From Mumbai, with love

Shivanee Patiyal, 3rd year, EE.

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 I stood there, drenched in the never-ending rain and the strong wind almost pushing me off my feet. My hair whipped me in the face and the cool wind gave me goose bumps. The skies loomed above us, grey and overcast and the sea danced in front of us in its own tune. Despite the heavy rains, the place was full of excited mumbaikars who I doubt ever got bored of this and the tourists who wanted to stay there as much as possible, soaking in almost everything. Chowpaati isn’t a favorite of many people without a reason. With the sea right ahead and the amazing view all around, you can stay there forever. At night, it becomes even more beautiful, captivating and soothing. One can sit there for hours, doing nothing.

Apart from the beaches, one of the must visit sites is the Water Kingdom. It undoubtedly has some of the best and the craziest rides. A whole day can be spent without any regrets. There are rides that take you straight down from 2-storey building and ones that make you go all the way around in a swirly closed dark tunnel for what feels like forever. Essel World is worthy too but considering the rides are somewhat similar to the ones, we have here in Delhi, Water Kingdom is a better choice to waste money on.

A day should be set aside for the museums. Wales museum (now Chhattarpati Shivaji museum) needs 3 and half hours for one tour but it is totally worth it. It has different sections sprawled across three floors, ranging from coins to weapons, animals to birds, mammals to crockery, sculptures, paintings etc. Jahangir art gallery is another amazing stoppage. When you enter, a well-lit room with white walls and beautiful paintings welcomes you emanating sophistication and perfection.

Elephanta caves are amazing too but the cannon hill is what will excite you more. It won’t be a surprise if you haven’t heard of that place ever. But if you are up for a little bit of trekking, you must go for it. And on the way you can drink the awesome “neembu pani” which was one of the tastiest things I had in Mumbai. Also do not forget to go to Lonavla and Khandala.

Every place has its special street food and this place is no behind. The world-famous Vada Paav, however, wasn’t that impressive. I would also warn the delhites not to go for Gola and Paav Bhaji there. The former tastes like cough syrup and the latter cannot be compared to the BTW’s Paav Bhaji we are so fond of. But there are other things to gorge on, like the non-veg at Bade Miya, the fruit cream at Crystal Dhaba, kulfi at Kulfi Center, cupcake and pastries at Theobroma.

Mumbai has a certain charm about it. And I am not really sure what is more lovable about the city- the sky scrapers, the rich people in big cars, the always-in-action sea, the local trains, the autos fairing on meters or the ever-pouring-rain. It might be anything, or it maybe everything. The autos do not have front mirrors so you won’t ever find them peeping in the back seat. Also do not forget to take a ride on the BEST buses. The Conductors come to your seat for the tickets; quite a change from our DTC buses’ conductors glued to their seats. Travelling in locals is a whole new experience in itself. And the nightlife is worth the experience too. You can find street full of people even at midnight. The city literally never sleeps.

Irrespective of the Delhi-Mumbai rivalry, there is no arguing to the fact that Mumbai is magical and will make you fall in love. So guys next time you thinking about a place to de-stress and finding peace and craziness under your budget, try Mumbai. It won’t disappoint you.

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Just this one

Isha Gupta, 3rd year, EE.

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“Late! Late! Late!”… thought Julia. She was perfectly on time but the habit of being a perfectionist always got the better of her.

Working in a crazy metropolitan town wasn’t an easy task. She had to put on perfect clothes and with     those clothes, the facade and attitude that went with it. No room for a sensitive and compassionate side. It had to be left behind in the car like the mix of all her favourite songs.

Today was no different.

Why can’t they make this a one way lane during the rush hours? It is the shortest route out of the residential area after all.” There was no point in blowing the horn so she waited while the loud people showed their excellence at waiting peacefully.

Just then a little girl almost tripped and fell in front of her car while crossing the road. It was her mother who seized her. The worry and look of concern on her mother’s face reminded Julia of her own parents. They lived all the way across the country which made it impossible for her to meet them often. Internet, calls, messages… but none of the rational modern methods could suppress her urge to meet them. Her mother’s love, her father’s pride and her confidante in her brother, she missed them all.

