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Journey to the Himalayas – an elevating experience

Have you ever set foot on a journey to the Himalayas – Alone? or may be with just one companion? Did you ever know that travelling can teach you much more subtle lessons of life than any other school, college or university? ‘Journey to the Himalayas – an elevating experience’ is one such journey..

A coffee table book which is not just a travelogue with lot of beautiful pictures that can tell you how to reach a particular place and what to buy and what not to buy or specifying places of visit. ‘Journey to the Himalayas’ is a book that can spiritually uplift you through the 18-day journey undertaken by two brothers in the wilderness of the Himalayas. The book promises that the reader will be tempted to make an attempt to visit, if not scale, the Himalayas at least once in his lifetime.

Take up the journey…and discover yourself.

For pre-order, contact:
Vinay Nair – vinay@sovm.org or +91 9820 509 484
Follow us on http://www.facebook.com/JourneyToTheHimalayasTheBook
Journey to the Himalayas Cover Final

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Ramanujan Yatra Diaries | Day 5

16th Nov. 2018
Day 5 (last day):

‘How do you explain someone what was Ramanujan’s work all about? This is one of the reasons why it becomes difficult to compare his work with others like Chandrashekhar or CV Raman whose works were more tangible.’ Very aptly said by Sriram who joined us for a couple of hours on the last day. In the case of Ramanujan, it was very difficult to trace his line of thinking because he seldom gave proofs on how he derived the formulae he came up with. It is really intriguing to think and try to trace back the line of thought that Ramanujan would have had. In an attempt to do that, and also to critically examine the people who influenced Ramanujan, all the participants engaged into an hour-long discussion on some questions:
– Draw parallels (similarities and dissimilarities) between Hardy and Ramanujan
– What positives and negatives do you see in the personality of Hardy, Ramanujan and Komalatammal (Ramanujan’s mother)?
– Suppose Ramanujan would have lived longer…i.e., after his return from Cambridge, let’s say that his health would have recovered and he would have lived a longer life….what do you think might have happened? Hypothesize three stories that would have happened in Ramanujan’s life if he would have lived longer.
– The great Mathematician, P.K.Srinivasan, who started the Ramanujan Museum in Chennai and tried popularising Ramanujan and his work, had a dream that every city in India would have a museum on Ramanujan. If we were to start one in our city, how would we go about it? Can we create a sustainable model where the museum can keep running?

The participants had a great brain-storming and came up with very interesting answers. It was interesting to see the stand by the participants on Komalatammal’s life and how they saw she brought up Ramanujan. Hardy was appreciated by the participants as much as (if not more) Ramanujan. The drawing parallels was an interesting thing and also the stories that they hypothesized on the life of Ramanujan if he would have lived longer was worth a script for another Hollywood or Indian movie. The inputs on creating a museum on Ramanujan was excellent and we at Vichar Vatika have got inspired to start one in Mumbai (those interested in the project can pm me).

It was difficult to accept that the Yatra had come to an end. All of us had become one family of Math-lovers. With a lot of hope that we all would catch up soon, we bid each other good-bye.

The idea of Ramanujan Yatra had popped up while Rajith and I were discussing (about an year ago) about the excellent work he does at @The Traveling Gecko on culture and heritage tourism in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. We thought, why not do a Yatra on the life of Ramanujan? Thus the idea emerged as a bud and finally attained full bloom in this week. The credit for the feel of the entire Yatra goes to Rajith who is a personification of meticulous work and precision. He was there throughout our Yatra making all of us feel comfortable even though we tortured him by making him sit through all the Math sessions. Our sincere thanks to Rajith Nair and his wife who helped us throughout the Yatra.
Our friend Sriram Naganathan had been with us all the way long giving us a lot of support with logistics, connections and encouragement throughout the way.
Indic Academy was kind enough to support and sponsor some participants who came from humble backgrounds.
My brother Veeraj Nair Veeraj Nair Photography captured all the emotions by standing behind the lens of his camera.
Nandakumar and Mali from Chennai helped us take the message of the Yatra to different schools across Tamil Nadu.
Rajesh Marathe and Vaishvik sponsored our t-shirts of Ramanujan Yatra.
All the participants, their parents believed that this Yatra can be a very unique experience for all of them.
Our sincere thanks to all of the above and many more in family and friends who were with us throughout this period. We couldn’t have done it without you.
Last but not the least, we believe that it was #Ramanujan who worked through us and the blessings of people like PKS who had a great dream, a great vision, that continues to be fulfilled even after he is gone.

