February 23, 2005

Australian Top Stories

Top Stories, First! Story #1. An Indian Doctor who came to SouthAustralia to work as Govt. Practitioner returned back home afterstaying here for less than a week. Reason, 'for a 24 by 7 on-call-dutythe salary paid is far far less than a waiter in a hotel'. Story #2.There was a head-on crash near Port Adelaide where both the driverswho drove their cars are in critical condition.. One of them is of 14years age (Who drove the car!). There were 4 separate accidents in thepast 6 days where the drivers age are 14, 15 and 17! Story #3. Thereis a growing obesity problem in school going children. Their parentsare blamed for not feeding with nutritious breakfast in themorning..which lead the kids to rely on junk foods causing overweight!! (Didn't I say in my earlier mails - that all the things arehuge here, including people..I don't understand this..we eat lot ofrice etc..But, here most of them are of overweight!!)

February 22, 2005

Adelaide University

Just now, I am coming from Boneython Hall where the Vice Chancellor's
Welcome session was held. The VC welcomed and spoke about the great
students of Adelaide Uni. Adelaide Uni is the 3rd oldest in Australia
and oldest in South Australia (3 Nobel Prize winners and about 50
Rhodes Scholars..!). Followed by which, an Alumni of the Uni who is
working in the animation industry eloborated his experiences and life
impact at the Adelaide Uni!

February 21, 2005

Be at the present!

I became a member in South Australia library - where I am entitled to
take 30 items including books, videos, dvds. I read a book "Ricky
Ponting's world cup Diary" (2004 , South Africa). I particularly,
remember one story, he had mentioned. The first match for Australians
in the world cup, against pakistan - metculous planning done, they
want to make an impressive , explosive start to their campaign..which
should mean "Aussies mean business". But.. the biggest let down
happened in the morning.. Shane Warne is banned for taking drugs!..


The match begins.. Australia were down by 86/4! Ricky joins Andy..
(Andrew Symonds" ..who is really playing well.. After every four or
good scoring shot..Ricky would walk to Andy and say "concentrate on
the next ball..mate". After putting Australia beyond the 300 mark
..with a mammoth 143*, Andy returns to the Pavilion greeted by his
happy team ..Ricky goes to him and give a pat in the back and asks
"Which one was your favourite shot?" (thinking he would tell the
towering six he hit). To which, Andy replies " Can't remember honestly
mate, I was concentrating on the next ball!".

I was impressed by the incident which tells us to remain IN THE PRESENT! I always believe, my concentrating on the present, you can leave a better past and expect a
prosperous future!

February 20, 2005

Aussies..all the way!

For the initial days, when we walk in the road, we look at the personin the road and used to say 'hey, he's looking like brett lee..' -'damn..god..he is exactly like gilchrist' like that.. cricketcrazy..(sadly, Pakis let down in the VB series, otherwise, AdelaideOval would've hosted the 3rd final with Australia..!). Australians arevery nice.. though I have to sharpen my listening skills a bit (I amwatching almost all the serials possible at home, X Factor, Who wantsto be a Millionaire, Crime Scene Investigation etc etc..apart from'daily a movie'). When I said I am from South India, theysympathetically ask, " Whether your areas hit by Tsunami, any of yourfriends or relatives were the victims...". They listen to you withutmost care. They are friendly and straight in their talk (Nobacktalk!). Soccer is followed , Rugby and Cricket take a back seat(Though, some Australians expressed "Oh India, Cricket.. , Sachin..")

February 19, 2005

Who do you have?

I saw an advertisement campaign while roaming at Sydney Airport. It
said like this, "Hillary had Tenzing" explaining how difficult it
would've been for Hillary to scale the peaks of Everest, without the
help of Tenzing who gave vital information, local knowledge etc. In
the same way, you would a need a very effective partner in your vital
missions. It ends with a punchline "Who do you have?". Very thought
provoking. I used to think, I am good at everything and believe in
doing all the things myself. I found satisfaction in doing a job
myself rather than leaving it to others. I never wanted to delegate
work to anyone. I had changed this mindset a few years ago in my
workplace. It was an amazing change. From then onwards, I could find
and entrust jobs to the persons who could excel in his own department,
better than me. So, Going to find a home? Find a broker, tell your
specifications, he will find a good house! Investing, Travelling why
.. education..? So, it is important to leave some jobs to the
experts..they will really do a good job! So, in my Australian
Education Mission..I had IDP (Ashwini!) with me.. Who do you have?

February 18, 2005

What will be my Name?

