India

Day to day life

25 Jul , 2014  

Each morning we awake about an hour and a half before school starts. I try to do some stretching, or even some yoga if I’m in the mood, while Jacob grunts and repeatedly presses the snooze button. We sleep on mattresses on the floor, not like western mattresses with springs and things, but Indian ones which are about 5 cm thick. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I’m just painting a picture for you guys to understand. We were talked into buying a fancy sheet for our bed, it’s purple with fancy flowers at the bottom swaying. There’s only the one pillow on the bed, I stopped using pillows after traveling in Asia the first time round. Except the bed we have a big stripy colourful carpet, a chair in the corner and an empty bed frame with a few bits and pieces on it. Day before yesterday we shifted a big heavy wardrobe into our room, prior to that all our things were neatly lined up on the bed frame. It’s spartan, just what I’ve been dreaming of for a while now.

Ganesh prepares chai for everyone in the morning and we all shuffle into the kitchen sticking toast in the toaster and fetching said toast. Yesterday we ended up going to Hauz Khas Market, to the gourmet store, and bought marmalade and some spreads. So both of us hurried to get ready so that we could enjoy some hummus and orange marmalade. Everyone chats sleepily before one by one leaving for yet another day of work or university.

Bullet starts on the first or the second kick every morning, as soon as the heartbeat like engine sound fills the drive way the next door guard opens the gate for us. “Namaste *nod and smile*, shuckria” (Hello, kind gesture, thanks) we say and head off down the street into the busy road. We live merely 2-3 minutes drive from university campus, luckily, and there’s always lots of parking. Entering the campus we have to stop and be given a small pink slip from a guard, we have no idea what significance the slip has, and tell him where we’re going. Leaving the place has become a type of game as the guard only needs the slip, so both the guard and us try and make sure we don’t have to stop. Whoever is on the back holds the slip so the guard can see it as we approach and the guardĀ stands ready to take it. Today was the first day we actually succeeded without stopping. Exciting times!

So campus. It’s huge, unbelievably so. We’ve pretty much mastered finding buildings and lecture halls! Something I at first thought would be impossible. Although I have to be honest, Jacob is the genius who has learnt the system. I just tag along. We’ve found some interesting patterns in infrastructure, all our Computer Science courses are held in well ventilated and air conditioned rooms. The same can not be said for courses in say the mathematical department, or the electrical department, where big heavy wooden desks and chairs populate the tiny rooms and a few fans run half heatedly. Swoosh.. swoosh.. swoosh, the sound echoes in my mind. The other day we went to a class called Embedded Systems, an extremely interesting subject, although held by the electrical department. I literally heard about 5 words in total during the whole hour, the rest I heard the swooshing sound from the fans and the whispers from the boys behind us. So we changed that subject to Machine Learning, which is held in a great room by a fantastic professor who is a prominent researcher.

I’m so pleased with our education here. It’s an unbelievable quality difference to KTH, our professors seem to have some sort of knowledge of how the brain picks up new concepts. Concepts are generally brought up in a simple manner, repeated in different ways, and then applied to some form of problem. Leaving our course in Analysis of Algorithm and Design today I found myself arguing with Jacob about the way to solve a graph problem, I found that not only was I interested, but I had actually grasped what we’d gone through. This is a far cry from how I used to walk away from lectures at KTH, if I hadn’t fallen asleep in the first few moments, I was lost in the randomness of how new ideas were introduced to us. In short; IIT rules!

The weekend is on our doorstep, Jacob is struck by man flue, and I’ve submerged myself into Cat Psychology. I haven’t gone nuts, it’s just that I haven’t got a dog to work with at the moment, so I have to make do with our house cats. Nelson is my prime subject, he shows immense interest in everything I do and is greatly motivated by treats. What is all this good for? Well, Jacob and I are sort of thinking about building a mini cat computer. But I’ll let you know how that turns out, for now I’m concentrating on teaching Nelson basic tricks.


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