#RamanujanYatra
#Mathematics
#ExperientialLearning

Photo credits: Veeraj Nair, VN Visions

Ramanujan Yatra Diaries | Day 4

15th Nov. 2018
Day 4:

‘What do Mathematicians do for a living?’ This a question that many people ask (or atleast wonder). To get answers from the horses’ mouth, we went to one of the premium institutes for research – Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc). The campus was very quiet and green. We met Prof. Ramanujam from the Mathematics department (a rockstar in Mathematics education) who came down to give us a warm welcome and took us to the library. Another faculty took us from there and explained how the automated systems in the library work and how students have access to thousands of books and journals 24 x 7. It was a 2-storied building. We went to the first floor where the books on Math were kept. It was a sight to watch how they all entered the library. Almost all of them entered with their jaws dropped. For most of them, they had never see so many Mathematics books at one place. In no time, they picked up some books that caught their attention and sat down on the floor wherever they were. There were couches available at one place, but who would want to waste time walking till there? Some of them were running from one shelf to the other wondering which book to take and which one to reject (I was one of them). It was sheer joy to see them engrossed in the books for the next few minutes. But we had to move on for an interactive session with some Mathematicians – a profession that some of them might chose later in their lives.

Prof Ramanujam had arranged an interaction with some faculty members and a couple of research scholars from the Mathematics department. The session got extended to almost two hours from what was planned earlier (for 75 minutes). The faculties gave a brief overview of the areas of Mathematics in which they work and students asked their questions to them. They also shared how ‘cool’ their life is. They get to wear whatever they want…there’s no one to boss them like the corporate…they get to do Math the whole day…and they get paid for all this! I think that’s an amazing life to aspire for for those who are passionate about Mathematics.

After some great discussions, we moved on for lunch. IMSc was kind enough to treat us with a delicious lunch and special ice-cream (because there were kids for lunch), a yummy evening snack and also dinner. From IMSc, we moved to Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI), one of the best institutes for pursuing Mathematics and Computer Science for the under-grad. CMI was almost an hour’s drive from IMSc. In the bus, as in the previous days, some of them enjoyed playing chess with each other, some were busy working on Math and some enjoyed a small nap.

At IMSc, the participants got an idea of PhD programs. At CMI, they would be introduced to under-grad programs and how ‘cool’ life at CMI is for a student. What I loved the most about CMI is that, they don’t care about your IIT-JEE scores as it does in many other institutes. You get in by qualifying their entrance test or by getting selected for the training camp for International Mathematics Olympiad (IMO) which is almost the final level after they clear Regional Mathematics Olympiad (don’t mistake it for all so-called Olympiads that have come up in recent times). CMI also takes in students those who qualify in similar Informatics and Physics Olympiads.

We had three Profs who teach at CMI who interacted with us and shared about life at CMI and how the faculties pursue research. During some interaction, a participant asked – how different are courses at CMI from other under-grad courses. A faculty humbly replied that he doesn’t know how courses are offered in other colleges, but in CMI, they don’t spoon feed things to students. If they feel that students can work on some areas and learn on their own, they will just leave it there and expect the students to take it ahead. Of course, the students being the cream, they enjoy this process of learning. The faculties have less teaching burden and they focus a lot of on their personal research work. Students in CMI are also allowed to attend courses at IMSc for free. Students have a lot of bonuses – the entire under-grad is almost free of cost! Like IMSc, CMI also has an excellent library which the students can use 24×7. Once the interactions with the faculties were done, the participants got a chance to talk to one of our students, Sundarraman, who got admitted in CMI this year. He shared his experiences so far and how his peers and seniors are very kind and supportive in teaching/learning/doubts-clearing. It was clear that for students like him who is passionate about Mathematics were having the best times in their lives so far.

Once again, like IMSc, it was difficult to bring the kids out of the library after the interactions with the Profs. Finally, I had to promise them that we will come here some other time. We left CMI for IMSc.

Since the past few days we were discussing about some subtle aspects of Ramanujan’s life, about the people who played a vital role in his life, about his story in depth and about his works. It was time to connect the dots. And what better way than to screen the Hollywood biopic on him @The Man who Knew Infinity. We screened the movie in the auditorium of IMSc. There were all sounds of sobs and one could see the neighbour wiping his/her own tears. Some found it very difficult to control their emotions after the movie. It was very touching to see these young minds feel about Ramanujan. All of us moved out of the hall in silence with the thoughts of Ramanujan in our minds.