When I arrived in Bangalore in 2000, when everyone asked my name, I
said Thirumurugan – It was hard to pronounce for them, they stripped
off the 'Thiru' (respectable title in Tamil). Now, here they find it
hard to pronounce every part of full name PONNUSAMY Thirumurugan. Now,
I am really wondering what name should I keep.. Thiru (Here, they ask
TRUE?!) or Samy.(they will make Sam out of that). or Murugan (Morgan).
I don't know really!

February 12, 2005

Start Cooking!

February 12 was the day we moved into our new home. Within an hour, we
started cooking.. Obviously, Andy was screaming and excited about our
cooking..(he was shouting.."we are cooking..we are cooking."). Stop,
Who is Andy? Since, there are two Anands, we named the IDP Anand as
Andy! We said to him Andrew Symonds in the Australian Team is called
'Andy'. He finally convinced and agreed with us - after we told Andrew
Groove who is regarded as the father of the silicon valley is also
nicknamed 'Andy'! Ganesh and the other Anand were also excited about
cooking.. I had been cooking so long.. so I let the guys enjoy their
experience by just telling what to do..

We cooked Chapati, cooked chicken (ready to eat) in the oven. We
prepared Veg. Biriyani (Thanks for your IDP booklet, it
helped..then..we referred to the Anand's (not Andy!) sister's
notebook also!). It came perfect, except the salt. It was too less.
(later, I came to know that the sugar and salt, what we get here are
NOT as intensive as we use.. so, we need to use twice the amount..!).
With apple juice, chapati, veg. biriyani, chicken our lunch was ready!
(We took pictures too...using Anand's PhoneCam.). So, we were excited
and enjoyed while having our first lunch.

The place were we stay, Enfield and Prospect is home for most of the
Indians! It is almost a huge Indian Colony - we often meet few people
on the road / or in an old 1000$ car! The seniors advised us where to
get Sambar Dhal, Sona Masoori Rice, Mustard, Pickles, and other indian
stuff etc... there is an Indian Store..where we can almost get and
India, here! And also, if go at the late hours - that is just before
closing time - you can get vegetables,, fruits very cheap also.. a
kilo of apple for 90 cents.. bread for 50 cents etc..(Do NOT convert
them into Indian Rupees.. though..) usually it is 2.5 dollars for a Kg
apple and 1.60 cents for bread!

February 11, 2005

Known is a drop.. Unknown..is an Australia!

Now the time is 5:40 PM (afternoon), it is raining outside, after a
hot yesterday! Just, for the record, this is the coolest summer - the
Australians face after a 50 years time! So, let us begin the journey
further...

Though I am exploring the unknown birds, plants, flowers of Australia
everyday, I came across the origin of the word Australia in a book.
"Tera Australis Incognito" was the name of this land, which actually
meant "Unknown Southern Land!". There is so much to explore here,
Australians love this (Mountaineering, Bushwalking..etc..) as a
popular activity.

February 9, 2005

Dollar vs Rupee


When we go for hunting the houses, we used to travel a lot. Anand used to tell me 2 dollars that is 70 rupees ..we have to spend!I would tell him, forget the Indian Rupees for the timebeing..otherwise, you wont get sleep at night..Here are the price listif you like, the NOKIA mobile 1100 costs you AUD$100 (still cheapernew NOKIA also you can get for $50 with connection)..and a used DVDplayer will come at the price of AUD$60.. you can get a (used one,old) car for just AUD$1000..can you buy it in India with 30000 rupees?

February 5, 2005

Grandmother's Tale

When I was a child of 10 years old, it is fun to visit my village - I
will be waiting for summer holidays to go and listen to our Grandma's
stories at the night. Everyday, we used to live in a dreamy world full
of Princes - who has to bring some medicine crossing seven hills and
seven oceans, Birds , that could speak , Gods, Demons and
Ghosts..Beautiful Princess..If I have some little of creative ideas,
vivid imagination.. my Grandma deserves the credit, who had patience
to tell the same story , sometimes even thrice! I told her, I am going
to Australia - obviously she didn't know that I may have to cross
seven seas to go there! But, she blessed me, wherever I go, I will
come with success and gave 201 rupees as gift (How precious it is!) I
took blessings from her. There are certain occasions in life, we
cannot capture with camera, video or any other electronic
gadgets..they have to felt in heart.. This is such one! I pray that
she will welcome me, when I come home!

Jet Laaaag!

