Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bangalore - Ottawa - Bangalore

My Ottawa Travel
I travelled to Ottawa, Canada from Bangalore on 3rd October. This visit was for about 8 weeks. Though It was an official visit, but gave an oppertunity to see Canada.

It is always difficult to be away from family for long and particularly after getting married and having a naughty daughter. But if we have to grow, all this sacrifice is needed. That is why our parents have decided to allow us to do studies and jobs away from them. If for our affection, they would not have allowed me to go away from them, then I would not have studied well and got a job etc.

I along with other colleagues started the journey on 2nd October night. The flight operated by Lufthansa was at 1:55 AM on 3rd october. Pravin Prakash had arranged the taxi at 21:00 Hrs. He had also arranged air tickets and other official documents etc. for me as I was away at my native just before our departure to Ottawa.

Ganaraja NG was already there at airport. The new Bangalore International Airport is very beautiful and has world class facilities.

We boarded the flight as per schedule.

The route was Bangalore - Frankfurt (Germany) - Montreul (Canada) - Ottawa.

There are very few flights to Ottawa, so we need to hop through Montreul.

The first leg from Bangalore to Frankfurt was about 9:30 hours. I slept for some time in between and reached Frankfurt at 8:15 in the morning German time.

The next flight from Frankfurt to Montreul was through Air Canada. This took off from Franfurt at 10 AM German time and reached Montreul at around 11:30 AM Canada time. It took around 7:30 hours.

During flights originating from India or going to India, we can get Indian food, in other flights, it is a problem. I had booked "Asian Veg Meal" in flight from Frankfurt to Montreul. But it was not sufficient to put off my hunger.

From Bangalore to Franfurt, Ganaraja, Pravin and I got adjacent seats, but were not lucky in flight from Frankfurt to Montreul. This was a problem because I can not talk to anybody and so just remain seated with tight lips, try to sleep and thinking sometimes, why I am travelling.

I was having window seat, and so whenever I had to go to toilet etc. the other two passengers have to be unseated. This is another problem for long flights.

Every minute of this 7:30 hours from Franfurt to Montreul was like one year long. I passed it somehow.

Next flight was at 12:55 PM to Ottawa. So we had 1 Hr. 10 Minutes to get next flight.

In Montreul, we needed to do Immigration and Custom clearances. Usually it is not allowed to carry open food items etc. Dairy products, meat/plant products etc. are strictly banned. I heard that one colleageue had got 200 $ fine for carrying Ghee. So during customs checking, it is possible that they ask to open baggage and verify the claims. Every person has to sign a declaration form of what all he/she is carrying.

I went through customs official and she allowed me to pass through. But she stopped Pravin as well as Ajit Phadnis and asked them to get the baggage checked. For Ajit, they did not opened his baggage and let him go after a few questions, but for Pravin, they opened his all luggage and verified each and every thing. Then they allowed him to proceed. During this period I was a little tensed because if they feel anything "objectionable" they can put heavy fine including imprisonment. But when after about 20 minutes he came out of the customs room, I felt a sigh of relief.

Then we had to checkin our baggage. Kenny, by mistake put his cabin bag also on the checkin belt. This would have been a problem as without identification tag, no luggage will be loaded in the aircraft. So he started searching his bag. We rushed to checkin counter to inquire about the flight, only to know that it had already left.

The lady there at counter helped us a lot. She booked seats for us in another flight which was 2 hours later at 2:45 PM. But during all this hungama, we lost Kenny and through airport authorities, we made an announcement for him. But till 2:15, he was not there and we asked the lady at counter to shift his ticket to another flight. She rushed towards aircraft to take down the baggage of Kenny, which was already loaded. It is not allowed to send baggage without passenger.

But then suddenly, Kenny appeared. The lady at counter was frustrated but again she helped and Kenny and his baggage got though this flight itself.

