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Flesh, Blood and Awesomeness

Dealing with a Reader’s Block

Ever since the trip to Luxembourg, I have been having a bad case of Reader’s Block. Reader’s block, like Writer’s Block, deals with the inability to hold on to a book and see it through. Most students have a Reader’s Block when it comes to their textbooks anyway. However, I have begun losing interest in reading steadily for a while now. Not that I don’t enjoy books anymore but that the subjects and arguments have begun repeating so often and seem so much more rehashed that it has become a labour instead of something to look forward to.

When I moved to Eindhoven, I looked forward to having more time to read and I generally started picking more books on my Tablet and Phone to read on my way to the office or in the train. I think I also started paying more attention to prose styles and subjects instead of sometimes skimming the books. That’s when I started noticing that a lot of authors write in an unconvincing way about the arguments put forth in their own novels. They hinge on the likelihood that some other author may have convinced you about the logic in the author’s argument.

For example, recently read a fantasy fiction book involving God, Angels, humans and demons. Humans killing each other. God decides to punish. Angels take stand against God and save the humans etc. Demons wanting to kill humans because why not. Standard setting for a fantasy fiction, isn’t it? If I wanted such a book, I can choose from a hundred million books with the same premise. I have seen fewer books deal with the conflict that drives humans to kill themselves without them sounding like medical textbooks. Or about why Angels want to save humans. or any of the other ten topics less explored. like What would God do if he let humans fail and vanish from the Earth? Will God and Angels sit around a bonfire and twiddle their thumbs. Why were humans chosen as the best of God’s creations? Take a topic, any topic except the one in the story

Or take Dan Brown, or more popularly known as the International Chetan Bhagat. who has used Robert Langdon and a pretty lady as the main character stays so often and for so long, the moves have become predictable.  I read the novel for the interesting snippets about the places and to plan holidays. That’s how boring it has become.

Then I started reading a little bit of biography-ish books which did not do a whole lot for piquing my interest and nearly everything in the books are available in shorter, faster paced and compact articles in newspapers and online media.

It has become incredibly tiring to find a book I want to read without yawning by the time I read the second paragraph of the excerpt page in the back. Not that I have read a lot but that a lack of creativity is worrying. It has become a chore to find something to read and has been telling on the number of books I have read this past month which is 1 frikking book and that has been on Elon Musk which I have powered through just to see where the author left off. Book recommendations on Twitter or in Blog comment are always welcome.

Till next rant

Nik

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Cryptocurrency is the new Porn

Ah, the first post of the year 2018 and such a nice topic to blog on.

I was in a meeting when this thought randomly popped into my head and since then it has been swirling around taking a dimension of its own. So, I thought that it is a good idea to blog especially when it is still fresh and I know what I want to write.

Porn in the really old days of cavemen and middle ages was limited to some scratchy drawing or portraits by masters who would base it on some biblical story and put the dong in amidst a scene. It was less accessible and not many knew what they were seeing anyways. Porn in the modern era started after the advent of Photography and rapidly became an industry of its own as the cost to produce photographs dropped from the heydays of using silver plates which made it ridiculously expensive. Hence, porn was restricted to a very small percentage of the populace, the ones who Continue reading “Cryptocurrency is the new Porn”

BeNeLux: Luxembourg

Luxembourg was one of those weekend getaways that we always wanted to do but never found the time or the inclination until suddenly, we felt we had not travelled in a while and needed to get out. Booking travel tickets to Luxembourg was not a concern as we could buy tickets last minute but the stay was a problem for sure. As we could not find a good Airbnb option, we were forced to book an IBIS hotel room. Our first Hotel in ages I must say. We had initially planned to stay at Michelau and go hiking but without adequate stay options, it seemed a hassle and we decided to go to Luxembourg City.

