About Me

My photo
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...

Monday, December 10, 2012

All I have...

Out that window, I watch them so pretty
Little flakes of snow, so flossy and naughty,
Woolen socks and nasty boots I adorn,
Gone with the wind were those thoughts forlorn.

I spring to the streets with a song so mush
But merry tiny blobs, I see, masquerades in slush
I slip and I grip that twig I thought was a brick,
Fallen and bruised….. Am I the nature’s trick?

I stand upright though pickled and grime,
The tot down the lane finds mirth in mime,
Admonition from the guardian echoes so shrill,
My song is lost amidst the needles of chill.

It was a song, a lyric of dreams,
That penned beside those lovely streams,
Day and night had I buried as one,
Those flakes I thought, would deliver me from the run.

As much as I flaunt a soul so callous,
Daunting is the current that unfolds so brumous,
A crowded desert is no place to find that one twin,
A domicile less overt is no trail to trace in the din.

I flounder in that slush with that song in the core,
Straining to hear the clucks of hooves and more,
Those dreams are all I have with me willed,
A hit or I miss; the lyrics are regardless spilled…


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Life in Netherlands- Part 9 - Met vriendelijke groet...

It was 2 am on a slightly wet Sunday. I was on top of the library dome as I had been on several occassions. I had returned from one of my midnight strolls around the campus. Those familiar routes that I took during the day always seemed so different, so warm and welcoming when the lights had faded.

Like more often than never, the slope was deserted at that hour. I climbed up top and stared at the horizon. The lights from the green houses far east reflected in the sky making it look golden even at that hour of night. Many students of science still ensured that the EWI and 3ME facades shone brighter than the stars. A bunch of clouds heading from the south-west were setting out to blanket the few constellations that were visible from up there. The grass was as soft as ever and the night couldnt  be more silent. I loved it, as always. I laid down on that amazingly well manicured grass. Perfect time and place to let out my thoughts and get some answers from the cosmos.

That one friendly slope..
But as I lay on the green bed of solitude, peace and unspoken acquaintance, I realized that it was probably the last time, in a while atleast, that I was going to be up there. Earlier that week, I defended my thesis and hibernated for two straight days. I had crossed the finish line, something that was just a dream and a doubt for a long time and it hadnt even sunk in yet. It had been a long, incredible journey. A tiresome one, in more than one way. Unlike most, I had a lot more to account myself for than just exams and grades. Just about 45 days short of a 3 year stint in this resplendent country was coming to an end. And what an experience it had been!

Many vivid memories, good, bad and the ugly ones flashed by. Those rebellions, the countless arguments, that unmeasured amounts of blood, sweat and tears that had been shed in the past 4 years were all coming back. And as if to compensate, there was the pure joy when I realized I was finally doing what I wanted to. The brilliant opportunities I got, the fantastic friends that I made, the wonderous sights I saw, the incredible lessons I learnt both in and outside class, those many experiments-some that succeeded and most which failed...Wow! It was in this country that I learned what life was all about.. A place where I felt more like an engineer...A place where I could break from the shackles of blind theism that had only lead me downhill.. Most importantly this is where I made peace with my inner self and I cannot do justice in describing that one feeling here.
That one canal..

As these thoughts gathered, I saw a satellite cross above me. I loved following them as long as my gaze could hold. That globe of dark clouds was engulfing a lot quicker and the satellite prompltly disappeared behind it. My thoughts went back to all the places Id miss around there. Through out my studies, I often heard complaints from people about Delft. Facts like it is very small and uneventful compared to bigger cities of Holland cannot be disgraced. Nevertheless, it remains a beautiful little city especially once you know it well. Some spots of this historic city would always remain with me for the sheer support it lent with its beauty. The Oostport, the library rooftop, the canals that ran throughout the city are all sublime designs to calm a rampant mind. It would be impossible to forget the destressing late night walks and the jogs around these places, especially after hectic lab hours during the last few months.

