jump to navigation

Anyway, moving on quickly… (Part 1) May 21, 2012

Posted by nupurjoshi in Uncategorized.
add a comment

This is a very long post. Please read only if you have a lot of time…

Astha and I travelled around Paris and Amsterdam for a long trip of, umm, 2.5 days in March 2012. I was very excited about finally traveling with someone from insti, after my Sri Lankan and Egyptian adventures with people from work. After much stereotypical consultant flight-changing by me (much to Astha’s dislike), I finally made it to Paris on the morning of 23rd March. The plane journey was by far the best I’ve had so far..to add to the marvels of a double-decker plane, the skies were clear, and I was charmed at the sights of Iraq, Bulgaria, Romania..

I had in tow a bag with a week’s worth of clothes, and a white overcoat I’d splurged on, to inaugurate my adventures in sub 20 deg Celsius lands. Much to my disappointment, at Paris airport, I realised the outside was too glorious and sunny to warrant the use of my beautiful coat. I made my way out of the airport and onto the connecting train to the city (Gare du Nord). I did manage to make a fool out of myself at the ticket vending machine though, where I fed Euro coins to the credit card slit and unabashedly asked security for help when I realised the machine wasn’t impressed. Anyway, moving on quickly…

It took me a fair bit to get to Gare du Nord, I was rather disappointed by the speed and lack of spotlessness of the French railway. I did have entertaining French music on the train though – much like our desi trains, a Frenchman had taken on the responsibility of making the journey musical, complete with a microphone and speaker setup. Astha did a wonderful job of meeting me at the right platform and after rounds of hugs and excited jumps, we managed to pull ourselves together to plan the day ahead. I dropped off my bag at the station lockers and we exited Gare du Nord ready to take on Paris.

5 min later we came back because we realised that any place we would go to, we would need a train. Anyway, moving on quickly…

Our first stop was Notre Dame (as far as I remember). We took the train to the right station and then spent about an hour going around in circles looking for the Notre Dame. While Astha resorted to figuring out roads using her map, I decided to go a step further and try to work out my way relative to the Seine. My phone was dead and so seeking technological aid was out of question. Nothing worked and we pretty much had to ask locals for help.

The Notre Dame was an impressive building and after taking a couple of pictures, we decided to reward ourselves with French food. Astha, having widely read up on everything about Paris, quickly recognised Cafe Panis as the place to go, and we went in, pumped at the thought of eating authentic French food in an authentic French surrounding.

Our waitor’s surname was Dwarka, he sang, ‘Ae, kya bolti tu’ to us, and thought it appropriate to playfully steal my shoes. So much for authentic. Anyway, moving on quickly…

After a quick follow-up meal of curd rice by the Seine, we then headed to the Eiffel – the train took us through a beautiful, quaint part of Paris. I made plans to meet Sahil Mama, who was interning in Paris, over there. We waited in line for a painfully long hour to make it into the old fashioned elevators that raced us to the top. I was amused to see the French elevator guard repeat instructions in Hindi, looking pointedly at me. The view from the top was pretty! Astha and I marveled at how strange this day was, and how a few months ago neither of us had any idea that we would be sharing this trip. We then decided to head back down, given it was biting cold atop the Eiffel and neither of us had coats.

I’m not sure how but we never managed to find the elevator down from Tier 1 of the Eiffel. So we took the stairs. Yes, we took the stairs from a building known for its height. Anyway, moving on quickly…

Sahil Mama met us at the bottom and Astha and I decided to leave it to him to take us to the cool parts of town for the night. We started heading for a cool street, but, err, had an adventure on the way.

There was a DDLJ-like scene with the trains, except that none of us were actually on the train, but all aspired to be on the train. There was also an incident in which we missed our station, got off, crossed over to get into the train that goes the other way, but still managed to get back into a train going the way we had been going previously. Anyway, moving on quickly…

Sahil Mama had to leave for his college so he left Astha and me in one of the cool streets and took off. Astha picked an Indian place for dinner, I treated her to Palak Paneer in advance for her birthday. So much for authentic French food enthu.

After dinner, we headed back to Gare du Nord to pick up my bag so that we could check in to our hostel for the night. A rude shock awaited me. The lockers were locked up for the night and I couldn’t get my bag till 8am the next day. After much whining on my part, Astha dragged me away and we reported to our student hostel, located atop a slightly shady hill in North Paris. I grumpily made do with whatever little Astha had, and we went to bed.