The flight from Montreul to Ottawa is about 45 minutes. It was through a small 40 seater ATR plane. This was my first experience through ATR plane. Because it was small and so was shaking very much. Till we reached Ottawa, we were holding our breath.

We had a booking at Hotel Cardinal Suites, so hired a Taxi till there. The taxi driver was from Ethiopia.

So finally we reached Ottawa to be there for next 8 weeks.

We got two rooms, in one Me and Pravin were staying and in another room Ganaraja was staying. We were doing cooking in Ganaraja's kitchen, as it was bigger.

I was a little disappointed by the behaviour of the manager of Cardinal Suite. He had promised us a three bed room suite but when asked, he started denying and showed his inability. He also talked in higher tone, which was unacceptable, as we were his customer. So we decided to leave his hotel after one month. One month advance we had already paid to him so in case we would have left earlier, he might not have returned that. So we decided to be there for one month and shift somewhere else for next month.

Memories from 3rd October to 11th October
We joined Alcatel-Lucent office here. It is at 600 March Road, Kanata. This place is about 45 minutes by Bus. Bus service is very good here. We have taken a Bus Pass for month at about 88$. This has given the freedom to use any bus anytime at will.

Sunday, 5th October, we visited Hindu Temple of Ottawa-Carleton. It is a beautiful temple and became a bit relaxed after having a darshan of the Lord and mother Goddess.

Lord says in Geeta....

".................Yoga Kshemam Vahamyaham......"

"Those who leave everything on me, I takes care of them."

Things are going smoothly. Cooking etc. is a problem as after getting married, I stopped cooking. But its getting managed. Also this provides a good oppertunity to spend time.

This time we are preparing Roti also. So far in my trips abroad, I was always dependent on Rice only. Mostly for dinner it is Roti and for lunch it is Rice. We (Pravin, Ganaraja and Alok) prepares Arhar (Toor) Daal and some vegetables like mix of Potato/Cauliflower or mix veg like beans+peas+carrot+corn etc.

Juices and Milk are also being taken, mostly in breakfast, so far it has been Corn-flakes+Milk or Banana+Milk

We may have to leave this hotel from 1st November, we had asked for a three bed room suite but hotel is unable to provide that. Kenny is searching for me a 3-bed room apartment for the month of november at some suitable location. We have to give them 14 days notice period and by 15th I will tell them about our decision.

So far weather has been moderate here. Day Temperature is in between 10-20 and night temperature is below 10. But the people here say that in next two week or so the temperature will fell down to around Zero degrees which will follow the snowfall. But anyway I am equipped with proper clothings to handle that.

On 10th and 11th October, I got the oppertunity to Visit the Ottawa City downtown. It is well maintained and properly laid out. On 11th I saw Parliament of Canada,Cannaught Place, Rideau Center etc. in Ottawa. I will keep on roaming and gaining as much knowledge about Canada, as I can.

On 11th, Pravin left to meet his friend Yatin Patel in Toronto as well as to visit Niagra. I along with group of Kenny will follow next week.

Memories from 12th October to 19th October
11th October evening, Kenny called me if I can accompany him to Hindu Temple of Ottawa-Carleton. So on Sunday 12th Morning we started for temple. Kenny came to my Hotel and He+Ganaraja+Bala Sarma and I started for the temple. We took the bus to Carling Station, then train to Greenboro and then from there bus to Hindu Temple. When we reached there, some Mantra chanting was in progress and then Aarti for Lord "Jai Jagadeesh Hare...". We all participated. Those were very great moments. The name of Lord brings confidence and relaxation.

After Aarti, we took Prasada (Lunch) at temple. It is an attraction for many visitors from India to be at Temple on Sunday afternoon to get good Indian Food at Lunch (Prasada).

After temple we came back to Hotel to prepare for next week office.

Monday was an holiday and so passed peacefully. Pravin came back from his trip of Toronto and Niagara.

Trainings were in progress throughout the week. Somethings are looking a little complicated but hopefully with practice, they will be understood easily.

