Everyday life

Puh, another 2 weeks have passed. There happened a lot. But mostly I ate a lot out. And the registration process in India doesn’t seem to be finished so far.
I am not going to read through it again though there are more than 1700 words. Please excuse all mistakes.

Food and Beverages: Another 2 weeks with great food not only in Pune city but also on campus’s food court. For example:

  • Broccoli chicken soup, calzone stuffed with olives, champignons, ham, salami, italian sausage and more sauvouring ingredients @ mungo’s, phoenix mall food court
  • Paneer Burger @ McDonalds – spicy!! The menu with coke and fries for only 162 Rupees
  • Chickenburger and Momos – Streetstall @ FC Road
  • Chocolate Chip Muffin
  • Lasagna and chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream @ Pizza Hut SGS Mall, MG Road. Amazing taste but very expensive!
  • Dominos Farmhouse Pizza medium size
  • Paneer and Veggi Sizzler opposite of SGS Mall MG Road
  • Singapore Fried Rice @ Baba Food Mall
  • ABC Farm Koregaon Park. Nice composition of different dishes!

Campus Hangout: This consisted mostly of chatting to mates on the food court, doing a digestion walk after dinner or having a drink at the campus very own coffee shop after dinner.
Since a few days, rules are more strict. Even male students are not allowed to enter hostel after 10:30 PM. Before it was also possible to enter after 10:30 PM. Everyone who comes late has to stay out.

Being Out to Pune: Yes mostly for shopping and this time I bought a very nice trouser from the brand U.S. Polo for roughly 25 €.
The Germans managed it to roam around Pune without being accompanied by Indians. Rickshaw drivers tried to trick us with manipulated meters and higher fares but we managed to get around that.
We discovered the Clover Center. Someone told us that this is THE mall where you can find very cheap unbranded stuff. Actually the smell in the mall was very odd and it also was hard to find what someone is looking for. I would not even call that a mall. See there are many little stores stuffed together in a large building. The stores are mostly not to walk in but usually just a counter where the cashier is providing you with the things you want to buy.
On last saturday night friends of Alex came to Pune as they were travelling through India. So a big night out was planned. Firstly we went to Pune to meet Prateek at 2 PM in his flat. We spent the afternoon eating and chatting and listening to the Linkin Park concert. We booked a cab for 8 hours starting from 9:30 PM. First the cab brought us to the ABC Farm for dinner. This is in the Koregoan area of Pune. Afterwards decision was made to go in the club at the Westin hotel. The entrance fee was 2000 Rupee but one gets a voucher of 2000 Rupee which he can convert into drinks during the night. The security did not grant me access to the club because I was wearing sandals. So I had a good excuse not to spend 2000 Rupees on coke. Our whole night cab driver brought me back to Prateeks flat. I chatted with the cab driver for another hour about India in front of the flat before I entered the flat and slept.

The paper: Anton and I set up a 6 page document and handed it to our NS professor. He stated the document as “good enough” and asked us to implement the basic algorithm without improvements in the first step. Anton did the main programming part. When he was stuck at some point we sat together and discussed/solved the issue. Finally the basic algorithm was working well and stated “well done” by the professor. We have got further instructions on that via email and will start implementing some improvements in the next days.
I have got Linux Fedora from the IT guys to have a Linux based operation system to try the programs. I got the OS finally running in a VMware Player.

Mobile Access: After being happy with my mobile I didn’t think about any problems. But soon problems appeared out of nowhere: the number of my friends and mine was temporarily suspended. First we tried to manage that by our own at the IDEA store but we didn’t reach anything. The statement was that they think that our signatures do not match to the passport signature. Another day later Mohit accompanied us to the store where we filled another set of forms – afterwards the phones were unlocked again. I also recharged a 2G voucher (3GB for 90 days for 270 Rupees) for internet acces on the mobile on that day. The person behind the desk promised that the phones won’t be blocked another time.
But only 2 days later my phone number was suspended again. This time Abhishek accompanied us to the IDEA store and made clear that we don’t want to have our numbers suspended again. Otherwise we just change the mobile provider.
These problems may not be caused by idea but by the Indian Government. The Government also limits the amount of daily sent SMS to 5 to avoid spreading rumor via SMS.

DS: Our professor introduced us something completely new. So new that I was hardly able to understand: The Stack. Just joking. The stack is very easy to understand but the application of a stack for expression validation was new to me. One can use the stack to convert an expression between the three formats infix, postfix and prefix.
Meanwhile I developed stack programs for the bracket-check of an expression, the string reverse and to convert a decimal number into binary representation. Furthermore I implemented the Quicksort and linear/binary search in another program.
The first assignment was stated last week and I answered all questions except the last in a word document before the deadline. The only problem was that it had to be submitted in hand written form.
Another issue is the journal book. A kind of hand written “what did you do in class”-book. This special kind of book is sold out for almost 2 weeks now which is why I didn’t write the book so far. I am not even allowed to hand it in in loose papers.