I woke up the next day and looked at my still-dead phone grumpily. Astha and I went to Gare du Nord, picked up whatever I needed from my bag, came back to the hostel for showers and breakfast, and headed back to Gare du Nord for our journey to The Louvre.
We tried to make the Louvre tour as efficient as possible because we wanted to squeeze in a Seinie cruise as well, before we left for Amsterdam.

Somewhere between 17th and 18th century art at The Louvre, we realised that the train ticket Astha had for our journey to Amsterdam had only her name on it and that I would need to find some way of either retrieving my booking code, or getting a printout of my ticket. There is little a girl without a charged phone or laptop can do in a city mysteriously devoid of printer shops. After much asking around and pleading at the Louvre lobby, we headed to the Apple store, thinking THEY would have printers, only to be led to some random printing place further down the street, which was closed. We then went to Starbucks (because of our naive belief that a coffee shop can fix anything) in the hope that there would be internet and a printer there and the staff would help us. When THAT didn’t work, we approached some strangers with laptops in Starbucks and used those to retrieve my booking.

Anyway, moving on quickly…

High on our success, we decided to pursue the Seine cruise, and reached the Notre Dame part of the river again, which is where we were told the cruise set sail. We were traveling around by bus this day, instead of the underground – it was much nicer to see glimpses of the city on the go. Anyway, after about an hour of walking up and down based on directions from locals, we only managed to locate the city boat transport. Someone more knowledgeable then explained where the cruise would set sail, and Astha and I tore down the street to be able to make it in time. Note by now, with all the walking, running, and staircase navigating, both of us were fitter than we had ever been before, but with painful blisters on our feet.

The cruise was lovely and we managed to relax after a good 36 hours of crazy running around. Before we knew it though, it was time for the next challenge – getting back to Gare du Nord in time for our Amsterdam train. We were a little tight on time, but parallel processing (i.e. I go get my bag from lockers, Astha gets printout of my ticket) was not possible because I had no battery on my phone.

The more I write, the responsible I feel for the failures of this trip. Anyway, moving on quickly…

And so ends Part I of Nupur and Astha in Europeland. I hope you had a few laughs reading it. And no, nothing is exaggerated.

Amsterdam is a story for another day πŸ™‚


Being 0+6 December 16, 2011

Posted by nupurjoshi in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

So, 2 days ago it hit me that it’s been 6 months since I moved to Dubai and joined McKinsey! 6 months! I still feel new, still unsettled, and still think of myself as someone who just left IIT. I know, I know, stupid.

Consulting is a strange business – people come, people go, and you are constantly surrounded by a floating population of warm, fun people. The big flipside is – and this is from what I’ve seen so far – more than half of these people, you’re unlikely to see again. Very different to what I’ve been used to in IIT – the same bunch of people studying, living and socialising with each other. It’s a strange kind of pressure – to find friends in these people and make the most of my time with them before they (or I) head off to new destinations, or home.

Coming back to Dubai – call me stupid, but I still don’t believe I live here. Maybe it’s because this location was never known to us as a placement prospect in insti – and then everything happened so quickly last December. I’m glad to have some insti junta around, to keep my insti lingo in practice, and chat with about MI and TF and lakeside and all that jazz πŸ™‚

That said – the question of where I want to go, and what I want to do with my life still looms large – somewhat scarily this time. Everyone goes through this phase I guess, but I’ve never felt this uneasy not knowing the answer to this question. Maybe it’s because time is rushing past like crazy – weeks run by like Usain Bolt, and before I know it, it’s the weekend again, Sukhada’s sending me her Big Red Dream post, and I’m struggling to find time to read it, and write about my own Big Arabian Dream! I love that she does that btw – that she cares enough to put it all on paper and religiously share it with all of us πŸ™‚

Hmm.. clearly there’s enough content here, to make a solid number of new year resolutions! But I think I’m going to steer clear and ride the wave, and go where it takes me. It’s a pretty exciting wave, this one and I’m glad to be caught on it.

Happy New Year everyone! πŸ™‚

Hangover July 1, 2011

Posted by nupurjoshi in IIT, Life, memories.

