Flying away

An escapade from the horrors of sixth semester

For the uninitiated, four of us, Arijit, Gunaa, Nitin and I are interning at Facebook this summer. This came as a much wanted pleasant change after a grinding semester (some people like Devesh would disagree, but not all of us can manage time as efficiently as him). With this post, let's go from Chennai to Dubai!

The man with the vision
It's funny how people think... On the day we were supposed to leave, we had a Computer Vision project viva and demonstration. Flight was at 9:45 in the night hence Devesh and I asked the professor for a time slot at 12 noon. So far so good, then a whole lot of teams asked the professor for a time slot and to all them, he gave a slot at 11am! The explanation he gave for that : "I did not think that all of them will turn up!". Yeah, right! It is a 4 credit course, the project has 50% weightage towards the final score, and you think people won't turn up? That's why I said it is funny how people think! After an afternoon full of frustration and anxiety, finally the project demo went well! That is, of course, if you don't count the professor yawning frequently and snoozing during the presentation!

327, how I will miss thee
As I always say, tell me to pack anytime and I will be ready with all my luggage within an hour. That's exactly what I did that day. Packed my stuff for a 3 months long stay in U.S. in an hour! And had it not been for the sad feeling of leaving my hostel room, I bet I could have packed even faster. The room in which I stayed for last two years, the room which saw me laughing, crying, mugging and most importantly whiling away my precious time... They say "karma is a bitch" whatever that means, feels like it applies here. The year before, my name had come up in the draw which decided who would move out of their room so that the guy with room just next to toilet can move in. I managed to convince him how much I love my room and how I could do anything to not part with it. Alas... this year... deja vu! Again, my name came up! Interesting how our perceptions of things and events change over time and according to current state of mind. Already pained to the core by the sinister 6th semester, leaving the room just did not seem like a big deal as opposed to last year.

Airport, really?
 Chennai airport is one of the worst I have even seen. Leave the international terminal apart, and what you get is a kind of cleaner version of a railway station. Aren't airports supposed to be glossy, shining and clean? Think again! One and half hour into the airport and we were already hungry! Mom to the rescue! My mother had got me some really tasty homemade snacks (as Nitin and Arijit said it) and we literally feasted on them, almost forgetting that we should keep some for Gunna. Once the rumbling in our bellies subsided, we spent time lazing around and exploring the airport. Even in a place such as this, they don't get the Hindi correct!
"Weak long" really?
 here is another funny one...
I think they forgot to add "if needed"
 I wonder what made them put the instruction up there in the first place! One very noticeable thing on the airport is obviously the astronomical prices. Books available outside for as low as 200 bucks were sold at 700 bucks, not that we wanted to buy any :P! Another round of snacks and some window shopping and our plane was ready for boarding. Adios Chennai! Wait, not before this gem of an instruction...
What is it? Nagpuri? Hyderabadi?
Landing on the land of Sheikhs
Emirates is always a delight to fly with, I can compare it only with Air India, and Emirates beats it hands down in every aspect (maybe except at writing Hindi instructions and English grammar). Here is an obvious mistake, as noticeable as it can get...
"Latched closed" it seems... (better caption, anyone?)
Our sleepiness just flew away as soon as we entered Dubai air port. This, my friends, is what you can call an airport! Early in the morning, still dark, most of the place was largely empty. Having been there 2 years ago, I felt a sense of familiarity. But it was different this time, we did not have anyone to supervise us! All the escalators, moving walkways were ours to play with! After enough of climbing up descending escalators and running against the normal direction on the moving walkways, we decided to go to the duty free shops and departure area of the airport. A lot of window shopping was followed by a quick camera purchase by Arijit. When I say quick purchase, I mean blazing fast! It went like this...
Arijit : I want to get a camera for myself.
we : Ok let's go to the camera shop and get one.
(At camera shop)
Arijit : Which one is the cheapest?
Shop keeper : (showing one) This one.
Arijit : Ok. I am buying it then. Just give me a black one, not pink.
Ta da! We just bought a camera!
Here's Arijit with his cam...
This cam is ok, right?
 U jelly mama?
Vikram, going to Redmond for his awesome internship at Microsoft Research, also had some time on Dubai airport overlapping with our transit time there. We spent quite a lot of time speculating where he might be and searching for him. We gave up, but not without coming up with a revenge plan. If cars could marry, Vikram would marry one! Him being such a huge admirer of high class cars, we got just the right plan of making him jealous. On the airport, in the duty free section, there was a BMW kept as some lucky draw prize. I can't say anything about the car itself as I know zilch about cars. Just to tease Vikram later, I got this picture taken with the car!


Mugshot of a muggu
Another thing which I liked about the airport is the glasses with embedded lights. It just looks like normal transparent glass, but there are small light sources embedded in it at specific interval. It looks just beautiful.  Ignore the guy in the picture if you want ;)
Ok, may be not as much of a muggu as some others...
One can not but notice an overwhelming number of Indians on the airport. And I am not just talking about the travelers, a sizable chunk of the airport staff is Indian. It was not uncommon to overhear Hindi conversations among the security guards there.

To be continued... (already too long, "milli blog or kilo blog" you say?)
Here is the next post.

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