NS: The client server message program is finished. The RSA algorithm is coded. And the RSA is also integrated in the client server program. So the lab work is done.
The theory lecture was mostly about the ESP (Encapsulated Security Payload) which was not much. The content could have been much more but the professor was not in the college for a whole week.
The professor took one lecture on monday morning because the CC professor was late. After 25 minutes of NS the CC professor came in and tried to take over but the NS professor disagreed. Awesome!

CC: The professor explained a few more details about the contents. There is SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform …) and IaaS (Infrastructure) plus the benefits/disadvantages and examples of the first both.
In this subject I had to do my first assignment but I did not so far even though the deadline was the 20th of August. One good reason for not doing it is that the professor did not send us the assignment document. Rini told me that there is an assignment and kindly forwarded me the email.

ADBS: Here I was taught was througput, response-time, speedup and scaleup means when it comes to parallelism in databases. Now I also know a few partition techniques for horizontal/vertical partitioning (round-robin, hash-partitioning…) and what skew means in that context.
I also got a first insight into Object relative databases in the lab. Once in the lab the professor asked the students to get a board marker which is actually writing on the board. There were about 5 board markers in the room and only one of them was writing properly on the board at the end of the lecture.
Our teacher handed out the questions for the first assignment. Here I managed to answer the questions before the deadline.
One lecture was cancelled because the students explained the professor that the content was already done in a previous semester.

SP: I really have no clue about this subject. It is supposed to be good. But somehow I don’t know where to start. Everything seems to be simple about the assembler algorithms – but the correlations are not. Some assembler algorithms have one pass, others have two passes. And each pass uses several tables to store informations about the final program. Even reading a book in the library did not bring light into the darkness. I think it just takes another week or so until I get the full sense of this subject.
There were two Fridays in between. On each the lecture was preponed from 11 AM to 10 AM. This is why Anton and Me missed these lectures. But the professor was very kind and told us the content of the lecture in his office.

Police Story: Last time known as Police station category. This time I changed it to story because it is kind of an “endless story”. The campus administrator ordered us to his office: Alex and Anton has to go to the police station to finish the registration process. I thought there must be some misunderstanding and so I went with them to the police station the other day at 3 PM. Just before from 2 PM on we were chasing for documents throughout the whole campus. 4,5 hours waiting filled with just one disappointing sentence: Simon, they lost your documents; Do you have four passport sized photographs with you?. Actually I do not carry lots of photographs of myself always with me – I know how I look like. I almost lost my patience but gladly the police station has not been severely damaged. The international office guy will check whether my documents are at another police station. If not I need to start all over with the registration process.

Independence Day: Celebrated on 15.08 each and every year. There was a nice program with drums and flag hoisting on the up hill campus. The program also contained a freedom run from the up hill campus to the hill base campus where Alex finished 9th. More information on the day on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence_Day_(India)

Book of household accounts: Withdrawal up to now was 27000 Rupee

Pictures: Not much pictures taken in two weeks. So enjoy the few which are following and please don’t forget to watch the movie which is about me slurping the rest out of a chocolate fondue!

Home » Everyday life » Everyday life
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The Mumbai Trip Pictures

This is what you all must have been waiting for! Enjoy the pics of the last weekend in Mumbai.
Please don’t forget to read the text to these pictures just below.

Home » The Mumbai Trip Pictures » Mumbai 22_08_12
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The Mumbai Trip

First of all you must already be starving for the next entry. Good news is I had a nice weekend with a lot of things to write about. So I hope your hunger for more is gone after reading.

Our first plan was to do a trekking tour to Mahabeleshwar on the long weekend but then this plan was discarded due to heavy rain in that area. It would be just too dangerous to fight tigers and snakes in heavy rain.
So on saturday evening another idea came up: Why not fighting against traffic in Mumbai in less heavy rain.

After a few hours researching hotel and transport options we decided to take the bus to Mumbai on Sunday Morning. The advertisement of the Neeta bus company was: Travelling with the star – Regarding to the bus which was manufactured by a automotive company with headquarters in Stuttgart Germany. The comfort in the bus was truely not bad: there was airconditioning, comfy seats and only two people selling things like newspapers and so called snacks. Especially looking back to the train ride back to Pune the bus trip was a pleasure. Half way the bus stopped in Lonavala a hill station. There is nothing else to mention about Lonavala then the little potato dish I had to fill the huge hole in my stomach. At least it was not expensive: 15 Rupees.

