Toulouse Diaries- The October Story

This month has been really hectic. With classes beginning, ,few industry visits, and fantastic lectures by professors who have worked for big companies, I cannot ask for more.

Ok, here are some of the interesting things for Indians here. Some Indian movies release here once in a while. My fellow college students watched Mani Ratnam’s Chekka Cheevantha Vaanam in Gaumont Wilson, Toulouse. I wasn’t interested in spending 8 Euros for a probable dud and hence, did not bother to go.

Yet another interesting thing is the Cricket club for Indians. Attaching pics below of a friend who played there.

PC: Nandan NP (also the one in the pic)

Food for vegetarians like me is tough here. French fries is tasty but unhealthy. I decided to try a Falafel roll recently.It is made of chickpeas or chana. As per Wiki, It is debatable if Falafel came from Egypt or the Arabs or from us Indians. I feel Falafel has an Indian connection to it with the deep fried chickpeas patties. These are like our Tikkis (without the Aloo) but fulfilling. Tastes best with Mayonnaise and Tomato Ketchup.

(Falafel Pic downloaded from internet. Looks better than what I ate ! )

Also, another experience was the visit to the Augustin museum( Musee de Augustine). It had some amazing Gothic sculptures and an entire section dedicated to one of the seven deadly sins as per Christian teachings- Lust.

The architecture of the museum is also of interest. It has a date palm tree like feel given to the columns.

The museum windows have these unnatural steps. Wonder why but graceful indeed.

Visits to the supermarkets in search of Indian food, fruits and vegetables is the most tiring part of this journey especially for vegetarians.

But, amidst all this chaos, it feels good to see a pink cauliflower in the supermarket. Edit: a friend says the pink cauliflowers are the spoiled ones..please refrain from buying if you see it.

And a search for pizzas led me to this chocolate pizza that I surely want to try sometime soon.

The best thing I have seen yet in Toulouse was this Classical Choir conducted by Mark Opstad( wiki article available on this man). Full credits to the choir team of Maitrise de Toulouse. But, to organize and conduct a choir of this level, Mark must indeed be a genius. The last time I had this level of goosebumps, I was listening to Udayalur Kalyanaraman’s Ashtapadhis in T Nagar,Chennai.

Here below is one of Mark Opstad’s works with Maitrise de Toulouse:

https://youtu.be/Y817X7PVvas

That Music has no religion and can elevate you spiritually seems to be true. Like one best buddy Deepu said in school, “Music is indeed divine”.

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Insurance, Thondekkayi and Crows !

The last few days have been hectic in Toulouse. I opened a bank account here. The process was mostly smooth save for my poor French. France and probably most of Europe has Social security. Social security is a medical cover. You fall sick and up to 70% of your medical expenses get reimbursed. Amazing no !! ?

Insurance is a big thing in France. For most of us Indians, it was more of a tax saving tool. The number of insurances that people take or are mandated to is quite high and intriguing. You have house insurance, additional cover of medical insurance, civil liability insurance and what not. It is no surprise David Beckham got his legs insured and Bruce Springsteen his voice.

Yesterday, i made a visit to the nearest supermarket Carrefour. Majority of vegetables like Tomatoes, beans(Haricot Vert in french, carrot, onions (oignon in French) are available. There is no Thondekkayi. Thondekkayi was one of my favourite vegetables and I now miss Thondekkayi palya (Amma’s cooking) and Thondekkayi fry (Andhra meals hotels in Chennai). For those of you who don’t know what Thondekkayi looks like, here you go.

While in college in Cochin, a fortnight was incomplete without Crows shitting on your head. The most intellgent animal is not to be seen in Toulouse. Shani bhagwan or Saturn god is supposed to use Crow as his vehicle ! I don’t comment further.

Yesterday evening, We had dinner at our kickass Kannadigas place. Prabha, Abhi and Nandan made some good spaghetti for us. They have chic windows and balconies. Amazing time with them.

There is an ongoing exposition in the Toulouse Aerospace museum on Tintin and the aeroplanes he used in the comics. Kashyep ( one of my best buddies in college ) will miss this for sure.

That’s all folks.

Toulouse- Nothing “To Lose”

A Master’s degree had been running on my mind for quite some time. And I had been searching for good Supply chain programmes across Europe. So, Why Europe ?

In July 2017, I had started quizzing at an open level in Chennai. I started attending the Quiz foundation of India fortnightly quiz sessions. Although I am a fairly knowledgeable quizzer, There, I realized how little I know. People were answering questions on Renaissance, Eugene Delacroix, Tintin, Baroque, Led Zeppelin and what not. Europe has such a wonderful history of art, music and culture. I fixed my mind that I had to experience Europe once in this lifetime. And what better than a master’s degree there !

I chose Toulouse Business School, Toulouse, France. They have an amazing program in Supply Chain and Lean Management (SCALE).It is a 15 month program with 4 global SCM skill certifications validated by international organizations like APICS(American Production and Inventory Control Society). I applied for the course in April 2018, thankfully cleared all requirements and got admission in May 2018.

This meant it was time to bid adieu to the company I worked for- Isuzu Motors India Pvt Ltd. Looking back, it was a wonderful company with amazing people.

I miss Bala, Vineeth, Nikhil, Gopal Sir and a whole bunch of friends who had so many interesting anecdotes, work experiences to share. I also miss Ogawa San, my General Manager. Ogawa San is like Master Shifu in Kung fu Panda, full of wisdom, grace and humility.

Someone legendary once apparently said that all that is lost is not lost forever. I am sure I am going to meet them somewhere some other time.

I came to Toulouse on 24th September.The drive from Blagnac airport in a Toyota Prius(not manufactured in India) was most satisfying. France follows Left Hand drive system. The roads are all in good condition. Taxi is all metered. So, it means an au revoir ( temp. goodbye in french) to the Chennai auto wallahs.

Also, People genuinely keep things clean. And one thing I keep reminding myself here- Availability of dustbins is a big concern in India. In France, dustbins are everywhere and probably cleared every 3rd hour.

Sun rises in Toulouse only by 7am and sets by 8pm. For someone who stayed close to the equator for most of his 28 years, this is new. Weather varies between 14-28 degree. For the time being, lets call it the Bangalore of France.

People love their language here in Toulouse. So, they don’t speak English and speak only French. So, the Bonjour Sahasranamam us inevitable. The French are similar to Tamil people in that they are rooted to their culture. Some of my Tamil friends here cribbed how difficult it is with no English. I guess life comes a full circle for them here.

Coming to the internet connection, I purchased Free internet connection. It cost me 9 euros for unlimited voice calls and 60gb 4g internet is too good. The internet download speed is awesomatic. (I remember my Chennai friend again at this stage)

That’s Toulouse in 3 days. As I complete this post, I would like this to be a new beginning to my blogging process. To those who read, a big thank you !

Disclaimer:

Judgements made on minimal observations are not to be taken seriously and only in light vein.