Plitvice Waterfalls

After my last post on the Oktoberfest rides, it’s now time to capture nature in my frame. In this post on photography I would like to talk about one of my shots that I took at the Plitvice National Park in Croatia.

The technique used to capture the wonderful waterfalls at Plitvice is very similar to the night shots taken at the Oktoberfest. But the end results are different and the viewer is left with an altogether different experience.

Like anyone else, when I started photography I was not aware that different camera settings that can ignite the creative thinking of the photographer and as well as that of the viewer. Ever wondered while looking at a beautiful waterfall picture, poster or a postcard whether it is photography or someone has graphically modified the picture?

Till today I captured waterfalls and water movement in a totally different way. I was trying to capture the movement of each and every water molecule thereby getting an entirely different effect. The fact that you can capture the water particles flying in the air gave me some kind of happiness 🙂 Then, a friend of mine asked me to try taking pictures with long exposures, well thats how usually a waterfall or the movement of water is shown? So, finally I got an opportunity to capture these amazing waterfalls at Plitvice.

Before I start with the details, let me quickly tell you what are the necessary things one should carry to take such kind of shots;

  1. As with the night photography, a tripod is a must and taking the pictures in RAW format is highly recommended.
  2. A wide angle lens is more sensible to carry than a speed lens.
  3. The composition of the frame is very important. Sometimes just the waterfall and at other times the waterfall along with different coloured leaves would look good. One should have a feel for it and understand what looks better.
Plitvice Waterfall

Plitvice Waterfall

Now with respect to the shot, I would like to share a few technical points. This particular picture is one of my favourites among the lot I took at Plitvice simply for its composition. This particular picture was shot at 24mm and ISO 100 with shutter speed of 3.2 secs and aperture size of f/25. The lens I used was standard 18-55mm canon kit lens.

As I mentioned before the composition of the frame is important. Here, I tried capturing only the waterfall at first but it didn’t depict the beauty of the place. It looked very artificial and please note this is only with respect to this shot. So I tried to include the wooden walking path in the frame and it gave a total altogether touch to the shot. So, one has to work and find out what looks best for that particular frame. Coming to the next point which is shutter speed. Having long shutter speed is the main reason to get that foggy effect of the water movement. What basically happens is that by having longer shutter speed, the lens opens for longer time and captures all the information during that time tracking the movement of each molecule. Hence the movement of water appears like fog in the picture.

Again, one has to be careful here not to overdo the exposure as it might look very artificial or may be we will allow more light in the lens than what is actually required and we might end up with over exposed picture. The last parameter what should be controlled is the aperture size. I kept the aperture size at max which was at f/25. I worked from backwards for most of my shots. What I mean is, I had to set the aperture size first or set it to max since it was a sunny day and then alter the shutter speed accordingly to adjust the light entering my camera.

The rest of the photos can be found here… Pavan Kumar Photography

Feedback and suggestions are welcome. If you have any specific question then please leave it under comment and I’ll try to answer them.

A night at the Oktoberfest

I had once promised that I would write more about photography and now finally the time has come! I would like to share my learning with my Canon 550D. In this post I will just talk about my shots from the Oktoberfest, where I tried to shoot different rides in the evening, when the rides were brightly lit.

Auf gehts…

Frisbee

Frisbee

The picture I want to talk about is the shot of a ride called ‘Frisbee’, one of the most popular rides at the fest. It has a big circular disc which can rotate on its axis and also swings like a pendulum. Since I wanted to capture the colorful light, I had to reduce my shutter speed to 4 secs. Shutter speed basically tells me how much light goes into my camera. Longer the time, more light goes into my camera and for so long my lens will be open to capture all the information. I could have captured the same at may be 2 secs shutter speed but then I could not have captured the rotation motion of the disc. At this point i also took care that my shutter speed is not too long, which would distort the whole picture by letting in more light and also because of the fast movement of the disc. So, I chose the shutter speed which was good enough just to capture the movement and also its the approximate time that the disc stays at its topmost position before changing its direction. Now that we have set our shutter speed, it is also important to adjust our focal stop. In technical terms, the focal stop or f-stop is the ratio of focal length of the lens to the aperture size. In other words it affects the light gathering area and helps to make our subject distinct from the background. Since I did not require any distinction between my subject and the background and I also wanted to reduce the amount of light going into my camera without changing my shutter speed, I had to increase the f-stop to f/22. As I could capture the image I wanted with these settings, I kept my ISO at 100. These three main settings play major role in photography, shutter speed, focal stop and the ISO.