The loud and patient people who had been blaring their horns broke her reverie when she realised it was time to ‘move on’. She started to play her favourite CD. Music was a welcomed distraction for her. It helped to soothe and relax her. The melodious music was interuppted by the sound of her cell phone ringing.

Hello? Jules !! listen I gotta run and I know how much you hate shouting into the car phone and blah, blah, blah about talking while driving but don’t forget, you have to get your ticket’s booked for this weekend okay! No excuses! You know how much I am dying to see you!okay Bye!” Without waiting for another word Carmen had hung up.

Julia bit her lip hearing Carmen. She knew she was guilty. After all it had been.. what like an eternity?.. since she had met her best friend… actually ANY old friends. Julia had a group of friends back in her school and through the college years whom she had promised to stay in touch with. Little did she know that promises are… well, not meant to be broken… but are not meant for everybody.

She knew they would understand and that on this weekend during their private ‘reunion’ everything will feel like that ‘eternity’ had never actually existed. Still, she could not help but feel anxious and guilty.

Why is everything so complicated!” she exclaimed.

It was the last set of cross roads and she had made her decision to take out time for everything she had and for the greater things that really mattered. As soon as the signal changed colour, she stepped on the accelerator but she saw the speeding car coming from the left a little too late. It was just this one morning she had left.

A Review: Satyamev Jayate

Kunal Mathur, 1st yr, M.Tech(CD)

 

तेरारंगऐसाचढ़गया, कोईऔररंगनचढ़सके

तेरानामसीनेपे लिखा, हर कोई आखेपदसके

These are the first two lines of the theme song to one of the best television programs we may have ever come across. Yes, we have seen quiz shows, reality shows, daily soaps, sitcoms and much more but not a single program focuses so deeply on the various sensitive issues prevalent in India, such as female foeticide, dowry system, honour killing, untouchables, rape, child sex abuse, corruption and criminalization of politics. The programs anchor is none other than Aamir Khan, who had in the past also lent his support to the Narmada Bachao Andolan. Aamir Khan and his team have done a great job by highlighting these issues and bringing them to light. There couldn’t be an better time for a show like this when on one hand India is striving to prove itself as a developed nation, and on the other hand is still plagued by such serious problems.

ImageOne of the highlights of the show is the way these issues have been presented and how they strike a chord with the common man. They don’t give one-sided stories or pose only questions; solutions are also offered after consultation with various experts in the respective fields. For example, episode two of season two started with visuals showing atrocities performed by policemen on common people all over the country and ended with many people sympathizing with the policemen. The episode highlighted the financial and psychological pressures on a policeman. A song at the end of each episode sums up the whole thing and succeeds in transmitting its message to the viewers. Though the first season contained 11 episodes, the second season was disappointing as it only had 5 episodes. However, each one was an eye-opener similar to its predecessors. More programs of this kind should be encouraged but I personally hope that if and when Satyamev Jayate decides to continue with its third season, it doesn’t get any issues to present as India would be free from such problems by then.   

Know Your Dilli – Khan Market

Aradhana Gahlaut, 2nd year, ENEkhan market metro station sign

Where? Khan Market

Nearest Metro Station? Khan Market Station, Violet Line

What about it? Established in 1951, Khan Market was named in the honour of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a Pashtun political and spiritual leader. Initially, a regular everyday neighbourhood market, it is now frequented by tourists, expats and the elite. It is divided into three lanes – outer, inner and middle. A variety of stores ranging from bookshops to ethnic garments, from household appliances to sports-wear and pet supplies can be found here. What would a college kid do in a place like this, one might ask? Well, eat and shop, of course!

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Khan Market is a Foodie’s paradise. The well-known Khan Chacha(middle lane)an ancient yet absolutely brilliant establishment selling some of the most ethereal kathi rolls in town – is a definite must-visit (we recommend: pick any, they’re all great!).

M_Id_124839_talkAnother excellent Khan Market eatery and one of my personal favourites, The Big Chill, has not one but two outlets (middle and inner lanes) and still never fails to have a minimum half-hour waiting at meal times. Best be a little early if you want to relish those sinful desserts and luscious smoothies in peace (we recommend: blueberry cheesecake, mississippi mud pie, truffle pudding, belgian chocolate shake, banana-raspberry smoothie). Also, their Italian food is some of the best in town, along with the intriguing interiors (note: slightly pricey). Other restaurants to note are: Chonas, Market Café, Mamagoto, BoomBox Cafe, The Kitchen.

