Thursday, September 20, 2007

Leg Before Wicket

Germany: A land of fitness freaks. In every nook and corner, we can see people taking good care of their health, to compensate for beer binges. So we see games like Football, Tennis, Cycling and running. You will see an office-goer going to office in a cycle, a Professor coming to university on a cycle. For us in India, fitness becomes an issue when we sit in office cubicles for 13 hours, and then fitness becomes more of an ornament, were going to gym is flaunted as an achievement. Here fitness is a way of life.

Needless to say, Football, Lawn Tennis, Cycling and Running makes their legs stronger and sexier. And these people aren't shy about flaunting the same, like:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Picture is Worth Thousand Words!

Extremely Scenic Rhine Valley

Photo of Eurail taken from boat

Beer on boat ride through Mosel River

Frankfurt Auto Show

Ferrari and Me

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Live From Classroom

I am here, sitting in ebs classroom in real estate investment lecture and enjoying wi-fi.

The major difference as compared to Indian classroom is that students are allowed to enter class at any time, leave at any time, cell phones ring in class, people drink Coke, eat food, use wi-fi and chit-chat in class. The Professor is not bugged by all this stuff, in fact he is at his humorous best. Also, there is no attendance policy.

And in IIML: Class doors close at exact start time, mobiles need to be on silent, forget eating food or using lappie in the classroom. Attendance below 80% and lose your grades.

My guess is that, this is a result of difference in pay structures. In Germany, professors are extremely well paid, and in India, well we know the scintillating payments that Profs get!
As Indian Profs are not well paid, they need to show their anger on someone, and the simplest target is the students, and hence we see a lot of ludicrous rules.
As German professors get paid well, they are not frustrated and hence don't pain the students.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Settling Down

I am done with 3 days of stay in Germany. I am staying at Hattenheim, which is a small village, 42 km from Frankfurt. So here are my quick takes on stuff around us:

1. People: German people are extremely helpful. They are very trustworthy, now one of the guys gave me a lift in his Mercedes for 20 km distance. The biggest problem is that they speak English in German accent and it causes a bit of problem when we hear *zalt* for *salt* and so on. But on the whole people are extremely friendly, don't mind saying Guten Morgen and Halo to strangers on the road. Oh, yeah, not to forget, they are damn good looking!!

2. Tehjeeb: I guess ancestors of Germans used to stay in Lucknow because the magnanimous Lucknowi culture has been ingrained in Germans. Whenever a person crosses the road and, the car comes, then the car will stop and not the person. The hierarchy has been person >> cycle >> car, and if a person and cycle cross by, then the cyclist will stop and allow the person to cross the road with *Pehle Aap* tehjeeb.

3. Technology: Germans are well known in their techiness and Frankfurt airport is a fine example of it. Germany has very less population growth rate and hence they need to automate a lot of things. So Frankfurt airport was full of such techiness and they have made sure that the airport doesn't get converted into railway station. Also people are not allowed to walk on highways, hence we see BMWs speeding at 130 kmph without much hassles. Just check this image, photo taken at 129 kmph (Check Eurail track on right).

4. Scenery: The college region is quite scenic, with Eurail, Wine yards and rhine river nearby. Rhein and eurail are the major transport facilities for goods. Rhein flows through Germany and is considered to be Goddess River. Check the above image of Rhein, taken from the car at Rudesheim

And yeah, Germans are superstitious about *13*, just check this image:

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Guten Morgen!

