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toremaazu

you know how any horror movie proceeds? A nice couple goes on a nice vacation, they get a nice apartment and everything is so rosy and good its almost  unbelievable, and rightly so… well, our horror movie just got interesting… it started with a call, it always does! day before yesterday late in the evening we got a call mentioning that we apparently have to move out of our almost perfect apartment at a very short notice…  and yesterday morning some guys came and shut out our water without the slightest notice! when we went to the guest house to report this, the guys were like it was more important we hunt for our new apartment, but we were running late for our class etc, so the guy takes out his scooter keys and asks us, have you ever ridden a scooter? we go no, and he’s like, well its easy… so then with Domi doing his first driving in the terror stricken streets of IIT-delhi (actually its probably the safest place to drive in Delhi), we went to hunt for a new apartment. There was only one, about quarter the size of our current one, with paint falling off the walls, cobwebs like the spiders had ages to build them, the fans with a thick layer of black something that gives me the shivers… at least there we have neighbors, and they seemed kedves (nice). they will get it cleaned/ painted etc etc (not the neighbors, the maintenance guys) and we will have to move there in approx a week. so we try to relish our current apartment as best as we can. but how can we do so without water you ask? well, the solution to this is like how everything works in India… people always have solutions, and always unconventional ones. they call it “kaam chalaana” here… The guest house guys gave us a ground floor apartment’s key, so that we can go there to use the WC. well, the commute is not more than 10 meters, and it doesn’t bother us, its just funny… for a week, we not only have a remarkably nice apartment, we have a separate luxury closet with TV! carpe diem!

the photo is of course by my sophisticated husband 🙂

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Mistery solved!

So we had our great flat warming party featuring all (except our japanese teacher) mentioned in the previous post. It was quite nice, but also not the usual party, at least with western eyes. That is to say, I had more alcohol than all the others combined, which would be nothing close to unusual, except for the fact that I only had one beer and one glass of wine. Different culture, plus the students might not have felt the need to get drunk in front of us before they get their final grades, so they just sticked to the common guava juice. At least it was not revealed that we could not buy enough alcohol as the day of the party turned out to be a national remembrance day of the birth anniversary of a freedom fighter, on which no alcohol could be sold.

We have also managed to learn that the place where we eat every day and thought to be the Holistic food center is just the Staff canteen. Somehow we misinterpreted the signs the very first day and ever since we thought that we eat healthy food that even tastes as good as deep fried! (Although Padmini tried to raise issues that it very much looks deep fried, but the fact of eating holistic pacified our conscience.) At least now we tried the Holistic too – a much smaller place, open air, healthier food and freshly squeezed fruit juice, all for less than a buck!

We also got our first pay checks. I felt like in TV getting some lump sum. (I am holding the check with my ID card, which is a printed paper that has my photo attached to it to make sure noone else can cash in the other printed paper.) As we felt uncomfortable walking around with so much cash, we straight went to the bank to deposit. There was a huge queue but it turned out that if you deposit with a debit card, then you are allowed to cut the line, so we could go front. The only catch was that this made all fifty people in bank stare at us during the whole transaction, which was not so fast. It turned out that there is a limit on how much cash you can deposit, but it is only a one time limit and not a daily limit – so basically we had to repeat the transaction three times…

And finally, just to show that sometimes I still do math related stuff:

http://terrytao.wordpress.com/2009/06/12/the-szemeredi-trotter-theorem-and-the-cell-decomposition/#comment-127254

Flat warming

Finally we have recovered from the catastrophic loss of the wifi for more than two days. It was a time of hardship but we managed to survive using up our already downloaded resources. Unfortunately here we live behind the IIT proxy that does not allow torrenting (in exchange all scientific stuff is accessible) so we had to buy some dvd’s as well.

Today I discovered a very interesting phenomena: The temperature here is almost precisely the inverse of the temperature at home! We decided to celebrate this with a flat warming party, which should be quite similar to the one we had in Lausanne – we also live in the backyard (this time of a guest house) and we also have heating only in a small bedroom while the rest of the apartment is pretty cold. This time the invitees are mainly our students, plus the family of Naveen Garg (who invited us here) and Anand, our japanese teacher. Btw, some more movie titles to decode:

1- eafoosuwan
2- turubiriiwaa
3- maneetorein
4- daburuchiimu
5- misshontuumaazu
6- furattorainaazu
7- zarokku
8- suteihangurii
9- goorudofingaa

Apart from this puzzle, the challenge for the 2nd place to discover our blog is still on! (Although if you are in the race, probably won’t be reading this in time…) To help a bit more, let me mention that here in the liquor store a beer is 60 rupees (kingfisher, but you have heineken, carlsberg, all the british beers and even japanese for more, not to mention australian alcopops), the cheapest wine is 520 (!!! indian, almost all other wines our imported and are over 1000) and you can get a wide variety of british drinks that are not that popular elsewhere, like gin, sherry and probably even pimm’s. Oh well, I hope that was enough key words for google…

japanese

having been quite unfortunate in finding a hindi course for Domi or some other Indian language course for me, the only nearby option we could find was Japanese! the course is quite fun and we are learning how crazy the script is. they use one script for eredeti (original) japanese words (called hiragana), another for foreign words (katakana), and just for fun they throw in some chinese script (kanji) every now and then… and after being accustomed to the remarkably scientific devanagiri or telugu script, these are quite a shock… but luckily again the internet for rescue… there are movie name flash card games to practice the writing system, a sample of them below. comment in the actual movie titles if you can. for example: amerikanhaato is american heart. (sometimes r is l or v is b etc)

1- yangufurankenshutain
2- fifusuerumento
3- paison
4- sukyandaru
5- toremaazu
6- raiaaraiaa
7- magunoria
8- dokutaadoritoru
9- tuumusutoon
10- erinburokobichchi
11- mootarukonbatto
12- shiizusooraburii

Also, for anything besides grocery, we seem to always end up in this little, tiny, absolutely minuscule thing of a shop that seems to contain everything you might hope for. stationary, nyomtato, xerox, sim cards, cell phones and recently we discovered they make passport photos at 80/8.  and below you can see how they do this and it really brings up the question, why are there still those stupid booths all over europe to make photographs?