#RamanujanYatra
#Mathematics
#ExperientialLearning

Photo credits: Veeraj Nair, VN Visions

Ramanujan Yatra Diaries | Day 3

14th Nov. 2018
Day 3:

For Muslims, it’s Mecca. For Christians, Vatican. For Hindu, maybe Kashi, Haridwar or other places. For us, it was Kumbakonam.

The 24 pilgrims of Ramanujan Yatra, today is a day that all of us will remember for the rest of our lifetime. We had the great fortune to be at the Town High School in Kumbakonam where the great Srinivasa Ramanujan studied. The great feeling started as we set our foot on the holy ground. We were received with a lot of love by the Headmistress and the Mathematics teachers. Being Nov 14th, they had a cultural show by 6th and 7th graders which we were going to witness. But before that, they just announced that I will be hoisting the National Flag and inaugurating today’s event. I was stunned for a moment but then overjoyed with the thought that I would get the opportunity to hoist the flag in none other than the Hero’s school! Following the flag hoisting they honoured Yogesh and me with a shawl and a photo of Ramanujan. Our joy knew no bounds and the feeling was simply amazing. Then we placed a garland around the bust of Srinivasa Ramanujan. That was it. The feeling of ‘nothing more to be achieved in life’ came to us. Emotions were controlled and we sat for the Children’s Day celebration that lasted for 20 minutes or so.

Following that we went into the oldest block – Ramanujan block, in the school which has been there since the time of Ramanujan. All our Yatris were thrilled to enter into hall and as they entered, they were welcomed with a loud applause by the students of 9th grade who were waiting for all of us for an interactive session. The session started with some display and explanation of traditional games that are played in rural areas in Tamil Nadu. Girls showed some games with stones that they play which requires a lot of skill and hand-eye coordination. That was followed by some board games (like Pallankuzhi, Tiger-sheep game, etc.) which requires strategy. The games of tigers and sheep was a favourite game of Ramanujan which he used to play with his mother when he was a boy. After the wonderful demonstration and explanation of traditional games by the students (Hetvi, 9th grade student from Mumbai) of Town High school students, one of our participants did a session for the young Ramanujans of Town High. The session was on the Theory of Partitions in Numbers, an area in which Ramanujan had made a phenomenal contribution and one of the reasons why he was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal Society. Her presentation was simple and easy to understand and the audience enjoyed working out the questions that she posed them.

After Hetvi’s presentation, there was an interactive session between the students of the school and our Yatris. They asked each other questions like…how does it feel to be studying in the school where Ramanujan studied…what aspect of Ramanujan has inspired you….how did Ramanujan arrive at the property of 1729…and so on. All this while, more than 25 teachers and more than 100 students from the school had participated in the session. And by the way all of them were being attentive was a sight to watch.

We were served a delicious Sapadu (meal) following which we took a round of the school. It was very hard for us to leave the school. In a short span of time, all of us were connected so strongly to the place by the love showered by all of them. For what? For nothing! The people over there were just lovely and they just loved the fact that we were on this Yatra to study the life and works of Srinivasa Ramanujan.

Something else that I shouldn’t fail to mention was that the school has 3000 students from grade 6 to 12 in both English and Tamil medium. Many students come from humble backgrounds and many ex-students of the school support the education of present day students who cannot afford. What a way to give back! And of course, it would be because they would have felt how influcencial their school was to them when they were children.

With a heavy heart, we bid good bye to the place and left for the Ramanujan Museum at SASTRA University, Kumbakonam. The museum is very well maintained and has a good number of letters, notes, findings of Ramanujan. The Yatris couldn’t just finish going through all of them. If one has to read everything in detail, even 2 hours would have been less. With great detail many of them penned down the notes (as photography wasn’t allowed). After a hour, we were about to leave to the great personality’s home at Sarangapani Street. We reached there in less than 5 minutes. How would an Ayyappa Bhakta feel when he arrives at the 18 steps of Sabarimala? How would someone who has waited all their life to visit the religious place closest to their heart and now has arrived at that place? Nothing less was our feeling. All of us went inside the typical Brahmin home which is preserved by SASTRA University today. The first room in the left has a window that faces the road. It was written there that Ramanujan used to look out of the window, lost in thought, for long hours when he was a child. I tried looking outside just to see if I can get the feel and if in the least probability could see something Ramanujan saw while he gazed outside. All the Yatris came inside to check out the small house. I could see some of them walking inside quietly with an indescribable feeling sinking into their hearts. One of them, Shashwat, sported a smile on his face and asked me, “Sir, can you feel it?” We just exchanged smiles because we knew that the feeling couldn’t be described.