I looked at a couple of houses today and really really liked one. In my bid to express how much I loved the place, I realised that the only way I could judiciously do so was by resorting to ‘our’ terms. For the first time in weeks, I ditched my IIT-free English and went, “Feeeeeel aa gayi be. Kya infi GOD tha”. Only after I’d let that out did I feel like I had expressed 100% how I felt. I was amazed at how happy I felt after using the IIT lingo. Plenty of times over the past few weeks, I’ve sent ‘Daya’ and ‘Chamka?’ back from the tip of my tongue, and felt terrible about having to do that.

I generally opened my Pictures folder after I got back and started to browse through the countless folders of memories spanned across four years. It amazed me how real those pictures were, how they transported me straight back to IIT. It felt strange to think that getting pictures with the same people again would be hugely painful and in some cases impossible.

I can just imagine the stillness on the main road in IIT as I type this at 1:30am here, a heavy silence, occasionally broken by the drunken party of guys, or by a Techfest, MI or ECell punter hurriedly heading to or from a meeting, or an enthusiastic freshie couple exploring their relationship in the dark isolated freedom of the IIT roads. All of it seems such an age away, like it was a dream, and that it never happened. After all, my mind is grappling with the stark differences in the two strangely wonderful worlds it’s been subject to this year. Amazing though this new life is at every step of the way, I sorely miss IIT. What is comforting is the ease with which I can transport myself back there and soak in the chatter of the hostel mess, the serenity of lakeside, the buzz of activity at SAC, straight out of my imagination. It’s strange, but oh so heartening. I love that in a blink, I can be back there and live it all over again. We might say we survived IIT, but you know what? We also chose to take it back with us in our hearts.

I should stop now, it’s 1:45am and I’ve just realised that surprisingly, my fingers are so accustomed to the office keyboard, that they are making way more typing mistakes on my old laptop than I would like. Sigh, life adapts so quickly. Here’s to change and here’s some more to memories! πŸ™‚

The Last Dance April 15, 2011

Posted by nupurjoshi in IIT, Life, memories.

It’s April 15 and the semester is hurtling to the finish line like never before. True that the even semester always seems to race post midsems, but this time, with the blur that life has become with valfis, it is even more difficult to keep track of days and nights.

We’re getting infinitely senti with all the passing out talk and nostalgia. I thought it wouldn’t get to me but little events in their own way have added up and turned me into a big baby too. The magnitude of the whole thing hit me a day after my valfi when I realised that all the case-takers and silent spectators from the previous night would be staying here or in the US and I like some heroine would be in Dubai. I am fully aware of my reasons for choosing and wanting Dubai but right then, after my valfi, starting a life there seemed like a very very tough thing to do, something way beyond my capability.

My first glimpse of H10 in 2007 was by accident when I had come to IIT for counselling and happened to drift from Convocation Hall to MB to Infinity Corridor to H10. I remember thinking that IIT was so huge that I would never figure it out. I remember my parents being horrified at the hostel I am going to sorely miss now.

I am so used to living in my wing that everything I would miss about it hadn’t even registered. It is by far the hostel’s noisiest wing owing to its location. We hated that about it. I’m going to miss the noise next year. It told me people were around.

I’ve lived next to Kanchana for 2 years now. I am so going to miss giving each other pointless hourly updates on our activities and our nightly chat sessions for hours on end. We are so telepathically connected by now that she miraculously realises when I’m pissed even in her sleep without any communication whatsoever. People call our occasionally synchronised baths creepy but hey, we don’t mind πŸ˜›

And then there’s Sukhada who takes a detour to her room and waltzes into our wing every couple of hours to “what’s up?” us and squat on Kanchana’s beanbag, flail her arms around and say, “I want to be more girly!” One of these days is going to be the last time I see her do that and I hate that.

No more getting startled out of sleep by Chandrika’s shouts of “Ashuuuu Ashuuuu” and no more Astha lending me earrings, makeup and infinite fundae on everything pretty and pink. No Sai to rudely awaken everyday and no Anusha and Mridul catwalking up and down the corridor πŸ™‚ How am I ever going to manage without these people!

