Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Yeh jo des hai tera
Swades hai tera
Tuze hai pukaaara..
     - Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera - Swades

err..well...the truth is that

Someone doesn't want me back, yeah, I know I am bad, but bearable, and I will promise to be good, if you could just let me pop in this one time...

-This comes from a blogger who was supposed to have left for India ten days ago, she stayed back for some reasons, who is all set to go now, but the type of open ticket that she possesses indicates no availibility of seats till the 13th of Nov, sorry Ma'm, that's bad news, the Lufthansa personnel inform me, but the good news is that you could always buy one for the 2nd of Nov, that's the earliest.

-This comes from a blogger who has no idea where she will be Saturday onwards, and she calls it A Life Très Ordinaire? Bah!

-This comes from a blogger who'd heard that life was a rollercoaster, but who can today, attest to that too, for she can feel her insides churning this time 'round

A blogger, bitten, true, but who, hopefully, won't ever shy away

Folks back home, the bad news is that the chocolates won't make their way to you till mid-next week or later..

The good news is that you can breathe easy for a few more days

Monday, October 25, 2004

One of the "must-buys" of woll phoren trips

The apple dangles too close, blinding all that lies beyond, and Eve I be, once too often...

The Nikon Coolpix 4200

Mine, all mine, late I agree (Saturday to be precise), with the sight-seeing done and all, but will be of use in my next jaunts (if any).

The only thing that seems out of place. Clicking snaps and waiting enthusiastically for the roll to be developed, more importantly, liking the pics even if they were badly shot. That personal touch or notion of suspense is missing, largely so.

Additionally, I have to keep in mind that I've to look at the monitor and let go of the quintessential viewfinder.

Now allow me a decent interval of time to get hold of a server for uploading my amateurish attempts at using this contraption.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Im Deutschland - Part III

A border runs through it..

Through the city of Vaals. I alight from the local bus (the make of these is often Mercedez Benz), approximately 50 feet away from Holland. We walk towards a nondescript sign that spells "Welcome to Limburg" and voilà, in Netherlands we step, Vaals(NL) to be precise.

At first glance, everything looks the same, but look a little closer and you will notice Straße (German for street) is now Straat. I have this fascination of crossing borders, even interstate ones, and generally make a hue-n-cry about it, and to my delight, last Sunday, there I was, walking across, from Germany to Netherlands! A little further, a 2 km trek through the woods uphill *grooooan*, and you come to the Three_Lands_Point (in Dutch it is Drielandenpunt) where a borderstonepost, with three flags jammed into the ground, marks the meeting of Belgium, Holland and Germany. I sorta half-expected to meet Hercule Poirot puffing his way up from his side of the border, the egg-faced head bobbing up and down, but I was privy to the news that the Belgian was busy investigating the murder of Miss Marple ;-)

(It helps to have cousins of the second degree, especially those who happen to be studying in Germany currently, albeit 100km away from where I am, but in a 5km radius of such places of great interest)

The DreiLandenPunt is also one of the highest points in NL and the view from the top is great. Endless fields on one side, woods to the other. I found particularly interesting, a red house, bang in the middle of one such field. Undoubtedly, the union of these three nations is a tourist retreat; pristine air, quietude, and the slopes are perfect for zooming down on bicycles, helmets in place. Unfortunately, I was too slow for capturing one such array of bikers on film.

The city of Aachen it was next. Well, this city is loaded with history, with the coronation of German kings having been held here for 600 years, beginning from the first century AD. The decrepit palace is now a government office, but the old town is very beautiful. A magnificient cathedral, cobbled streets, old houses now coverted into road-side cafes (the banners often deep-red), bakeries, decorative fountains and statues, pretty, very pretty, and not to forget the jugglers and musicians on the streets.

I stopped by Köln too, another old city, with the famous Dom or Cathedral, splendid interiors et al, and the biggest in Germany. Köln also has quite a lot of musuems and offers cruises on the Rhine.

Europe is indeed a Mecca for those interested in history or fine arts, and thus a pilgrimage of sorts for persons like me. I have met not many who would want to explore a palace or ruins and not visit the obvious spots marked for tourists, I have met not many who wouldn't mind sitting for long watching the musicians play, or the artists paint, or the fields turn golden red as the sun slips into another world. Apart from my sister, I have met not many like-minded travel companions, and thus each act of obeisance is generally (and sadly) only partly consummated.

Current Music: You Belong To Me - OST Shrek
(The OST is by Jason Wade who seems to have put his whole heart-n-soul into the song by the sound of it, but this piece of music has also been sung by other artistes, one of them being Bob Dylan. A must-hear for classical guitar buffs, for it banks majorly on this particular instrument for effect)

Monday, October 18, 2004

Im Deutschland - Part II

You are in queue, please wait....
Exactly like those conveyor setups in factories, and considering the fact that I am in the nut-screw-bolt-iron-steel haven, it shouldn't come as a surprise that my food organs have begun to work likewise. When the first morsel is in my oesophagus, the second one is just dropping down the food pipe, the third is being figured out by the molars and the fourth ready on the fork, so on and so forth, a gap of two seconds or more (time permitting) between the consecutive ones.

Lunchtime is a real test for me, a competition. I speak not a word till the fork and knife are laid neatly on the plate, the focus is entirely on keeping pace with my colleagues. The Germans are super fast, be it while eating, or walking, as for the roads, 120-160kmph is as normal as the sun rising over the east. M. Schumacher isn't a wunderkind, he is just perfect Deutsch.

Etc et und so weiter...