Last but not least, I want to quickly talk about the lens I used to take the shots. Since it was very crowded and I did not have the kind of place I needed to capture the entire ride in my frame, I used my wide angle lens. All the pictures here are taken from my Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC lens and according to me it does a pretty good job.

Few more basic but important suggestions:

1. Most of the night photos might require post processing and hence I would suggest taking the shots in RAW format.

2. Always use tripod for night photography.

3. Try experimenting with different settings. The photos which might look good on the camera LCD screen might always not look good on the computer screen.

Enjoy the rest of the pictures and let me know what you think about them. Pour in your comments or suggestions down below.

Chairoplane

Chairoplane

The Tower

The Tower

Riesenrad

Riesenrad

Frisbee again!

Frisbee again!

Carousel for children :)

Carousel for children 🙂

Riesenrad - Ready...Get set...Go...

Riesenrad – Ready…Get set…Go…

My Beautiful Bride

23rd May 2013 is one of the landmark day in my life, the day I got married to the most beautiful bride, Shruti Anand Bagalwadi. I always dreamt of marrying the prettiest bride, as most men would dream. I wanted everything to be perfect on this day. Right from the day we both got engaged, the preparation for this special day had been going on. But on the day when my dream was turning into a reality, I just could not believe my own eyes.

I would like to continue this post by going a little back in time.

Shruti and I got engaged on 6th Jan 2013, just 4 days after we met for the first time. All I remember is saying yes after our first meet and since then there has been no looking back. It’s been 8 months since I’ve known Shruti and almost 3 months since our marriage, but it feels like just yesterday that I met her for the first time.

When I think about the day we got engaged, everything seemed magical. I was getting engaged to this lady in front of me, who was everything and more than what I had asked for. She was beautiful, pretty, caring, simple, adaptable, matured and much more. Unfortunately, I was leaving to Germany the very next day. So I just wanted to spend rest of my time with her, talking to her, getting to know her, just being with her. We decided to meet in a coffee shop later in the evening. It was still a weird feeling, the thought of being engaged was not just sinking in 😀 I reached there a bit early and was waiting for her. When she arrived I was dumbstruck, didn’t know what to talk about. She got me beautiful gift, a watch, with a small note and I quote “I hope this time between us shall pass soon!!!”. Reading that made me very happy and sad at the same time. Happy because now there was a person in my life who would care for me more than a friend and liked me for who I’m, and sad because I was flying so far leaving this wonderful person behind. After our meeting we went together to one my close friend’s wedding and there she met all my other ‘chuddy-buddies’. From there I dropped her home, during which we had a nice long conversation. It was very hard to leave her knowing that I’ll not be seeing her personally for next 5 months. Somehow with a simple smile we were able to say it all.

The next day at the airport, after my parents saw me off, I called her to tell her that its very hard leaving her behind. She just said one simple thing… “Think about it this way, the next time you will be at the airport, you will not be alone, I’ll be with you” and I held on to that thought till I saw her next 🙂

After landing in Germany, I got busy with my work and things went on as usual. Thanks to Skype, we were able to talk and see each other and got to know each other better day by day. The time was actually running and the big day was getting closer. I was planning on surprising her by landing in Bangalore 2 days in advance. I wanted formally propose to her by going down on one knee, at her favorite spot – her terrace, lit up with candles, roses spread on the floor, in front of her family. And it did happened exactly the way I had planned it. The look on her face on that day was simply adorable and was worth all the wait 🙂

And then 6 days later the day had finally arrived. We had a small ceremony on the day previous of our wedding at the convention hall. My family and I, along with all the relatives left for the convention hall at around 4 pm. I was pretty excited about my wedding and was totally looking forward to the changes it would bring along. At the same time I was quite nervous about the whole marriage thing. It is a big deal going from a Bachelor to a Husband. As we reached the convention hall, we were welcomed by my in-laws with a garland and a tilak on our forehead.

Welcoming from Father-in-law

Welcoming from Father-in-law

At this moment I thought Shruti would come running to greet me… just kidding ;). But on a serious note, I did expect to see her. After all the welcoming formalities, we were invited to have snacks and get ready for the rituals. Instead, I stood there wondering if I could get a glance of my fiancé. One of my sisters saw me standing near the dias and asked me to join her for snacks. I told her that Shruti would be walking across the stage now and I would like to get a glimpse her before eating. She got excited and replied and I quote “Then we will wait together, you should never miss a chance like this.” We both sat on the chair, waiting, hoping that we get a look at MY beautiful bride (lets keep this part between us ;)…). Well, the effort was well rewarded when my eyes caught sight of Shruti in her orange saree looking absolutely stunning. That was when I first thought to myself… “wow… I’m marrying the most beautiful bride :)”.