Arrived in Mumbai the hole in my stomach filled almost the entire body. A mad rickshaw driver manipulated his meter and brought us to our hotel called “Hotel Lucky”. The driver charged us about 220 Rupees for a very short ride. First of all we thought: Mumbai, quite expensive, isn’t it?
It seemed that no one thought about food apart of me so we checked in the hotel before lunch. The check in was quite a problem as I didn’t have a passport copy with me. Luckily I had a copy online. As you can see on the pictures below our room was just spacious enough for 4 mattrasses and a all-in-one bathroom. Not a problem to anyone of us due to its only a one night stand – haha. After refreshing we took the local train to Marine drive. It is not hard to figure out the difference between a local train in Germany and a local train in India: doors are kept open whilst moving and people don’t mind standing on the door step after train departure in India. The aircon is replaced by fans and there are 2 lines of handles hanging from the ceiling in the aisle. Most of the time the trains are very crowded. Someone said that the rule of boarding train after people getting off the train exists but no one cares. The problem might be the short time of 7 to 15 seconds between arriving and departing. We reached Marine drive still hungry but didn’t go for lunch before we strolled along the promenade by the sea.
A short and also cheap ride with a local Taxi, not Rickshaw this time, brought us to the restaurant Leopolds. The name of the restaurant does not sound Indian at all and so the guests are. Of course there are Indians but I felt that the non indian guests in numbers were more. The interior was more of european touch: images of famous European sights like the eiffel tower were hanging on the wall as well as a few pictures from Indian sights for example the Gateway of India. One window was replaced by steel due to some shootings which happened here regarding to the bar keeper.
The menu contained Indian, Chinese and European dishes. Alex decided to eat pasta, Anton had a beef steak with fried onions and fried potatoes. My choice was prawn curry rice accompanied by pineapple lassi. Both were very delicious! The others shared a pitcher beer. The pitcher itself was very special: it was not a usual jug with a handle but a vertical tube about 1 meter high with a tap at the lower end. In the center of the tube was another tube filled with ice cubes to keep the beer cold. After this revitalising meal our feet brought us to the Gateway of India. It is a monument standing at the sea side on a large enclosed area. The place can be entered from a security point where bags and pockets are checked. Once entered the area, salesman offer to take pictures of you for a small fee. Nice idea especially because they carry a high end camera and also a portable photo printer with them. We prefered to take pictures by our own and safe the money for afternoon tea.
Once the monument was stored on my cameras memory card from each and every side we strolled along the streets to a cafe. I can not remember the name but it is a very small cafe opposite of a french bakery and a Bentley showroom. We took our cold and hot beverages with us and another taxi brought us back to the Marine drive where we spent another 2 to 3 hours waiting for the sunset. Actually the sunset was there but not spectacular due to heavy clouds covering the sky. We were honoured with the illuminated skyline of Mumbais coastal area.
The way back to the train station was a bit harder. After walking in a circle around a few blocks the train station appeared in front of us. The day ended with a chat at the promenade, nice italian pasta and ice cream from the cone.

We were invited at Grishmas parents home for lunch on Monday. Once again we boarded the train as the day before. We were faced with the next adventure afterwards: we had to use the local bus. No one had a ticket when boarding the bus. This is because a public transport employee was selling the tickets on the bus as soon as the bus has departed. The bus itself had already aircon and the seats were actually comfy. Much better compared to the red old bus which was standing beside us at the bus stop. We reached our bus station after a 20 to 30 minute bus ride and had to walk another 15 minutes to Grishmas parents home. The flat is in the upper half of a roughly 30 floor tall building and looks very neat and clean. There is a stunning view from the balkony over a part of Mumbai and even to a few moutains towards the horizon. The lunch was a 3 course meal with a soup as starter, a few different indian dishes with chicken, potato, cauliflower and other eatable things as main course and plain yoghurt plus a yummy yellow spider web looking sweet dish for dessert. Each and every Indian meal I had recently tasted quite basic compared to this amazing meal.

It was kind of a rush back to the city because we decided to take the 3 pm train back to Pune. A rickshaw brought us to the train station. There we queued at the ticket counter and bought a one way ticket for the non aircon second class at a rate of 45 Rupees per person without reservation. First we have got a seat for everyone but as soon as the train stopped for the second time in Mumbai people claimed their reservation and only 2 of us had a seat. We were alternating the 2 seats on the 3 hour train ride. The true problem was not that not each of us had a seat but the beggars and sales people on the train. I tried to read in my book during the train ride but standing in the aisle made reading almost impossible. Roughly each 5 minutes a sales person or a beggar asked to pass through. Some of the sales person were really usefull as they sold cold drinks or biscuits. Others were just annoying as they tried to sell toys, jewelry or other stupid things.

We reached Pune at half past 7, one hour earlier than expected. We decided to go to the Restaurant “Touch the sizzler” on MG road. Anton decided again for beef but this time only a starter and nothing else. I shared a Paneer (Cottage Cheese) Garlic Sizzler with Grishma because I was not as hungry as eating one sizzler alone. The extended weekend ended with friends in the mess facility.

Finally I can say Mumbai is a nice city, the traffic looks less chaotic than in Pune and hence there is less honking too. But there the climate is quite humid compared to Pune and so I am lucky to stay in Pune for long term and not in Mumbai.

So now you expect pictures of this. Actually there are some but I am hungry again and so don’t have time to provide pictures to you today.
I promise to upload the pictures by tomorrow or Thursday!

Study is going serious

Another week has passed. All lectures have started and teachers praised my programming skills. Again there were heaps of things going on on the campus and beside. Enjoy reading!

Being out to Pune: I have been a lot to Pune last week but mostly I spent the time to eat out. A few minutes of some evenings were also spent to buy some most wanted products, for example sandals (800 Rupees) and a toothbrush.

I also made new friends with a couple of girls who are partly in my class: Apoorva, Chitrangda, Sonakshi, Pooja, Anupriya, Rini.
This weekend on Sunday I went shopping with Mohit, the other Germans and the new made friends which I just mentioned. All in all a very very nice day out in Pune!!!

