First normal day in Halifax

It’s my first normal day in Canada (~24hours). Yesterday was of 33.5 hours. It’s a different place. A different weather, different people & different language (color of buildings, color of sky and color of people).

I started configuring my laptop for internet at almost 6:30AM. Later in the afternoon, I came to know that my laptop’s mac ID was not registered. The earliest it can be registered by tomorrow morning.

The room is very quiet. I think its even quieter than the inside of lotus temple in India. I don’t know how they do it. I guess, in process of making the room thermally insulated, eventually sound insulation also happens. There is a sleek Honeywell temperature regulator in the room. The room is quite spacious with a large computer desk & chair, a sofa, a wooden almirah with sliding doors, a window and a movable bed (on wheels). But, the best thing is, it has got a mirror & a wash basin, which can give various hot & cold combinations. The water in the hottest combination is hot enough to make Horlicks. Things like a telephone and a smoke detector (for fire alarm) are also present. The room doesn’t have tubelights (and fans, obviously). Instead, it has one big lamp on the ceiling above the computer chair, four small lamps just above the mirror and one lamp in front of almirah on the ceiling.

People are very humble and helpful here. And they speak a lot. They speak the obvious. At Sheriff Hall, I checked in for my stay & I was recommended to visit Risley Hall which was unfortunately closed. Then I headed towards sexton campus. On the way, I took lunch at the Papa Mario’s. When I went there, I wondered what I should order. On the menu, I found an item, Lunch Combo 1 (Big Pizza and POP) for $5.75. Guess whats POP. POP is pepsi. Here the standard size of Pepsi bottle is 591ml. I wonder whats so special about the number 591.

I somehow found the Dean’s office but it was closed till 2PM. While waiting, I chanced upon a fortnight journal of the University, named dal rouse. There were funny news like daughter of a millionaire protesting, “Tuition fees is very low here. It should be at least twice. That way we will be the best in the country in terms of fees”, “I was in air for some time while the tornado hit. At the same time I got a message which was a facebook scrap, from my friend, saying, ‘how are you?’”, and “a turtle winning the VP elections (Turtle is a name of student party I guess)”.

While I was on the way, I saw a man in a telephone booth shouting like hell. He was saying things like “Please come home”. You could hear him even from a distance of 100 meters. I wonder how the booth withstood so many powerful blows from that fellow.

Dean’s reception was awesome. He introduced me to everybody in the office and told me, you will get a priority here. Most of them couldn’t pronounce my first name. Then we headed towards my office for the briefing of the project.

My prof (Dean) is very courteous. He opens the doors for me. He shows me the way. He opens self locking doors and waits till I get through. I don’t know how I should react to that. Sometimes I feel like holding the door and letting him pass through.

He introduced me to more faculty members. While introducing to the HOD of Industrial Engineering, at one instance he stammered saying, “He is from… ”. “India”, I completed. But, then he said, “IIT Kharagpur”. I should tell you, it felt awesome. People here know my college. HOD then replied, “We had an intern from Kanpur last year & he was brilliant”.

While moving towards my office, we passed a lot of electronically locked doors. My Prof showed his ID and they opened up. He said, “The only manual thing you will have to do is to get this card issued. Everything else is electronic”.

We arrived at my office. I remember it when he said yesterday, “I am arranging a new office for you. The current one is good, but it’s not great”. For me, even the current office was great, with a server computer and an ergonomically sound environment. Dean’s office is very spacious. The first thing you will notice there will be his two big 21” monitors sharing the same CPU. The second monitor was an extension to the first one to have an even larger desktop space.

He started briefing the project. The project was started by a Chinese girl, Xia Zhang (I guess I spell it right). She speaks less and speaks a Chinese accent. She had a strange password for the server, which unfortunately she had to share with me. There were some obvious bugs with her code. I needed to fix them apart from adding some new features. I say it obvious, because I found some common mistakes in the code as I glanced upon the project. Then my prof told me frankly, “I know it can’t keep you busy for 10 weeks. It can be completed in a month or so. Then we will work on a new project.” Let me tell you honestly, on my best days, it won’t take me more than a day to complete the job. *

After the project briefing, I needed an ID to be issued. For that various things like bank a/c & a Social Insurance Number (SIN) were required. We went straight to the Halifax Shopping Complex, the largest mall at Halifax. I remember yesterday, when I first met my prof at the airport, we went to his car. I stood besides the left seat while he came to open the door. He came, but didn’t open the lock, and just smiled. Oops! I was standing besides the driver’s seat. I forgot people here drive on the right side of the road.