Life in IIT has been soooo peaceful. Ready-made meals, proximity to HN, an ATM next door, classes nearby, infinite opportunities and freedom from the institute, it’s been the ideal world. Orientations were so awesome, with all the hostel fights and the hoarse, hoarse screaming. I remember the majority of us getting starry eyed after each orientation in disbelief at how awesome everything looked and that we had a chance to be part of it all. All that is behind us now. I wish those of you reading this feel that you’ve achieved all that you wanted to here.

We are so used to walking around at unearthly hours without a care in the world that it is going to be very difficult to restrain ourselves from doing so outside. And I am sure if I sit on the sidewalk in Dubai just to chat with friends I’ll definitely get a ticket.

Just 4-5 years ago, we were amongst the most hard working kids in the country, slogging to get into the country’s most premier engineering institute. Now we are engineers passing out from that very place. So much has changed since we came in. We are the people that popularised Orkut, and dumped it for Facebook. We are the people who danced with joy at Google Wave invitations, waited for Facebook Unlike buttons and celebrated Buzz. We have seen a swine flu epidemic, a 26/11 and a glorious Cricket World Cup. I remember when the whole hostel sat in the TV room following the 26/11 massacre with bated breath. I remember the glorious moment when the PAF punters of Hostels 3, 5 and 10 madly celebrated in OAT after India won against Australia in the World Cup QFs. Yes, these days have been topsy turvy.

We hope for so much more in the future, but I wonder if we will get the simple joys we have experienced here. The deafening cheering at Pronites, the peaceful sittings at lakeside, the night time wanderings, the PAF tension, the first year acad nbd, the free afternoons napping in hostel, the frenzy at every Goonj, the shared excitement of Vodafone Tuesday, the joy at longer LAN hours, the Valfi mania, the nights invested in pure chatting. So many small moments to cherish, which make up this wonderful IIT experience. Whatever life brings your way, wherever you go, my parting request to all of you would just be this: Wherever you are, Facebook par khoob pics upload karo!

This is just one part of the IIT nostalgia. There are so many more people, so many more facets. I’m pretty sure I can’t make an exhaustive list. I just hope all of us have a wonderful time wherever we go. That we remember to take out the time to enjoy life. That we can afford to take out the time to enjoy life! IIT life has been brilliant, no doubt. But then, there is a world waiting out there. A real world, with tonnes of opportunities. And I guess, the time to explore it is HERE!

:( July 3, 2010

Posted by nupurjoshi in Children, Life, memories.

Disclaimer: If anyone is revolted by the senti level of this blog, please remember, you chose to read it πŸ˜‰

I’d gone to Danapani beach yesterday with Harshvardhan. It’s in Malad, far far away from insti and L&T. We went directly after work. I saw the cutest little girl on the way there. She was holding her mother’s hand, as they waited at a signal, awkwardly caught amidst the savage traffic encircling them from all around. She had brown hair and the prettiest eyes in the world – brown, big and innocent. She must have been four or five years old. I thought she must be a foreigner. I could only wonder what the mother of such a pretty child would look like – her face was veiled by a burkha. What a shame to hide such beauty from the world – what a deprivation! Someday that little girl will be forced to hide her face too. Sigh.

In the glimpse I got of the little girl, I had a sudden urge to go back to that age. I wanted to look as pristine and innocent as her. I tried to remember how it was to be that age – when you had to look up to see anything – when puddles were so near that you could see the rain-worms swirling in them (I don’t know the actual term for ‘rain-worm’) – when you had to be hoisted up into the school bus by someone. It was such a brilliant time – you were cute and innocent – anyone would pull your cheeks and vouch for that – although I’m not sure about how many of us that can be said now. Everyone has things to hide, secrets to keep (much bigger than the secrets from school!), insecurities to grapple with, and a valfi to fear πŸ˜‰

Life was so awesome when you could go to school, learn alphabets, run around a playground, ride home, park yourself in front of Tom and Jerry, play outside for the rest of the evening, get a big deal made out of any scabs, and then get tucked into bed. True, we’re more responsible and free etc etc now. But I’m not sure I like it better than what it was oh-so-long-ago. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not shying away from responsibility. I’m just musing over the simplicity of life back then. With a sinking feeling, I realised that none of us will be as ‘innocent’ again. None of us will sit on dad’s shoulders again. None of us will be children again. It’s all gone 😦

Days of our Lives December 19, 2009

Posted by nupurjoshi in IIT, Life, memories.

