Life is a highway..

The sooner you learn how to drive a stick shift the better. It’s more important than you imagine.

Life is about balance.

Don’t get comfortable with where you are, things change and usually very fast.

Learn how to shift gears efficiently.

Know your limits.

Broaden your vision. You don’t want to miss your favourite donut shop.

Experiment.

Never underestimate the power of music and friends.

Having a GPS navigation system is always handy. Avoid using it, you’ll remember your routes better and for longer.

Understand and accept that you can’t always control everything.

Know that the world is bigger than you.

Let people know when you are going to cross someone, use indicators. Subtle but with style.

Don’t expect people to make way for you.

Make way for others. You never know what their circumstances are.

Find the nearest mechanic in your vicinity and make sure you are on good terms with him.

Learn how to change a flat.

Use your rear-view mirrors. It’s sort of cool when you get to know what’s happening behind you without actually having to look back.

Random order is what the road is all about.

Nice songs on the radio come by every now and then, enjoy them. You probably won’t hear it again for a while.

Take long drives by yourself once in a while.

Honking will not get any one to move any faster. It will however help that pretty girl notice you from across the street. As in numerous other situations timing is everything.

Trust your instinct, it does not matter if you are wrong.

Treat your machine right, you’ll be stuck with her for a long time.

By Dheepak Krishnamurthy..


Loved it! πŸ™‚

NUS: I will remember..the experience ..

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while and I couldn’t quite place what I was really going to write. It was meant to be a summary of the entire experience, and if the experience was anything to go by, it had to be bloody good.. And there in lay the problem..

So, after attempts at trying to think through this post, I have decided to just go with the flow..

I was a skinny 17 year old when I landed here on the 20th of July, 2006. I was a kid who, like all those Indians who make it here, had done well in my board exams, had a respectable cultural activities record, sports track record etc. I was also a boy riddled with many insecurities, had a big big ego, took myself way too seriously for my own good, was generally not so clean, a tad spoilt, very careless with money, generally disorganized and always always rushing. It was not all bad – I could hold my own when communicating with people, enjoyed working in teams and was generally the type who has had to work hard for anything good that has come..

When I came to this place, I was just one of those 1,000 international students who made it here, was a misfit at the engineering school, was overawed at the kind of options that even existed in this place.. And slowly began finding my feet, primarily because of some wonderful people who helped me find my place(due to respect to Pranav, Nitin and Abishek here and a whole bunch of my immediate seniors..)..

And slowly things began falling in place. Here are a few random thoughts on the experience itself.. It’ll never quite be a complete summary, but I guess it never should – some things are best left unsaid after all..

I goofed up, a lot..
Screwed up in places and situations unimaginable..
Tried my hand at ‘entrepreneurship’ – it’s a big word..
Failed more than I could have imagined..
Worked my a&$ off..
Learnt I could be pretty persistent, sometimes annoyingly so..
Strongly believed that an idea would make a billion dollars..
That didn’t happen..
Strongly believed an initiative would take off..
That didn’t either..
Soon realized that the learnings that came with them were worth a lifetime..
Got straightened out by multiple mentors many many times..
Was made to shut up many a time..
Realized I was nowhere close to the smartest person around..
But knew I could work hard and never give up..
Slowly began finding my place..
Found my fragile ego crushed..
Began rebuilding with an attempt at some self confidence, one blog post at a time..
Never was and never will be a good engineering geek..
But survived anyway..
Played lots of sports..
Tried my hand at a lot of random stuff..
Realized that every experience was worth its weight in gold..
Tried hard to be a keen student and learn every step in the way..
Realized that I learnt a lot more from the lows than the highs..
Failure makes us humble after all, and is a wonderful thing..
Learnt I should spend less than I earn..
Learnt that health is NOT worth messing up..
Noticed that most great men never take themselves too seriously..
Struggling with that still..
Decided I needed to stop rushing and take things one at a time..
Went back to my roots when I was most in need..
Realized the value of faith and prayer in that one instance..
Tried becoming a happier person by smiling more and wishing others more..
Tried becoming cleaner, neater, better organized..
Tried my hand at my own little initiative..
Tried making a dent in the university life in this place..
Wanted my life to be defined by ‘If your children think of fairness, caring and integrity, they should think of you..’
Started reading again.. Voraciously..
Made my own mission statement..
Found my own values..
Dreamed..
Went to RealAcad..
Learnt I should believe in those dreams..
Made friends from across cultures who shared similar values..
Became a loyal mentee..
Always tried finding excuses to test my leadership ability..
Realized that leading and being proactive is part of one’s own life..
Tried my hand at ‘mentoring’ myself in an attempt to give back..
Failed miserably at first..
Slowly began finding my way..
Tried setting an example and had an excuse to be clean and organized..
Began finding unparalleled joy in spending time with my ‘kids’.. πŸ™‚
Spent a LOT of time with close friends..
Had long conversations I will remember for a long long time..
Realized that it is the people that make the difference..
Learnt that relationships are more about giving than taking..
Fell in love..
Made friends for life..
Began telling people what they meant to me..
Rather than leaving feelings unsaid..
You never know which moment could be your last, after all..
Learnt how to give a proper hug..
Learnt what it meant to ‘be there’ for people..
Found a sibling right at the very end of the journey..
Fully realized the joys of this wonderful student life journey right at the very end..
A lot of good things happen right at the end after all..
And they have..
For I know, 20 years later, when I show my kids these posts(fingers crossed :)),
I will do so with all my 32 teeth on show.. πŸ˜€


