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Posts in category Delft Life

A not-so-alone Birthday

It was my birthday on the 30th of July. For the
first time in my life, I was not going to be celebrating it in India.

The 28th of July was a usual weekend night. A few
of my friends had come over to my new apartment to hang out and jam. One of
them, Nishant, was surprisingly late and I was wondering why he hadn’t made it
yet.

When he finally arrived, it turned out that he had brought
along a cake, chocolates and candles. It was Srivi’s, Vivek’s and Nishant’s
plan all along. I was pleasantly surprised and thankful that my friends had
made and effort to turn my 21st birthday into a small celebration.

The reason they had decided 28th as the date was
because Srivi was departing to India on the 29th. So it was a
mini-farewell plus birthday combined. I enjoyed it a lot and Srivi even had a
small present for me. It was some money she had crafted (origami style) into a
guitar. Fitting J

On the 29th night, minutes before my actual
birthday, I was sleeping when suddenly my doorbell rang. I dragged myself to
the door only to see Andy, Gaurav and Sid, waiting at the door. Their excuse- “You
don’t think we would leave you alone on your actual Birthday”. It was another
pleasant surprise, the second in two days.

So my 21st birthday wasn’t a huge party in India,
but I had two mini celebrations with close friends. It felt right.

 

Thank you guys!

Damn. I’m 21.

 

Tot Later!

Delft- My Welcome to a Quiet Campus

It’s nice to be back in Delft. There’s something familiar
about it. I’ve been here for nearly three years now, and it’s home now.

Though, I noticed, when I got back, that there was something
different. The campus is usually buzzing with activity and full of students
walking around. But around now, it’s rather empty and isolated. That’s understandable
since it’s the summer break and most students have gone back to their
respective homes. The ones who’ve stayed back are either quietly completing
their Master’s Thesis or ones like me who have stayed back to try and study for
the coming August exams.

Though the campus is rather empty, it’s not as bad as I had
thought. This is due to the fact that a few of my friends have stayed back (to
complete their Master’s thesis). So after working in the day, they visit me and
we talk and hang out and jam and live our own little summer vacation in Delft
itself.

     

                                                               Empty roads on Campus- Not a common sight 

The campus is rather silent which is not always what you’d
want. But in its own way it’s a refreshing change and a completely different
perspective.

Gotta start gearing up for those August exams!

Tot Later

Let the Summer Begin!

Finally! It’s Firday, the exams are over, phew!
To be honest, the exams didn’t go as well as planned and I don’t want to dwell
on it further since I actually want to enjoy the end of the academic year. But
all I’m going to say is, that I will be giving a few resits in August.

Otherwise, life is good! Moved into a new place that I
absolutely love. My friends have been visiting me all the time and they love it
too! I’m on campus so the university is right here! And there’s  the summer to look forward to.

I won’t be going back to India this summer, but I’ll be
mostly in Delft. Till then, just enjoy the volatile weather and hang out with a
few of my friends (who are also going to be in Delft!).

But, next week I will be travelling to Heidelberg, Germany
to visit my sister!

Germany, here I come!

Joy! (source: http://poemsforkush.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/summer.jpg) 

Tot Later!

Moving In – New Beginnings

Finally, I could move into my new apartment.

It’s situated on campus, a mere 5 minute walk from the
library and a 2 minute hop to the Sports Center and Culture Center. What an
ideal location! It’s one of those coveted places that not everyone gets. I
myself had to wait for it, nearly 3 years.

I had registered with the student housing company DUWO (that
provided my old apartment as well) in august 2009. I had to do it in order to
be eligible to sign a living contract with them. The apartm I had earlier was a
15 minute bike ride from campus, and frankly, I was happy to just have a place
to live. Given the dearth of easy accommodation in Delft, I was fortunate. But
getting a nice single spacious room was out of the question.

Then, last year, my friend Martin moved into a place on
campus, quite close to where I live now actually. He had registered a long time
ago and finally got a high rank for an empty room on campus. I started thinking
about it as well, but I was content with where I was living earlier. I got used
to it and it was home to me. Then, a couple months ago, as I have explained
earlier, my roommate Antanas moved to a new place on campus as well. I applied
as well, and what do you know? I got the place!