We spent ample amount of time wondering where Ramanujan would have sat to have food…how he would have worked on Mathematics while his mother would have fed into his mouth the rice balls she would make for him…and how he would have worked on Mathematics as he grew up in that house. We stepped out after our hearts overflowed with contentment.

We wanted to go to the Sarangapani temple where Ramanujan was known to spend a lot of time discovering Mathematical formulae. But unfortunately, the temple was closed as a matter of practice that they follow whenever there’s any death in the locality. It was a bit of disappointment, but that could not overshadow our contentment.

We left Kumbakonam after having some Pakodas and filter coffee and reached Thanjavur to board the bus to Chennai. The face of all the Yatris were lit throughout the day, for, they had visited their Kasi and Ganga! And as they bring Ganga water with them, some of us took a handful of sand from the ground in the Town High School where Ramanujan’s footsteps would have fallen some time. All that we can say, is that we feel blessed!

#RamanujanYatra
#ExperientialLearning

Photo credits: Veeraj Nair, VN Visions and Parnavi Bangar

Ramanujan Yatra Diaries | Day 2

13th Nov. 2018
Day 2:

After an overnight journey from Chennai to Thanjavur, all of us settled down in TTDC hotel. After a couple of hours of rest, we were all set to start our day in Thanjavur. An immediate filling breakfast of Idli, Vada, Upma and Dosa, followed by a tasty filter coffee pumped all the energy into us and we left for Marabu Foundation run by Dr. Rama Kausalya in Thilaisthanam.

Marabu is an initiative to promotive and preserve old Karnatic musical compositions which are not very well known today. It is run by 70-year old Musicologist Dr. Kausalya. She was kind enough to let us have our sessions in her 150 year old house in an ‘Agraharam’ (chain of housing by Tamil Brahmins in the past). All of us also had a great opportunity to meet her 94-year old very healthy and active mother, and 99-year old teacher who (still does Yoga for 1.5 hours everyday).

Our sessions started with the first letter Ramanujan sent to Hardy where he starts with the famous words – I beg to introduce myself as a clerk from the Accounts department…., ond then moves on to give his theorems. We started off with the famous claim made by Ramanujan that sum of all natural numbers is -1/12 and saw a couple of proofs why it can be true. The focus was also to read carefully the words that Ramanujan chooses in his letter where he writes – ‘…under my theory, this is true’ which prompts us to question whether what we have understood is the same thing that he refers to as ‘theory’. After some questioning and analysing, we moved on to the topic that might look scary – The Nested Radicals. The participants loved the topic and ways to approach solving the nested radicals using simple identities like (a+b)^2. The last part of the session was to look at Continued Fractions which Ramanujan worked on. It was also very interesting for students as it didn’t require any knowledge of higher level Mathematics.

After a sumptuous meal offered by Dr. Kausalya and some great interactions with her on the architect aspects of these houses, we moved on for some sightseeing. Our travel partner, Rajith Nair from the Traveling Gecko, took us to what is believed to be a 2000-year old dam Kallanai or the Grand Anicut and explained the amazing history of the place. We then moved on to the palace in Thanjavur where we had the opportunity to meet one of the present Royal family members from the Marathas who is a descendent of a step-brother of Shivaji. At his place, we saw how the artisans paint the beautiful Thanjavur paintings using real ‘Gold’ and how meticulous is their work. Our local guide Anirudh explained to us in great detail about the history of the place and how the king promoted art in those days. He apparently had an army of artists who always traveled with him.

The final halt was the famous Brihadeeshwara temple (also known as the Big temple) which is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Anirudh took us around for more than an hour explaining about the history of various sculptures that walled the huge structure and also different theories of how the temple could have been possibly built 1000 years ago. The engineering feat of the gracious structure which has stood up against time left the pilgrims with awe and wonder.

All the 24 pilgrims of Ramanujan Yatra retired to the rooms with the beautiful images of the sculptures of the Big Temple and the amazing equations given by Ramanujan.