I was shaken from this riviera by Hollands trademark drizzle. Enough to send your lazy bottom in search of a roof but not enough that youd have to change into warmer clothes! I smiled realizing it had stopped bothering me over the years and in fact, I slightly enjoyed it. I sat up straight and just soaked in that scene for a while longer. I did not want to get down that slope that night. TU Delfts library (by the way, ranked as the 4th coolest library in the world ;)) had been a friend of sorts to me. It had played host to a lot of birthdays, coffees, exam preparations, a few beers, sun-sets, star gazing, philosophical and scientific debates, heart-to-heart conversations, snow-fights, yoga and meditation on warm mornings and so much more! It had seen me blunder, heard my musings, responded to my ruminations in ways I cant describe and at the end always elevated my senses! Id miss that place most of all.

I eventually headed downward letting gravity do most of the work. TU Delft logo caught my eye from across the street and I realized how incredibly lucky I was to have been under that umbrella. I wouldnt choose another place for studying! I wished I had only done my bachelors there as well. Time and again I have envied those who have been able to finish their entire studies in Delft. That night was no different. I remembered the remarkably awe-inspiring minds I met there, things I learnt from them, the ideas I exchanged all of which transformed me into something I wished for when I left home. I had gotten what I asked for- An experience of a lifetime and knowledge transcending mere coursework. And I wished I could have stuck around for longer but then it reminded me of something I read a while ago- If you begin to get too comfortable with a place, you know its time to move. It was better to do so while I still could. As I had learnt in Holland, life is very short and the world is too damn big and exciting for a human to be holding on to one impression.

Holland had shown its varied facets to me over these years. For an oddball that somehow managed to hop out of the well, it had been kind sometimes and not so much the others. But each time, it only made me stronger. And for that I will be ever grateful. And now, even as I type this sitting about a few hours away from the place that had become my second home, I cannot help but feel distant and desolated.

I kept postponing this article because I wanted to give this series a grand ending but nothing seems to harmonize with the spirit inward from a long time. Evincing a myriad of emotions pertaining to this journey has been harder than I thought and I do not want to conclude this series. I shall pause for now.. May be there is another life here... May be there is more, or may be some day I will unearth that psyche unknown who can verbalize better...

For now dear Holland, Tot Ziens!



Saturday, October 13, 2012

Life in Netherlands- Part 8- Dutched...

Life in the past 3 years in this country has taught a lot...Including adapting to new cultures and places...Being in a completely different cultural setting proved to be scary, exciting, enriching and rewarding. From wondering how I’d live here for 2+ years by just smelling pancakes at the airport to enjoying them in their entirety has been such a revelation on various levels. It is nearly impossible to jot down all experiences here in detail. So here I note, just some random musings, pointers, observations, experiences of nearly 3 years in the country of windmills (which, by the way, is such a cliché!) - all bundled in that little part of the brain that handles memories. Systematic, chronological extraction from source not guaranteed.
(Blogspot is giving me a hard time getting the photo locations right. Will upload some to this barren article as soon as I can fix it.)