After we were done with snacks, there was still time for the ceremonies to begin and I was looking for an opportunity to see and talk to Shruti. To get to her I had to first bribe two of her bridesmaids (my sister-in-laws a.k.a Saalis), then convince her parents that I would be quick and would not disturb her :D. After all that I got 5 minutes to sit with her and have a casual chat. Quite a paradoxical situation considering I was marrying her.

Post the ceremonies, it was dinner time and we (Shruti and I) were planning to go together for dinner. She was sitting there surrounded by a few of her relatives, waiting for me to join her for dinner. I went to her and she was still not in the mood to get up and go for dinner. So I asked her if I should carry her to the dinning hall. At first she nodded her head in agreement and when I went close to her she shied away. And then as we were about to get down the stairs, we stopped again waiting for Shruti’s friends. Somehow I felt she wanted me to ask her again to carry her. So, I asked if I may carry her in my arms, down to the dinning hall. This time, along with saying yes, jokingly, she made the mistake of turning around making it easy to lift her. I don’t know what I was thinking then and to her surprise I literally swept her off her feet, taking her in my arms and walking all the way down to the dinning table.

In my arms!!

In my arms!!

All the people around were as shocked, as was Shruti, and they started clapping and whistling and the people eating dinner started wondering what was happening. It was one of those moments that both of us would cherish for life 🙂 We ended the day with a nice long chat after our dinner and looking forward to our big day!

The big day was here… it was 23rd May 2013… the wedding day… I was getting married to this most beautiful bride I’ve known. By the time ceremonies were over and before realizing what was actually happening, the day had come to an end and we were married!

Gatti Mela (Tying of Mangalsutra to the Bride)

Gatti Mela (Tying of Mangalsutra to the Bride)

I started this post after 3 months of our wedding and am finishing it after 5 months of our wedding. I must admit that during this time my love for my wife has only grown exponentially. This post is for you Shruti, my beautiful bride.

I love you!

Skiing

Have you ever wanted to try something new in Life? Be it food, sport, music or any other ………. I’m sure the answer to that would be a ‘Yes’. As far as I am concerned, sports of any kind, gets me excited and staying in Germany provided me the opportunity to try skiing for the first time. It was fun but not all that pretty.

Let me recall and share with you, my first skiing experience.

Snow Capped Mountain

Snow Capped Mountain

Me all geared up

Me all geared up

We left early in the morning to a place called Winterberg in NRW (North-Rhein-Westfalen) state which is a well known skiing spot. The moment I saw the snow covered mountain and spotted people skiing, I was excited to my very core. The weather was a little cold that day. Since we were amateurs, we didn’t have proper skiing clothes and so we had to ski in our jeans :D.

At the bottom of the mountain, there was a shop where we rented the ski equipments. The shopkeeper showed us how to clamp and remove the ski boots to the skies. It was very important for us to know that because every time we fell we could not get back on our feet without removing the skies. The ski boots felt so weird and funny, forcing us to do a robot walk. Nevertheless we managed to walk till the actual ski spot at the bottom of the mountain along with our skies. I never imagined the skies to be so big, the length of the ski was equal to my height and after putting them on, I felt like my feet stretched, making it very difficult for me to balance for the first time.

Posing for the Cam

Posing for the Cam

Enjoying hot Glühwein

Enjoying hot Glühwein

We all carried our skies and climbed up the mountain – very tiring! But somehow we managed to reach the top. A Ski tow is available to pull us to the top – where we had to hold the rope and slide up the mountain. Since we were students then, it seemed little out of budget☹. If I rightly recall, as soon as I clamped my boots to the skies and tried to ski, I was down on my butt even before I had begun skiing. It was a different experience in itself. But that wasn’t gonna get me down! I wanted to try once more and see if I can ski a little further, further than I did previously 😛 Watching others ski, I thought to myself ‘it shouldn’t be that difficult.. May be I’m missing some technique here’. I observed how others were skiing and decided to give it another shot. And I started and then, yes, you guessed it, I was on my butt, AGAIN, within 10 meters. I was just not able to balance or control the skies. The worst part about all this, not to mention tiring, was removing the skies every time I fell and then carrying them right to the top and clamping them again to the boots.