During weekend of 18th and 19th October, we had planned to visit Niagara. Initial plan was to go by Bus and then got changed to go by a rented Car being driven by Premchand. But Swamy and other few people suggested not to travel in own driven vehicle in a foreign country, so on Friday after hectic discussions, we dropped the plan. Kenny and Premchand wanted to go by Car, Ganaraja, Ajit and I were in favour of Bus or any other means in which we need not drive. In this all hotch potch the program got postponed. Now it has to be seen whether I can visit Niagara or not as now slowly the mercury is going down and once snow-fall starts, there will not be any charm going there.

So during this weekend, we visited Canada's Parliament and Rideau Canal to Ottawa River. The walking alongside the Rideau Canal to Ottawa River was very good. We started from "Ottawa Lock" on Rideau Canal.

The guided trip inside the Canada's parliament was very exciting. The guide Karina, who is a student at University of Carleton, told us a little about the History of the Canadian Parliament. She took us inside the Main Blocks of Parliament and explained about the House of Commons, the senate and the Parliament Library. The House of Commons is like Indian Lok Sabha and the senate is like Rajya Sabha. There are many similarities in the woring of both Canadian and Indian Parliaments. It is obvious as Indian Constitution is influenced by Canadian and British Constitutions.

The Rising India
The feel of Rising India can be seen here. Pravin and I visited the famous book shop "The chapters" on the Elgin Street. There were many books on India. This indicates the rising interest of the people to know about India.

On Sunday, 19th October, when we went through the guided tour of Parliament, Karina (Tour Guide) introduced herself and then asked how many of the people from the group are from Canada, then USA, Germany, Russia and then she asked India. Pravin, Ganaraja and I raised our hands. Some people from crowd cheered and I felt really proud.

Yes it is true. India is rising and it can not be ignored by the world community. But it is just a beginning, we need to improve ourselves and go forward with our traditional values intact.

Memories from 20th October to 26th October
This week passed a little hectic. A lot of trainings. On wednesday we were asked to come to office at 8:30 in morning. This was a little problem as it means getting up early, preparing rice and then 45 minutes bus drive to office. Anyway we make it comfortably in time. We reached there at about 8:10 in morning, though the training for which we came so early was cancelled as proper projector was not available. Otherwise it was normal like leaving around 8:00 in morning and coming back at around 5:00 in evening.

Our normal schedule for weekdays are as follows:
Getting up around 6-7 AM and be ready for office. Meanwhile Ganaraja cooks rice. Same Daal + Vegetables is taken, which was cooked last night.
In office attending trainings for both sessions, pre-lunch and post-lunch. Usually lunch is taken in between 11:30 AM and 1:00 PM.
Back to hotel at around 5:00 PM and then after some rest start cooking at around 7:00 PM for night as well as for morning.

Thats how time is getting passed on weekdays. Training schedules are very tight and it seems that after going back to Bangalore, we need to put a lot of hard work as expectation are very high here.

Kenny was looking for us a suitable three bed room apartment. On Tuesday, 21st October, He, Pravin and I visited Kanata town to meet one Sardarji, who works as a bus driver in Ottawa. Besides his job he is also active as a real estate broker. Kenny met him in a Bus.

Sardarji took us in his Car and showed two-three houses. But we did not liked them. They were having very basic amneties with no bed etc. Besides they were in basement, which we did not liked. Finally we finalized a three bed room apartment with the help of Kenny's broker Aadib Saad. So we (Pravin Prakash, Ganaraja NG and myself) will be in this apartment for the month of November. For October we three are in two different rooms in Hotel, with Pravin and I sharing one room.

Saturday 25th October passed away without any activity. It was raining full day and so did not allowed us to go out anywhere. It became difficult to pass time. I just did net surfing, gossip etc.