Our journey to Luxembourg began with a scare as there were no trains scheduled in time from Eindhoven to Maastricht owing to some repair work but then we managed to make all the trains in time to get comfortably settled on the train from Liege to Luxembourg city. The train journey is 2:35 hours long but does not feel as such. in fact, as it winds through some picturesque places, it makes it really enjoyable.We did not have much company on the train until about 30 mins from Luxembourg city when a horde of teens came into the compartment and played songs in full volume causing some older passengers discomfort. Continue reading “BeNeLux: Luxembourg”

63 day hiatus

Ah well. I did not blog for 63 days and I also did not blog much since the Greece trip to be honest. Well, it was not sheer laziness but I had certainly hit a rut in terms of the content I was coming up with. Which is great if I was a genre blogger, like Food blogging, but not so exciting for me. I had to take a step back and reevaluate what I wanted to put up on my blog. I had many interesting thoughts to put but then I was not looking forward to receiving any flak like I have received many times earlier.

I don’t claim to be a highly imaginative guy but then I keep having some outlandish ideas which do not get along so well. For starters, I actually have come to hate WP or any other blogging platform except Tumblr, I think, cos of the shitty layout they provide and the inflexibility in terms of how I can structure my posts. So I thought learning Web Dev would be a nice thing to do and I started putting in about 2 hours of learning a day on Web technologies which got me hooked but then I realized designing a website needs loads of planning for which I neither have the time nor the propensity. So I need a plan of action before I can get into something I can design myself fully.

I also was on a vacation to India which was awesome aside from the fact, I got flu from Germany, the irony, and some odd allergies and was not interested in blogging during this period.

Anyways, Back to blogging for now on travel and maybe some things I want to write about over the next few weeks, I suppose. Till then

Nik

BeNeLux: Netherlands

After our Romania and Greece trip, we wanted to explore Netherlands as we did not venture much into our host country, to be honest except for Amsterdam, Hague and a few other sights.

We decided to take the Weekend free pass from National rail to go around the country a bit.

One of our first trips was to Rotterdam, a city bombed during WW2 and was rebuilt from scratch to its current landscape. I booked a tour from Inside Rotterdam to explore more and get to know the city more intimately. Sufficient to say, I saw the city in a whole new light and was able to appreciate the culture much more. Among the top sights I took in was a tunnel that an artist paints every 2 years, the hackerspace inside a former fruit warehouse, the junkyard where a renowned artist creates his work. We rode on a street which was considered THE most dangerous street in Netherlands with a safety rating of 1.08 out of 10, with 10 being safest. Explored a neighbourhood where every apartment had a walkway no matter which floor they were on, to create a feeling of space for people came from the southern regions to work in the ports. Also, spent time at Stroop Rotterdam which is as much about building a community and creating as about being a cafe.

Our next trip was to Amsterdam where we enjoyed going to the Rijksmuseum for the IAmsterdam Sign and around the city taking in a canal ride and having a drink at Wynand Focnick.

Our last trip was to Maastricht to explore Dominican Boekehandel which is a bookstore set inside a church, check out the other churches, rounding out with a fantastic lunch at Lunch & Zo. The month of August has been unbelievably lazy so no posts probably on August

Nik

Greece

The flight from Bucharest to Athens passes over beautiful Bulgarian mountains and Eastern Greece regions of Thessaloniki which can be enthralling. We landed in Athens without any delay and proceeded to take the metro to our Airbnb house. The metro runs from the Airport to the city quite often but we somehow managed to be late as it took us a while to figure out where the metro was.

 

The ride to the city was boring but it does seem like there are a lot of beggars in the metros asking for alms as we saw 4-5 beggars wandering in the train in the 30 mins journey. We took a walk to our house and the host arrived to show us in within 5 mins. The house was much better than expected and was a good choice for a repeat booking as we were again going to stay at the same place after a week. The washroom makes for an interesting tidbit: Toilet Paper is not meant to be disposed of in the WC instead in the dustbin near the WC because the Greek drains are not built to handle the dissolved TP and get clogged making for expensive cleaning expense. After settling in a bit, we sauntered out for a bite at Simply Burger which has some really good burgers on the menu. Disappointingly, there are no local beers on the menu as Heineken somehow assumes the local flavours in Greece. Post dinner, we headed for an R&R as we had 2-day long trip coming ahead.

Day 1: Athens- Delphi-Thermopylae-Kalabaka

We had booked a package tour from G.O Tours for Delphi and Meteora as the long distance public transport is not really great and making your own trip can be exasperating. Too many points of failure to simply state the risk of planning especially with tight planning and no days to spare.