After several failed attempts we decided to drink something hot, to keep ourselves warm. A shop on the mountain was selling Glühwein (hot wine infused with spices served during Christmas). So we gathered up there, enjoying our hot wine, taking some photos of us skiing, well, just posing ;). After 4 hrs of struggle I was able to ski quite a distance without falling. That was my first skiing experience!

View of Alps

View of The Alps

The Cable Cars that took us to the Top

The Cable Cars that took us to the Top

Two years after my first ski experience, which was very recently I got the chance to ski again I went with different set of people and was hoping to experience skiing differently this time. Why? It was in Garmisch, one of the biggest skiing spot in Germany, very close to Munich and we hired a ski instructor who taught us all the basics like balancing, body position and more importantly breaking. It definitely gave me some confidence, I needed it.
The course was for 2 hours where he showed us all the important maneuvers and let us practice on our own for some time.
This time we paid for the ski tow, so we could go as many times to the top as we wanted without feeling tired. The place where we practiced was not that steep as it was meant for beginners. After learning how to break, skiing on those slopes seemed like a child’s play to me ;). Late in the afternoon we broke for lunch. Though we weren’t all that happy with the menu, we had to eat something… so I ordered Spaghetti. By the time we finished eating it was time to take the lift back down the mountain. We weren’t able to ski any longer and had return home, but of course with some satisfaction that we were able to learn something.

View from the mountain top from where I skied down

View from the mountain top from where I skied down

And the next time I went for skiing I was doing it like a pro… Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself…

I would like to end this post by saying every opportunity that you get to try and learn something new and different; you must make the best use of it. Although it requires a lot of patience in the beginning, not to mention you might even hurt your butt several times in the process 😉 the elation and satisfaction you feel at the end of it is something that even words cannot express, it can just be experienced.

P.S: Special thanks to my Fiancé, Shruti for suggesting this topic and helping me write this post 🙂

ಬೆಳದಿಂಗಳ ಬಾಲೆ

ನಾನು ಬಹಳ ದಿವಸಗಳ ಹಿಂದೆ ಒಂದು ಕನ್ನಡ ಕವನವನ್ನು ಬರದಿದ್ದೆ. ಅದನ್ನು ನಿಮ್ಮ ಜೊತೆ ಹಂಚಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಇಷ್ಟ ಪಡುತ್ತೇನೆ.

ಬೆಳದಿಂಗಳ ಬಾಲೆ

ನಾನು ನಿನಗಾಗಿ ಕಾದಿರುವೆ
ಓ ಪ್ರೇಯಸಿಯೇ ನೀ ಎಲ್ಲಿರುವೆ
ಒಂದೊಂದು ಕ್ಷಣವೂ ಗಂಟೆಗಲಾಗಿದೆ
ಆದರೂ ಮನಸಿನಲ್ಲಿ ನಿನ್ನದೇ ಯೋಚನೆ ಕಾಡುತಿದೆ

ಕೆಲಸವಿದ್ದರೂ ಮಾಡಲು ಬೇಸರ
ನಿನ್ನ ನೋಡಬೇಕೆಂಬ ಕಾತರ
ಮನಸಿನ ತಳಮಳಕ್ಕೆ ನೀ ಪರಿಹಾರ
ಬಾ ನನ್ನ ಬಳಿಗೆ ಸರ ಸರ

ನಮ್ಮ ಪ್ರೀತಿಯ ಸಾಗರದ ಅಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ತೇಲೋಣ ಬಾ
ಬದುಕೆಲ್ಲ ಎಂದೆಂದಿಗೂ ಕೂಡಿ ಬಾಳೋಣ ಬಾ
ಹುಣ್ಣಿಮೆಯಲ್ಲಾದರು ಬಾ ಅಮವಾಸ್ಯೆಯಲ್ಲಾದರು ಬಾ
ಕೊನೆತನಕ ಜೊತೆಗಿರುವೆ ನೀ ಬೇಗ ಬಾ

ಇಂತಿ ನಿಮ್ಮ

India after 2.5 years!

Actually I should have written this post 3 months back, but it’s never late to share the thoughts. It was in the month of February, when I was attending lots of job interviews. And it was the same month that I got confirmed for job from couple of companies and I planned to visit my “Homeland”. It had been nearly 2.5 years since I left my home in India to pursue my Studies in Germany. So, I was totally excited to meet my parents, brother, friends and enjoy all tasty Indian food. The other thing I missed apart from family and friends would be food ;). And the best part of visiting home was that I had my Master’s degree and a job in my hand. The only thing that was missing at that point of time was money :D.