Sunday 26th, Pravin and I visited The Canadian Museum of Nature. It is quite good and in a castle like building called "Victoria Memorial Museum". This building was built in 1905 and hence this museum is oldest in Ottawa.

Its collections, which were started by the Geologocal Syrvey of Canada in 1856, include all aspects of the intersection of human society and nature, from gardening to gene-splicing.

This massive stone structure is an excellent example of early 20th century architecture in Ottawa, and was built for $1,250,000 by architect David Ewart who is responsible for many similar structures around the city. The construction of the building involved the importing of 300 skilled stone masons from Scotland. The architectural style is sometimes described as 'Scottish baronial.' Ewart was sent to Brittain to study the architecture of Hampton Court and Windsor Castle, which greatly influenced his design of this building.

Distinctive double staircases on the mezzanine, taken from the south-west corner. Statues outside the museum.Unfortunately, because of the presence of unstable Leda clay in the geology of the site, a tall tower that was situated at the front of the building had to be taken down in 1915 due to settling and the concern that the foundation could not support the weight. The unstable site forced some workers to stop working, as shifting foundations in the basement shot bricks and stones out from the walls, hitting some construction workers.

The building found itself filling a more auspicious role than originally intended when in 1916, fire consumed the majority of the Centre Block on Parliament Hill. The recently completed Victoria Museum Building became the temporary home of the House of Commons, and the affairs of the government were run from the site until the completion of the new Parliament building in 1922.

In 1968, the National Museum that occupied the building was split into the National Museum of Nature (eventually renamed the Canadian Museum of Nature) and the National Museum of Man (eventually renamed the Canadian Museum of Civilization), although both entities continued to share the same edifice. In 1989, the Canadian Museum of Civilization moved to a new location in Gatineau, Quebec, and the Canadian Museum of Nature was able to occupy the entire Victoria Memorial Museum Building.

A major renovation of all parts of the building, which began in 2004, is expected to be completed in 2009, including a lighter-weight glass "lantern" taking the place of the former tower. The renovation plan exemplifies the difficulty of determining what building features to preserve in old buildings, as the installation of the modern lantern (meant to evoke the pre-1915 history of the building) necessitates the demolition of the historical mezzanine over the main entrance (home to distinctive double staircases).

It has total four floors. First floor has collection of fossils dating back to millions of years ago. We also saw a small documentry here on "How Dinasoures disappeared".
Bones and rebuilt models of different dinasoures were amazing.
Second floor is dedicated to evolution of mammels.
Third floor is for exhibitions. We saw an exhibition realted to paintings on Canada's flora and fauna by Catarine Parr Traill and Barabara Gamble.
Fourth floor was for the evolution of Birds. We also saw here a documentry show of about 50 minutes titled "Seasonal Forests of the world". It was very good show and covered forests from Arctics, North Americas, Europe, India and Madagascar.

Mr. Ram Dubey
On third floor, while we (Pravin and I) were looking the exhibition paintings, we met with Mr. Ram Dubey. He was working as a security staff there, under "Securitas Canada". He told us that he was a Research Scientist with University of Ottawa and now retired, so for passing time, he joined job of a security person with museum. He belonged to Mirzapur (Varanasi). His kids were studying here. He was a little disappointed that Indians are not taking as much initiative towards Science and Technology as they should.

He visited the land of his ancestors last time in 1983. I asked why so long gap now. Its almost 25 years. He smiled and told lot of issues like ticket money etc.

He also told that the condition of Old People in Canada is very bad. It is not like India where they are cared by kids. He told with a tone of sadness that nobody cares for elderly here so they have to just smoke, drink, watch TV and wait......

From Museum, we went to Byward market and took our lunch at "The Indian Cafe". It is run by a Bangladeshi from Sylhut, Bangladesh.

Then a little shopping of vegetables at Byward market and took bus back to hotel, reaching there by around 5:00 PM. By this time sky was covered by dark clouds, but we were fortunate.

