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Delft- Rain, pottery and rockets

A Pilgrimage to Hamburg- The Journey

While in Heidelberg with my sister, I spent almost two
dizzying days which can only be described as a fortunate chance encounter that
turned into a very memorable journey.  To
get things into context, I’ll clear one thing, that is: that I watch a lot of
movies and have been, for a year, trying my hand at writing film scripts. And
this post is about that chance encounter with my favourite director (who the
right side of my brain is completely inspired by). It’s a rather long and
detailed account of the two days so I’ll split it into two posts. Stay tuned
for it. Here it goes:

Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, Hamburg, Germany
2:49 am
July 13, 2012

someone would have told me, a mere 30 hours ago, what was going to happen next,
I would have told them to go quit joking with me. It’s something I really had
never imagined happening. Well that’s not entirely true. But not like this.
Not this soon.

the evening of 11 July, I was sitting, bored, in my sister’s room in
Heidelberg. While multitasking between writing, listening to music, answering
messages, and sporadically averting my eyes to Twitter, I got wind of the fact
that ANURAG KASHYAP was in Hamburg for the SCREENING OF
HIS NEW EPIC (and I use this word in the most sincere way possible) FILM GANGS OF WASSEYPUR!

those who know me know what I think of Anurag Kashyap and what he means to me.
I could write an entire book on the inspiration, influences and, unintentional
teachings he has given me. But I guess that will become clearer with this blog.

as I was saying, after finding out that Mr. Kashyap himself would be screening
a film I had been waiting to watch for aaaaaages, I instantly wrote to him on
Twitter to find out if the screening was private or public. Heck, public or
private, I started scheming ways to get to Hamburg from Heidelberg (only 700km away). Trains? Freaking 234
Euros for a round trip! I was still considering it. Hitchhike? I was just about
to check for a hitchhike online when the man himself replied and said
‘ get to see both parts[of the film]’. I was expecting to be woken up
any second. This was not happening.

instantly called up my sister who was still at work and managed to blur out, in
between bouts of hyperventilation, ‘Akurag Kashyap….Twitter… Hamburg…
TOMORROW….NEED TO GO!’. She got back home and saw for herself, and then
proceeded to give me a lecture on how it was not feasible and expensive. Damn,
why do I always have to be broke? She tried to help but 234 Euros was out of
the question! I texted 7 different people (at 1am) who I found online
who were driving to Hamburg the next day, hoping that someone would have a seat left. I tried to
sleep it off and just carry on with my shit the next morning. But as I had
guessed, sleep was out of the question.

out of bed at 9, hazy and on autopilot (no sleep) and proceeded to take a
shower and get ready anyway. Just in case. And then, one guy replied! He was
leaving from Frankfurt at 1 pm. Film screening was at 7 pm. Perfect!

tried to hurriedly explain to my sister in every way possible and she
understood. And like always, ‘lent’ me some money. As I was hurrying out the
door, she shoved crackers and some cake she had baked in my bag so I’d
have something to eat. I love you Zainab. Really.

a train to Frankfurt station and met my ride there. No hello, the first thing I
ended up asking ‘Can we make it by 7?’. No problem. Though, on the way it
rained cats and dogs and every time the speed dial went from 140kmph to 80kmph
I chewed off more of my fingernails. He asked me a few times, quite puzzled, if
I was actually going all the way to Hamburg to watch a damn film. I just smiled
in reply.

starts at 7, I reach the city at 6:30. Not bad. Then, the damn urban traffic
hits us! It would have been faster to just walk there. So, I got out of the
car, and started sprinting across the city. Ten minutes later, I realized I had
no idea where I was going. I started asking random people on the street if they
knew where the place was. No. Damn. One guy! My watch said 6:55. Ran faster.
Made it to the place, almost fell over the ticket counter. Panting. ‘Indian
film… Gangs of… has it star..’. Not yet. YES. Made my way down 2 flights of
stairs to the auditorium. Entered.


