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This blog is named after one of my poems. Even thought its not the best of the lot, I just fell in love with those words- The Psyche Unknown...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Life in Netherlands-Amsterdam-A walk of a lifetime!

I didn't think I would post about Amsterdam so soon.. but yeah, today right after being back and even though every muscle of mine is refusing to work after going for 2 days with little sleep, I still want to write this down. The magic word is Amsterdam! The name never meant much to me before, I never understood why people always went ga-ga about it.. But today I realised it. Whatever the others may perceive about Amsterdam, one cannot ignore the pulse throbbing in the heart of the city. Absolutely scintillating to walk down amidst hundreds of people in those bi-lanes of Central Amsterdam.

Unlike Delft, its not calm, green or peaceful but has all the crowd, the traffic, the old buildings sticking to each other along with the canals n boats! A typical European city that complains of traffic and trams..It was such a change from the university's serene surroundings. And I was surprised I liked it! May be it was too long since I saw that kind of madness..:)
Every step I took today(and let me tell you I took lots, I didn't realise the time or where I was headed to) was so gratifying! After the helicopter simulation session in NLR, (its the National Aerospace Laboratories in dutch) Dion helped me sneak through the gates as I didn't have my OV chip like he did. ;) Mike and Robin were also helpful enough to show me the way out of Sloterdijk and the tram stop. I began self exploring the city and it felt wonderful.

I lingered out of the central station finding information in the tourist info counter.. Nothing suited my budget or time so I just set out exploring by myself.. and that was a super decision taken I must say..
Waving in and out, the cobblestone road holding the most eccentric shops I have ever seen in my life unfolded itself with intricate glass chandeliers hanging above a s a part of the christmas celebrations..yeah its started a month in advance!

Some magnificent clothing and accessory display on either side with variety of cuisines lined up next to each other, your eyes just don't get enough of it. Be it "Vijaya Restaurant-Best curries in town" :D or the Argentinian hotels, even the Venezuelan cafe, they all stood so calmly hand in hand adding to the glamour of the streets.. Countless coffee shopsplaced all over..phew, initially the excited me took a picture of almost every coffee shop (that looked quite different from the other) along the way.. But I had to stop it.. they rack up innumerous on either side of the roads and every small lane you turn into!
(I hope you realise I wasn't taking pictures of "coffee" shops.. :D For those who don't know, coffee shops are the places where you can roll up ANY joint you want! Its all legal here! ;))

Then there were roads n roads of impregnable beer shops and wine shops lined so glorious, I just couldn't help remembering Vipin at that time.. :P Took few special pics just so that I can mess around with him(Amsterdam is his dream destination!) :D And of course a thousand casinos and gambling centres all over!

As I moved along, even without realizing, I was in front of Madam Tussuad's. Well, it was almost closing time and I dint want to go in at that time wasting money. Instead I hovered around there and my my! that's some city square.. Bustling with life, activities, tourists and hundreds of pigeons flying upto you nonchalantly.... Literally you could feel a positive spirit oozing out of everything there..The best part in that square(though it may sound silly) was the masked men pretending to be straight out of scary movie. It was quite appealing(I know, I'm weird). I just loved those three guys brandishing swords and silver axes!

I was just savouring the view in the middle of the square when I read a board called Amsterdam Diamond Society.. I started walking towards it and lo! there were diamonds on display.. All kinds, colors and sizes.. Diamond studded watches, brands like Gucci and Rolex made me dizzy.. I was swearing to myself all along! I decided the first thing I'd do when I have a job and a constant inflow of currency was to buy one of these Gucci watches!

And what was that above? Diamonds- wholesale-tax free??!! Like ads in India for rice and wheat grains?! That struck me.. A factory?! What are these people into???

I walked, I walked till I could no longer walk and found a lot of gift shops, coffee shops, flower shops, coffee shops, cheese shops, coffee shops, wine bars, coffee shops, and ah ha! finally tulips!(and of course coffee shops! :P :D) had never seen tulips since I arrived here.. Its the national flower of NL if you don't know! A long winding street full of multi-colored tulips- buds, full bloomed ones and plants which are yet to be sown in the soil!All for sale! Loved the flowers for once!

After another hour of exploring, taking tens of pictures, admiring the art(grafitti on walls-you find lots of it) I was trying to locate the way back to central station. I dunno how, may be the magic of Amsterdam just got me to Tussuad's again. Had never felt happier in Netherlands before.. Don't ask me why or for what. I received a message from Sniggy and I had to call.. I was missing her! Poor thing, bitten by a dog, she must have been wanting some empathy from me but all I could shout out was "I am in Amsterdam, I am in Amsterdam..In front of Madam Tussad's!!" This never was a dream destination or anything, but I was literally screaming into the phone... I wanted her there with me.. :) Again don't ask me why.. It sometimes is beyond explanations you know.. Probably you have felt it too at one point or another in relation to a particular person..

