Saturday, 13 December 2014

CELEBRATING IN SILENCE #London



A unique experience in London is to attend the ‘Silent Disco’ in the Shard tower on the south bank on the river Thames.


This is one place which hosts silent discos regularly. It’s a lovely place to unwind and celebrate the joy of peace while continuing a conversation sans the loud thudding bass line.
( photo-credits : http://www.breakingtravelnews.com/news/article/silent-discos-at-the-view-from-the-shard/)

For a Mumbaite like me, it’s like floating in the clouds to amuse myself.

The noiseless atmosphere here in London is a treat to my ears which have got quite accustomed to a variety of sounds at all times in my birth place.  Over there either there is someone talking loudly on his cell phone because the noise of the traffic disturbs his listening abilities, or there is some neighbor celebrating his son’s first birthday with loud rejoicing or there is music being played on the loud speakers by worshippers during the festive seasons which are quite regularly spread out throughout the year.

In short it’s a cacophony out there compared to this humorous sight of moving noiseless bodies with headphones dancing noiselessly to their individual tunes.

It’ nice and I love it at the moment; but I also miss the sounds of my country India.

                                                                                        

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

LOOKING AT A SCIENTIST THROUGH HIS MASTERPIECE OF A WORK OF ART.

An international student’s life goes beyond books and lectures. It becomes an adventure in itself.

The event : http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/event/special-event-leonardo-da-vinci-a-life-in-drawings                        

                                            

The whole of Europe now appears to be calling out to me with a welcome song. The national gallery at Trafalgar Square, London can serve the purpose of a glass of crystal clear water for thirsty eyes. 

As I gaze transfixed at the works of the Italian artistic genius Leonardo Da Vinci, I look upon with awe at this great painter of the Renaissance; a pioneer in understanding many things. 

I am left totally amazed at the marvel of his treatise on human anatomy which would have transformed European knowledge of the subject if this terrific work man would have lived longer.

His paintings have been known to have had a lot of hidden wealth of understanding in them lost to the world for centuries.

This great Italian Polymath as recognized today may have even identified hurricanes 500 hundred back. So great a genius of a scientist and an artist!

Perhaps his art may have got  its inspiration from biblical stories of the great flood, but the observant eye of the man in the 15th century did what the meteorologists derived at in the 20th century and named, ‘vortex flow pattern’ in hurricanes.

Looking at the master pieces at the Windsor Castle here in London, I today am able to understand the value of art even more.
The country from where I come is an artistic heaven in nature itself. However it is here in this city that I have had the privilege of seeing that beauty captured with a paint brush.

Now I can be certain that when I return to my part of the world I will be loaded with the capacity to share more than just the knowledge I will take from here.  Filled with visual delights of the works of the genius I can now say that there can be a scientist hiding behind even an artist.


                                                          

Saturday, 29 November 2014

An Indian in the House of Parliament - London

As I stand against the backdrop of the Big Ben exactly a hundred years after the First World War, I think of my countries long association with this part of land on the globe.

I come from India as a student to extend my country’s love and friendship to this land of world renowned universities. However, some scholars of history believe that India’s military contribution to the British war effort in the world wars had been long kept hidden because of Winston Churchill’s dislike for my country and her people.  India is a country where every god and goddess has his or her favorite animal companion; but Mr. Churchill may have misunderstood this love and companionship between man and beast and is noted to have once said that he hated Indians because they were a beastly people with a beastly religion.



However today as I study, work and walk on this English soil, I feel good that my Indian Army’s significant role has satisfactorily been acknowledged and commemorated in the House of Commons right under the angry man’s bust in the event held on the eve of Armistice Day. A day I feel proud about that the country I have chosen to study in has acknowledged the work and lives of my country’s soldiers. 

The 15th Ludhiana Sikh Regiment was one of the first Indian Army troops to set its foot on European soil in 1914. People over here came together in remembrance of the Sikhs and the wider Indian Army for their crucial role in the British war effort in the World War.

What makes me so comfortable in London today is how this part of the world is working towards creating a change in the collective memory of the British to celebrate, immortalize and memorialize the role of my country in the World War.

What an apt time and year to be in London!

My Tour with the London Universities International Partnership (LUIP) 

-Photo credit : Lei He









Saturday, 22 November 2014

Why study in London ?

London is a very diverse and multi-ethnic city with a rich history. Being able to study in such a city creates students that are educated up to the best international standards, and also enlightened enough to live in a globalized world.

 

 Celebrating diversity 

Studying abroad increases ones awareness, as well as opens up the mind to different cultures and thoughts. Studying in London is also a gateway to travel to other places in Europe. The city itself has 5 airports and is connected very well by trains, planes and ships to different part of the world. 
         On London Eye 
The city by itself is also a dream for a sightseer.

Students have access to the learning facilities of the British museum (which holds over 7 million artifacts from across the world) as well as the British library. The view from the London eye which is the highest man made observation deck is also to die for. 

The multi-ethnic nature off the city is also visible in the food. You can get anything from the traditional British fry-up breakfast or bangers and mash to Mexican, Japanese, Chinese and Indian food. You can have any cuisines that you can imagine in London
 
 
Foods from around the world

  Writing about London would be incomplete if one were not to mention the nightlife that the city offers. It has everything ranging from neighborhood pubs where someone can go for a pint to some of the best nightclubs in the world such as fabric, KOKO ministry of sound etc.

Vibrant Nightlife 

London is home to over 100000 students from all across the globe, living in such an exciting city with such an energy is a very satisfying experience. It helps one to grow and prosper.

