Jul 6, 2011

An official trip to Bangalore

"We are happy to inform you that you have been registered as a participant in the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences (ICTS) program on Data Assimilation Research Program (DARP)", reads the message from the program coordinator to me. The confirmation email was received about a month ago, and since it was jointly organized by Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), me and two of my friends who were also selected for the program booked our railway tickets to Bangalore as soon as we got the mails.

We planned to catch the Saturday night train to Bangalore to reach there by Sunday morning and spend the rest of the day meeting and conversing with other participants/friends. Until 9pm on Saturday, every thing went fine. As if to remind us of the purpose of our visit, it started to rain in Chennai out of the blue, which caused traffic in several city roads and delayed our fast track call taxi which we booked to take us to the Chennai central railway station.

When the call taxi reached our hostels at 10.30pm, we almost believed in the chance of missing the train which was scheduled to depart at 11.15pm! Understanding the gravity of our problem, the taxi driver maneuvered the car in shortest possible route in maximum possible throttle to drop us in central at 11.10pm, enough time to read the platform number, locate the bogie and occupy our berths. Oh, by the way, we were punished for booking the AC tickets by walking all the way down to the end of the station, which ate few more ticking minutes.

We got in to our bogie, secured our baggages, settled down in our seats to find that the train already started moving. The movement of the train from platform number 5 relieved us from tension because we were praying for the train to depart late so that we will have enough time to catch. Now that we were in the train, we do not want God to grant our wish!

Though we were asked for a choice to have a pick up from the railway station, and though we had asked for the same, we got a notification on the day of our departure saying that pick up could not be arranged, which left us to manage our travel plan to reach the venue on our own. We got down at the Bangalore City railway station, took a pre paid taxi, paid a hefty sum of Rs.650 for 15km (the previous night, we paid Rs.200 for same 15km from our hostel to central railway station), used the GPS and Google maps on my Froyo to guide the driver and reached the venue after an hour and a half.

Upon our arrival, we were asked to report at the security section and collect our key to the accommodation. However, when we reached and reported to the present security, we were told that our accommodation has been arranged at IISc campus! When asked why we were not notified about this before, we got a reply that there is no one to collect our key in IISc and so they want us to come to TIFR to collect our key, go back to IISc! And that we did, however, we asked the program organizer to arrange for a cab to carry our baggages.