After all this I had to return back..It was getting late and I grudgingly was heading towards the station. Even in the train, my head was filled with the walk through Amsterdam.. I must have coverd a major chunk of it.. Cos' I remember seeing the museumplein and the other museums on tram quite behind and I saw them while I walked too! :)
So many more things I want to say, so many things I saw, I felt...the darker side of Amsterdam..but I don't want to create an impression on the first go! I'd explore more again and then add that up in some other related posts..

Hard fought for sleep and a minor accident the previous day, coupled with all the walking today, My legs refused to carry me home from the Delft station. It was drudgery.. But I loved it.. I was elated. I still am.. I repeated the same story with Vignesh too just now! (The "I was in Amsterdam, I was in Amsterdam.." thingy..)May be I should stop before people throw things at me.
I have always been this way. I feel things others just can't see.. and vice versa...May be if you go there you wouldn't find it all this exhilarating, but its all in the way of how you perceive it you know..;) I reached my room and here I am writing down with droopy eyes and sore feet.. I'd better pay some attention to it. Thanks to few others, I realized what a dumbass I've been in certain matters.. Got truckloads to handle before tomorrow can come to an end! :( God, Can't just one day be perfect?

Anyways, I absolutely loved the place.. Truly worth visiting, and what? I haven't gone into the depths of the city yet! People find Amsterdam attractive for all the "legalized reasons", whatever they say, but I'd say Go Amsterdam! Go Vibe!!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Life in Netherlands- Part 1

I'm in love with the new place I live in.. Delft, The Netherlands.. Moved in here 3 months ago for pursuing my long standing dreams...Frankly, not in my weirdest fantasies did I dream I'd be here.. in this country. I never talked about Netherlands before Mr.R.A, a scientist from NAL, Bangalore mentioned TU Delft to me. For me Netherlands didn't exist then! But now, I love this peace loving country where prisons are being shut down due to low crime rates and of course for various other reasons mentioned below and that will be mentioned in the future posts too.

At the city center in Delft.

This has been beyond my expectations. Delft though has a city status now still has the making of country side and boy! do I love that and how!! Its green, all around. So pleasing, so soothing and yet technologically as good as any city in this country. I just love the overall effect it delivers. Friendly people, neighbourhood shops, a mind blowing university, a student town literally, a culture so different wrapped around by cheese and wine!

This is a picture from a recently held cheese and wine tasting event. TU Delft holds such events every now and then.. Lots of friday night events where you can relieve the week's stress and learn and savour different cultures and festivities.

THE mentionable trait of Netherlands would be its countless canals and wind mills.. In Delft there is just one windmill and it hasn't captured me enough, for me to take out my camera and capture it! I hope when I go country exploring I get to find more of them..
But the canals are the best part of this country. I so totally love it.. The water so pure, silent and enigmatic always eases the frown between your brows when you are done for the long fought day.

I'm bowled over by the Dutch in general. They are so so tall.. ;) In India I was a 'tall' girl.. Most of the guys were either almost as tall as me or shorter than me.. Rarely you could find a guy actually tall so that I have to crane my neck to look at him. Here, I realized how tall the Dutch are when, during one of the breaks, I ventured out to get some coffee..It was so crowded and it hit me as I was trying to make my ways past them. All I could see was shoulders and chests or shoulders and bags! I actually had to crane my neck a complete 90 degrees to get a full view of the face! :D I felt like a little kid amidst grown ups trying to find my way back into the class! :P And that's saying something.. (you'll know why I said that if you have seen me!)

The Dutch are pretty strong and athletic too.. They have perfect bodies-men and women alike. I think it comes form constant cycling. Cycling to them is the 2nd natural thing. In India, use of cycles are limited to high school and at the most pre university.. But here, its surprising as well as exhilarating to see working class use cycles. They are so good wit cycles that, when my cycle had a problem, a friend suggested "Just catch hold of a Dutch guy yaar, He'll fix it in no time!" n its true! Cycles (more so called bikes here) just add on to the city outlook perfectly!

That's near my department..

That's near my studio..(individual bachelor rooms with basics, kitchenet and bathroom are called studios in general)

The other day Anil and me were biking with heavy shopping bags on our backs and cycle handle bars trying not to lose balance. Riding with too many add ons is not advisable in India amidst the raging traffic.. We were wondering about the same topic and lo! there goes a dutch super mom with 2 seats for her kids-one toddler and one may be a 5 yr old, bags hanging on the rear end from both sides and a basket of flowers perched on the front handle bar while she herself wore a huge bag on her shoulders and was munching a sandwich held in one hand.(teh Dutch do it often-eating while biking is what their lunch hour means!) The kids weren't excatly sitting still and helping her either. And yet she whizzes past us with such ease and grace.. We couldn't stop laughing at our own state after that..
And now I'm totally loving cycling.. After a long time I have got a cycle of my own and I love it! I love it! here is my cycle below..:)

And my university is absolutely fantastic.. Every field is developed in every sphere and equal opportunities for all without any bias.. Universities in India have to change in this aspect. Plus the aura inside the campus is so adept; be it just for walking, cycling or studying.

That's my department entrance..

That's the library from outside.

I get to see such beautiful sky and contrails(many which are due to our faculty experiments!) on my way to the faculty and back..