My parents were in town and did most of the unpacking and I
rented a van (with a driver) to transport all my stuff from my old apartment to
the new one. In between studying for exams, I would go and help out my parents
in moving me out. Once the stuff was transported to the new place, Antanas
helped me move it inside. He was very helpful and we were completely exhausted.
But my dad had made some nice Indian food which we feasted on afterwards. A
nice reward perhaps J.

When I came back from the library in the evening, my new
room was almost ready and most of the things were in place (thank you mom!). I’m
really thankful to my parents for helping me out and what a coincidence that
they were there!

It’s very spacious and I have my own kitchen and bathroom. I
like living with house-mates and I was afraid it might get a little lonely. But
all my friends : Martin, Antanas, Nishant, Gaurav, Ujwal, Ilhan….the list goes
on and on, are my neighbours!

See for yourself what it looks like-

   

Welcome home                                                                                            The view from my window (the EWI Faculty) 

Tot Later

Moving Out- Goodbye Lisztstraat

I’m going to miss this place. I’ve spent nearly three years
here. It’s become my home.

I’m talking about my apartment at Lisztstraat. I had moved
into the place in October of 2009 with two of my buddies from the Aerospace
faculty Jonathan and Stefan.

We’ve lived pretty well and had a tight system of cooking,
cleaning and maintaining the place. I’d feel happy about my own place after
visiting some other student apartments. Ours was relatively a lot cleaner and
maintained compared to the others!

After almost two years, Jonathan moved back to Germany and
we found a new roommate, none other than one of my closest friends Antanas. It
was nice to have him there as well and we lived pretty much like a family.

                 

                                   Before and After (Fixing up the apartment to live-2009) 

Until a couple months back, when Antanas said he was moving
out. He had found an amazing room on campus with cheaper rent. Spacious, on campus,
cheaper rent. I’d have done the same.

Stefan and I started looking for a new roommate. We put up
an ad on the DUWO (the student housing company in Delft) website and even made
a facebook event!  We were expecting
quite a few people to show up since there are always students looking for rooms
in Delft. But to our surprise, only two showed up! TWO!

We took it in our stride and then settled on Evgeny, a cool
first year aerospace student from Russia/Austria. Hey, he even plays guitar!

But, side by side, Stefan and I were looking for places of
our own on campus as well. We had been on the other end of the city for too
long.

I got a response, and was eligible to move into a new one
room apartment on campus!

With the help of my parents (who were in town) I unpacked
all my stuff in my old apartment. It was sad to see it like that, but I was
excited to move into the new place as well.

I’ll miss you Lisztstraat!

Tot Later

The Nerds are Back in Town

I recently read a blog titled ‘Nerds are the New Jocks’ on
thoughtcatalog.com (great site for some great reads!). The title of itself made
me smile. I thought to myself, ‘Finally’. Though when I read it it wasn’t all
that great news. It brings light to a lot of nerd-based pop fiction becoming
increasingly, well, popular. With the barrage of superhero and fantasy fiction
films spinning the world into a frenzy (which is the good part), there was also
a kind of dark prediction. Now I’m sure us nerds won’t be intimidating bulky
football players with quick one liners from the Avengers. But it might get
close to that. Heck, it would sure help if the womenfolk started appreciating
brains over brawn.

High school in India was quite unlike the typical American
High-School films we watched. At least where I went to school there weren’t the
culturally classified groups of, nerds/geeks, jocks, goths, stoners,
class-clowns, over-achievers, rockstars, pyromaniacs, the weird kids and the
plain old douchebags. Most of my friends and I dabbled in each of the
above-mentioned groups. So there weren’t really any groups. The only distinguishable
groups I can think of were either the academically challenged, or the rest of
us. But even the academically challenged were nerds in other aspects.

Which brings me to the next question, what exactly is a
nerd? Now defining that could take a whole book I guess. But I don’t think It’s
primarily to do with brains. I guess being a nerd is having an uncanny interest
in some obscure segment of society or the other. There are the Star Wars nerds
(check), the Physics nerds (check), the Music nerds (check), the Film nerds
(check), the Trivia nerds (check), the Anime nerds (haha, not really, what am I,
a nerd?). I could go on and on. But this brings me back the point I was making.
I guess my friends and I were/are, pretty much nerds in every aspect (except
anime, seriously, f-ck those guys).  Heck
we were even jocks. Most of us were in some sports team or another (and no, not
chess). Like real physical sports.