With inputs from shom :) Thankyou !


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

International Student Banking in London


London, besides the regular studies brought a lot of learning to me even in the world of banking. I needed to open a bank account in order to get a debit card to make my life facile. Going to a bank near the campus and then the Barclay Bank situated at a distance, and speaking to the branch manager inquiring about the student accounts, asking for details and making a decision after the understanding of the charge per transaction was in itself a good experience. 

My experience :

When I realized that opening a bank account in London was like hula hooping while eating chicken biryani. I had assumed it would be a walk in the park but I was so very mistaken. There are plenty of banks to choose from and number of accounts and schemes being advertised, its easy to get confused and go for whats being advertised. DO NOT MAKE THAT MISTAKE ! 
Bank accounts are serious things don't be in a hurry. Always carry enough in Forex to last you one month. Yes one entire month, It takes that long mostly....

Things to consider :

1. Bank University Partnerships 
2. Bank branch and proximity to Uni
3. Services and accounts provided 
4. ATM charges 
5. monthly rent for debit accounts 
6. online & mobile banking 
7. Are they student friendly - " do they charge you for every transaction"
8. International transaction rates 


Reality Check :

 No student accounts are free. You either pay a monthly five pound rent or a six pound transaction fee every time you receive an international money transfer 

Advice : 

# Never pay your entire tuition fee from an international debit or credit card 
( they have exorbitant secret charges) 
# Its more convenient to pay a tuition fee deposit from your home country before arrival.. my cards wouldn't work in the UK :(


 # Transfer a large sum of money once. As this would save you from the 6 pounds transfer charge every few months. ( this applies to banks that charge you per transaction. Its so much better than paying a monthly rent for your bank account, when you might not even need to transfer money internationally that often.)

 I was as if dropped in the middle of the ocean to swim back to the shore with ores of knowledge and I must say that I have succeeded.



Sunday, 2 November 2014

And So, my Journey Begins...: "Mumbaikar in London"

A Masters in Obesity Risks and Prevention is a one of a kind specialized programme and the reason I got on a plane to London. They tell me the posh & aristocratic life of a Londoner can be overwhelming, I tell them “keep calm because I’m a Mumbaikar”


I have moved cities, and have been given the opportunity to blog about a city that has been on my “travel before 30 “bucket list. As an international London student ambassador I’m now entitled to share my thoughts and experiences in the city that brings together fashion, culture and history. All the posts on this blog are my own and do not represent those of the University of Roehampton or the London universities partnership.

And So, my Journey Begins...


My five simple tips for international students settling into London 


05: To avoid travel nightmares switch to TFL.. never never never will I use Google maps again. 



04: Do not underestimate the power of a comfortable pair of shoes or always carry a pair of flats 


 03: Take the free travel card during freshers week and explore the city with a friend 

02: Learn to cook, make your own meals ! it will save you a                   fortune 

01 :  "I deeply believe that a beautiful decore can have a beneficial influence on our lives" - Albert Hadley. 
Doctorate your room its the back drop to your life, you want it to be warm and welcoming 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Find Meaning in Tradition this Raksha Bandhan.


Being an elder sister is a task and quite honestly I find it very conflictive, the harmony between best friend, supporter, guide, confidant, teacher, loving sibling, driving instructor, sex educator, homework back up, Didi, gossip companion, psychiatrist, make up guru, nutritionist, the model for responsive behavior, 2 am fridge foodie companion, the one to try your first burnt cooking experiment, the one you decided to poop on as a baby, the boyfriend adviser, the one mum holds responsible for all your stunts, the tolerater, learning the art of being amused when annoyed, the bank, the punching bag, the bouncer, the one and only back up plan in your teen disasters, its hard to achieve balance ? isn't it


like every year the symbolic custom of Rakhi is back to get me annoyed at the prodigious of Indian tradition.
  1. Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu festival that celebrates the love and duty between brothers and sisters; the festival is also popularly used to celebrate any brother-sister like loving protective relationship between men and women who are relatives or biologically unrelated. The brother pledges to protect her and take care of his sister under all circumstances.
See how Wikipedia's definition can annoy u if you only got sisters and you appose the celebration to only be about brothers who are strong enough to be protective. I am very protective of my sisters and yes they are as protective of me as I am of them. Guess what? no brothers involved.. we buy the Rakhis, we tie the Rakhis... and they mean more than empty promises of protection. 



Dear Men who get a Rakhi tied on their wrist,

if you can't do the protection then stop with the hypocrisy. 

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat - "aping western culture led to a rise in rape crimes in the country"

"One has to abide by certain moral limits. If you cross this limit you will be punished, just like Sita was abducted by Ravana," Kailash Vijayvargiya

Andhra Pradesh Congress president Botsa Satyanarayana - describes Delhi Rape as "Small Incident" 

Banwari Lal Singhal, BJP legislator from Alwar city constituency in Rajasthan - "wearing skirts in schools led to sexual harassment."

* http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.ibtimes.co.in/bizarre-comments-by-politicians-on-rape-in-india-420585

Brother or Sister share this if you appose the Hippocratic attitude. We don't need men to be protectors, we need brave men who have the voice to speak up. Happy Rakhi   
 



Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Road less Traveled

Two paths one well traveled and respected, 
One overgrown and neglected
To be adventurous or to be virtuous.


























Thought it is hard to ascertain
I have decided hence
That when two paths diverge in the wood
That sometimes the path you take makes no Difference