We went to get the SIN. I must tell you again that people are very humble and talkative here. They greet you every time you meet them and don’t hesitate to say, “You’re welcome”, once you thank them.

My prof is very courteous and caring. Yesterday, after we left the airport at 10PM, he almost drove the whole city to find a good restaurant (open at 10:30PM). He also took me to a mall to get some food items for the rest of the week. The good thing is, he had investigated on Indian foods and bought me a lot of them. He gave me 200 dollars and said, this is for you to get started.

After my SIN was issued, we went to get an adapter to convert Indian pin design to the Canadian pin design. Once that was done, we went to a bank where we took an appointment for tomorrow. After that, we came back to the Sexton campus. My prof took her daughter, Achille (or maybe Akille) from her office and dropped me to my residence, that is, Eliza Ritchie Hall.

Halifax summer is quite different from Patna’s winter. The humidity is quite low here, and you don’t sweat here even in the air-conditioned rooms. Here the wind speed is quite high at any time of the day. A few months back, the place was hit with a tornado, and the officials alarmed the students with SMS meassages ahead of the event took place (nice use of technology). While I was moving to Sexton campus, I had to regularly wipe off my eyes, as it was constantly flooded with tears due to high wind speed. Even when you have the sunshine, you can’t feel a lot of heat due to the high speed winds.

Halifax is a home away from home. It’s a beautiful place. It’s not a place as big as Delhi, but here every square meter is planned. You get a very sound sleep, maybe because of the pin drop silence & the perfect room temperature (thanks to Honeywell). Jean Merritt, my prof’s secretary speaks very fast. She is a natural citizen & was happy to share her childhood experience in Canada. The thrilling sight of a person riding a steamer into the Atlantic, while I was moving towards the Sexton campus, gave me a good rush of adrenaline. People speak differently, but are helpful. The temperature is low (10-15 C), but the room, as well as the hall is centrally air conditioned. The bad thing here is you have to use napkins. But, the good thing is, you have a wash basin in your room. :P


* That was an exaggeration when I wrote the blog. The project couldn’t be completed in so less time.

Comments (10)

pankajMay 6th, 2009 at 5:51 pm

“Let me tell you honestly, on my best days, it won’t take me more than a day to complete the job.”

Don’t let yout prof read this blog :P

ujjwalMay 7th, 2009 at 1:28 pm

maybe he will read this blog, your comment and my comment too.. he knows I maintain a website :P

suman saurabhMay 7th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

i would just say…GREAT,GREAT,GREAT..

sayandebMay 8th, 2009 at 6:32 am

do add pics in orkut

ujjwalMay 10th, 2009 at 10:52 am

some of them are uploaded. you can visit it here:

you can visit them even without logging in on orkut :)

genxbongMarch 13th, 2010 at 4:16 am

This is my first visit here, but I will be back soon, because I really like the way you are writing, it is so simple and honest

AbhishekJuly 6th, 2010 at 5:32 am

You have got an impressive style of writing Ujjwal. On the funnier side, English comes naturally with U.K:-) Well, some day i would love to see a well-compiled memoirs kinda best-seller by you. Feels good that you are so much at peace!

AjitAugust 31st, 2011 at 1:40 pm

I am lucky I stumbled upon this site today. Awesome site!
It would be nice if you could post where you did your intern and what was it about.

AjitAugust 31st, 2011 at 1:48 pm

I am a student of IIT Kharagpur, currently in my second year. Also, I am a resident of R.P. Hall :)
I would like to know where your A.C. Room was (will try to get it for single room next year!) and whether I could get funda from you regarding F.T. :)

nageshNovember 13th, 2013 at 2:35 pm

I cannot control from appreaciting your writing skill dude..its really awesome …

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