                                      Some stereotypically nerdy things that I love (Star Wars, Rush-2112, Saturn V rocket)

And then I joined university. The Delft University of Technology. Even the name
sounds like a nerd-haven. Trust me, it is. And what am I studying? Wait for it…..
AEROSPACE ENGINEERING! Friggin’ Rocket Science! I was going to be a drummer in
the world’s greatest and most brutal death metal band, where did I go wrong?
What happened!  

I guess when I was younger I would shun away the fact that I was a nerd who
grew up on lego, astronomy books and watching the every quiz show on TV (no
wonder I started playing guitar and drums and football). But even with those
things I was turning into a nerd. Believe me or not, but it is possible to be a
nerd even in the most douchebaggy and jock fields. And coming to Delft made me
embrace the nerdiness. I didn’t feel the need to wear contact lenses anymore. I
got a haircut. And I joined DARE, a rocket building society. Delft made me
realize that being a nerd is cool. And believe me, it is. And the best part
about being a nerd in Delft? You don’t feel left out. You don’t need to flip
out your guitar to impress the opposite sex or wear tight t-shirts (which you
wish will miraculously give you giant biceps). That doesn’t matter her. It’s
all about what’s inside. Plus the dire scarcity and skewed sex-ratio makes it
matter less. You want be smarter. Looks aren’t sexy anymore. Intellect is a
huge turn on. And ‘How you doin?’ is replaced by ‘Look at Venus’ scarlet
luminosity in the night sky. Isn’t it exquisite? ‘. And this is sincere, and
you don’t mean an ounce of pretence.

 

Before (Hidden Behind Heavy Metal)                         After (Welcome to Delft!) 

Being a nerd isn’t a stagnant characteristic. Once a nerd in
one field, you want to be a nerd in every field. I went from astronomy to films
and jazz. JAZZ! I was an exclusive Metal-head! Being a nerd is addictive. It’s
like Pringles, or Heroin (What?!).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that being a nerd is cool.
And I wanna thank Delft for making me realize it. Embrace it. Love it Live it.
To end I’d like to quote a film (if you don’t know this then you’re probably on
the wrong page). Remember nerds, ‘With great power comes great responsibility’.

Live long and Prosper

Tot Later

Got a Roof Over Your Head?

‘How about you sleep on the mattress on my floor till you
find a room?’

Yes dear readers. Housing is a tricky thing in Delft. As a
first year bachelor student, more than two years ago, I had set foot in Delft
without a fixed housing situation. If you apply to the university as an
international student and you get accepted, you can be certain that the
university will do its best to provide some form of shelter at least for a
fixed one year. However, this was not the case with me because, in a nutshell,
my registration was a tad unconventional.

The university has some kind of a deal with DUWO, a not for
profit company that provides housing for students. DUWO has had, well, a colourful
reputation. And most students have a love-hate relationship with it and have
complaints about poor maintenance and over-priced rent. I happen to be living in
a DUWO apartment. But it is a little different from the conventional one room
studio apartments that the company provides.

For international bachelor students, housing is pretty much
provided guaranteed for the first year (provided your registration goes
according to ‘plan’). After that, well, a lot of students form groups and rent
out apartments on their own through agencies. Now this process can be quite
tiresome and time consuming. But it usually works out fine eventually. I
personally haven’t really had to search hard for an apartment since I found an
apartment quite early on with two friends and have been living there since. I
have had friends who have had the search problem though. But a friend in need
is a friend indeed right? So there’s always room somewhere while you’re in ‘limbo’.

As for the prices, a single room can cost anywhere upwards
of 200 euros a month. Though the cheaper ones are a little hard to find and
usually taken. The rent also depends on the inclusive/exclusive costs of energy
(electricity, gas and water) and internet. For instance, the rent for a one rom
studio apartment in Roland Holstlaan (a student housing apartment by DUWO) is
around the 400 euro/month mark. This might sound steep but it’s including
energy and internet! Some cheaper apartments cost less but are excluding any
energy or internet costs. The rent also depends on the location and the size of the room.

I actually live in
the south of Delft, a 15 minute bicycle ride away from the university (on a
good day) and the centre. But it is not bad at all. You get used to it and
Delft is quite a small town so no distance is too long for bicycles. I share an
apartment with two friends of mine and there are three separate rooms for each
of us. But the lucky part is that our housing contracts are conditionally open
ended. This means that we can stay until we finish our studies and do not have to
worry about looking for new places to live in!