Byward market is like traditional market of Canada. It looks like that most of the traders are the aboriginals of Canada. It gives a feel of normal vegetable market in India, though a little sophesticated here. Vegetables etc. are little cheaper here than other big stores.

"Indian Restaurents"
There are a lot of "Indian Restaurents" here. But only by name they are "Indian". Mostly these are run by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.

Memories from 27th October to 2nd November
This week started as usual with getting up early morning, taking breakfast and rushing to office.

This week we saw the first snowfall of the season. It was about 10 cm.

We are just expecting that on 29th November, when we have to take flight from Ottawa to Bangalore, the weather should be fine, otherwise we or our luggage may miss the flight from Franfurt to Bangalore, as there is only 70 minutes gap in between arriving at Frankfurt and departure.

On Saturday, 1st November, we shifted from Hotel Cardinal Suites to an independent 3-bed room house.

On Sunday, 2nd November, we visited The Canadian Art Gallery. The Gallery is housed in a glass and granite building on Sussex Drive with a notable view of the Canadian Parliament buildings on Parliament Hill. The acclaimed structure was designed by Moshe Safdie and opened in 1988. The Gallery's former director Jean Sutherland Boggs was chosen especially by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to oversee construction of the national gallery and museums. The Gallery was first formed in 1880 by Canada's Governor General John Douglas Sutherland Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll, and, in 1882, moved into its first home on Parliament Hill in the same building as the Supreme Court. In 1911 the Gallery moved to the Victoria Memorial Museum, now the home of the Canadian Museum of Nature. In 1913 the first National Gallery Act was passed outlining the Gallery's mandate and resources.[4] In 1962 the Gallery moved to a rather nondescript office building on Elgin Street. Adjacent to the British High Commission, the building now serves as office space for various governments departments, especially the Department of National Defence. It moved into its current building on Sussex Drive in 1988, beside Nepean Point.

In 1985 the newly created Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography (CMCP), formerly the Stills Photography Division of the National Film Board of Canada, was affiliated to the National Gallery. The CMCP's mandate, collection and staff moved to its new location in 1992, at 1 Rideau Canal, next to the Ch√Ęteau Laurier. In 1998 the CMCP's administration was amalgamated to that of the National Gallery's.

The Gallery has a large and varied collection of paintings, drawings, sculpture and photographs. Although its focus is on Canadian art, it holds works by many noted European artists. It has a strong contemporary art collection with some of Andy Warhol's most famous works. In 1990 the Gallery bought Barnett Newman's Voice of Fire for $1.8 million, causing a storm of controversy as the painting was no more than three strips of paint. Since that time its value has appreciated sharply, however. In 2005 the Gallery acquired a painting by Italian Renaissance painter Francesco Salviati for $4.5 million.

Also in 2005 a sculpture of a giant spider, Louise Bourgeois's Maman, was installed in front of the Gallery.

The Canadian collection holds works by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven as well as Emily Carr and Alex Colville.

The Gallery organizes its own exhibits which travel across Canada and beyond, and hosts shows from around the world, often co-sponsored with other national art galleries and museums.
The Gallery's collection has been built up through purchase and donations. Much of the collection was donated, most notable are the British paintings donated by former Governor General Vincent Massey and that of the Southam family.

Memories from 3rd November to 9th November
Weekdays passed as usual, going to office, attending training sessions etc. Sometimes in the evening I tried to go out to visit down town or some other parts of City. Pravin and I visited Merivale Road shopping center, it is quite good, with lots of shops etc.

Our Rice and Flour etc., that we had carried with us got over, so Friday evening, we went to Baseline area to search one Desi shop named Andy's. Kenny had informed me that I can get good rice over there. But we could not loacte the place and instead after some time roaming here and there and purchaing some Vegetables/Juices/Milk etc. from Loeb shop, we came back.