I had slept for nearly 10 hours at the first night. I had somedizziness (may be due to cold weather..cool winds.. for first 2 days..then it was OK! Just in front of our hostel a huge ground, tenniscourts were there, I used to walk around seeing some people playsoccer, rugby, cricket etc. I tried my hand in tennis later!Everything is huge and big here, Eucalyptus tree for instance.. andall the food is packed. You can find fresh cut vegetables, ready toeat food , neatly packed. It is easy to cook food here, bring and keepin Microwave Oven and your food is ready in 10 minutes.

February 3, 2005

Reaching Adeliade!

At Mumbai
It was a long wait for the bus, which transferred us to the
International terminal. As I had waited for my baggage check to Qantas
– I had already shortlisted in my mind how to convince them or what to
throw off if they are stubborn. Before that, a lady was also
experiencing the same excess baggage problem – and she opened up all
to check again to transfer some to cabin baggage. An young Australian
came up to me and took up my passport and asked 'are you going for
study' to which I said 'Yes'. Apart from these, never been asked any
questions – may be because of my student visa, I think! To my relief,
my baggage weighed just 37.5 kg here (It showed 37.5 in exact at
Sydney also - time to replace weighing machines at Bangalore
airport!), and the cabin baggage weighed 6 kg (I didn't weigh at
Bangalore).

Qantas Flight
It was not big, but really very huge - a Boeing 747! I didn't get a
window seat, this time – which I desperately wanted to see the sunset
/ sunrise if I could during my non-stop 11 hour journey to Sydney!
Every seat was fitted with a small video screen (Our village buses in
tamilnadu are having DVD with two screens. so, what a big deal?) to
view some movies / music / games. I saw the movie list... Sideways,
The Bicycle Riders or something..not really interested..(Later, I came
to know that both are nominated for more than 3 Oscars this year!!). I
was only listening to a radio channel which listed all the best music
symphonies.

We were given a lot of eatables / snacks / juices / wine / beer etc
etc In the menu provided, both the Indian food and Australian food
were listed out (In snacks too, Australian Peanuts and Haldigrams
snacks!) I was careful to avoid overeating… I didn't touch oily items.
I tasted non-veg dinner – Australian lamb – it was good. I tried to
behave like normal.. (I didn't change the watch time also!) I slept at
10.00 pm like any other day – I had a good sleep, only I was woken up
to see they were serving the breakfast at 5 pm! My fellow traveller, a
software guy from Chennai got up brushed and ate it. I decided to skip
the breakfast and already I had kept an apple, cookies and juice what
they served as an after-dinner-snacks! I finished my breakfast with
that and we landed at Sydney at 11:30. (The same way like Indian
Airlines, Qantas boarding was delayed by 15 minutes at Mumbai – The
Captain apologised for that inconvenience and said he will make up for
the lost time during the flight and assured we will be there by Sydney
at the scheduled 11:30 am. He did exactly!)

Sydney
Surprisingly, I felt good in Sydney because unlike Mumbai Airport –
the directions were so clear that I didn't ask anyone where to go. The
much hyped immigration check is nothing at all – In 2 minutes, my
baggage passed the x-ray scan and I came out to reach the domestic
terminal – where I spent a good 1 hour reading a book named "Fish
Tales" – the analogy between a fish market and business strategies –
good one to read (While shopping in Bangalore, I had purchased 3 books
to carry and read during travel!)

Adelaide and the Flinders boy
The weather was chilly with winds blowing and we heard that there were
storms in Melbourne area. Thankfully, the university (u have to say
Uni, right from now onwards..!) people were waiting for me.. with a
huge Big Uni Logo! The driver was a student of Adelaide Uni (An
Indian, I could guess.. but he sounded like a native Aussie!) and took
us a big roundabout deliberately to show the Uni buildings, shopping
mall, important landmarks, we reached a very good Student Residences
(Temp Accommodation). The pickup confirmation email said that the Uni
staff won't assist us in lifting the baggage - but actually, they gave
a big hand. The Hostel manager took us around the hostel to show
Recreation room (Table Tennis, TV / Video Player), Bath Room, Cooking
Place (Oven / Refrigerators etc) and How to reach the nearest bus
stop. It started to rain , he said, it's actually the summer time –
but it's behaving crazy.. He said ..probably two English boys came 2
days ago..might be they brought the bad weather with them!

A boy from Delhi who is going to Flinders came with me from
Sydney..though I didn't spoke to him there..found there was no one to
pick up at the airport.. Our staff gave their mobile to call up the
Uni, and he had a tough time to communicate his name Goel..(G for
Goat.. O for Orange E for English L for something.. like that he tried
a lot to convey.. ).. Finally, they asked him to pick a Taxi and come
directly to the Uni.. I said "Don't worry!'' to him.. and we headed
towards the City..