There are some experiences that words can’t do justice to, all that easily atleast.

This is one of them..

All I can say I’m really thankful to all those who made this experience what it is..

To all those who are still going through your university amidst this exam period – all I can say is university life can tend to just follow a script – 1st week joy, cca activities, mid sem ‘stress’, more cca activities, searching for internships/jobs, final exam ‘stress’ with variables like design projects, final year projects popping in and out..

It’s probably worth it to break out of the usual once a while and try and do something we would actually remember 10 years from now. I don’t know if there ever will be a better opportunity to get our feet wet, experiment, fail and still never face any real consequences and don’t know If there will ever be a time where we can, well and truly, do whatever we want in a day without a care in the world..!

In short, life is to smile and have fun rather than get caught in our own and generally insignificant ‘stress’ loops. We’re not machines, never will be.. So, here’s wishing you all the best and hoping you just give it your best shot – not because that’s all that matters (eventually, winning, losing, performance do tend to make a difference..) but because going down the regret path is definitely not worth it..

Aside from these moments, I’ve probably found the most profound learning to come from a Harry Potter line – at every point, we are faced with a choice of what’s right and what’s easy.. And there’s probably no better place to test this out than during this period of life as a student..

Here’s to a wonderful memorable university life.. And if you ever have questions that you feel this blogger can help you with, you know where to write in..

In the words of a friend –
To love, life and laughter..
This Blogger.. πŸ™‚


12 hours..

NUS: I will remember(XX) the walk (Photos only.. :))

This is something that I have been wanting to do for a while now – take a walk around NUS and relive some of the memories. Doing it with 4 others was a lot of fun! This was by no means extensive as it was a good 3 hour long walk and hence, was pretty tiring as it was after a long day.. πŸ™‚

But, an attempt nevertheless.. πŸ˜€


PGP Bus stop – where the day generally begins.. πŸ™‚


The dreaded KEVII steps..


KEVII lounge – all the big football matches this semester- nice memories! πŸ™‚


The walk from science to PGP – usually traversed at or beyond 3am in the morning..


Eli’s rat murder lab – source of a lot of 4th year banter


NUH Canteen – Management Through Football discussions on Saturdays


Bengawan Solo – all our birthday cakes are belong to them


NUH – and its most loyal patron


Remembering the NUH times – 9 of us waiting 4-5 hour late in the night for a friend’s consultation..


The beautiful medicine to science walk way – enroute to the then Nineo office


The science canteen indian stall and its loyal patrons


The science canteen fruit/beverage stall – remembering the number of times I have gone there at 6am in the morning to have donuts, curry puff and a nice drink..


The ‘pink tables’ – many many discussions have happened here..


The end of the then SoC incubation centre corridor. Remembering many many many football games that have happened here (with cloth footballs of course.. The ultimate take-a-break spot! :))


The incubation centre corridor..


The ex-Nineo office. Our logo sheet still remains on the notice board. A remnant of old times..


The bridge outside the office. Another super take-a-break and attend phone calls spot..


SoC1 lift.. Another Nineo memory.. πŸ™‚


TR8 – Sparkz welcome meets, RealAcad seminars, MTF sessions..


SoC terrace – where we attempted (and partly saw) the asteroid showers and spent a memorable night..


Old incubation centre (1st year). 1st ever workplace..