On the way to Hamburg                                         The Information  board outside the Theater


tuned for 
the rest!





Heidelberg- Calm Siblings

My experience in Heidelberg was quite something else. I was
there for a mere two weeks and had considered maybe getting a job with the help
of my sister, but that didn’t pan out.

So I spent a lot of time with my sister, ate the lovely food
she made and watched a lot of movies with her. It was a nice break from Delft
especially since the summer had started.

We didn’t do anything crazy or go all out, but just relaxed
and caught up. I hadn’t seen her since February so it was nice to catch up with
her. Having a sibling is a lot great since you always have someone to confide
in or to be your partner in crime, but they also fight a lot. But this time my
sister and I managed to be civil and actually enjoyed our time together for the
whole two weeks!

I read a lot, finished two books and walked around the town
and wrote too. It was a ncie calm break and just what I needed, most of all in
the company of my sister!

Her apartment is situated right next to the river and I
actually managed to catch a glimpse of a cruise ship passing by. It was quite


Just cruising through the river                                                                Cobbled streets of Heidelberg        


There were two days in between though where I made a
dreamlike last minute journey to Hamburg. But I will explain that on another

All in all I enjoyed my time with her and it was a nice mini
sibling reunion. I hope to see her in Delft sometime soon! J


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: 

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

Exam Update- Double Trouble

So I gave my first exams of this quarter. Calculus II and Structural Analysis and Design.

The Structural Analysis and Design exam was a resit and I faired quite poorly on the first one. I had to study harder and try and pass it this time. Moreover, a lot of homework and studio classroom sessions went into this course, so failing the exam would be unfortunate as the hard work that went into the continual assessment s would go to waste.

 On the other hand, I was moving out of my old apartment. I was completely excited to move into a new one on campus! After a wait of three years on the DUWO list, I was eligible to move into this new place. My parents had visited me in Delft and luckily it was around when I had to move. They helped me out a lot and did most of the work while I would study.

So, this was ideal to study for both exams, but both exams were on the same day. That’s right, same day! It was hectic and stressful but I tried not to let it get to me. Structural Analysis is one of the most feared courses of the whole bachelor program! And I was giving it with Calculus II.

The morning exam was Calculus II, it was not very difficult but I was disappointed because I felt I could have done a lot better.

The afternoon exam was supposed to be Structural Analysis. I sat in the room, I could feel the tension oozing from everyone. Nervousness was not new. I opened the paper and looked at it. The first question looked out of this world. I skipped it and went to the next. Luckily, a question worth the highest points, I tried and actually answered it correctly! I computed other questions as well but I knew I hadn’t done well.

I wasn’t too disappointed when I left the exam room because I knew that if I had worked harder I would have done better. I have none else but myself to blame. Lesson learnt!

Next up? Aerodynamics II!


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

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

Impending Exams- Yet Again

Ahh the impending fourth quarter exams. They’re drawing
near. What’s more? My parents are visiting me. What’s even more? I’m moving out
of my old place! Damn, that’s a lot to handle.
But, take everything as it comes right? Baby steps, one by one.

What’s in store this time around?

Well let’s see

Firt off, the dreaded Structural Analysis and Design resit.
It just happens to be on the same day as the Calculus II exam. Fun fun fun. But
that’s not too bad. I’ll have to manage it and pull through. And besides,
Calculus II isn’t that hard (well compared to structural analysis it isn’t).

Next up? Aerospace Systems and Control Theory. Well, I think
I’m going to have to pass on this one and take the resit in August. There’s
only one reason for that, and that is Matlab. Yes, the whole exam is Matlab
based and I still haven’t perfect my programming skills! August it is.