Weekend of 8th and 9th November was planned to visit The Canadian Museum of Civilization and The Canadian War Museum. As Ganaraja was not accompanying us to these museums, he agreed to go to Baseline area and search for Andy's on Saturday morning. We had rice left just only for Saturday only. So it was important to get the Rice/Flour etc. Fortunately Ganaraja found the shop and bring the Rice.

Meanwhile Pravin and I had gone to The Canadian Museum of Civilization. In midway Kenny and Ajit also met with us as they were also heading for the Civilizaion Museum.

We took tickets for both Museums as well as for the two movies in the IMAX theater inside The Canadian Museum of Civilization. These two movies were "The Wild Ocean" and "Grand Canyon: The death of a river".

So Saturday was the day to explore the Civilization Museum as well as to watch the two above said Documentries. Both were of about 40-45 minute duration.

We completed the things by 5:00 PM.

Badly tired but satisfied with our exploration, we came back for good dinner and sleep. Tomorrow again we have to getup early and attend training sessions at office.

Memories from 10th November to 1st December
Week of 10th November was not good as my beloved grandfather passed away on 15th november evening. His life has always been an inspiration to me. I have hardly seen him in any stress. He was always happy, was always content with what Lord had given to him, never cheated to anybody in any manner. I do not know how much I can follow his ideals...

May Krishna let his soul rest in peace....

I was very sad and crying from inside. Many times I was just about to cry and then Pravin helped me a lot. He took my attention to be let here and there so that I am away from those painful moments.

I saw a few movies also like Johhny Gaddar, Woh Kaun Thee, 192o and Wednesday. I liked Wednedday very much. I found myself very close to the role played by Nasiruddin Shah.

Weather became colder and colder by day...a little snowfall and chilled wind.

Mostly remained confined to home or office.

There were two small idols of Ganesha and Sai Baba at the Pinecrest home. I was not sure who put them there. Perhaps our other colleagues, who were there before we occupied. I thought these idols to submerge into Ottawa river on 28th November. Pravin and I went there and put these at junction of Ottawa river and Rideau Canal. The reson was that as other occupants may not know about these and so should not desrespect them unknowingly.

While submerging those idols at water I slipped in snow and fell down straight on ground hurting my back. It was very painful for initial few moments and I thought I may have to visit a doctor, but later it became better. Pravin tried to help me by putting pressure on my back bone. It gave temperory relief. But still, even after returning to Bangalore, I had a little pain.

on 26/11/, there was mayhem at Mumbai. Some demons killed about 200 people including some foreigner guests. Obviously this was done to put a bad name to India. But these demons do not know that India has given birth to Warriors like Rama and Krishna, Arjun and Bhim...once that spirit again rises in India and these bastards will never get a place to hide. These cowards does not have guts to come in open and challenge our mighty armies. From small holes they spray bullets on innocent people and assume themselves as big braves...shame on them!!

Finally we started from Ottawa to mother land, Punya bhoomi Bharat Varsha on Saturday 29th November and reached Bangalore on early hours of Monday, 1st December. Journey was tiring particularly the last leg. It was also eventless except that duty free wine bottles purchased by Shivananda and being carried by Shivananda and Ganaraja were caught by security officials at Frankfurt airport. Wine bottles were seized by them. Their logic was that they can allow duty free items purchased only from European Union.

I know him since last 5-6 months. He is very intelligent. He is trying hard to improve his skills further. I wish him good luck.

I wish all other colleagues, Pravin Prakash, Ajit Phadnis, Premchand Daruvuru, Kenny Lingineni, Shivananda and Sachin Saraf with all the best. Their presence at Ottawa made things very smooth for all of us. "Thanks" is a small word. I wish all of them good luck for all sat-karma.

Let Krishna shower his blessings on all of us!!!!


  1. no words to say.. ur casual way of explaination was really superb..while my reading..picture was running behing my thoughts..may be i dont possess such imagination..good..I hope only GOD can quench your thirst by making you near him during the creation of this universe.

  2. This is great and informative post. I really like this post.