Eljen Majus 1!

Let me explain the title to our non-Hungarian readers (not like we had any, but since we also don’t have any Hungarians either, it might come handy. Btw, if you do happen to be a reader, please let us know asap!). Explanation. In India they do not celebrate this, but today is Republic day which reminded me a lot to those parades in socialist Hungary that I am too young to remember. This day we did not have to walk all the way to the Holistic food center (I could not find a photo, so you have to wait until Petr Kolman puts his photos on the web) for lunch to buy a thali for 20 rupees but instead could join (for free 😉 the IIT family gathering at the sport field, where the daddies played cricket, mommies and daughters raced with lemon in their mouth, sons could try archery and we could eat all kinds of food from the buffet like pigs.

Anyhow, India really feels like Hungary was in the ’80’s, at least as much as I can remember. Like the milk is not in a box, but in plastic, fresh milk expires in less than 21 days, so we got to go to the grocery store at least every second day, eggs are not in a box and might have poo on them, tomatos are small and taste like tomatos and so on. But apart from food, the whole management is similar. Faculty is given housing on campus in state/university owned apartments, some of which look like nice suburban villas, others like the worst block of flats (take a guess which one we live in!). The price of food, transport and other basic things is negligible compared to (our) salaries.

Of course there are also differences. Most importantly, the food is incredibly tasty and after it you gotto clean your hindquarters with your left. Also, if you wish, you can get any western thing, spend your whole life living like in the US, driving (or being driven) between your home, workplace and fancy malls. And of course, all that we enjoy, is only available to the middle class and above. Even on campus there are little sheds where workers live with their families, making fire in the evening, living from much less than the poverty line. But somehow here everybody takes it for granted that there are riches and poors and accept their fate. Being different by birth is as natural as the dogs, puppies, squirrels, peacocks walking all over the campus.

And finally a nice puzzle that I heard on monday, rephrased to incite interest in our western readers: Suppose you have four beer and four shot glasses in this order in a line, next to each other. You want to reorder them such that they are still next to each other in a line, but in alternating order, for obvious reasons. One move is that you can lift two adjacent glasses and put them elsewhere on the line, in the same order. (Adjacent means right next to each other.) Show that four moves are enough.

१ – २

Well, a lot of water flowed down on the Ganga since I last wrote a blog, or saw any of you. We stayed a day in Qatar, a week in Hyderabad, lived a week in the IITD faculty guest house, moved into and equiped our new place and, of course, barca showed yet again in bernabeu why we invited them after the CL final. I am not sure where to start, so probably the best is a brief summary of interesting facts.

Delhi metro’s population is about 22 million, which means the residents could play 1 million football games at the same time, but unfortunately they don’t have any teams in the I-League.

The climate is very hot most of the year, so the houses are built to reflect the sunshine and without insulation, which means we are freezing our hind part off. There is also no hot water, except for the shower, so its really unpleasant to wash the dishes or your derriere.

Which brings me to my favorite topic, cleaning my tooshie after my Erdos-number. It feels so much better that I decided I will try to keep the habit in Budapest as much as I can and recommend for all to switch as soon as you can!

So, what else? We teach a course at the uni twice a week (http://www.sites.google.com/site/mukkamalacourses/discrete-geometry), we are growing our kefir-grains (brought all the way from home), eating out for lunch most of the time (20 rupee<100 huf<1/2 of anything else), watching movies in our small bedroom (the only heated one, just like in Ecublens) and occasionally go to the nearby big bazaar (which is like any hypermarket at home). Once we even went to a bar, but then it turned out that their cheapest beer is 300 (=15 lunches), so we decided that we’ll come back once monday after 7, when they have an all-you-can-eat-and-drink for 800 and we can watch the replay of some cricket game until closing time…

breakfast at iit

Just 4 days in IIT and so many hurdles yet so many interesting people. There are competent people, yet things take so long to happen. I started this post in a notepad while waiting for my computer’s internet to start working. Well, just another way of killing time…it feels like the strength and weakness of the entire system here is that everything is a maybe. the maybe means, in some cases, possibilities and freedom, while in other cases indefinite waits and delays…

But coming to the title of the post, we have our breakfast every day at the faculty guest house. every meal here has been with a new set of people. Some are here for interviews, some to recruit, some just visiting while some will permanently move to IIT. By now we’ve met a tennis player who decided to do PDE’s (!), a physicist (that was hard to spell), a professor from IIT kharagpur who decided to open colleges in AP for rural people (here’s the homepage and the above picture is also from their university. I am guessing these are apartments), a guy working in the cafeteria for 15yrs who decided to chuck it all and try opening his own store and breakfast shop (I wish him good luck!), a chemistry professor from Oxford and ofcourse, a combinatorist (its hard to avoid them!)…

we got our apartment yesterday and after a big shopping session, we now have all the equipment to make our own breakfast! I wonder, should we?