December is rushing to a close and I can’t help but think how crucial next year is going to be for me and a lot of people I know. There are placements to sit for and universities to mail, and for some of us, the internship cloud still looms. It’s strange how although time seems to stand still in the vacations, the year still manages to rush past. I can’t believe we are so near exiting college already. It seems like just yesterday that we were first years, making acquaintances and exploring what the campus had to offer, buoyed at the prospect of finally embarking on what is often called the most glorious time of one’s life. I hope each one of you has collected a good basketful of memories (and photos!) to savour in future when you think back to these days. πŸ™‚

I still wonder how we’re near the end so quickly. The beginning doesn’t seem so long ago.

Cliched and all October 26, 2009

Posted by nupurjoshi in Arbit, IIT, Life.

So, this is my first run-of-the-mill “I’ve haven’t blogged in sooo long because” posts. It’s such a shame, but nothing blog-worthy has happened of late. No little kids have been able to steal my heart lately, not too many random things in life, and no sports. πŸ™‚

Ah, for a stroke of inspiration!

Anyway, it’s again nearly-the-end-of-sem time. When everyone starts to pull their act together, from profs to students to insti and hostel secies.. everyone wakes to up to the fact that time is limited and there’s still a lot left to do. For profs, pain unsuspecting students and shower XXs, for students, plan (and only plan) to infi crack marofy remaining quizzes and endsems to avoid whatever dismal grade they think they’re headed for, for Insti secies, to execute their GCs and events, for hostel secies to respond to what the insti secies plan. All this provides loads for anyone to do.. and hence the silent treatment meted out to you, dear blog.

On a personal note, infi fight resulted in my first performance as an English vocalist in Acoustic Dusk… finally, I can check off one thing in my mental list of things to do in IIT. πŸ˜‰

Yes, in the subconscious everyone has such a mental list. (I think I’ll actually blog about this one later).

The future holds endsems (trauma), more intern-fighting, and work for my department fest, Aakaar. Here’s to the another season of near-sem-end blues! πŸ™‚

Mia Penningway

Cherubic Angel September 30, 2009

Posted by nupurjoshi in Children, Life.

For me, it’s always a memorable experience spending time with a little kid. Dussehra brought me face to face with my four year old niece Radnyee after three months. That’s the frequency at which we usually end up meeting. Understandably, she forgets my name everytime. Till now, she used to think it her right to forget names, though now I’m not so sure. ‘What are our names, Radnyee?’, my sister and I cooed, after elaborate talks of her new dress, matching sandles and the competition in her school she knew she was going to win without knowing what it was about. (‘It must be poetry, we can’t do anything else’, she said matter-of-factly).

Radnyee looked to the left and then to the right. Then she made that face all little girls make when they are embarrassed, pouted her lips, tilted her head downwards and looked up at me through her big, black eyes.Β  It’s amazing how good girls can be at this kind of thing.

‘I don’t know’.


Β ‘I don’t know’.

This went on for a while till we blackmailed her into trying, details of which I would ratherΒ skip over here.

‘I have three maasis’, she began. Then she said all three names. ‘I don’t know which is which.’ <Blush Blush>


‘You won’t scold me if I’m wrong?’

I was surprised that it had even occurred to her that we might scold her for something like this. ‘Of course not.’

‘Promise?’ ‘Yes.’ And just like that, she guessed. And she guessed right!

Later, after Radnyee had made a big issue out of setting her curls behind her ears (prompting me to call her an actress) and pestered me into showing her how the gym cycleΒ was stationary inspite of having wheels (prompting me to call her a scientist), I asked her the most cliched question of all. ‘So, what do you want to be when you grow up’?

Pat came the reply, ‘Nothing!’

I was taken aback. I had been expecting actress, teacher or bhajiwali. ‘Nothing?’

She swayed her head from side to side.

‘Just Radnyee’.

I don’t know whyΒ  I haven’t heard anyone say that before. I guess it never strikes as an option.

16 Strange Things September 19, 2009

Posted by nupurjoshi in Arbit, IIT, World.