Anyway, I will skip all the minute details and take you guys directly to my experience in India after such a long time. Let me start with my journey from Bangalore International Airport to my home. My parents and a close friend of mine were there at the airport to pick me up. We went to the vehicle and decided that we will straight away go to a restaurant, as I desperately wanted to eat a Masala Dosa (one of my favorite Indian food).

Masala Dosa

It took us 30 mins to come out of airport parking lot. I thought to myself… “Welcome to India!” After that we hit the road. The last thing I remembered was my travel to the airport from my home and trust me it was good when compared to the normal city traffic. And I was shocked to see how they had dug the entire road for some reconstruction. The first question I asked my friend was “why people are driving like this?” (LOL!) This was completely unexpected of me. My friend just replied back asking “you went from here to Germany right…?” What I actually meant from my question was why don’t people follow traffic rules and lane discipline. People drive really reckless in India. And when I say it includes me too but before coming to Germany.

Continuing with the same topic, I once had had to drop my mom and aunt in the car. I had been long time since I drove especially in India. I also got my license done in Germany (by the way its not as simple as in US and I had to shell out nearly 1000 Euros for it… sounds crazy right?) and had driven on couple of occasions. So, I start from my house, at the end of the road it connects to a main road. I stop there for the traffic to clear so that I can cross the road. After 2-3 mins my aunt from back tells me “maga.. idu Germany alla. Ninage yaaru nilsalla illi.. nugtairbeku” (Son… this is not Germany, no one gonna wait for you.. keep driving :D). After she said I was like how shall I do that? Suddenly it felt like I don’t belong here any more. While we are on this topic, another day, I wanted to cross a road. First, I searched for the traffic lights to check for green signal for pedestrians, which I didn’t find. Anyway, I am standing there along with few other people who also wanted to cross the road. The only difference was that I’m still standing there after 5 mins, whereas others didn’t even bother to wait. What I want to point out here is not the mentality of other people, rather how my mentality was changed after being away from home so long. I was actually afraid to cross the road. I was thinking if I may feel like this, then what would the foreign visitors might feel? And no matter how hard you try its next to impossible to drive in lane in India. I, myself tried and failed miserably. If you want to reach the destination safely in time, then you have to follow the Indian traffic. There is absolutely no escape from that :P. Never the less, I was back to normal in couple of days ;).

Another incidence was kind of funny which was in RTO office. I wanted to get a duplicate license, so I went to RTO office. There is this “Help Desk” at the entrance, so I went there to ask for the information. As I saw a person already in conversation with the officer, I waited for my turn. He was not yet finished, and there came another guy asking for something. I got annoyed but still waited for my turn patiently. The officer was about to finish with the first person; there came another one to ask something. It was very pissing off. Though I was standing right in front of the desk, even the officer didn’t bother to ask me what I want. This continued for some time. I thought if I stand like this then I would be here all day. So, finally didn’t bother for anyone to finish, I threw my question and got the answer in 2 mins :).

Of course the system has to change. But more than system, it’s the people’s thinking that has to change!

Leaving all these annoying yet funny moments, I also had my memorable time. Spending lot of time at home, having home food. Though I had promised my parents that I would cook for them, I was in no mood to cook. My first visit to ‘Food Street’ during my stay in Bangalore was one among them. It was a Bliss to eat so many tasty food at one place.

Pav Bhaji

Sev Puri

Those hangouts with friends, watching movies, drinking together, still playing fifa 2008. And last but not least, the usual visits to temple. I might say every time that it’s boring to go to temples but it’s also true that one feels a weird kind of calmness.

Hanumantha Swamy on a Chariot

Looking forward to my next visit and this time it would even more exiting for other reasons. Stay tuned.. 😛

House hunting

From the past few weeks it has been a very annoying and frustrating and irritating experience. All I want is to shift to a new house and is it so hard to ask? The answer to that would be “Yes, because it is Munich”. I actually thought that it is difficult in India to find a place to stay but in Munich it is next to impossible.  I mean I had heard before, that it is pain in the a** but never believed it to be so tough. Let me take you all briefly through my experience so far.