Ha ha.. Eli at his department..


The Life Science mini lover’s park – a Bipasa 1st year find


University Hall – remembering 1st days of collecting scholarship allowances + Eli’s photography skills (‘man is so insignificant’ meaning..)


SRC steps – SOIS Orientations – fun memories


Football field.. goal post.. NUS staff soccer games.. πŸ™‚


The SRC hard courts – awesome awesome awesome memories..


My secluded pre exam mojo/study place behind the dreaded Multi Purpose Sports Halls..


Bipasa’s thrill at seeing the exam hall where she received her first A+. This one had to go in.. πŸ™‚


Attempt at reliving pre-exam scenes πŸ˜€


No more exams in this place. Notice fail..


YIH Canteen – of meals during RealAcad camps, nice sushi etc..


Post football de-brief place with 100 Plus bottle, Kaushik, Payodh, Shankar, Arjun etc..


Sparkz Auditions II


Outside Cheers – lots of small shopping done here, especially for many RealAcad camps…


Yes, traumatized. Welcome to the EE2001 lab..


This had to go in as well – Best bathrooms in Engine – the new DSI building next to E3.. πŸ˜€


Time spent sleeping in the awesome couch at Bioengin corridor = All other productive time spent in Engineering – talk about a nice balance..


FYP Lab – Geek mode..


LT7A – all year 1 lectures..


I survived(almost)..


Thank you for all the lovely Mcbreakfasts.. especially the ones that gave me enough strength to attend 9AM labs..


The super mediterranean stall @ Biz canteen


NUS Alumni House w/ our beautiful event manager Ramy.. haha. The venue of Sparkz.. πŸ™‚


Sheares supper shop – I can never forget..:)


PGP swings – remembering all the time spent bumming around in our 1st year


1 place I realized I missed out was Central Forum where we had our ArtVibe sessions..
So, here’s an older photo after a session. πŸ™‚


It was..A walk to remember..

πŸ™‚

14 hours and 1 final post to go..

NUS: I will remember(XIX) trips – Langkawi and Cameron..

These were the 2 trips we took in university. And these would rank among my sweetest memories of the joys of university life.

Langkawi: Our 1st trip experience in our 3rd semester. For this one, we had Mom with us. This helped all other parents wave out first time jitters and we were all set to go. It’d be tough to list out all the wonderful things that happened.. 3 things I do remember are –

The Place: My god! Langkawi ranks among the more beautiful places I’ve seen just for the simple fact that it is a killer combination of hills and sea. The sea is as you would imagine – golden sands, bright blue water and the Hills are awesome as well.

I vividly remember taking the cable car up to the hill with a popular bridge(where the climax of a then-recently released Hindi movie called Don had been shot) and gasping at the sight of the beautiful sea just below.

The Hurry: This is something we set right in our 2nd trip. This one, though was jam packed and I remember us constantly rushing from one thing to another. We were at Langkawi for 2 and half days and 3 nights and there’s really a lot to do in the place! We had a day off for scuba diving, another for various water sports, other for some sight seeing and all in all, we were ALWAYS rushing from one thing to another.

It’s a funny memory – it’s probably because it was the first time we were getting out and our desire to do ‘everything’ possible in that place.

Late night drives: I love driving so it is only natural driving features in my top 3. For a small island, Langkawi has a beautiful road system with clear maps. And it was a small and safe place.. Remember going out for nice long drives – all jam packed(We had 10 people in an 8 seater car) with our shadow man entertaining us with his language skills.

There was also a drive in the afternoon just as it was about to rain that I’m sure to remember for a long time. We were climbing a hill and it felt like a journey in heaven with fog, clear roads and lots of greenery..

One that almost made the list: Great diving experience swimming 25 feet under water with nemo fish etc

It was a great trip. Learnt a lot on how to organize a trip once we went on this one. Following this, we practically took 2 years to go on our next one. Most of us went into a money crunch/got busy. By the time, we were in our 3rd year, friends had already left on exchange etc.. In our 7th semester, time was ripe for another one. After a bit of research, we decided to go with Cameron Highlands- which seemed like a scenic mountainous place and thought it would be a nice change.

Cameron: Tough to name 3 things again.. But here goes –

Getting there and Settling In: I clearly remember the excitement of waiting at the KL terminus for our beautiful black Toyoto Innova and the sheer joy at seeing the car and test driving it. We were all set for a lovely 3 hour drive down the highway. This was followed by an awesome climb! We had managed to rent out what seemed like a great apartment for the entire group – 9 of us living in the same house – imagine the chaos! Once we got there, I remember being dead tired and fell asleep.