Krishna’s Birthday: Krishna is a God in India. And on 10.08 is his Birthday. We went to one of Krishna’s temples in the city and worshiped him. Here is some of the worshiping procedure: First you get rid of your shoes at a shoe drop off. Then you walk barefeet into the temple. The queue is very long. Many many People want to pray and worship Krishna but still the queue is constantly in movement. After just 15 minutes wait you stand in front of a gorgeous altar. The air is filled with the sound of a song. The song lyric is easy and contains mostly the word ‘Krishna’ and ‘Hare’. Then one follows the queue to the exit where a small portion of halva like food is served. After exiting one goes again to the shoe drop off and picks up his shoes. All in all nice to see how Krishna’s birthday is celebrated.

Campus Hangout: I also had a few nice evenings in the Hostel especially after coming back to the hostel with the 9 o’clock bus. Mohit for example showed me some of his pictures from Würzburg and Hannover he took when he was in Germany for summerschool. Another evening passed by while watching the movie “The girl with the dragon Tattoo”. One more thing to mention are the times when I was sitting in front of the Hostel and were talking to some friends I made here.
Last Friday was Mums birthday and I knew that she is celebrating at my German neighbour location. I surprised her with a call at neighbours place!

Rhaki: Is on 2nd August. It is kind like a public holiday and it tightens the relationship between brother and sister. The sister is giving the brother a wristband. This wristband shows that the brother takes care about its sister.

Food and Beverages: We, the Germans, learned that the up hill food court, the one with great food, is not opened on each and every public holiday (for expample: Rhaki). Not just on this day we ate in the mess facility down hill. Update: The chinese chef came from his vacation and is now preparing Chicken Hacka Noodles and other nice food also in the food court down hill.

Here another list of things I ate and drank in the passed week:

  • chocolate/marshmallow pancake and toblerone shake in the chocolate room
  • Lamb brain: never thought that I am going to eat the brain of lamb. And actually it didn’t taste very nice. But I ordered it so I ate it all. It tastes a bit like liver but is even more smooth and generates a kind of weird feeling in your mouth.
  • Fried onion for tea-time in the mess. Actually very nice and I would like to have some more of these in near future. Once there was also some spinach in the mess – a bit spicy but very tasty! More of it please, more!
  • Of course there was heaps of Chai. I think I can not live without it even after coming back to Germany.
  • Chicken Tandoori in  Hangout Hotel @ Village. The DJ there accepts music wishes from the guests. This was a really nice night out!
  • Then there was this warm chocolate cake and chocolate toast on FC Road. Yummy!
  • I already explained what Momos are. Another thing I don’t want to miss in Germany.
  • There is a small Cafe beside the Food Court on Campus where one can buy an awesome chocolate shake for just 23 Rupees
  • A buffet in a 4 star hotel. There was pizza and pizza rolls and chicken nuggets and pasta and two kinds of soups (chicken and pumkin soup) as starter. Followed by the main courses where one had to choose from several indian dishes. To conclude this delicious meal ice cream and custard was served.
  • Beef Burger. Unbelievable there is a restaurant with the name ‘Burger King’. No I don’t mean the ‘Burger King’ chain. At this place  one can buy a King Beef Burger for 50 rupees. Actually the taste was not that great but still beef in India – awesome!

The time table: Awesome. I never had such big trouble to follow a time table. The whole confusion started from Monday when Cloud Computing was cancelled and after 30 minutes waiting the Advanced Database teacher held the lesson.
4 of my 5 subjects are out of the 7th semester. Only ‘Data Structure’ is choosen from the 3rd semester. This 3rd semester subject caused the problem that a part of our time table was based on the CS department and the other one on the IT department. So that ‘Data Structure’ fits in the schedule. The CS people thought that we have all lectures with them and IT people thought that we have all lessons with them. Of course there are some subjects equal between CS & IT but held in a different time frame. I was just following the instructions of other students and attended some classes twice once at the IT time frame and once at the CS time frame.
Finally Anton and I complained about the situation which caused the head of the department to give us a just CS time table. Conclusion is that the ‘Data Structure’ lesson is held when we don’t have any subject – just for Anton and me.

The paper: I think my ‘Network Security’ teacher has not seen me programming. Nevertheless he thinks that I am good at programming. Hence he offered me and Anton to write a paper until the end of August. A paper about Visual Cryptography. He gave us an Algorithm and asked us to help him to improve it. I don’t feel like doing that because this is a bit beyond my programming and brain skills. Also this will steal some time which I otherwise would have for travelling and relaxing. Still there is nothing to loose when we don’t manage to improve it – so I just go for it.

Mobile Access: I have finally bought an Indian SIM Card this week. The best thing is that it is also working in my Samsung smartphone. It might take another week until I buy data plan but for the moment I am more than happy to be able to call mates from the campus.

Internet and the IT Crowd: After a few weeks without ‘proper’ internet we finally got dedicated bandwith during the evening hours. This enables us to skype home. The IT Crowd in the server room is very friendly and also helped me out with the download of Visual Studio and the Windows 8 Release Preview. That would have taken hours and days when I would have done that on my very own computer due to daily traffic limit.