  • It is gonna be hard to appreciate any internet speed less than 30 mbps after living in Holland.
  • Love the endless miles of cycle and pedestrian paths in this country.
  • I couldn’t have asked for a better Aerospace faculty anywhere! The facilities, student teams, the opportunities, getting to learn from some of the great minds of today….I bow down…
  • I will forever remember the day I sat in an aircraft cockpit for the first time… and it was a real F-16! J Even though the engine is stripped down for studies, it is the most striking thing on the campus.
  • But the new mementos of scientific innovation across the campus with description are pretty damn cool too!
  • Talking about cool places, the Fellowship is an awesome concept.
  • The structures lab hosting every single part of an aircraft for individual studies- Wow!
  • The magnificent horse drawn carriage carted by a beautiful Dutch woman, which passed in front of the faculty every Sunday morning with rays of summer light penetrating through the long line of trees - The most beautiful scene ever on a very mundane day! Watched this every week from across the street…
  • I first look to the left and then my right before crossing a road as opposed to what I followed for nearly 2 years since I came here. It was a habit that wouldn't die soon given the years of training in school and home to survive Indian roads. “Look to the right, look to the left and then cross the road….” Well, it was a hard change, but I got there.
  • Barbecuing seems like a natural thing to do even if the tiniest bit of sun rays creep in. Yes, despite the fact that I stay away from meat, the concept, the people, the spirit....I love it all...
  • The only response I got for “Which meat goes into a Kroket?” was “I don’t know..I actually don’t wanna know!”… Every single time I asked!
  • A veggie Kroket in between a bun with mustard sauce + milk was my lunch on many afternoons. I made some of my Dutch friends really proud! 
  •  I finally got the Dutch ‘G’ sound right! J
  • My Turkish friends will wince at this but I still thank them for the Falafals. However bad you think the taste has been compromised in this country, the Doner stalls have been my safe haven. I could not have imagined my life without them here!
  • Japanese wok, Vietnamese loempia, German Schnitzel, Italian coffee, Turkish pizzas, Dutch Pancakes and Oliebollen dipped in ground sugar- I have devoured you all time and again and you have pleased me much beyond my expectations. Thank you. 
  • It floors me that a country which sells French fries by the kilos manage to look like atheletes.. Yes, the entire country!
  • After being protected by parents, TU Delft international office for a long time, I did understand the difficulty of finding a house and furnishing it.
  • I do know the existence of a thing called TV… We had one in the “common room”. We switched it on, on the day we got it (for ‘gratis’ by the way) and then again on….… well, that’s about it.
  • Despite the fact that I will forever beat me up around this episode for some memories; I did learn how to fix a flat tyre!
  • Speaking of bikes, I will never forget the day I saw this really old couple cycling hand in hand across the canal with such happy, old, toothless, wrinkly smiles on their faces that definitely glowed brighter than Holland’s sun!
  • And talking about unforgettable strangers, the guy in the train from Arnhem who travelled on my OV discount card, the old lady at Dominos one evening-talking about all the amazing things she had done in her life, the potters in Delftse Hout, the nomadic hippie couple that gave away free tickets, a stroopwaffel and some awesome stories at the dead of night waiting for the trains, the falafel guy who made my dinners at reduced prices on most evenings… You will all be remembered for inspiring me in your own way..
  • Heineken is overrated!
  • Douwe Egberts coffee in the machines sucks!
  • Multivlaai is a must-try!
  • Magnificent French Chardonnay + long walk to the lab + music = A walk I will remember.
  • That one night I couldn’t stop smiling, cycled back in air and guttled paratas+channa like never before in my life- I shall remember. ;)
  • All the amazing food, drinks and company in those tens of potlucks, pub-crawls and shindigs: Strangely, I cannot remember all the details!
  • Amsterdam doesn’t mean “Eurotrip” experience only. It is quite a vibrant, culturally and technologically advanced city otherwise too.
  • And the Dutch are not stoned most of the time contrary to the popularly thought. In fact amongst all the people I knew here, the Dutch were the least number of smokers.
  • Netherlands has the highest population density but visibly lesser number of people at any given point in space and time.
  • Those bridges that go vertical always cracked me up! Don't ask why!
  • A calm country with no potentially harmful idiosyncrasies that threaten its security or image. You will find it to be a technology and research oriented country with a rich set of highly educated/ qualified individuals.
  • One does start feeling the spirit of 'Orange' as time goes by. One will not mind wearing the bright florescent Orange gear out on streets! One has to witness Queen's day-that is when you see how crazy the Dutch can be! It is like one day of the year they are allowed to be who they actually want to be as opposed to who they should be!
  • Constant rain will be the only companion you can trust completely to be there with you irrespective of your desire.
  • Finally, Oh, dear Holland! Thy be Blessed! For I shall cherish the impeccable sculptures that your sons are...Tall, blond, blue-eyed, those torsos and legs born out of constant cycling…Sigh…Many of your sons have sent my friends and me giggling away happily on several occasions. You have raised them well.  Your daughters too, but you would understand if I spoke more about your sons now, wouldn’t you? 


