Aahvaan 2009


posted by on English, Fotography, India Project, Livin' my Life

AahvaanHey folks,

it’s been a week since I told you about my awesome Diwali so it’s time for a little update on „living in India“ 😉 Actually last week nothing really special happened. I tried to work in the library, had language class and enjoyed my time. The only reportable thing was my try to book tickets to Agra.

Since I’m healthy again and actually close to hit the „bergfest“, thus half of the time being here, I thought I should finally start making travel plans and get out of Delhi. So I opted to go to Agra for a day and see the Taj Mahal. I actually wanted to book the ticket online, but after I had spend quite some time on finding the right trains, I wasn’t able to book: Neither one of my two visa cards would be accepted, as they are not „verified by visa“. This new system introduced by Visa some time ago has not been implemented by german banks so far and thus booking online was no option anymore. BUT my friend Navarun came up with the great idea to use the „Travel Agent“ of the institute I’m working with. To make a long story short, 2 hours later I finally got my ticket and thus I’ll travel to Agra on Wednesday. Great, but even better: I won’t travel alone! A good friend of an old friend of mine is coming tomorrow to Delhi to do some research for her thesis and even though I haven’t met her in person yet, we decided (via e-mail) to travel to Agra together. Moreover, me being the nice guy, she’ll be staying at my place for a couple of days while searching for an apartment, thus I guess I gonna have a great week 🙂

Alright, from future back to last weekend. Actually it was great. While I had no real plans except of working a bit on various things and check out a festival at Teri University, Navarun called me early in the morning on saturday to tell me that he was going to the University as well and asked, if he could stay at my place afterwards. Thus, my „finally let’s do some work“ plans vanished 😉 Vrishali, Navarun and me met and drove to the campus where we arrived right in time to get good seats for a panel on „youth and sustainability“ that encompassed not only an Indian Minster, the Swiss Ambassador and other distinguished persons, but as well Dr. Pachauri, Chancellor of Teri University and Chair of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)! As some of the panelists said, this guy is a „rockstar“ to journalists who are interested in climate change, but to everybody else dealing with the issue probably as well 🙂 With the exception of the Ambassador’s speech, all the others were refreshingly interesting and thus I enjoyed my time. Moreover, I managed to pose two questions to Dr. Pachauri -> me being very very happy 😉

Another thing that really made my day: Ripping me off failed 😉 As you know, I stayed the first couple of days on campus. Last week I got the invoice for that and believe it or not, they tried to charge me four times the initially communicated amount of money! So I wrote them an e-mail asking about the difference but became no answer. Now, being on campus again, I ran into the responsible person and was told that there „has been a confusion“ and that I would only have to pay the initially stated amount of money! Yeah, that’s actually 100€ less 🙂

Now, aside from the panel there was lots going on on campus. The festival (Aahvaan – the awakening call) was meant to celebrate the 10-year existence of the University as well as to raise awareness for environmental issues. As it was a festival open to other Universities as well, a lot of people were there 🙂 Moreover, a lot of competitions were going on. Be it theater, music or other arts, everything was there 🙂 Even though I did not understand much of the theater played by the different student groups, I understood the main ideas behind their plays and as many of the students were really good actors, it was fun to watch.

At one point, Navarun came to me and told me that he had to accompany a relative of his supervisor (to which he’s rather close) to the railway station and proposed that I should join, so I would know on Wednesday where to go. I agreed and (as nearly always), we started with a delay of nearly an hour. I wasn’t sorry about that, as that gave me the chance to talk to the girls I know from living on campus. Most of them were happy to see me and thus I talked a lot about my place here in Green Park, my work and my impressions of Delhi so far 😉 When Navarun, the said relative, me and the supervisor’s driver finally left, we had one and a half hour to reach the train. Guess what, we arrived at half past six at New Delhi Train Station only to find out, that the train – scheduled to leave at ten past seven – was leaving from Old Delhi Station. Now you might not have an idea what distances mean time-wise here in Delhi, but let me say this: Reaching Old Delhi in the given time was close to being impossible. Just check out the pics I’ve uploaded and linked below on the traffic. We were basically stuck, but the driver was really freaky awesome. He stayed cool the entire time, drove fantastic and somehow managed to drop us at Old Delhi at seven past seven – three minuted to actually get her on board. So we ran – well, I crossed the street in good old Paris-Style (thus just stepping right in front of the cars causing them to hit the brakes really hard 😉 ) but Navarun and the girl weren’t that conviced over my style of crossing the street so they stayed behind. Shortly afterwards they managed to get to me and we ran into the station, got one of the guys that carry your luggage, and told him to show us the way and run! Believe it or not, we reached the platform on ten past seven, put the women into the train and shortly afterwards the train left! Wow, that was some kind of an adventure 😉

Afterwards the driver dropped me and Navarun at my place and we had a great time watching „Thank you for smoking“, one of my favorite comedies 🙂 On sunday Vrishali joined us and we – well basically Vrishali and Navarun – cooked a really good indian lunch 🙂 By the time we were nearly done cooking, Bala, my flatmate, finally arrived home. He was scheduled to be back in Delhi at 3:30 in the morning, but his train got stuck for NINE hours! When he finally came, he was really dead but happy to enjoy the great lunch with us. Vrishali, Navarun and me relaxed afterwards by watching „The Constant Gardener“. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a must! It has the same quality as Hotel Rwanda, maybe a bit less action, but certainly as impressive. It’s about big drug companies testing drugs in africa and the tragedy behind it.

Alright, that’s been my weekend 🙂 I hope you had a great time as well. Tomorrow I’m going to get Ana at the airport, Wednesday we’ll go to Agra, Thursday I’ve language class and Friday we’ll meet up with some Indian friends – sounds like a great week to me 😉

Oh, here are some of the pics from the weekend. Check out SmugMug to see all of them 🙂

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Take care, Strothi

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