Sport: I just played table tennis once last week. There was this trekking weekend in between where I got a major cut in the sole of my right foot which made me unable to do sports. Actually I am not unhappy about doing no sports.

Injury: I wrote about my trekking trip but forgot to write about the cut I got in the sole of my right foot. The cut happened when I was having a shower under the sub waterfall as mentioned in the last post. The wound almost healed within 5 days.

DS: Finally we, Anton and me, managed to make them believe that we are great software developers. This is why our teacher decided to give us seperate lessons. Hence we got rid of 4 lessons and are allowed to develop the programs on our own in our leisure time and not at usual in lab times.
In the last lecture I was told what sparse matrices are and which structure is used to store them in a computer. Furthermore I learned how to fast and simple transpose sparse matrices.
Our teacher reviewed my polynomial and sparse matrix programs and gave me the assignment for it.

Network Security (NS): This lecture started last week Friday and is all about en- and decryption algorithms. In the lab we have to develop 3 programs: message passing between server and client, rsa algorithm and a program with both together.

Cloud Computing (CC): I have got a short insight in what the contents will be. It is all about cloud services, sharing resources and elasticity.

Advanced Databases (ADBS): Here the teacher also started with the explanation of the syllabus. Our first topic is: Parallel Databases.

System Programming (SP): Another subject where the content is explained with the syllabus. The teacher likes to discuss many things but is always ending in a monologue. He discussed with us the system programs which are necessary to compile a program and got more into detail when discussing the assembler. Obviously the teacher uses the word ‘discuss’ a lot.

Police Station: We, again the Germans, need to register at the police station. This was a process where you would find no word for it at certain points. Staff from the international office picked us up with a taxi and gave us a lift to a police station. Lets call it police station 1 just to avoid confusion. We sat about 3 hours there and waited for the paperwork to be done. The international office staff asked us sometimes for passports and photographs. At least something was done after this tiring afternoon but the process is still not finished because we need to show up at another police station too.
A day after the international office staff was supposed to pick us up at 10 AM at the college entrance. The staff finally arrived at 20 past 11. The other police station, lets say number 2, seemed to be a bit more in the outskirts of Pune and the roads were just more narrow and bumpy than the ones to Pune. This time we used a few minutes of the 3 hour wait to shop. I got 3 t-shirts at the price of 390 rupees. At this point I don’t have proper words for what happened at the end of our wait: the international office staff said that the officer who needs to review our documents is not present today. Hence nothing was done at all.
On the third day of the “police story” we got picked up on time and again we were riding on the narrow and bumpy road to police station 2. Once arrived we had not to wait for long until the international staff announced that the officer is waiting for us at the up hill campus. Actually this is not a problem as long as you do not have the information that the international staff had a phone call with the office just before he picked us up. Okay all the way back to the Symbiosis up hill campus. The officer was tall and had dark brown hair and is not a person you will fear when you meet him on the street. In the end he just compared the picture on our passport with our face: no signature, no stamp, no anything. Finally we were registered.
All in all heaps of paperwork. At least we had support from the international office otherwise the registration would have been impossible.

Tech Festival: Cancelled.

Blog Writing: I made heaps of notes and sat in front of my computer for ages to write this and the last blog entries. Please let me know when you have read this entry with leaving an comment!

I have got another gallery of pictures of the last week:

Home » Study is going serious » Study is going serious
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Trekking Tour, Malshej

After being almost 2 weeks in India I had the chance to discover the surroundings of Pune together with Shreya, Mohit, Abhishek, Prabha, Anton and Alex last weekend.
Our trip with the large yellow rented van inclusive driver led us to Malshej, 120 km north of Pune. The box wagon looked like it has had his best years already but their was an almost new Sony entertainment system on board. Actually this did not help because we had no media to feed this system.
We took the 5 PM bus from the university to the city of Pune where we were picked up with the yellow van. After buying some beverages, mostly bottled water, our trip began.
There was already heaps to see on the way out of Pune:

  • Street Food
    Just imagine an ice cream van. Maybe a bit smaller, no drivers cab and not even an engine. This is an object where street food is being prepared and sold. On offer is:

    • corn on cob
    • momos (see entry before)
    • fruits (bananas and others)
  • The usual Traffic chaos: Cars, Motorcycles, Bicycles, cows, dogs etc.
  • Slums:
    It did look like a huge area where tents in different colors had been set up. People were sitting outside their tents chatting, doing some craft or just other things. You saw that these people life with the minimum.