For the present house of about 40 sq meters if I ask any of you to guess the rent, I think no one would come near. It is beyond imagination. Simply put in words, it is just 1100 Euros (nearly equal to 75,000 Rupees). Fortunately, my Company will be paying till end of this month and from July I need to pay the rent myself. I think that is good enough reason for me to relocate. So, I convince my friend to shift with me thinking that it might be easy to get 2 BHK house. But for my surprise it was the most difficult one. The procedure goes like this… you need to call the agent or the owner and make an appointment. Sometime they provide the appointment date and time on the website (immobilienscout.de) where we search for apartments. Here I was holding my first appointment, waiting to see it. When I went to the address, I was dumb folded to see so many people there on the same time. I mean, it was really like one of our marriages, where people just keep pouring in. This is the only the first hurdle. Once you enter the house, you are allowed to look around and decide for yourself whether you really want to rent the place or not. If you are interested you are suppose to fill a form. If you are thinking it is a simple form with our name and phone number then I’m sorry to disappointment you all. In this form you are supposed to give details about our current address, our employment including salary, any unpaid bills, and references if any. Along with this form a copy of salary slip as a proof of income and a copy of our passport and visa. Oh wait! It is not yet done. So this is the application part. There will be around 30-50 people who will be doing this. After couple of days, the person in charge lets you know if you are that privileged tenant who will be staying in the house. And in my case it was usually a ‘No’. Till today I have no idea on what basis they make their decision. This was the story with 2 BHK houses.

Since it was getting painful, I chose the more painful way (figured that out later :D). I decided to look for shared apartments (Wohngemeinschaft-WG). The procedure is quite same as looking for apartments except here you need to meet all the person living in the apartment. In reality, it is lot more tougher job to convince the guys to choose you. By the way that’s just the pre-selection process :D. After they have selected around 3-4 guys out of 30-40 applications, they provide all details to the house owner. And it is the final call from the owner based on our background and income which decides who is going to stay in the apartments. The best part is there is a website called wg-gesucht.de where one can look for all the shared apartments in Germany and choose to apply which ever they want to. And the worst part is, when you are looking in a big city like Munich, people usually do not provide their contact number and therefore you are forced to email them and at the end of it you hardly find people responding to your emails. Believe it or not, out of 60 emails, I hardly got 7-8 responses. Sometime it even happens that you show up in front of the apartment only to find either no one is there to open the door or the appointment is cancelled because of some ridiculous reason.

After going through so much drama, I was still unsuccessful to find a place. So, I decided to go for third option, which were Studio apartments. In Munich one can find high number of Studio apartments, as there are lot of working professionals come here to stay for short durations. Keeping that in mind, I thought it might make things little easier. But in no way it seemed like that.

Finally I was able to find a Studio apartment only because the agent of my current house referred me to the owner. And the reason for that is, the agent is referred by my company, who are much familiar with foreign professionals (I might sound little racist here, but I am afraid it is one of the criteria.). They are many other factors that are important while finding an apartment like,

  1. Which area you want?
  2. Whether you want furnished or unfurnished?
  3. With furnished kitchen (Einbauküche) or without?
  4. How big and how much you can afford for the rent?
  5. Do you also want Cellar and Garage?
  6. Whether you are fine with paying commission for the agent or not?

This is the whole story of what I have been doing from past 6 weeks. At the end, I would like to give a basic idea on different costs one has to bear while looking for an apartment in cities like Munich (below are only the approximate cost indication),

  1. Rent – Studio: 500 Euros/month, 2 BHK: 900 Euros/month
  2. Additional Rent (water, electricity, etc…) – 100 to 150 Euros/month
  3.  Deposit – 3 x Rent – 1500 to 2700 Euros (one time refundable)
  4. Commission – 2.38 x Rent – 1100 to 2000 Euros (one time non refundable)
  5. Kitchen furnishing – 800 to 1000 Euros
  6. House furnishing – 1500 to 2000 Euros

P.S: I hope I did not bore you guys with my house hunting story… 😛 Wanted to post one from a long time and could not think of any thing else… 🙂

Master-Thesis

I still remember my interview day. I entered the office, collected the guest card from the reception and sat there waiting for my interviewer to receive me. Sitting there looking at the office, I was thinking to myself, that this is where I might want to end up being and this is the kind of office where I want to work. These thoughts kind of inspired me to perform well in my interview. Well, I realized it was just a thought because I still got screwed in the interview, about which I’ll talk soon. Sometimes I question myself, does the marks really show my potential? But after coming so far ahead I realized that I just can’t ask that question. Coming back to interview situation, I was waiting for my interviewer in the lobby and after a while he arrives to receive me. He introduces himself and tells me that the team leader who was supposed to take the interview is not available and he will be taking my interview. I said “fine” and I followed him to the conference room. At the beginning it was all general questions and as I started to think that it was going not so bad, he started asking me the basic technical questions. And I must admit that I really struggled to answer some of them. So after the interview, he said they would contact me in a week to confirm. Roughly after a weeks time I got acceptance call to pursue my Master thesis in this company which was beyond my expectation. Anyways, I was totally excited to work in a German company and to know their culture and of course the money which I would get during this period.