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Balkans: Romania

Among the few countries left in the Balkans, Swapna and me decided to visit Romania and Greece this time. We have truly fallen in love with the Balkans as there are a lot of stories to hear without the extreme commercialization of West Europe. Greece is an exception and is generally considered a role model for the other Balkan countries. We were also looking forward to be joined in Greece by my uncle and his family who we are quite close to.

How Romania got planned first in the itinerary is an interesting story. When I was trying all permutations to book to the 2 countries, I was trying initially with the first country as Greece and then on to Romania, this was costing close to 225 euros per person. However, when i reversed the order, the cost dropped significantly. To the extent, that the cost of entering Romania first and exiting via Greece cost all of 125 euros per person. the cost of Eindhoven to Bucharest leg was 12.5 euros per person and considering it is a 3.5 hours flight, I could not believe it. I also received a survey from Airbnb if i wanted to be a part of a survey in return for a gift and of 150 euros. All I had to do was share my reviews and experiences 8 times during our stay in Bucharest.

Before embarking on this trip, I had booked many guided tours as the public transport between cities was not really great in Romania and Greece and hence covering what we needed meant spending excessive time and energy for minimal gains. In Romania, we found Interesting Time Bureau as the best folks for showing around Bucharest with plethora of attractions and themes, including street art.

Day 0: Eindhoven to Bucharest

We were greeted with crappy weather when we departing from Eindhoven and were delayed by 2 hours as there was quite a bit of turbulence up in the sky but that did not dampen our enthusiasm. We had an uneventful rest of the flight and arrived in Bucharest to some nice weather with slight humidity and warm climate. However, getting past the immigration turned out to be pain with the officer looking at my passport, visa and my face for a few minutes to verify my identity peppered with questions such as why I was there, How long I was staying for etc etc.

Continue reading “Balkans: Romania”

Pizza Hut nostalgia

Ever since Pizza became a dinner option, I would constantly order from Domino’s or Pizza Hut. There was never a clear winner as to which was better until Pizza Hut made me an offer I could not resist.

When i started my MBA, I knew i was dipping in to my savings to get through the 2 years of education during which time, spending was only on necessities to avoid taking on a huge pile of debt. I had a group which i was always happy hanging out with. Whenever there was a birthday, the entire class would celebrate together with cake and birthday bumps. But when it was one of the members of the group, the day meant we headed for Pizza Hut to eat like a king on a pauper’s budget. Back then, Pizza Hut had released an offer of meal for 1 consisting of a personal pan pizza, 2 pieces of Garlic Bread and 1 Drink; all for Rs 99. This was a huge hit among the student populace and with us too. For us, it was a special day too where we would just go for some yummy pizza and bread.

When i was talking to Mukul, i realized, half a decade has passed by but some memories and moments are cherished and treasured alike. Mukul reminisces of the days when he passes by a Pizza Hut. I practically make it a point to visit a Pizza Hut when i am in a city with one (P.S. Netherlands does not have a Pizza Hut). When Swapna and me were in Berlin, I made her walk 4 kms to get to Pizza Hut and also in Ghent, Belgium when we had lunch at Pizza Hut when the city had so many better options to choose from Whenever we meet up, we will make it to a Pizza Hut and have new moments and memories to cherish

Nik

BeNeLux: Belgium

Belgium trips in the past have mostly been day trips or weekend trips, this was the first time we actually did some slow travel and not covered a whole lot of places in one day and decided to stretch out the stay a bit. This trip was also the first with Yeshwin and Deepika for us 🙂 . This trip was somewhat put together after exploring quite a few options on whether or not to take Yeshwin’s car and the possibility of public transport and so on. The trip was planned around Liege, Ghent and Bruges.

Day 1: Eindhoven to Liege

I have passed by Liege before on my way back from Spa and also knew it would be a changeover location for Aywaille towards Remouchamps caves. But I have never considered Liege as  city to explore on its own.

We started off from Eindhoven by taking a train towards Maastricht and then switching over towards Liege from Maastricht. The entire journey went off quite smooth and without a hitch while we managed to get some shut-eye as we had risen quite early to make it to the trains and at Liege, we got on to the bus for the caves. The Liege station is actually remarkable and is absolutely a delightful design to look like a mountain itself a single peak.

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Continue reading “BeNeLux: Belgium”

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