, he turned and said he had to leave.
Three seconds and five steps later, Nishant realized that his wallet was
missing. Yep. Beer, cricket and friendly people make us Indians forget about
our wallets. Luckily though, after half an hour of searching the street we
managed to spot his wallet on the sidewalk, sans cash of course. ‘Pickpockets
with soul’ as Nishant likes to call them.

After reaching Leuven we headed to the city centre for a
drink or two and ended up eating one of the most filling Turkish doner meals.
Leuven is pretty much like Delft. Not too big, lots of students, and some great
old architecture

The next morning, Sunday the 15th, I took a train back to Delft,
back to exams and studying. It was a short lived yet fun trip. Hey, I got to
witness a pickpocketing first hand! And I finally made it to Belgium.

Next time, Bruges! (well, that’s the plan at least)
Tot Later!

© 2011 TU Delft