#RamanujanYatra
#Mathematics
#ExperientialLearning

Ramanujan Yatra Diaries | Day 1

12th Nov. 2018

Day 1:

Ramanujan Yatra diaries

Day 1: Our Ramanujan Yatra group of 24 Yatris headed straight for Ramanujan Museum in Chennai after a sumptuous lunch at Ananda Bhavanam in Adayar. The participants from Mumbai and Pune were shocked to see the quantity of boiled rice and the absence of chapati for lunch but enjoyed their full course Tamilian lunch (Sapadu). Our two traveler buses entered the teeny weeny lanes inside which the musuem was located and we got down in front of the amazing place. From the outside the place doesn’t look very amazing, but neither do bees find honey outside the flower. The Director of the Ramanujan Museum, Mrs. Meena Suresh, started off the first session with the inspiring story of P.K.Srinivas (fondly known as PKS) who was a very amazing and inspiring Math teacher who dedicated a major part of his life for propogating about the great Mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. It was PKS’ dream to start a musuem which would depict the life and works of Srinivasa Ramanujan. So with the available house that he had at his disposal, he converted it into a museum. The ground floor is an auditorium where we had our session and upstairs was the museum.
PKS was immensely passionate about Ramanujan and he went around talking and writing to people right from the top officials to ordinary people. In his own words, ‘I got 99% appreciation and 1% action’. In short, no one offered any help for his idea of starting a Ramanujan museum. At the end, he took up some of his students and went to Kumbakonam where Ramanujan was born and the students asked each and every person they met on the road whether they knew anything about Ramanujan. After a lot of search, someone told them that the address of the house where Ramanujan lived. Remember, this was the time before SASTRA University took took up the task of preserving Ramanujan’s house as a monument. PKS found out the house which now belonged to someone else and finally the house is now a preserved in the honour of Ramanujan.

Mrs. Meena Suresh, continued with a lot of stories about Ramanujan and PKS, and it was thrilling to listen to stories from the horse’s mouth because she herself had been associated with PKS (no wonder how she had the zeal in her). We continued our session on a brief sketch on the life of Ramanujan and ended with birthday magic squares. The participants then went to see the Math manipulatives that the Museum (which also has a Math education centre in it) had and played with a lot of tools for working out algebraic identities (much more than what’s usually done in schools). The last part was the visit to the musuem.

How do you express your feelings and emotions into a bunch of words? It was an inexpressible feeling for all of us to be in the room which displayed copies of the letters that Ramanujan wrote to Hardy and how Hardy responded with his nudging remarks (for the initial letters). There were lot of Mathematical discoveries of Ramanujan put up on display. What was fascinating was that some of them were so simple and easy to understand even by a 10 year old (see attached pictures). All of us were intrigued by the same question that baffles everyone when they think of Ramanujan – Where did all this come from? The more one reads about Ramanujan, the more is he left clueless.

#RamanujanYatra
#ExperientialLearning

Photo credits: Veeraj Nair, VN Visions and Rajith Nair, The Traveling Gecko

A Mathematical Pilgrimage | Ramanujan Yatra

A Mathematical Pilgrimage | Ramanujan Yatra – 12th to 16th November, 2018. A 5-day educational tour that will focus on the life and works of the Indian Mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan. Anyone above 13 years of age (students, teachers, working professionals, senior adults) who is interested in #Mathematics or in the life of Srinivasa Ramanujan can sign-up. For more details and to register visit http://vicharvatika.org/upcoming-read.php?id=57 or call +91 9820-50-9484 / +91 9769-866-117.

Only 25 seats!

#RamanujanYatra #SrinivasaRamanujan #MathCanBeFun #SpecialInterestTours

Pressure of Performance

Yesterday, I was reminded of my good old school days when I was seldom under pressure and I barely remember my friends being under pressure. In college I remember a few of them getting stressed when it came to ‘passing’ exams. But I never faced pressure to be on top. Today I was discussing with a few students who are top rankers in school. They were sharing how pressurized they feel because of the school/exam/educational environment that they are in. Even though their parents are okay with them scoring a bit low, they are unable to think of getting below a certain percentage for school exams. At the same time, they wish to explore and learn a lot of things outside the curriculum which adds to the things on their plate. Now the question is…how do you balance school and non-curriculum stuff? Is the balance possible?

