Random Thoughts

The World as I see it



On the Dutch Dining Table


A spoon, a fork and a knife; and a large chunk of chicken leg piece on the plate. And just besides that, a person utterly confused about what to do with the silverware. Never ever in his wildest of dreams had he imagined that one could use any of those to eat chicken. Why can’t I eat with with my bare hands? What’s more? A bowl of red chili powder on the table and the person not pouring it all into his food just for the sake of humility. Why? Because the person besides the table is an Indian (that’s me) and as per his standards that chili powder isn’t hot at all. Really… Believe me, I added 4-5 teaspoons of it in my food and the the taste didn’t change at all.

Enjoy!”, said the Dutch friend sitting opposite to me. “Enjoy!”, I reciprocated. “So, how do you say ‘Enjoy’ in…”, the Dutch paused and pondered for a couple of seconds and continued “’Enjoy!’ in INDIAN?”. I corrected, “You mean Hindi?”. “Oh ya… ya… in Hindi”, he smiled. This seemed to be a trivial question for my friend to ask but it was one of the most difficult questions ever asked. “Do we ever say such a thing in Hindi?”, I thought. But in a desperate search of answers gave it my best try, “Shuru kiya jaaye…”. “Shu-ru khi-yaa jhaa-ye?”. “Yup! That’s right”, I smiled. Now my Indian friends may suggest the possible better versions of the response, but you would have to admit; given the fraction of second I had, that was a good try.

I spent about two months in Netherlands and realised one thing for sure. If I ever get an opportunity to teach them something, I would definitely go for cooking. Whenever I added a ‘chhaunk’ to daal (pulses) in the kitchen out there it was the most amazing thing they had ever seen in life. The shrilling noise of the process and the aromatic fumes which which brings smiles to the faces of us Indians, brought tears in their eyes and concern on their faces. “That thing which you did there… Isn’t that hazardous?” “Nope! We do it all the time”. I tried to be convincing and reassuring but still the expressions on the faces could almost be heard out loud, “I am telling you dude! You will kill us someday.”

My visit to Netherlands made me realise one undeniable fact. We live in one of the most ‘complicated’ countries of the world… A large, weird, diverse, colourful, confused and complicated country. The look on the face of the people around you when come to know of the population of the cities… when they come to know that we have 18 official languages, hundreds of dialects and still no national language… when they come to know that it takes almost 3 days to cross the country… THAT expression on their faces makes us truly realise the great identity of the nation we live in… It gives you the true feeling of being an Indian… A feeling which we generally overlook.

I realised for the first time that we live in a ‘diamond’ shaped country. A country with the largest populations of followers of (at least) 5 different religions, with almost all possible geographical terrains and probably the most number of festivals. No surprises that we live in a diamond shaped country… No surprise we live in India.

P.S. –

1. The meal which I was talking about earlier… I took 2 hours to eat the meal. And then I realised the true meaning of the saying, “Apnaa haath Jagannath” 😛

2. I also realised how complicated our mythology is. An interested friend asked me to explain the gist of the story Bhagwad Gita… And I had a tough time explaining why we worship a man who persuaded his friend to go for war against his own kin. After all the gods are supposed to be peace loving. Isn’t it?

Paradise… Not too far…

With not much money in hand and just the strong breeze as my companion, I visited a place, which I am convinced is not far from paradise. A city so wonderfully built that one can walk through its lanes forever and never get tired (I walked for 4 hours, and want to visit the city again). Not many ‘tourist spots’ as such but the city by itself is definitely worth a visit. Officially I visited only two spots… The Kronenburger Park and the Bridge. But what I enjoyed the most was walking on the streets…

Here are the flowers which greet you as you enter the park…




And if that was not enough to bring a smile onto your face, meet these extremely fearless birds. They hardly do care about a huge 6 feet tall figure approaching them (oops I forgot; I used to be tall in India… Here they might be habituated to see taller figures all day 😦 ).






Well talking of heights, there were two ‘creatures’ who really stand tall, gaurding the city…


Ya.. but we too are humans, it wouldn’t be difficult for us to cross the bridge…


stand on one of them and look around the park…


And then again… I move on through the streets to click snaps of the city which embaraces you with its charm…





Only to reach the railway station…


whose call to come back home was ignored by the enchanted traveler. Strolling through further in the opposite direction (guided by the faint memory of Google Maps), I come across a street which caught my attention; and 15 seconds later did I realise that I was on the Bridge… and hence started my long walk across the Bridge…










On my way back, standing on a bridge vibrating along with the breeze, and looking at the amazing city, I realised, maybe this is the way, we the humans can add our bit to the beauty of nature, and perhaps make it closer to the paradise…

Into the Dutch Terretory…

Someone please show me some more people on the streets….

Shocked! In every sense of the word. I would never have thought myself in a world, so desperately devoid of people. No buzzing of horns, no groups of people haggling around on a tea stall, no tea stalls for that matter! Oh surely! I am surely not in India!


Instead I am in a land of absolute beauty. It seems as if each pebble in the city has been planned for its position. Dirty Streets? do they even exist? And sun; does it ever set? (well, we have already talked about it…, so not again). And above all, the people: This is what you call self discipline. Faces which smile as they look at you…maybe even say a Goedmorgen sometimes… Oh yes! this is a dreamland. Hats off to the Dutch for creating a small, wonderful land of theirs.


I must admit, it was me who stood in awe most of the times, understanding and appreciating this absolutely foreign culture; however it was interesting to see them fascinated about Indian terrains like Himalayas, Indian Mythology like the Ramayana and curiously enough, the Indian Marriage system. 🙂


It has been almost a week since I arrived here. I am still under a significant workload, so have not got a chance to visit Amsterdam or other parts of the Netherlands. Not much regrets for that as of now because I am still rejoicing the beauty of this super-organised world. More on the trips and experience in later posts. For the time being I leave you with the following snaps I took on the way from the University my the place of residence at Nijmegen.









Ya… the monotonicity of the colour of the houses confuses me a lot…

It has been the fourth time in six days today that is have entered the wrong building assuming it to be mine…







And yes, it rains too frequently here… (just wanted to share it as a fact)


Off to the Lowlands!


I am shocked; terribly shocked! I know, I was not expected to be so, but this factor just seemed to slip off my mind. Living in a tropical country like India, one merely gets the feeling of the days getting longer in the summers and shorter in the winters. However yesterday I incidentally had a look on the sunrise and sunset times in Netherlands and I was astonished. “How on earth can sun set at 10:00 PM at a place?” was the reaction. I am still unable to digest the fact that this can happen. Now you may call me stupid as I knew (since ages) that the poles have 6 months each of day and night; and this ‘change’ should not happen suddenly; but ya…my brain didn’t take that into account somehow. (By the way, now I can appreciate why Norway is called ‘the land of midnight sun’ 🙂 )

Anyways, I am off to Netherlands in a couple of days for a summer internship (for two months). So, most probably, next post will be from the land of men who conquered the sea. The budget is extremely tight but let us see what is in store there… Lots of work I guess…

Any suggestions for a first time abroad visitor?

Blog at

Up ↑