There are so many strange things around us. There is a familiar strangeness in almost everything we do. I decided to make a list of some things which strike me as strange, and I’m sure most of you will agree with atleast half the things on it. The list is a little IIT-specific, sorry about that. 😦

It’s strange,

1. How before the exam, you just want to sleep. After it, you can’t sleep no matter how sleep-deprived you might be.

2. How when you bunk a class, there’s always a surprise quiz.

3. How when you bunk a class, the prof returns quiz papers, discusses the question, gives ten minutes for it to be re-done and collects the papers again.

4. How Tum-Tums always go the other way. [Sorry if you’re getting a sense of Deja Vu here ;)]

5. How you hesitatingly buy a pack of Ching’s noodles at DMart, and then Malhar showers you with a host of Ching’s products the next day.

6. How the pack of noodles is actually part of a prize and not a freebie.

7. How they ask you if IIT Powai and IIT Bombay are different.

8. How this post was meant to be about strange things and somehow became about Malhar.


9. How pigs managed to take over the world when Kublai Khan and Alexander failed.

10. How a status message that says ‘Do Not Ping’ really really makes you want to ping and ask why that person is visible in the first place.

11. How the signal at Main Gate is always chaotic no matter how much road expansion and tree-felling they do there.

12. How professors want to see their students awake in class.

13. How dogs, cats and rats all live peacefully in your hostel inspite of what Tom and Jerry taught you.

14. How you never questioned Tom and Jerry.

15. How you can’t pull yourself away from watching sitcoms on your laptop although your eyes are screaming at you to do just that.

16. How when you have to make a decision the easy way out is always wrong and right way requires courage and grit.
Comments and additions are welcome! These 16 things are just off the top of my head, hope to add more to this list soon! πŸ™‚

Football Memories August 30, 2009

Posted by nupurjoshi in Life, memories.

I never thought the first entry on this blog would be about football. Or even sports, for that matter. However, it IS, thanks to me unexpectedly attending the screening of EPL finals in LT. See, this kind of thing would’ve never happened had I not promised a friend I’d accompany her. So, as fate had it, [and fate was on a roll on Saturday, 29 August (ask IITians about it)], there I was, sitting in LT with a bunch of thoroughly unfamiliar football punters oohing and aahing with every step Arsenal and Man U took or mistook. Headers were rather entertaining during the course of the game; plenty of times heads just happened pop up in the trajectory of the ball, eventually rewarding Man U with a self goal by Arsenal.

It reminded me of the days when we used to play football in the building backyard, eight or nine society kids, with an embarrassing, slightly trapezoidal space of 70ftX15ft to play in. I was the only girl in the group, occasionally, some other girl would join. I was particularly good at intercepting the football with my head, however, this was never ever done deliberately. My head would just surface in the path of the ball, resulting in a superb header which would leave the boys blushing, embarrassed. Surprisingly, most times, I never saw the ball coming. It would just emerge, and WHAM! zoom off in the other direction, while I would be looking around dazed, wondering exactly which direction it came from and how I managed to send it packing so expertly. By the time I’d work out the rough trajectory it would be hurtling toward me again. It was just plain luck that I never actually came face to face with it.

Another vivid memory is that of my shoes flying off with every powerful kick I’d attempt. Boys never faced this problem, they wore sports shoes, but I would play in sandals, or shoes like the ones I see girls doing salsa in now (Yes, yes, I know, what was I thinking, etc, but I wasn’t very bright back then). I have spent plenty of time recovering my footwear from the overgrown shrubbery near which we’d play, rendering my team one very valuable head short during this duration. Of course, it provided some comic relief to see a shoe flying off in some random direction, and a momentary lapse of concentration from the game, but no matter how much my team members asked me to wear sneakers, I was adamant. After all, I argued, we weren’t playing proper football, and I wasn’t going to put my feet in the smelly dark confines of sneakers for backyard football (which was how I perceived sneakers back then).

Of course with the random heading and shoe-flying I never had a dull moment when we played. It was tremendous fun to play in that limited space, with stones for goals and parking spaces and bushes as sidelines. The next year, life took a different turn, exams and more exams took priority and going out to play was frowned upon. The football tradition died out soon and our space was occupied by younger kids for their Dog-and-the-Bone games. We never got round to playing football again, any of us. Today, all my football buddies, even the youngest ones, are in some corner of the world, all in pursuit of an engineering or medical degree. We’ve forgotten the fun we had so many years ago.

I miss those days.