As we were getting away from the center of Pune the traffic became less but still there was honking present. And even on so called highways people didn’t care about lanes. To the vans left and right were alternating smaller cities and fields. Fields where sugar cane, rice and other things are growing. On some of these fields where ox’s dragging along a plow with the farmer walking behind with his feet under water in the mud. Time passing the daylight became less and hence there was nothing more to see outside. So we sang along songs from the FM radio, Abhishek was smoking his pipe and we were also chatting.
We reached a restaurant on the way at 9 PM. It didn’t rain so we decided to sit outside. First the waitress set up a table inclusive chairs in front of his restaurant to the roadside just for us but as drinking beer in the public is not to be done we got another table behind the restaurant in the garden. I enjoyed a mushroom soup as starter, followed by mushroom something with roti (kind of bread) as main course. We still had a few minutes after dinner so we started to play “trueth or dare”, the english version of “Flaschendrehen”. In the end each of us had to decide once whether he chooses trueth or dare. Abhishek for example had to do a lap dance because he had chosen dare. Alex had to drink a full glas of beer without breakoff. And Mohit did a belly dance for us. Later on Anton saw a young cat rushing through the backyard – in the end he had that cute little thing in his arms and was petting it. Our driver was not sitting with us for dinner but our group paid the meal for him.

Another 30 minutes van ride later we reached a random hotel on our way. Abhishek and Mohit negotiated a price for us: 3800 Rupee for 2 twin rooms, 2 extra mattresses. The rooms were not very spacious and the interior looked like it needs an renovation but for one night it was ok. And the toilet was a combination of these with holes in the floor where you have to stand beside and a european toilet. The van driver decided to sleep in the bus. Until 1 AM we all sat together in one room, enjoying chai and chatting. Abhishek decided not to go to bed instead he said he will go for a hunt with his air rifle. He explained that he will not be in a good mood when he just slept 3 hours. Anton joined him.

At 4 AM the alarm clock rang, we got up, packed our stuff and entered the bus without any breakfast. The bus was digging through thick morning fog. I was wondering how the bus driver was able to steer through the steep curves with hardly any sight. The answer was easy: he was just following the markers in the middle of the road.
We reached a waterfall at Malshej at 6:10 AM where we made some nice pictures in the dawn. Another 20 minutes later we arrived at our destination where the bus driver parked on the car park.
This was maybe not the best location for a climb but no doubt challenging and picturesque. We were standing in front of a huge waterfall. Slippery stones everywhere. Nevertheless we tried and succeded the climb. It took us about two hours to climb and sometimes we were stucked but then found another track. Each time when we turned on an angle of 180 degrees we were rewarded with an awesome scenery. Another reward was the shower under the cold water of a sub waterfall at the highest peak of our climb.
The way back to the base of the huge waterfall was not easier but faster. The advantage of climbing down was that we were able to see the picturesque scenery without turning.
Each of us got some bruises when he slipt on his butt and also some scratches. Our clothes changed their color completely during the climb and Abhisheks trouser went straight into the bin despite the fact that he did not have any spare trouser. This is why he wore some pinky cloth around his hip for the rest of the day.

Back on the car park at 10:30, still tired, we saw that some food stalls had opened there. This was a blessing because we still did not have any breakfast.
After this revitalising corn on cob our driver turned the ignition and steared towards Pune. We stopped once on our way on a hill to give our feets a treat from the tiring journey. Up there the grass seemed to be extra green and the wind blew very strong. Apart from that there were some stony areas within the grass fields.
Hungry again we stopped at McDonalds in Pune at 3 PM. Finally our first meal there after almost 2 weeks. The menu looks less than in Germany. I had a large McMaharaja menu (175 Rupees) with coke. The burger is almost the same as the BigMac in Germany but with chicken instead of beef. Its taste is ok as usual at McDonalds. My cup holder broke on the way out of McDonalds and Prabha was helping out very friendly. She asked for a replacement at the cashier desk and got another coke for me.
Our van headed then straight to our campus and dropped us off. The bus driver did not even ask us to clean the van so we left the rubbish.

Finally I have paid roughly 2000 Rupees for an amazing 1,5 day trip. The scenery was very picturesque and I got something else to see than Pune.
The only negative aspect of this trip was the hour long bus ride to and from Malshej.

Home » Trekking Tour, Malshej » Trekking, Malshej, 05/08/2012

First week in India, Pune

The past week passed very quick and it happend some funny and also serious stuff.
I will divide that into categories to make it easier for you to read.

People: I actually enjoy how people treat us here. Every one is helping out in any case of issue. The chef in the mess facility offered us to cook different food if the everydays food is too spicy for us. We didn’t accept this offer because we are not here to eat roasted pork.
Our room neighbours coming to our room and introducing theirselfes. So we have nice chats each day. And we are also invited to playing playstation in mates rooms.
People ask you whether you want to go out for a walk and chat. They ask if you want to join their sporting activities.
Usually at 10:30 pm the hostel is locked up and everybody needs to have signed for staying in the hostel during the night. Although we have not been on time back in the hostel each day it looked like that is not a big issue if you know the right people.
It was also nice to see that people are willing to work some extra to issue our temporal student id card which is needed all over the campus.
Once the mess chef gave me a lift on his motorbike from the upper campus to my campus so I saved about 15 minutes walking.
All this is really really nice to have to feel a bit more like at home!

Food and Beverages: First of all there is chai almost everywhere. It is tea with heaps of milk and sugar. Once I ordered orange juice and it came with ice cubes. I was not sure whether to drink it due to the ice cubes and stopped drinking after the very first sip. Mohit was asking why I do not drink it and I explained him the issue. He just gave the juice back to the waitress and ordered another one for me – free of charge. This is what I mean by everybody cares. And then there was Lassi. No not the dog. It is a kind of yoghurt I think and it is drinkable and sweet. It tastes just like you want to have a full bucket of it. If you buy a hot chocolate somewhere you get it in an large glas and it tastes amazing.