If you ask me how I am, I would reply never been better, and not because this is a politically correct thing to say. I am indeed having a pleasant stay here. The protagonist would like to use this opportunity to express her sincere thanks to the supporting cast a.k.a friendly and helpful colleagues and hotel staff, without whom life here could have been a tightrope walk.

The weather? Fall has set in, and autumn wedded to a small village-town makes for a setting worth penning poetry for. The skies are clear, it is cold, but not unbearably so. I ride a 10-gear bike to work, in the quiet mornings and evenings, through picture perfect streets with not-very-little brown houses, squelching the moist red leaves on the cycle track as I go. Its difficult to believe I was leading a lifestyle, drastically different, back home not so very long ago, for I have gradually tuned myself to the one right now, and most activities seem just routine, as normal as the sun setting over the west (and Schumi winning the F1).

My lodgings are comfortable, the hotel taking on the appearance of an inn, but it actually is a large house built in 1919, quaint and very homely, wood panelling, cutlery of the last century adorning the walls, along with some interesting photographs from WWII. Its like those places where you would want to sit by the fireplace, on a rocking chair, petting your dog, reading your favourite classic, or knitting or...

(You may say I am a dreamer...:)

More on my current bearings coming up soon..

Current Music (was at the hotel at the time of writing): Don't Expect Me To Be Your Friend - Lobo
(Good guitar riffs and equally good lyrics. Recommended as bedtime music, with the lights and the thoughts turned off)

Thursday, October 14, 2004


har..harshad..HARSHAD MEHTA..harshad..mehta, the stocks fella ?
guj..gujar..GUJARAT..gujar..guj..g, you are talking about the riots?
dhan..dhananjoy...DEATH SENTENCE..5 AM..dhananj...the west bengal case?
and now ..Chaddha..ASH..the b(ra)ide and the prejudiced lot

Ever wondered that the Mexican Wave is a phenomenon not restricted to stadia spectators alone? We all go surfing, riding these waves every so often, or if you prefer it this way, rock-climbing, a molehill, a mountain, a molehill, and then, molehill no 2...

Thus the sea is, more often that not, agitated. In times of calm, just enough for us to pause for breath, a miniscule ripple hideously transforms itself into a gigantic tidal uproar; and the *harmless* stone that sets it off? Information sources, advertising gimmicks, just too many of 'em. going strong)

Monday, October 11, 2004

Im Deutschland - Part I

!!DoNt PaNiC!!
Not that I was, but I rather like Ford Prefect and was hoping to incorporate his philosophy in at least one of my posts. I still haven't made perfect sense of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, a second reading, am still on my first, will do me good.

I digress as always, it's a wonder I haven't lost touch with myself yet. Anyhow, I did not panic. Findings of the day: you can't radio a flight and ask for it to come back to base point just because *one poor soul* missed it by five minutes in spite of running helter-skelter for the same, and secondly because the soul in question is NOT the Head of State of some country, not even the District Councillor of Timbuktoo, assuming it exists in the first place. Lest you ask, I did not see it take off, wagging its tail, for if I had, I would have stood by the glass panes, shaking my fist at it and then maybe later, pleading, down on my knees, hoping the pilot would notice. Chivalry, like the Loch Ness monster can prove to be a myth at times. The airport officials did not even offer to stop the Frankfurt-Dusseldorf flight in mid-air, and fly me there by a 'copter! *utterly shocked, disappointed and with a sigh, resigns to her fate*.
FYI, Great Expectations was written with me in mind

This sad state of affairs was thanks to the Mumbai-Frankfurt flight being late by an hour and half, which in itself pointed fingers to the incoming flight from Frankfurt to Mumbai being late 'cause a passenger had a medical emergency. So, there I was, stranded at Frankfurt for four hours, with nothing better to do than check out the duty free shops, stare at people, peruse a German newspaper trying to read between the lines (for the lines themselves I couldn't decipher) and terrorize my taste buds with wierd tasting green tea or something to that effect.

Jet lag??..... I remember crashing into bed at 3:30 PM for a short nap. When I woke up, it was 4 AM. I was zonked, to say the least.

To be continued....

Friday, October 01, 2004

I am leaving on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go..(hmm, this feeling is true only in parts)

---Leaving on a Jet Plane - OST Armageddon

Was not it just yesterday morning that I was trying not to appear too sleepy in my Japanese class. Today, at precisely that very minute, I was on Marine Drive, legs dangling, sitting on the stone barricades, waiting for the German consulate to wake up. Was it not just yesterday, that was I was among familiar faces, the strange ones given not more than a glance. Today, I was scanning the crowd at Nariman Point intently, looking out for the visa agent, a total stranger, sizing up probable Mr Balaji-s, amongst those heading my way, almost breaking into a smile then wiping it off, hurriedly, for the repeated no-shows.

To cut a long story short, I head for Germany on Tuesday late night, (work beckons, not pleasure). It is going to be a make or break situation, for I travel on this assignment alone. Either I'll minor_bruise my way through all that comes with going to a foreign country, fumbling with a language that I've studied almost 8 years ago, or I'll fail my claims of being somewhat fiercely independent, and the thorns shall pierce deep. Either way, it holds the promise of a struggle of sorts, and I look forward to the same.
Psst, watch out for a brand new Mein Kampf making its way to the stands, end of this year

So, *in a Nazi-l twang*, Auf Wiedersehen, for there is a possibility that we may not meet for a while...

Current Music - Yeh Jo Des - Swades
The entire collection is pretty good. The best thing about ARR is his judicious use of various musical instruments and playback artistes. His music may not go down well with some, but trust him not to dabble into tried-n-tested methods in at least a few of the songs in each album, and it is precisely this quality that I admire most.