The company is located in Gifhorn and since its a small city, I decided to live in Hannover. Hannover is a very beautiful city with around 520,000 residents. Its the kind of city that you can fall love with and I cannot pin point to one thing. It took me 40 minutes in train to reach Gifhorn and a 10 minutes walk to the company from the train station (Bahnhof).

On the first day, I got introduced to the team and had a briefing about my assignment from my Guide. Then my guide took me to the students room, where all the students who are doing their internship or thesis were sitting in a separate office. I selected a desk for myself and I got introduced to rest of the students in the room. It took me few days to understand the working culture and expectation from the people, rather took me quite long time. The initial few days my guide explained me the main points and the scope of my work, by the way it was all in German. So, I understood half of it and assumed the rest :D. It went fine for couple of months. Yes, you guys read it right, it went on like 2-3 months. She used to explain me the work and other important things but then I could understand only half of it. It was really difficult days for me, since I had no exposure to technical German. Even simple words like automobile (Fahrzeug), input (Einganggroße), speed (Geschwindigkeit), gear (Getriebe) and so on… Unfortunately, my English has become worse as I hardly speak the language. Getting back to the topic, time was running but my thesis work stayed pending. Daily I used to spend more time in understanding what I need to do rather than actually doing the work. Every week we used to have team meeting and even there I could hardly understand anything. To tell more about the work culture, when some task is assigned to you, it is expected that I perform it independently and also come out with the ways of doing it with a good explanation. Which is very different from India (Indien), where people are expected to just do their job. I mean the difficulty lies in the quality of the work. Here, as a student I was involved in the research work, where I need to come out with some new ideas and techniques to do the task given to me, whereas in India, how to go ahead with the tasks is told by my manager or it is previously well defined or we just do what our client asks us to. There is hardly any creativity involved in there. And the freedom of doing how I want, of course with a valid explanation to it can hardly be seen in our working culture. Due to these differences there was lot misunderstandings between me and my guide. Let me not go to all those sentiments. I will rather keep them for myself.

The stress part of the work was just one side of it. The most memorable would be the fun I had with other students and also my stay in Hannover. There were couple of guys from Hannover, Jens and Dietmer, we used to travel together in train and hang out together in some weekends with a Mexican, Gerardo in Hannover. We went to couple of football matches, which used to be total fun, went to bars, had lots of beer, bitched about our work and so on. Since I was new to the city, I also joined a group called ‘Couch Surfing’. Through here I met couple of new people and made some good friends. I had the chance to meet all kind of interesting and crazy people through this forum. I think I will write a separate post on that. So this was the fun part of my thesis period.

The main point is that I managed to successfully complete my thesis with all the difficulties and extension of my contract period in the company. It has been a good learning experience and a little exposure to the German Industry and their working culture. Hope I could take all the positives from my experience and grow ahead in the future.

Cricket v/s Football

It has been a while since I stopped following Cricket to the extent I used to do couple of years back. Not because I don’t like the sport or I don’t like playing or any other reason I can think of right now but it just happened. It really saddens me. But what disappoints me more is not playing the sport as much as I would have liked to. May be thats the reason I stopped following. Never the less, I still love the sport. Another sport which I watch with keen interest and also love to play is Football. A different sport, played with different pace. Anyways, my intension is not to share my philosophical views on the sport, rather to share my experiences on watching these sports live.

I had been to Cricket stadium several times and I still remember my first match that I watched live. My first live experience is still very fresh in my memory. I was totally excited to be in stadium and to watch my favorite players play in front of my eyes, for real. It was something huge for me. As I started entering the stadium, climbing the steps leading to my seat, the view of the entire stadium was staggering. The lavish green grass around the pitch covering the entire stadium started revealing itself with every step I climbed. The most funny part of watching live is we still wait for those replays, that we are so used watching on televisions. So, if you miss something, then you have missed that moment permanently. On television we are also used to watch the play from the best angle and very close to action. On the contrary, in the stadium we get to see the entire play from a single angle. Watching cricket live in India is always fun. People are crazy about the sport it just adds on to the atmosphere. And since we have grown up watching our cricket superstars play, it is purely treat to our eyes to watch them play live.