Now food. We had so many different kinds of food last week that i just give you an idea of what we had:

  • Italian Restaurant called “Little Italy”. Pizza with veggies on it. Nice!
  • Chicken tandoori. Plain, curry and red spicy
  • Butter chicken with roti
  • Chocolate sandwich. Nope not a usual toast with chocolate spread. It was a toast with Cadbury chocolate topping. This was the most amazing chocolate sandwich I ever had. According to this I drank a cold Cadbury Chocolate. This is a bit thicker than chocolate milk but not as thick as molten ice cream. Awesome taste!
  • Pizza @ dominos: The pizza is like an explosion to your tongue. Once we had a cheesy cheesy chicken pizza and it was just an awesome pizza.
  • Lamb Sizzler: Sizzler is served on a hot metal plate. The plate is embedded in a wooden thing so that you won’t burn your fingers carrying the metal plate. Then there was of course fried lamb on the plate, mushrooms, corn, mangold, onions, other vegs, rice and fries and a nice sauce. Savoury!
  • Streetfood. Please never ever do miss Momos. These are dough bags stuffed with vegs or chicken. You can have them boild or fried. I am not that into spicy food so I just skipped the pepper sauce. There are also pancakes stuffed with cauliflower or paneer (cottage cheese) or onion
  • KFC. I had a chicken snacker there. It is not the best food on earth but still it helps to fill the stomach.
  • Chicken nuggets at Apache. Chicken pieces bedded in fried onions and soaked in a spicy sweet sauce. Hell, I like food!
  • Food in the mess. It is not really changing but it is cheap and fills your stomach. Once there were some pancakes and we thought how awesome is that. I wanted to top them with sugar but actually they were not ment to be sweet. Actually they were spicy. Mum, no and never bake spicy pancakes when I am back to Germany. The Food Court on my campus is a little better and the Food Court up hill is again a little better. Up hill I had already some Chicken Hakka Noodles – nice and cheap and not even rice!

Weather: We were lucky with the weather last week. It didn’t rain heavily but the weather changed this week: It was still warm (round 25 degrees Celsius) but the rain grew stronger so that I needed to buy an umbrella (200 rupees) this week. On Monday Anton thought that he does not need an umbrella due to not strong rain. Actually since this week he should have better bought one.

Introduction: There was an Introduction on our second day last week. This introduction was meant for the “Freshies”, the students who are starting their studies this term. I actually had problems to understand the content of the introduction because we were sitting in the last row. The things I got were:

  • large sport offer on campus: badminton (up hill), gym, swimming pool (up hill) and table tennis
  • Dancing lectures
  • Free shuttle bus to the city
  • Free Wireless internet connections in the rooms and university buildings (this is not good enough for streaming; Skype, Youtube etc. is not working)
  • There is a stationary shop on campus as well as up hill in case I need to buy basic things

Each and every professor from the computer science departement introduced hisself and the subjects which he is teaching. I am not sure why only 2 of about 20 professors are male.

The campus where I will study for the next 4.5 month is still under construction. It is a bit as it was when I moved in the flat in Ingolstadt 1,5 years ago: The interior of the building is almost fully developed but the paths and the face of the buildings are not finished yet.

There is a second campus up hill for business management and medical departments. This campus is already fully developed and hence looks much better. The food court there offers a wider range of food than on our campus. First time I have been up there I tried to get some cash from the “Bank of India” – ATM but that did not work. The ATM said: “Invalid card issuer”

The construction of a third campus close to mine has just started.
All three campuses together will be in future the Symbiosis learning Village.

Leisure on Campus: I was hanging around on the campus a lot last week because there was hardly any lecture.
As said the laundry is done by a on campus laundry. Hence I brought a full bag of dirty clothes to the laundry facility and paid 120 Rupees for it. We finally got our laundry back after 7 days. The second bag is already being washed but still needs to get dry and pressed. As I don’t want to wait 7 days again and again for my clothes I will wash my clothes in a bucket in my room. Another issue with the laundry is that they are not washing boxer shorts or panties so I did that myself in the room with “Rei in the tube”.
I have been to the library several times last week. But the library is not the place to be for study purposes on this campus. There are not many books in about 10 shelves and the computer desks there look like an alibi because there is only one computer which is functional.
There had been a cultural festival last Friday for which our buddys prepared a dance. They asked us whether we want to participate and exactly being aware of my dancing skill I said that I will participate. We trained for about 4 hours 6 different dance moves and put them together. Our dance teachers Shreya and Probha amongst others were not giving up even when it looked like there is no chance that I do a nice performance. I had to wear a traditional Indian robe with stitchery during the dance. I was still not perfect at the performance but everybody congratulated me after the big show to the great dance. The song to which we danced was “Bachna Ae Haseeno” and is about a playboy who just opens his arms and women just want to celebrate with him.