Friday, July 13, 2012

He called me a gal..

This is for a friend... Hope you find your redemption, Cinderella! :)

Baggy tracks and unthread brows,
A punch and thump, for all I was known,
No gloss, no roses, had ever caught my eye,
Every guy in town was a buddy of mine.

Then he comes, he comes like a man,
The doors were held and the stairs were fanned,
Hard enough to stand, this unusual tenderness,
Fuddled I talk, like a drunken pan.

I danced to his tunes, his tunes so mesmeric,
His voice so deep and the eyes that flashed
He called me a gal, a gal in real,
I could bow to the man, as I would to none.

He exudes elegance, gentle and strong,
I was stormed from the weight of the crown,
My rolled up sleeves and torn jeans so wrong,
Were just like that of the ol’ guys downtown.

I knew not this feeling, for it was surreal,
Thence, I mess up with my hallmark blow,
I am reminded, the ugly duckling that I am,
I holler for more, like the gates of a dam.

He turns away, repelled and appalled,
I smile, cos’ I know he was galled,
I excise the spirit that steered him away,
Leaving the memory, fresh like in May.

A wise world, for I see it now,
A new start, for I make it now,
Forever, will that gentleness touch-
that hoyden who adored it so much.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Agent Kats is back! (Story-3)

For those who are reading Agent Kats series for first time, please note that it is always semi-fictitious and I have NO violent bones in my body! Any resemblance to living, dead, zombies or what you (might) sometimes feel is truly-swear-by-my-thesis unintentional. To know more about Agent Kats, please drop by here and here.

In the most unexpected of moments, Agent Kats just popped up today! She is such a ray of sunshine when days get all monotonous and tiring due to unbeatable, increasing-by-the-second pile of work. Of course I try not to get her involved too much but some days you just canNOT help but use brute force!

There is a reason why they call it the 'silent room'. If I wanted atrocious, unsynchronized, senseless pounding in my ears, I might have as well waited to make my report in the middle of Dames square on Queens Day. I was working in the extra-silent section of the library so as to reach my highest concentration and productivity levels on a rather dark, drowsy Sunday afternoon right before Spring break. You can imagine how easy that must be! Well, it was almost as if I had the entire library to myself barring few other oddballs like me. And it seemed like I could do a lot that day.....

And then enters a lanky, tall, brown-bush-haired, annoying version of Sheldon Cooper. Yeah, you can imagine that as well I suppose! I knew him generally and a genius that he is, his parents have my respect for conjuring a super-brain and putting it in his head; really. But its ends there. A self-obsessed, arrogant, insolent, nonchalant creep that he was, he had to pick the spot right behind me. And as if all the charming qualities he possessed weren't enough, I discovered that day that he likes to use his keyboard as a punchball. What's with people when they pound their keyboards like it cheated on them with their partners/spouses? Be a little gentle to the machine and respect it a little, even if you are next in line to win a Nobel prize. His table was literally shaking with all the hammering and its not a pretty sound in a nearly empty glass house, especially if the desk right behind you is buffeting like a Boeing at high a-o-a. To add salt on raw wounds, he had to grumble (aloud!) about science-knows-what when clearly, there was a sign that said “Stilte a.u.b!” (Silence please!)