For thkhan-market-delhiose bitten by the shopping bug, the narrow alleys that connect all three lanes are coves full of unexpected treasures. Tip: Haggle as if your life depended on it.

When all the fun is had and you feel satiated, take a short walk and hop across the road to Delhi’s very own Hyde Park – Lodhi Gardens. One of the greenest pockets of the city, these beautiful gardens are very pleasing to both eye and mind, spattered intermittently with fragments of old Mughal architecture, including the tomb of Sikander Lodhi. Take a stroll through the lovely green expanse and let your mind escape the hustle bustle of city life.

Drifter notes:

  1. Best enjoyed with a modest group of close friends.

  2. Be prepared to part with a considerable amount of your allowance.

  3. Market closed on Sundays.

Pondicherry: The Reviera of the East

Ishan Shankar, 2nd year, CE

Travelling on Bussy Street, the sweet smells of freshly baked bread lead me to a roadside boulangerie(bakery). Hanging below a majestically decorated tree is a signage written in elegant yet bold letters: “Bakers Street”. I enter and am delighted by the mesmerising aroma of a patisserie you would expect to find only in the French countryside. Laid out in front of me is an extensive palette of French cuisine, and as I wonder how many hours it would take to taste ALL of those mouth-watering dishes, I quickly place my order, “Je voudrais une baguette, deux croissants et trois cafès crèmes.” A smartly-dressed Tamil waitress responds in crisp French, “Deux cent soixante, s’il vous plait”. When travelling in India, rarely would one expect to enter a bakery and place one’s order in French.

Bienvenue à Pondicherry. Welcome to Pondy, as the locals lovingly call their petite coastal town, an erstwhile French colony. Wandering off into the tranquil streets lined with French-style colonial era buildings, each with a rangoli out front, one witnesses smart men riding their bikes Rajnikanth-style and women, local and French, cycling away with poise. Pasta and wood-fired pizza are as common as rasam, pongal and uttapam in this shopping paradise (bags, clothes, shoes, jewellery…the list goes on!). The breath-taking aroma of sea fish and herbal tea pervades every nook and corner.Image

English speaking policemen wearing kepis(19th century French army caps) guide you through centuries old kovils(temples) and churches towards Goubert Ave(or Beach Road, as it is commonly called), which presents an altogether different picture. Situated in the White Town(earlier meant for French citizens), it is Pondy’s most popular evening hangout. Locals sitting on the rocks, gazing into the depths of the sea, tourists(Indian and foreigners alike) strolling in the cool breeze and sharing sundaes served in various exotic flavours, humming along with the tunes played by the Police Band – Beach Road reflects the age-old amalgamation of French and Tamil cultures. With the breezy and sun-warmed Paradise Beach just a bike ride away, Pondy is a must for backpackers, photographers and those seeking a spiritual abode.

Frequent trips to this wonderland in the past couple of years have made me realise that its air is literally infectious. Under the deeply spiritual effect of the Aurobindo ashram and the blessings of the Vinayaka temple, this place is known to heal the soul. Many visitors, especially foreigners, who lost themselves in Pondy’s mystical by-lanes, have discovered an altogether new person on the way. Maybe that’s what inspired director Ang Lee to base the initial scenes of Life of Pi in this pious town. On the last day of my trip, as I sit on the rocks with the evening breeze tickling my skin, I pledge to return to this magical corner of India that is forever France…Will you come with me?

Denizens of the Metro Ladies Coach

Namrata Yadav, 3rd year, EE

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The Seat Hunter

It’s an art, how you can squeeze a seat out of nothing, either by being super sweet, “Please adjust karlo!” or being super imposing with just a hand gesture and then claiming the full seat inch by inch and forcing the original occupant to stand up instead. Chanakya Neeti, anyone?

The Phone Talkers

By the end of the journey, you can deduce their boyfriend’s eating habits- “ Babu, khana kha liya? Kya khaya? Kab khaya?” how two-faced their friends really are, “She stabbed me in the back and I thought we were best friends!” or how stupid their co-workers are, “ She tries to get the men do the work for her and then flaunts it everywhere.” Their whole life is an open book.