I don’t know why I have got this information but there is a smoking corner behind the food-court. To understand this it is good to know that the whole campus is supposed to be completely smoke and alcohol free.
There was an funny issue one day. The door to our room has two locks, one to lock it from the inside and one to lock it from the outside and they are both not connected to each other. I left the room before Alex and Anton and randomly locked the door from the outside. Hence Anton and Alex were not able to leave the room until the room cleaner came through and opened the door from the outside. I was sitting at breakfast that time and wondering where these guys are.
Last sunday I noticed that all the sporting facilities are closed. So there is not much to do on campus on sundays.
Some day I played table tennis with some mates from the hostel. I actually enjoyed doing a bit of sport to keep my body fit. But that will be enough for the next days because I do not want do overdo myself.
I am not sure whether you have heard of that movie “Teeth”. But it is all about a vagina with teeth. A girl was having her first sexual act and her vagina was biting the penis of the boy off. She was really confused about that but in the end she knew how to control the teeth in her vagina to self defense her from abuse. Then there was this other movie with the title “Insidious”. I don’t really know what it is about because I missed more than half of it due to a nice walk in the night with two mates.

Tech Festival: This week on Monday Mohit told us that the data structure lecture will be cancelled. Instead there was a meeting for the upcoming Tech-Festival. This is held throughout the whole computer science. On that day in August, i am not sure which one it is, there will be a tuturial on a topic choosen by the students.

Definition of a Village: One day Abhishek showed us the village which is close to the campus. The meaning of a  village out here seems to be very different to what we call a village in Germany. Here a village is wide spread with a few houses along dirt roads. Abhishek used the chance to teach us local plants. He also talked about opposites and corruption in India.
Once Mohit took us to the restaurant in the village. The courses which are offered are a nice taste of indian dishes. The restaurant turns into a night club after 10 pm.

Leisure in Pune: I have been to the city of Pune several times in the first week. I was mostly hanging around with Mohit, Probha, Abhishek, Alex and Anton when we went to Pune.
It is the easiest way to commute with the free shuttle bus at 5 pm to Pune and come back with the 9 pm bus which will be the last. Nevertheless on weekends, especially on saturdays and sundays, the 9 pm bus was full. No standing is allowed when the bus moves which is why students which didn’t get a seat need to wait until the bus returns from the campus. This happend to us twice last weekend. We used the time we had to wait for a chai in a close by bar. Another day we decided not to go by the 9 pm bus and return with a taxi which was about 700 Rupees for 6 students but the taxi did take 2 hour to come to the Apache bar. When it was there we noticed that it was not big enough for us 6 so we ordered two of them.

The traffic there is just chaotic. No one uses lanes and when you think there is no space for anything between one car and another you can be sure that a motorcycle just rushes through the gap. There are not only cars, rickshaws, busses, lorries and motorcycles on the road. You will find also cyclists, cows, elefants and dogs. There are thes “Don’t horn” signs but noone cares. It’s just horning from everywhere.

In this kind of traffic it is no wonder that I already witnessed two traffic accidents. First one was when our rickshaw hit a bicycle. The rim of the back wheel was badly bent but the rickshaw driver did not care. He just shouted something in Hindi and carried on. The second accident happend 4 days ago. Our bus was hit by a van in its side. There were no people hurt. The bus driver exchanged the contact details with the van driver and both are carried on.
The transport of our choice is motor rickshaw. The pricing is easy if one goes by meter. The minimum price is 11 rupees. With every 100 meter there is added one rupee. Basically multiply the travelled distance shown by the meter by 10 and add 1.
There is a cinema in the city at the E-Square on SB-Road. I watched “Batman – The Dark Knight Rises” and “Ice Age 4 – Continental Drift”. First one is a great movie if one is asking me with loads of special effects, nice dialogues and a perfect cut. The only thing I would change is the end. Second one was almost as good as the three Ice Age movies before. Again I liked the performances of Scrat and the stupidness of Sid – just loads of fun.
Abhishek and Mohit brought us to the shopping one day because we needed some basic stuff: pillow, second towel, shampoo, replacement for “Rei in the tube”
There was supposed to be an international Food Festival at Symbiosis SB Road, Pune at 5:30 pm this monday but it was still closed at 6:30 pm so we decided to have our own dinner somewhere in town.
Yesterday I bought a laptop. Abhishek called several computer shops across the city to negotiate where to go and look for the pricing of a certain computer. Finally I bought a DELL Inspiron 15R in a small shop somewhere in the city.

Data Structure (DS) Lecture: The data structure lecture is the only one I had in the last week. I missed already 7 classes because I just arrived on the 23rd of July. First of all I had to show how familiar I am with the C programming language. So I had to develop a simple program to input 2 numbers and add them. Second program I had to develop was operating on 2 matrices inclusive input and menu. Third program is all about addition, subtraction and multiplication of polynoms inclusive menu and sorting of polynoms with bubble sort. Our teacher praised Anton and my programming skills. Our teacher repeated for Anton and me the different kinds of data structures and also explained what operations are available with lists.

Money: I have got the first money from the government. Nice to see that there is support! Beside that I have got the acceptance for the DAAD scholarship.