Yesterday, I had been to the football stadium for the first time and it was amazing. I must admit that I have not followed the German Bundesliga as closely as English Premier League but the atmosphere in the stadium was simply breathtaking. In Football match the adrenaline of the players and the tempo of the sport is much higher than in Cricket match. And this what kept me excited throughout the match. Though my seat was in the last row of the stadium, I somehow felt I was close to the action. That might be because, I was able to see where the ball was played, due to the ball size compared to cricket ball and of course the game itself ;). The action, the celebration, crowd’s cheer and the game is much more lively. Oh! I almost forgot about an important element, which is BEER. It is absolutely no fun watching football, live or on television without Beer. In the photo you guys can also see me eating something. It is a salted bread called ‘Brezel’, which is one of the typical German food. All in all, had a wonderful experience yesterday and a great time and totally looking forward for more live football matches.

I realized the most important thing of enjoying the live sport is to be with the crowd and to enjoy the atmosphere more than the sport itself.

Happy Independence Day – INDIA

Jai Hind!

Wishing all my readers and every individual of my country a “Happy Independence Day”.

Before I start writing any further, let me tell you that I have never felt so strong till now for my country. Suddenly, there are these emotions and feelings that are running through me, that I do not want to let this energy go waste. I have a lot on my mind to share on this day and I want to communicate across as clear as possible. And this post is just a start in this direction. I dedicate this post to all the people who have devoted and sacrificed their lives for this country.

I believe, and you guys also agree with me, since independence our country has achieved numerous things in all areas and I feel proud of those. But, today my writing is more about, why our country is still a developing country after 64 years of independence. I think it’s a question that all youth of this country should ask oneself. Recently, I have read and known so much about what is happening in my country, that I feel it’s high time that the youth of this country come together and do something about it. I want to go through one of the movement that is happening presently and share what I feel about them.

This movement has inspired me and has provoked me to do something for my country. It is called “Jan Lokpal Bill” started by Anna Hazare. From past few weeks, I have been following it very closely and I have to admit, it’s quiet a step against corruption. As we all are aware of Jan Lokpal Bill, which talks about creating an independent organization consisting of highly qualified people having integrity and commitment, as the members of the committee headed by a chairperson. This Bill also says that all Bureaucrats, Judiciary, Private Organizations and Government employees including the Prime Minister of the country will come under scan by this committee, if they are found guilty of corruption. It’s natural for the politicians, to firmly oppose this, as our Country’s politics has deeply rooted with corruption. Since this committee, which is proposed in the Bill has the power to investigate and also to prosecute if found guilty, without any intervention from the Government. So it is obvious for the Ministers to feel threatened and they speculate the Bill as a more Anti-Democratic than Anti-Corruption one. This point cannot be overlooked, as our country is known to be the biggest democratic country. I believe the claim is not completely irrational and the Bill may have to be revised to ensure that Democracy of this country is not disturbed. According to me, whatever the argument may be from the Government, never the less there is an immediate requirement for a strong check on the corruption, which is eating all our money to satisfy few greedy politicians.

In response to the “Jan Lokpal Bill”, Government has also drafted their own version of Lokpal Bill and it is so clear the proposed Bill by them, have no intension of fighting corruption. Their draft also excludes the Prime Minister and Ministers of both Houses. There are so many black spots in the draft, that it is just a waste of time to even discuss about it.

I somewhere read that the “Jan Lokpal Bill” was first drafted 42 years back and since then it has been an open bill in the Parliament. I simply fail to understand what is taking for the Government to take their decision. What we have, is the present moment and who knows what happens tomorrow. There is no point in waiting for anything any longer. This has to change, and has to happen right now. I strongly feel that the citizens of India should take this situation very seriously and see that this Bill gets passed. I know this will not entirely solve our corruption problem but atleast a step taken to do so. The Jan Lokpal Bill represents the voice of the people and the Government just cannot neglect it. If they do, then we have to protest the election itself. I mean, what is the point in electing the politicians, who do not listen to common people?

Almost from past 2 years, I’m living in Germany, pursuing my studies and have never felt so “Indian” before!!! Especially after seeing the people here and the authorities, how they function, how responsible most of the people are and so on, I started to think why cannot we have all these in India. I’m not claiming that the people and authorities here are perfect. All I’m trying to convey is, a little discipline in what we do will bring a lot more than what we have now. Being a part of my country’s youth, I want to be more responsible and do something for my country, be it in fighting against corruption, or providing eduction to the poor or anything else. In this direction, I and few friends here are meeting on the Independence day and we are writing a letter to Anna Hazare showing our support for the anti-corruption movement. This is only the beginning of what has to come and I promise more to follow in the coming days.

I may be 26 years late to realize, but never the less, I felt it now and I will be responsible and act accordingly from now on.
“Jaago India Jaago”