The muttering and ramming continued for a while and my day of high expectations was inching closer to devastation. I couldn't move to another spot as that computer was running simulations which wasn't backed up yet! My head began to throb and I almost whirred around to confront him. That's when I felt a deep shiver go down my spine. The glass all around began to resonate with some unknown energy. I felt like I was going to fling myself on that annoying brainiac. It took a great deal to stop myself. I clung on to my chair and that's when a translucent shell flared out of me. I knew it! It had to be her. She couldn't stay in anymore; not with all the ramming and muttering when all she needed was peace and quiet. The dark-haired, athletic maiden with eyes as sharp as a steely knife had come to my aid. It was her-Agent Kats! Phew! It had been more than a year since I saw her... What a treat to the eyes!

Agent Kats flew out of the vibrating shell like a ninja and landed right next to the guy. Before he could sense her, Agent Kats raised her iron-arm high and with one swift blow pounded his fingers into the keyboard. She kept pounding his hand, until he cried like a 5-year old boy. He tried arrogantly to push Agent Kats away, but that just infuriated her even more!

She rammed his head into the monitor, plucked its wires off the sockets and wrung it around his neck. His eyes were popping out but she couldn't have cared less. She grabbed the keyboard right beneath his squashed fingers and whacked him hard enough to crack his skull. The whole library seemed to float in his blood. Somehow, I was not touched by any of this goriness.
At that moment, she whipped out her OMG23 console and spun it high in the air. Gold and red of the console flashed so fast that it almost became invisible. A giant gust of air started rising from the ground and I felt a slight tug. Agent Kats had lifted me up with her and placed me on the window sill of the towering library. The view was absolutely breathtaking. I hadn't realized before that the roof of the library dome was so high... Wait, it wasn't, it just was Agent Kats. She wanted me to be safe from the rising blast of air and had elongated the roof higher. The guy was waking up and I began to wonder why Agent Kats wasn't doing anything. What if he escaped ?

At that very moment, I saw it. A giant vortex began circling along the walls of the library. It was red........Oh! It was his blood! He was trapped in a vortex of his own blood that had been shed before! The spinning OMG23 console picked up speed and the blood-y air only gathered more momentum. The annoying guy was spinning rapidly, hitting the walls and knocking past spinning chairs and computers in the vortex. I could sense that the inertial forces were very high and he would never be able to get out of it himself. He was screaming, I could see, but nothing was heard over the OMG23 as it was emitting a high frequency noise not unlike rotor blades! It was almost hard for me to breathe.. I was feeling woozy just looking down upon the core of a giant vortex. Agent Kats looked at me and she knew it was time to end it. She flung herself high and landed unscathed right in the center of the core. She started spinning, reversing the curl like it was child's play! Boy, could she play with physics! I couldn't help but admire her even more.. She was creating her own vortex, the Kat-vortex. She began to rise while gyrating and was now alongside her console. The counter-rotating vortices had begun to merge into each other and the annoying guy was overstretched on all sides. The blood vortex and Kat-vortex formed a mixing layer of high viscosity. The geek who got stuck in this stratum began to feel the traction and was almost unconscious now. That's when Agent Kats stopped spinning and retracted her OMG23 console while hissing something deep to it. The second she did it, the highly turbulent vortices exploded and completely dissipated into thin air. The force expelled blew the glass house into smithereens. I was so sure I'd be the prey of all the exploding shreds of glass but Agent Kats knew not to hurt me. She had created a bubble of high polymer density around us and was smiling when I looked up. The dust was settling down and there were monitors, keyboards, and processors everywhere amidst the broken glass. The guy was nowhere to be seen around and I didn't want to know what happened to him. Agent Kats shrunk into her cocoon and floated towards me. I looked reproachfully at her reckoning the collateral damage she had caused. But she looked gravely at me and said “You know deep down that it had to be done” and she drifted right back into me.  She was right.. It was unbearable torture before Agent Kats had appeared that day.

Why do people provoke Agent Kats? Why can't they remain silent when they ought to? As much as I love seeing her time and again, its just painful in many ways when she leaves....But, nevertheless, Thank you Agent Kats...


!* From google images!