The Fashion Critic

Your dressing style is scanned, processed, analyzed and judged the moment you walk in front of them. And, if you like to associate adjectives like “simple” and “sober” with yourself, you should consider leaving the country rather than sitting opposite them.

The Gate Blockers

Apparently the concept of clearing the gate area at a new station is totally extraterrestrial for most Indians who will stand right in front of the gate till someone knocks them down, after which they will unleash a colourful vocabulary and tasteful expressions to the unsuspecting world.

Pearls of Wisdom

It’s everyone’s worst fear, to sit beside an inquisitive and talkative Auntiji, who wants nothing more from life than to set a stray teenage girl back on the righteous path. Amen. With words of wisdom on subjects you would have heard of only in Hindi serials, metro ride for them is life’s next big adventure.

The Studious Type

Think you’ll catch up on some last minute revision or finish your practical file? Or read a novel to pass the time? Then you have to cope up with “passive readers” and that girl in high heels and perfect make-up who can’t imagine how people can have such uninteresting hobbies.

Babies and Kids

Girls fawn over them. Until they bawl their lungs out or spin around the bars, try to grab your hair or phone, stare at you as if you stole their candy or in general, display childish behaviour of any kind. Otherwise, they are cute, little angels.

And their Embarrassed Mothers

Well, what can they do if their child rolls over the floor of the train, screaming bloody murder because they didn’t let him/her race down the metro? They get sympathetic smiles from their co-passengers, or cold smiles and sneers if their child isn’t even cute.

Sci-Fi: The fiction and the reality

Arihant Kuba, 2nd Year, ME.

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Let’s face it, some of the best technology that we find is in TV shows and movies. They depict the future, or at least what we hope it will be. They represent our dreams and aspirations from the world of science and technology. Let us take a good hard look at some of those technologies that came to life, and some that did not.

Time Machine

Seen in: Back to the future, Doctor Who, The Time Machine, Meet the Robinsons, etc.

Reality/Fiction: Fiction

Time machine is one of the most popular concepts in science fiction. Who would not like to go back in time to fix a mistake, or go to the future and see how it has turned out? Unfortunately, the science around it is not simple and it may be some time before we see one in real, if ever.

Smart Watch

Seen in: Men in black, Dick Tracy

Reality/Fiction: Reality

Recently turning into a reality, the smart watch is heralded as one of the newest invention in technology. Though the expected functionality as shown in Sci-Fi will still take time to be met.

Teleportation

Seen in: Doctor Who, Star Trek, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Reality/Fiction: Fiction

Though not a reality for humans, particle teleportation is possible. With the increasing population as travel become san issue, this is starting to look more and more as the way to the future.

Driverless Car

Seen in: Batman, Total recall, I, Robot

Reality/Fiction: Reality

This is a major breakthrough in the field of automation. Though the invention is not perfect, many major companies have shown an interest in this and the field is making notable progress.

Holographic Displays

Seen in: Avengers, The Jetsons, Star Trek

Reality Fiction: Reality

With Holographic displays already in the market to some extent, we are looking forward to this technology developing further. In June 2013, the MIT researcher Michael Bove has claimed holographic televisions could be in living rooms in the next 10 years at the price of today’s two-dimensional sets because of technology being developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab.

Force Fields

Seen in: Star Wars, Star Trek

Reality/Fiction: Fiction

Another cool tech with a lot of real world applications, the force field is usually considered a military prospect. Though there is some research being done in the field, there seem to be no results in the near future.

Androids

Seen in: Terminator, Star Wars, Transformers, I, robot, etc.

Reality/Fiction: Reality

Many automated robots have been created in the past few years. They look human and have capabilities to adapt and respond to contain circumstances. Robots not just of human form have become popular; those modeled after animals are also being developed.

Artificial Intelligence

Seen in: Terminator, Battle star Galactic, Iron Man, Tron, etc.

Reality/Fiction: Fiction (Somewhat)

Though some developments exist, a truly self sustaining AI can only be achieved when we have a hardware that can sustain itself and upgrade itself, i.e., quantum computing.