Saturday, September 5, 2009

Conference Trip to the Garh of Chandi

I left for Chandigarh on 14 th in the evening. It was a fine evening with moderate climate - about 20 – 25 o C. I had the window seat and sitting next to me was a lawyer - a really fat one. He spared nothing in the meals that were served in the evening. One could have guessed that he was a lawyer when my trousers brushed against his shoe . His shoe was extended within his “area of jurisdiction” and that my trousers were in “his” territory justified his stance. There could have been other plausible reasons for his non action but the brush against his shoe was pretty significant and he did not move an inch. What more he initiated a conversation with me with a free advice on how to open a mineral water bottle! His bulky body remaining stationary, his semi bald head with hair just above the two ears tilted from his shoulders and then came the words of wisdom - “Just twist the lid open”. I told him that I was only checking if the seal of the bottle was okay. The lawyer was on his way to Chandigarh to attend to some legal matters.
I reached Chandigarh on time at about 8:45 PM and took a prepaid taxi to the Hotel City Heart. Next morning I went to attend the conference. There were some interesting presentations on telemedicine interventions in India. One presentation was made via a mobile phone as the speaker had to attend to some emergency. The microphone was placed near the mobile and the speaker was verbally asking a person to change the slides for him. An expedient us of ICT indeed. The events were scheduled till 6:00 PM. I came back to the hotel a little earlier to make final changes in my presentation and got a few feed backs from my colleague in US. My presentation was scheduled at 10:45 AM the next day. Time allocated was 15 minutes. The presentation was a little longer but the chairperson allowed me to continue, so I continued....for 15 more minutes!. After completing my presentation, I came back and took my seat in the auditorium. The next session was on disaster management. The military person was bombastic and all over the mike with “ Those who sweat in peace bleed less in war” and what not. This was in fact a title of one of his slides. During this presentation, a small girl, about 8-9 year old came and sat next to me. She was probably strolling in the institute campus and got curious with the boards and banners. She asked me if the person making the presentation was an ophthalmologist and said that she could not understand what he was saying. When I looked at her, with a smile and no answer she shot back – “Aapko to khali baithna hai yahan per (You just have to sit here, No?). I then explained to her what the speaker was taking about. She added a few of her comments to what I said and then left saying that she was going to the second floor of the auditorium.
The session then broke for lunch with a live demonstration of a telemedicine consultation in which one of the chairpersons was trying to “tele-consult”. There was a technical glitch and the delegates were asked to leave for lunch. During the break, I went to see the rock garden and the famous Sukhna Lake, and came back on time only for the valedictory session.
I later thanked Dr. Singh, the conference coordinator and discussed a pending matter with her. The hotel where I was putting up was in the Sector 17 market of Chandigarh. It is a huge market, bigger than any of the Delhi markets. After some window shopping, and a few shopping attempts thwarted by Delhi - Chandigarh price compatisons, I came across a movie theatre. It was showing the movie 'Fashion' and I had some 5 hours hefore I I left Chandigarh so I decided to watch it. Incidentally the actress in the movie was shown to be from Chandigarh!. The movie is about a girl who discovers the hard reality behind the world of glamour and tries to fight her way back. I left the town a little later than scheduled, at about 3:00 AM. On my way back I met a professor from the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Ghaziabad. He was busy with his laptop earlier. Later in the morning, we discussed politics, management, my organization, community service, and many other topics. I asked him if IMT takes community service initiatives like addressing the problems of public transport systems in Ghaziabad, talking to autorikshaw associations etc. He pretty animatedly described that it was Ghaziabad we were talking about and how people would smash his head if he tried to intervene in the area....... Came back home to join the daily routine.

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