When I asked them the reason why they feel pressurized for (9th grade) school exams, they said the following reasons. Some of these could be their imaginations and some could be true.
Them: Our teachers have some expectations from us. We cannot afford to score less than a certain percentage.
Me: Why not?
Them: Because we have maintained our image of a studious student all these years.
Me: But do you care only for your exam marks? I thought you guys loved going outside the curriculum.
Them: We do love learning outside the curriculum, but we cannot afford to neglect our school studies completely.
Me: I am not asking you to neglect it. My question is why to take so much pressure? Take less or no pressure. Score a little less. Enjoy a little more. What’s wrong with that?
Them: If we score less, then some of our teachers might not give us good marks in our internals which count for our boards.
Me: Why would they do that?
Them: Because they don’t like we taking school studies lightly and focusing on outside the curriculum stuff. In some boards, 9th std exams are added in boards. So there’s a need to score as much as you can so that you get into a good college.
Me: But if it’s so stressful, why not opt for a little best (junior) colleges (for 11th and 12th grade)? Even if we don’t get the best, we still get some good college. I am sure with your calibre you can get it.
Them: Then we don’t get the choice of subjects. We might have to take up some languages which are there in the college and again our 12th boards scores will be affected.
Me: So, what do you want to do?
Them: We want both – good marks in school exams as well as explore outside the curriculum.

From what I understood from them, they want good marks in school exams because:
– Want to make teachers happy
– We want admission in good colleges
– We want to keep our reputation of a good student
And want to explore outside the curriculum because:
– That’s what they love to do
– That’s what gives them joy and the kick
– That’s where they think they learn something in the true sense

It’s easy for us adults to give loads of advises to them as to what they need to do so that they can relieve themselves off the pressure. But I don’t think that will help because we are still not thinking from their point and understanding their priorities. It is true that many school students who are good in academics are under this pressure. The question is…what can be ‘done’ (not told to them…but doing something) to bring them out of this pressure? I think, being in this pressurised situation for a long period can result in lot of negative ways.

If you are a student who is good in academics or sports or in any field and if you don’t succumb (or have overcome) to this pressure, please share how you manage to do it.
If you are a teacher/parent who is sailing in the same boat where you have children under such pressure, how do you think you can help them?
Can we make them enjoy the pleasure of performance than go to through a pressure for performance?

#InTheNameOfEducation
#Education
#MathematicalConversations

Note #16 US Diaries 2017 

‘The things that you run away from, will chase you’
Today afternoon it was pizza for lunch at the summer camp at Chinmaya Vrindavan. As I saw the option of curd rice as Prasad at the temple, I happily opted for curd rice over pizza as I was never fond of pizza (in fact I run away from it) . I relished the curd rice a lot and I thought that my purushartha (freewill) allowed me to go away from Pizza. 
I was invited for dinner by a friend and as I was entering the restaurant I asked him, ‘Which restaurant are we going to?’ He said, ‘It’s the pizza place I was talking about. I thought I should take you here at least today.’ 
I was reminded of an instance that Swami Mitrananda ji once shared in his talk where he shared a few anecdotes and said, ‘What you run away from, will chase you throughout your life.’ 
#USDiaries2017

Note #15 US Diaries 2017 

The last walk in Princeton 
It’s hard to believe that 5 weeks passed after we have come here to Princeton. Today as I was going to the class, I was trying to recollect the thoughts I had on the first day as I was walking to the class from our apartment. We were figuring out how to cross the roads, getting used to the right side driving, gazing at beautiful cars and houses, getting excited when we would watch a deer or a rabbit, and a bit anxious and eager to attend a class in the Computer Science department. Soon we got used to it and Princeton became our home. We got used to the daylight till late evening. The heavy breakfast of idli, Poha and other stuff that we would have back in India was replaced by milk and bread. Walking for anything less than two miles looked trivial. The silence of the place sunk in to our hearts and nature at its best welcoming us. Along with all the beautiful things, we completed an excellent 5-week course which I am sure would change the course of the life of many a students who attended it. 
The walk on the last day from the classroom to the apartment was a different feeling. Will miss you Princeton. 
#USDiaries2017

Note #12 US Diaries 2017 

Quarter Vs Quarter.

The other day, while Sherin Thomas and I met after almost two decades, we were at a parking lot to park his car. At the meter, Sherin suddenly exclaimed, ‘Let me go to the shop and get some quarters.’ For a moment I thought – Why does he want to go to shop to get a ‘quarter’?  I mean, who sells ‘quarters’ in shops? 
Silly me didn’t realise that he was talking of a quarter (of a dollar) for paying the parking fee, and not the ‘quarter’ that is commonly used in a different sense in Mumbai. 
English is a phunny language!
#USDiaries2017