Then finally, Aerodynamics II. This is a fun course; we even
had a practical about it. But the theory part of it is not very easy. So I’ll
have to study for it. But hey, who likes giving exams. I’m only human J

This might sound like a rant to you, but it’s pretty normal
given the fact that it’s exams. And I’m used to giving exams. So I say, bring
it on! J

I’ll keep updating on how they went! 


 Tot Later

The Box Inside the Wing – Part 2

The building of the wing box commenced! We had all our data
ready and we very enthusiastic about building this monster.

The build was supposed to happen in the faculty’s structures
lab where there were workspaces of huge desks where we could stand around with
the material and just…. Put it all together.

It was the first time I had used a pop rivet gun and we had to
make all the marking quite precisely. It was enjoyable and we took turns and
divided the work in order to keep everyone happy.

While building we noticed one thing, our design had the
least weight compared to the rest of the groups and was using the least number
of stringers. Now normally this means that an excellent and efficient job has
been done and weight saved. But we had a feeling there might be something
wrong. Was it under-designed? Only the compression load test would tell.


We nervously watched the box as more load was being applied,
hoping it would buckle only after 5kN had been applied. However, much to our
dismay, it buckled at only 4.2kN. Something was obviously wrong with our
design. We went back to our calculations and looked hard but everything seemed
right. Then, our mentor pointed out one tiny and almost invisible mistake which
cost us a perfect wing box. We sat there with multiple ‘facepalms’. Of course!
We thought. But t was not as obvious earlier.


The test area                                                                                                                                Well there’s your problem 

We rectified our mistake in the report and gave a detailed
explanation of why the box failed at such a low load application.

Even though we didn’t have a successful test, the report
went great and we scored high marks on the project overall. It was because we
had made a mistake AND learned from it as well.

That’s something they encourage here at the TU Delft.


Tot Later!

The Box Inside the Wing – Part 1

The second semester project in my first year at the TU Delft
was the next step compared to the first one. It had to deal with designing and
building a basic wing box model.

What’s a wing box you ask? Well a wing box is strictly, a
box inside the wing. But hold on, there’s more to it! It gives the wing its
structural stability and also houses most of the fuel. It’s basically what
keeps the wing from snapping into two provided the extreme aerodynamic and
loads during flight! Talk about utility, eh? It’s supported and reinforced with
spars, stringers and webs. That’s a pretty basic description but here’s an


An Actual Wing box! (source:

The project group, using the material we learnt from the two
structures related courses in the first year: Statics and Mechanics of
Materials, had to design and compute the amount of stringers, spars and webs
we’d need and their placement. Oh and we’d also have to compute the number of
rivets and the rivet spacing!

All this so we could test it to work under a compression
load of 5kN. That’s around 500 kg! That meant that the wing box should not
buckle under that load. The team worked hard and tried to calculate as
precisely as possible. Moments of inertia, stress calculations, you name it. We
were ready, it was time to build it!

Stay tuned to find out more on the building of the wing box!

Tot Later

Fresh Faces Building a Flying Wing!

I recently started missing the hands on work that was
associated with the BSc. first year project at the Faculty of Aerospace

In the first semester of the first year itself, the project
consisted of designing and building your own flying wing. That was some pretty
exciting yet daunting stuff for us fresh faces to aerospace engineering.

The project though was structured in a pretty efficient way
with weekly tasks where we’d learn bit by bit and gradually ascend to a higher
understanding of how a basic flying wing works.

It was up to us, so we were supposed to choose wisely on the
kind of airfoil we would use for the wing and how it’s basic for would be. When
I come to think of it now, it all seems very elementary since I have just
finished my third year. But it was still exciting stuff, especially since it
was (for most of us) the first time we were building something aerospace
related (albeit very basic).

In order to get us even more enthusiastic, a small flight
competition was introduced, where our wings would be judged for their manoeuvrability
in making turns and in their endurance.

My group, though very competent, didn’t win any of the
competitions, but it was great fun and in the end quite educational as well.

I kind of miss those days, everything was new.

Tot Later!

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