Within a couple of hours, we were all set to do some minor trekking. So, we decided to go on the trail to a waterfall. And after a deliicious meal of waffles, strawberry and ice cream, we went on this ‘trek’. It turned out to be just a walk for 15 mins till we reached a small waterfall. Well, so much for trekking we thought..

And we came back, packed dinner and watched what will go down as one of the most eventful football games of the season – Manchester United vs Manchester City. United clinched a 4-3 victory with a goal in the 95th minute (i.e 30 seconds before the whistle blew).. Cannot forget! We were all set to go trekking the next day..

THE Brinchang Trek: We had all (well, almost all..) come fully prepared for an adventure trip. We knew there was going to be a fair amount of trekking etc. So, we went down and had a chat with a local travel person who recommended we all wear shorts instead of track pants as it would easier to spot leeches if they do manage to get on.. He also told us that the trek we’d be taking would be a good 4 hour trek and could get tiring. We were all set..


(Before we were asked to change to shorts :))

We reached the spot and the 1st 15 mins was a nice walk with a nice tarred road and we were again laughing at the ‘trek’. This road, however, came to an abrupt end and we didn’t know where to go. We soon spotted a small(miniscule would be the word) clearing with a stream and a way right into a hilly jungle. It had begun..

The trek did take a good part of 4 and a half hours. We managed to take a few photos in the nicer 1st part of the journey after which, it practically became impossible to stop at a place together. I was actually very surprised the locals are chilled out about people going because it is not one for anyone who is not in touch with regular physical activity. We had to use our hands, legs, lots of help from friends to make it through. And if it wasn’t for the fact that we had a formation to make sure we were able to help the person in front and behind, I doubt if we would have made it through..

There were still heart stopping moments like at a sudden point when a friend slipped and said she’d twisted her leg. I didn’t see any way of us going down the wilderness (would’ve been physically impossible) and the last hour of the climb was vertical. Luckily, the twist didn’t happen and she was good to go. The last hour was an almost vertical climb. And soon we were on top! The other side of Mt Brinchang was a beautiful 3 hour walk down tea estates and that was a relief after the long trek..

It was a very tough trek and that’s what makes it so memorable – the fact that we did it without any guide. Out in the wilderness for 4-5 hours is a memory that is going to stay for a very long time. And one thing for sure, we felt great finishing it!

Rafting and Caving: There was more adventure in store. The next morning, we headed for caving.

Caving involved us walking, crawling, climbing and slides in caves that were few storeys high (with thousands of bats right on top) and then suddenly just low and thin enough for 1 person. It was quite an adventure as we had a guide who was in charge of 12 people, could barely speak English and hence, communicated with the gestures. I remember a couple of instances when I was sure I’d just be falling off a cliff.. And just managed to slide out in time… The craziest memory during caving was when we had to float for a few metres along a stream(yes, there was water running all through) through a passage narrow enough only for 1 person and with no place to raise our heads even(thanks to stalactites). Tough for anyone who is claustrophobic. This was followed by lot more climbing, pulling each other up and sliding.. And ended with a wonderful natural jacuzzi..

Rafting was an experience to remember as well. The most freaky part was the briefing where they just let us glide down a stream, gesture for a rope, catch it and swim to shore. Once we started, our guides were in complete control. They were strong enough to comfortably lift any of us with 1 hand onto the boat. And they made sure we capsized a couple of times to add to the fun. Oh, and let me not forget, the water was FREEZING cold. And we also received a certificate for having rafted through a grade III river..

There’s a video of the rafting here.(of the rafting company that is..)

The big difference with the Cameron trip was that we were never really rushed. We did things at our own pace, had lots of food, a night of lots of music, dance etc – but all at our own pace.. And that made it great.


These 2 trips are memories that I’ll take forward for a very long time. If you are beyond your 1st year in university and haven’t taken a trip yet, it’s high time.. Haha

We’ve already made plans to go on more adventure trips with the Sparkz bunch also added in to the trekking interest groups. Hopefully, climbing Mt Kinabalu would be the next one..soon!! πŸ™‚


3 days to go.. (As of yesterday)

Today’s post will be out late.. It’s a special one! Lots of pictures coming through. πŸ™‚