Friday, April 7, 2006

symposium and slum

Do you want to know about my day? Do say yes.

Today was the first day of a workshop involving students from an architecture school in Munster, Germany. We'd sent eight students from our college to Germany last December for an exchange program, and now there were eight students from Germany here for a week-long workshop on structural steel and high-rise structures.
I found out I was to attend this introductory seminar symposium two days ago, when I was told that I had to sing the invocation song for the same. There were ten other students going, and as the representative of the class, it fell to my lot to arrange for permission, attendance and sundry other items.
Since the symposium was to begin in the afternoon, I decided to attend college as usual, and then move on to the Atria Hotel from there.
Accordingly, therefore, I went to college today fully prepared to discuss my design (yes it's the same one that I was prevented from discussing two days ago. do you think it's a sign of some kind?)
However, by the time I actually got to college, I was immediately whisked away before I could do more than unroll my sheets. When we reached the hotel I was set to work in a long assembly line filling the delegate files with brochures, itinerary, CDs, notepad and pen.
Well, alright. I was just put to work. As I cannot abide incompetence and inefficiency, I helped organise the assembly line. OK? In this way we wasted three whole hours. Following the hours of mind and arse-numbingly dull work, we went out for lunch, where we wasted another hour. When we finally got back, there was - guess what - still more time to be wasted!!! Big surprise.

Then, a mere fifteen minutes past schedule, I sang my invocation and we were underway.
The experience wasn't bad. I met with and talked to some of the German students, I learnt a few things about steel construction, I slept sitting upright throught the end of one of the seminars, I felt indelible shame for my HOD, lecturers and country, and I drank my first whisky (well, 1/4 whisky, topped with 7-up).
Called my dad and got a ride home. All in all a generous day.

What got to me was the contrast to the way I spent yesterday evening. Far from spending the evening with my head lolling onto my shoulders in the air-conditioned banquet hall of a posh hotel, I spent a sizeable part of yesterday driving around Bangalore, and another chunk in a slum.
The slum report will have to wait for another day, though. I think I'm slightly sloshed...

P.S. 1066

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