The Flight Experience
So finally, after bagful of shopping, writing down the list of items to be taken in hundred different places in hundred different forms (Notepad, sticky note, reminder notes), flew from Mumbai at 145 by AlItalia Airlines. The check-in was very much smooth except for the fact that my colleague faced a major glitch as his passport’s last page had damaged lamination. He told the authorities that he is going for study program, and showed European Business School (ebs)‘s documents, they authorities didn’t bug. Then he thought that he will pull up with a trump card, so he took out IIM Lucknow’s ID Card with huge pride, but believe it or not, the authority didn’t know what is an IIM!!! Now he scavenged for all types of ID cards in his wallet, and to his surprise, he found out IITK’s life membership card. And the authorities were more than happy to allow him to go on seeing the name IIT!
Al Italia:
The airline is synonymous to Italian government what Air India is to Indian government. So we had a couple of old members in the crew and a few younger ones. Both air hostesses and stewards were quite tall, more than 5’10”. The best part was that they distributed the newspaper Financial Times in the aircraft, and that newspaper carried an article about sad state of AlItalia as an airline. It talked about future job cuts and also mentioned that the CEO is striving hard for operational efficiencies. Food was good, avoid continental food if you don’t have any pepper or spices around, otherwise it is quite bland. The crew members were quite enthusiastic, considering the fact that nobody was sure that whether they will be working for AlItalia 1 month down the line or not. The flight took off exactly at 145 am and reached 20 minutes before time, that’s some operational efficiency; they lived up to their words.
Right now in Milan Airport, Malpensa, the airport is outside the city. Milan vs. Rome is as good as Mumbai vs. Delhi. Wi-fi is charged at the airport, Mumbai airport scores better there. We have a huge Brazilian contingent, carrying flags and all. If any Indian STEX person is coming here, kindly get the flag!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Who the HELL is Orkut?

Orkut has bagged MTV Youth Icon 2007 prize. It's not a human, but its deeds are humanly.

So why the hell is Orkut so famous amongst Indians?

1. It helped to find long lost buddies of school/dance classes/coaching classes and what not!

2. There are so many people whom you would not like to add on Yahoo messenger/gtalk but would like to know their whereabouts every month or so. Orkut gave that flexibility.

3. Orkut helped you to gossip. Who is committed, and who is not, who is where and who is hot!

4. Many social networking sites emerged after seeing the success of Orkut like These websites had a few distinctive features like every item is a hyperlink, so that you can search for all the people who like to listen to Lucky Ali. Orkut conglomerated all such unique features of different sites into Orkut, so that you don't need to go to any other site for networking.

Where Orkut has gone wrong?

1. Orkut hasn't looked after professional networking. linkedin filled that gap, and has become a big force in the professional world.

2. Orkut has failed to monitor porn profiles/communities, which may become nuisance in coming years in case they proliferate.

3. Many fake profiles are made on orkut and Orkut doesn't have any unique identification for every profile to avoid the repetitions.

The future:

Web 2.0 has rocked big time, but Orkut will face stiff competition from cash-rich Reliance backed, a social networking site. Given the cash richness of bigadda and techieness of Google, the battle will be interesting one, though Google will easily scrape through.

In the end: Orkut rocks!

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Great IIML Cycle

So here I am, chilling at home, after enduring yet another 6 week cycle in IIM Lucknow.

For the uninitiated, the cycle in IIML works as:

Week 1: Start of new term. Starts with registration process where you need to get a handful of signatures, pay term fees and collect bagful of books (Yes!). The books and xerox material is given by IIM Lucknow. But it is too huge; I mean initially in the 1st year, I felt that the books are given for an entire year. But I received a shock when the person told me that it is for 1 term only (3 terms/year). Overall first week is a very chilled week; most of the time is spent in catching up upon what we did in holidays. No assignments, no quizzes.

Weeks 2 and 3: The atmosphere gets heated up, a few quizzes are held and students (pretend to) study for the same.

Week 4: Pre-submission phases, when every project group in every course, meets up, decides the topic, divides the work.

Week 5: Submission-phase. We have 7 subjects, 7 presentations, 7 possible quizzes, a few vivas, a few more assignments and only 6 days. You can imagine! In addition to that we are supposed to study for impending exam

Week 6: Exams. Sometimes twice a day, at times thrice a day, they come in all forms. Campus is highly volatile! Gtalk status messages depict the same.

Week 7 = Week 1...And the cycle continues....

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