 

 

 

In my first year in Delft, there seemed to be a serious
housing problem as there was a severe shortage of places to stay with respect
to the number of students. However, this seems to be changing as every year
newer and bigger student housing blocks are being built by the university to
meet the demand for housing.

 

 

 

So not to worry, you will always have a roof over your head
in Delft. And if you’re finding it hard to find the apartment that fits your
needs there’s always someone who will be there with the opening sentence of
this blog post!

 

Tot Later!

What the Fog?!

You know it’s starting to get cold when you cannot work
outdoors without gloves. I had an unfortunate experience last week at work when
I figured I didn’t need to wear gloves. I came home and my hands were a scary
shade of blue. It’s getting cold.

Winters in Delft are mild, if you’re European. Having lived
in India all my life, it’s the coldest thing I’ve experienced. But it’s not
that bad. You get used to it. In my first year here, I was told that the
winters are, how do I put this delicately, quite shitty. That meant that it
wouldn’t snow much and the snow would mix with the mud into something quite
sludgy. And the sky would have a perpetual tint of grey, the depressing kind.
But I was met with a pleasant surprise when it snowed. It snowed a lot and it
was nice. It was not super grey and it was in fact quite beautiful. I had never
seen snow falling before. And there’s always a first time. It was nice J

 

 

 

But this year its hit quite suddenly. A couple of weeks ago
it was nice and sunny. Cold but sunny. Now it would be a miracle if you could
see anything fifty feet away. The fog is quite dense. And it’s beautiful in its
own way. I’m just waiting for the snow J

 

 

I’m not too used to the snow though. So it’s a good thing
that I’m going back to India for the winter. And India has its winters too. In
fact my home city of Delhi gets quite foggy. But it never snows, and it’s never
as cold as Europe. But I won’t be in Delhi. I’ll be in Goa J. Sun, sand and sea.
And of course a sex on the beach J

 

 

 

Till then I shall endure the cold. And maybe remember to
always wear gloves at work. And another thing. Beware of icy streets. I’ve
skidded a couple times from my bicycle. And it’s not much fun. But like
everything else, you learn from it and get used to it. J

 

Tot Later!

Haider

Delft has a nightlife?

Sorry for being this late guys. I was….busy… doing nothing.
Give me a break; my exams just ended.

Anyway, let me start off by saying that Delft is not
particularly known for its night life. Well we do have some night clubs (if you
can call them that). But Delft has
many, and I mean many, bars.

So Delft isn’t really known for its party scene since there
are only (as far as I know) three ‘clubs’, the most popular one being Speakers.
It’s in the centre of Delft and has a separate dance floor and a bar. It’s not
too flashy or big. But it still attracts a lot of people on weekends
especially. Another one is called Lorre and this one belongs to the student
society DSC. I have never been there because I am not a huge fan of hard-core Dutch
house music, but I’ve heard it’s not too bad J.
Last but not the least is Ciccionina. It’s probably the smallest of the three
and attracts a rather alternative crowd. Now that we’ve got the clubs out of
the way, let’s focus on the bars.

 

 

 

The centre of Delft is full of bars. And these bars usually
attract a lot more people than the clubs. Delft, as I have noticed, is more of
a bar city than a night-club city. And the bars are pretty great. I’ll talk
about a few of my favourites.

There’s Café Bebop. It’s in the centre of the city but
conveniently hidden in one of the narrow alleys. It’s not very big but still
manages to house a lot of customers.
It’s got a very old feel about it and has a whole arsenal of different beers.
It has a nice open backyard where I usually like to sit but it’s getting a
little too cold for that now. But its main attraction is the live jazz music
played on Tuesday nights and Sunday evenings. People look forward to these
nights since the music on display is quite amazing! J 

Then there’s Café De Klok. I hadn’t really known about this
place until this year. It’s turning out to be one of my favourites! It’s small,
even smaller then Bebop. But it’s more than a hundred years old and it really
feels like that. Things have been left pretty much the same and it has a great atmosphere. But, again, my favourite thing about this bar is the live music they
have ever Friday night. And on the first Friday it’s an open jam session! I
have had the privilege to play there a few times already J. The crowd is also a
great blend of people of all ages, not just students. The only drawback would
be that smoking is allowed inside. Which, if you ask me, is not a drawback J.