This is one of the tallest building in Delft..EWI faculty.. Lost your way? just look out in the sky for this building, follow the roads that lead you here and you'll reach home safely! :)

There is so much more to explore and exploit in this city! I'm hoping myself I will be able to post more about life in Delft soon! :)

Nov 22 2009, 11:17 pm

Random paranoia...

*Disclaimer- This could possibly be the most nonsensical post of mine till date! Read at your own risk although I kinda like it cos I 've never done this before!*

Today, I want to write so many things and yet I'm not able to. No that I have a mind block on ideas or anything, but just that I dunno how to put it. Poetry? Paragraphs?And neither way, I'm getting the right words..What comes after what? I want to encrypt it and yet want the message to be out loud and clear. I'm jittery, scared, angry with myself and hating so many things today. Lot of negative aura.. I dunno what is wrong with me.. I dunno if I really want to publish this post too..

I want to write a poem, but all I get is lines from my previous ones.. I want to direct certain things to few people and the world alike, but what is holding me back? I cannot see sense in most of the stuff happening around, happening within me.. And I want to scream out loud...I have a raging headache today and no amount of coffee is helping me.. May be I'll just write what comes to my mind first!

I just heard about the bomb blasts in Assam and I'm paranoid. Its so maniacal that people think so viciously.. Isn't the world everyone's home? I realise this statement after being in a foreign country for 3 months. There is nothing like your country, my country or your religion, my religion.. Just because you stay in one piece of land for a long time doesn't mean that land becomes great and you have to despise, disrespect and entomb the other. The more you travel, stay and try adapting to a new place, you begin to realise that you are glad being a human on this earth. That's when you realise how much you are mistaken about another country. You begin to understand the existence of human race when you meet people from all over the world, some with great philosophical and scientific temperament, talk continuously and delve deeper into the myths and facts. The entire world is your place and all the rules are man made.. But for what?! I do not understand. Why is there division at all? The globe is yours, your foreign only when your out of it! The war for survival begins there.. Against odds, against alien conditions, against life if there is so. But why here?

Well, again this was not what I wanted to convey but yeah, I just did it.. This wasn't exactly my problem a while ago...Have I lost it completely?

I am angry with myself for a lot of reasons here today. For starters, I am suddenly upset about leaving India where people like me are needed. I'm not saying that I will conquer the world for India by my ingenuity or brains but yeah, there are thousands of villages that require some dedicated engineers to help develop. Tried convincing myself that I will go back and help build but I'm still dissatisfied! Not convinced..Feel like a traitor. And I'm contradicting my own view here with respect to the above para.. I know that. But what the heck! That's what I felt! I think I have lost it completely today!

You would think I'd learn my lessons fast but I haven't apparently, atleast with respect to one particular chapter of my life. Why is that? I can never try and test my firmness in this one particular instance. Have never been so wavy in my decisions. Never have let my essence override the mind's determination. But why on this issue, is it all going topsy-turvy?

Also I wish I had loads of people around me now. Now that's really weird, even for my standards! Never actually wished for something like this before. Am I just being homesick? They say there are lots of ways to find out if your home-sick.. None of them are matching what I feel..May be its different for me.. weird that I always have been.

My mom has begun reading my blog. I dunno if she does it on a continuous basis but she knows my blog address now! Initially I thought it would be nice cos' I wanted her to read my poems. But after she read a couple of my posts, I have almost lost my sense of freedom to write! A terrific critic that she is, she is also the cabinet member, minister and the president of censor board for my blog! I have already had to remove certain material that she thinks will ruin my "prospects" in future.

I'm just tired.. I'm scared.. I'm not happy with my progress in various fields. Loads of expectations to meet.. but I'm just so not into it! And I know I can't go on like this. But I'm still in it!!

Hold on...

(After a break of an hour)

I just spoke to Vignesh..One another friend I'd treasure. He always is so calm and can soothe you down if you want. Feeling much much better. I really don't think above paras make any sense but I guess Ill post it anyways. They are all so random and do not make a point anywhere I guess. But after writing for so long, I don't have the heart to delete it. My problems aren't solved. But I just realized, I always have had them and I have dealt better with it...may be I needed a break and writing always has helped.. Dunno if it was Vicky or it was just me, I'm getting back to my normal self...
May be this is an anti climax sort of thing for the post.. Something not expected...but hey, I bet you remember the disclaimer put before!:)

Nov 22, 2009, 10pm

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I asked...

Flying through the clouds,
I touch down estranged,
Amidst a sky clearer than the mind
And water cleaner than the soul.

Days spent were many,
On the dreams so uncanny,
When realized, so precious,
Pride and mirth, reign so vicious..

The past seems a distant drone,
Struggle seems a forgotten parole,
All I see is the life I asked,
The glory of it all, so can I bask...

As success becomes common,
And glory isn't mine alone,
The thrust of it all gets on,
And the dorsum snaps, but I am not gone..

I fear, I shiver,
The cold biting through the fog,
Realization again dawns and shines,
While the mask of clamber smiles so sly.

A life I asked is no less unsound,
Disarray evinces in the felt ground,
No conflict from what I forever ran,
Is this life I asked so utmost blank.....