How often do you look from the Sky?

The First Flight
For a Bangalore to Mumbai Indian Airlines journey, I was there in the
airport 2 hours early (The flight was delayed by another 1 hour, after
that ;-)). Mainly, I didn't want to disappoint all of my friends who
came to Airport to see me off (that to on a Wednesday!). I wanted to
spend some time with all of them – most importantly to convince my
father, mother and sister who already looked dull and down (I will
bring them here and show this all, one day!). Actually, my parents
were surprised to see – I have got so many friends!

So, after spending all the 3 hours, I sent all of them off and went in
– I tried to calm down myself, but couldn't. When I went to weigh my
luggage, I was a bit more nervous – I had never checked the weight
before! (I was damn sure that, I had nothing to match for 40 Kg...
unexpectedly (?!!), it showed 41.5 kg in total – they security looked
at me and said – No Problem, Chalo! I was already thinking what might
happen when I board Qantas at Mumbai. To my worry, the cabin baggage
also weighed a lot now – I thought it may also cross the 7 kg limit.
With all those worries in my mind weighing down – I boarded IA.
Everything went off – when I saw my seat number – a Window Seat – This
is what I wanted!!

How often do you look from the sky?
Before the flight started, the air hostess gave us a safety
demonstration (with dead faces!), nobody bothered to give a look to
them except me, who watched in astonishment. The flight started in the
runway and climbed very smoothly as it was climbing a flyover! The
plane was inclined to 10-15 degrees and got into a normal position in
5 minutes. I have seen a lot of satellite pictures / aerial
photographs, breathtaking views taken from the sky – I had seen very
high resolution satellite images showing cars, buses on the road. But,
none of them matched the view what I was seeing. All the rural roads,
trees and lakes – so clear and wonderful. After some time, the flying
height was still higher and we were moving in midst of thick, puffy,
white clouds. It was looking like the icebergs of Antarctica.

We were served lunch at 2.40 – I found it was not that bad as told by
friends. It is always like this, a thing will look good until you find
a better one. The food was good really. They asked me Coffee or Tea -
I said Coffee - She poured only a black coffee and left. I was
wondering what to do - than I found that Milk powder was given already
in the lunch pack. (I use the other way in home, Coffee powder and
liquid milk, here's it other way - Crazy people!) I was reading the
in flight magazine, Swagat (I was used to read these – as one of my
friend Ashish's father used to bring these!), and Indian Airlines was
celebrating it's 50th year of operation, it seems. When arriving
Mumbai, the captain announced there is traffic (jam ??!!) in the
airport, so the landing will be delayed by few minutes (35 minutes
went in air!). Thankful to that, I had a wonderful view of Narmada and
Tapti rivers and Vindhyan Mountain ranges in three dimension (we
create digital terrain models like that in computer using softwares) –
it was an absolute delight – a Geographer's Delight!

The Journey Begins!

"You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to losesight of the shore"

"You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose
sight of the shore"

This quote aptly summarizes the feelings what I am undergoing right
now. The time is here 8.00 pm, but the sun has not set yet! Like this
late sunset, I wonder each and every thing I come across daily. Here's
how I started from Bangalore.

There is just a week for my departure date. So many things to do. I
planned to visit Anna University, Chennai to thank my professors,
wanted to visit Mysore to spend some time with my friends. Meanwhile,
I had to be there in my home for Grahapravesham, to be held on 31st of
Jan – which I can not avoid at any cost. So, I booked my tickets and
rushed to my home. I had to arrange Foreign Exchange, purchase food
items, cooking utensils etc on 1st of February! My parents were happy
for that I am going to study as per my wish and worried at the same
time about the new country, weather etc. My relatives blessed in
disguise about my abroad journey – because I am the first in both the
family circles to go out of India!

Preparing for the Journey
For me, visiting Delhi itself is going to a foreign land as I don't
know even a Hindi word. I asked too many precautionary questions /
ideas from my office friends for my Delhi trip – they said instead of
answering all your bugs – easily we can accompany you. Believe it or
not, when I visited Delhi – I didn't even know how to swipe and get
money from an ATM (One friend had given his ATM card to use in case of
emergency!). So, imagine how my status preparing for an Overseas
Travel. I couldn't' still believe how I am going to make out
everything in few days time – I was thinking same time, next week kind
of scary dreams (!!??)