 

 

 

There are two other bars which are quite similar, Doerak and
Locus Publicus. I never understood why these bars were so popular since they
seemed like any other bar in the city. But I later found out that this is
because the amazing variety of beer served at these bars. Especially my favourite
Belgian ones J.

 

 

 

Delft, being a student city, has a lot of student parties
every weekend too. They usually occur at student houses or one of the many
student societies (fraternities). My favourites are at Marcushof (a student
house that houses many exchange students) and the Space Boxes. I like these two
places because of the international mix of students and people I know who live
there J.
I sometimes even end up being the bartender and you know what that means. Free
drinks for me! J 

If all of this doesn’t cut it for you then Rotterdam or Den
Haag are just a short train ride away!

Happy partying!

Tot later

Dude, Where’s My Fiets?

Wow that’s a lot
of bikes. That was the first thing that went through my mind after I got off
the train and stepped into Delft for the first time in my life in the summer of
2009. The train station was surrounded, almost to a suffocating level by a sea
of bicycles. And they looked quite shitty. I had expected people to ride better
looking bicycles here, especially since everyone’s got one.

 

 

 

Delft, and all of Holland for that matter, is all about
bicycles. I was warned beforehand, but other stereotypes about the country had
clouded my mind and had sent bicycles into an unvisited corner of my brain. And
it was visited only when I was greeted by that plethora of bicycles on my first
morning in Delft. I had to get one on my own.

Now I was told at the OWee (Or the Dutch introduction week
to the university) to only buy bicycles from authorized retailers since a lot
of ‘stolen’ bicycles were also being sold illegally. My first bicycle, and yes
there were more to come, was in my possession at a barbecue party during the
OWee where a student (who I have never seen again) sold me ‘his’ bicycle for a
mere thirty euros! It was a pretty sweet deal. Or so I thought. It broke down
within a month. And by broke down I mean broke down beyond repair. So I thought
I’d buy my next one from an authorized dealer, I did what every other sane
person would do. I went to Kringloop (a second-hand store famous for selling
everything but bicycles). There were only a few bicycles there and I chose the
best looking one. In my naivety I bought it (seventy five euros, not bad)
without asking many questions. The ‘generous’ two week warranty should have
warned me. But I was desperate and went about my way happily. To be honest, I didn’t
really have any problems with that bicycle until winter came along. Now there’s
this really complicated phenomenon in
material physics. It states that metal contracts when temperature drops! I know
right? Who would have thought that? Yeah, I guess I didn’t really apply that
logic when my bicycle lock key got stuck in the lock when the temperature was
below freezing. So I did what any sane man would have done. I left my bicycle
unlocked. Someone got lucky that day. My bicycle was stolen. No shit.

 

So I went back to Kringloop and bought yet another one. It
broke down but lasted me almost a year! Anyway, I wanted to do it right this
time. So I went to a proper bicycle
dealer this time. So I went once again, but to a different place this time. The
bicycles were quite a bit more expensive. But they looked a lot better than the
ones I had seen at Kringloop. So I spent a hundred and fifty euros on a bicycle
that looked and felt right. And I even got a three month warranty. And it had
been working perfectly, until yesterday. But I got it fixed. And being through
four bicycles has made me realize that if you want to win against a machine you
have to surrender first (sorry Gregory David Roberts).

 

Moral of the story, buy a bicycle from an authorized dealer. Take care of it.
Avoid potholes and off-roading (this is the best bicycle paved country in the
world for a reason). Buy a good lock
(chained preferably). Avoid shady guys saying ‘Jonge! Fiets kopen?’ in the
middle of the night outside the train station or crowded parties. They’ve
probably stolen them from the respective places. And use lights when its dark
(I’ve been booked once and forty euros is a lot of money). And invest in a good
bicycle but not an overly fancy one
(no wonder they all looked shitty when I first came to Delft).

 

Don’t get me wrong. I love riding a bicycle here. It’s very
well connected for bicycle users here. And everyone
rides one. Even your most distinguished professor…Wubbo Ockels….ahem. It keeps
me fit (or I’d like to think it does). I love cycling to the Rotterdam airport
from time to time to drink coffee and watch airplanes land and take off J. And it’s a great way
to clear your mind. Just got to keep a few things in mind!

Happy riding!

Tot Later

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