Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bonjour :) Welcome to French language

Training had never been so much fun for me. Thanks to Satyam SLC for conducting the French language course. It is said that French decended from Latin, but for us it resembled English. Although spellings and meaning of many words remain same in French, prononciation was different, so it was little bit of un-learning english.

étudiants de française
French students group photo - Click to enlarge
From Left to Right : Me,Dinesh Thyagaraju, Sreeranjini, Amitha, Kruthika, Soumya, Sandhya(Our Teacher),Sarath, Aman, Rohit, Shridhar, Shambhu, Kripal, Srinivas, Divya prasan,Bindu , Shilpa, Venugopal, Jyothi, Shweta.

Facts related to French
  • French is one the second most influential language next to English.
  • Spoken as a native language in 5 continents.
  • Official language of about 60% of African countries.
  • More than 40 countries use French either as first language or second language.
  • Most people in Canada and Europe speak French.
  • More than 250 million people speak French as their first language.
    Le cháteau de Chamboard and Monalisa (La Joconde) - a famous french picture
    Some resources
  • Why should we learn French
  • http://www.bonjour.com/- An excellent resource for every beginner or traveller planning to visit any French spoken country. This website has audio clips in a very easy to use interface with categories like greetings, numbers, asking for help, finding your way etc.
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/french/lj/challenge Very good fast track tutorial by BBC. Checkout other detailed topics too.
  • http://french.about.com/library/weekly/aa020901a.htm Detailed tutorial at about.com
  • http://www.frenchassistant.com Another good tutorial with audio clips and lot of stuff on grammer.

    A Song.
    Alouette is a very interesting nursery song of french language. A link to Alouette song

    And finally Translators are invaluable resources to Translate your words/sentenses from/to any of the popular languages. You can even translate a website.
  • http://www.worldlingo.com
  • http://www.appliedlanguage.com/free_translation.shtml

    If you have gone through enough resources and prepared for a test, www.French-Chat.com lets you apply your learnings and chat with people in french. Most of these people are also fluent in english.

    I have tried all above resources and I am sure they will be useful for you too. Suggestions?.. Any useful resources that can be added here..? shoot me a mail.
  • Friday, November 25, 2005

    Jugaad - Vehicles made from waterpumpsets

    Abhishek & his father were fascinated by those open vehicles made of water pumps (These are called Jugaads). At last they caught hold of an orphaned one and started trying their hands in it. Interestingly I had seen a documentary on these vehicles on a news channel few months back. These vehicles are called Jugaad. These are made locally and they cost around Rs. 40,000 (That's $1,000). They have poor brakes and cant go beyond 40 kms per hour. They run on Diesel (They are just ordinary water pump sets converted into engine)
    Arun added that very often brakes of these vehicles fail and one of the passengers jumps down and applies a manual wooden block as a brake.

    We found these vehicles only in Rajasthan just like camels only found in this part of India.These vehicles didn't have any registration number (obviously they are not registered with RTO) hence they end up not paying any tax.

    Interesting story of how these jugaads came in to existance.

    Sunday, November 13, 2005

    Lotus Temple - Delhi

    Lotus temple is a meditation hall built by Birlas.
    Absolute silence maintained inside gives you a great feeling and helps you meditate peacefully. Light effects (Just the light coming from the top) are good. Ironically no one came there to meditate. Lotus temple has become a monument and people just come there to visit it (mostly first time visitors).
    As usual Abhishek didn’t forget to have his share of fun with Lotus temple.

    Sisodiya Garden – Rani ka bagh (Queens garden) - Jaipur

    Sisodiya Garden – Rani ka bagh (Queens garden) - Jaipur
    As the name suggests this was built for the queen. It has typical Rajasthani style buildings. There is only one significant thing about it, you get traditional Rajasthani dress (just for the photos) and get the snaps instantly.

    Jantar Mantar - Jaipur

    Jantar mantar is a famous open air observatory built by Maharaja jai singh II. Jantar mantar is located right beside Jaipur city palace. It has lot of astronomical information related observatories like planets movement, clocks.

    Abhishek was wondering at one of those observatory as one of BeyBlade grounds (that’s what he told me when he saw that first :p )

    Sheesh Mahal- Amber fort

    Amber fort is located near Jaipur on the way to Delhi.
    To go to the fort elephant and local vehicles are available. We couldn’t use elephants as they were already busy with others and we didn’t have enough time to wait for them to come back. This fort is famous for Sheesh mahal. Magnificent glassworks on these walls were replicated in the sets of Mughal-E-Azam. This was one of the most expensive films in Indian films history.

    Fatehpur Sikri

    Fatehpur Sikri is situated about 37 Kms from Agra. It was founded by Akbar in 1569 AD and used as his Capital. Akbar prayed in this village for a son and after that his empress Jodha bai was blessed with a son who was named emperor Jahangir. Unfortunately within 50 years of its construction it was deserted due to scarcity of drinking water.

    Sheikh saleem chisti tomb is made of white marble and has marble screen surrounding the cenotaph has beautiful floral design. Beauty of this wall can be seen when you go inside and watch, it looks like a mirror from inside. When you see it from outside it looks like a white marble building and nothing else is visible. It is said that this marble work is the best, even better than the one in Taj mahal.

    Fort of Agra

    As the name suggests this fort is located in Agra and was used by rulers of Agra. Constructed by Akbar the great. Most significant people who ruled and used this fort were Shah Jahan who built this fort and Taj Mahal. Later akbar made some changes to this fort. Each corner of this fort tells a story. As most of the forts in India this fort also had water surrounded. During those days crocodiles were present in the water making it impossible for enemies to enter through water. Beautiful art work is seen on every corner of the fort.
    Started construction in 1565 and took eight years. This is a must visit place in Agra.

    It's an amalgamation of buildings and palaces. Different kings contributed to the construction of this palace including Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb.
    This is a part of the entrance to the fort. We were told by the guide that when enemies use to enter the fort from this entrance soldiers use to roll stones from the top so that the enemies coming entering will get crushed.

    This portion of the Agra fort is has the most beautiful view of Agra. Specially beautiful Taj mahal is visible from this side. When we went there it was early morning and we could see Taj mahal filled with mist on the banks of Yamuna river.

    Taj Mahal

    Taj Mahal Taj mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world. Its made of white marble and is situated on the banks of Yamuna river. Taj mahal was built by Shah jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz. Shah jahan was house arrested by his son for these spendings.

    Read full story of Taj mahal

    Out of many proposals shah jahan selected a turkey design for Taj mahal. It took 22 years to complete and 20,000 laborers worked on it. It was completed by February 1643 A.D.

    Friday, November 11, 2005

    Checklist for any travel.

    1) Know the place before going there.
    You can appreciate the importance and beauty of the place only if you know the details. Read about the place before visiting without missing. You can read about the place through Internet (this being the most resourceful means… just go to google and your keywords will show you what you are looking for), books on those places, friends or people who already visited that place. This will also help you make the list of must visit parts of those places that you must visit.

    2) Book hotels in advance
    Although this may not be possible all the time, but it always saves lot of your time and energy if you book in advance. You can find the hotels listing with your local travel agent and you can book them too. Internet is another means where you can find the details of the hotel, interact, virtually visit the hotel and book them online.

    3) Pack your baggage to suite your travel.
    Don’t pack everything; just pick the right ones. Too much of baggage is always a pain to carry. Do not forget to carry a book and a pen. A music player is a good company when you have lot of time to spend during journey. Camera/Handy cams along with batteries are a must to keep the memories forever with you.

    4) Most important – Don’t forget to have fun.
    That’s the sole reason you are going. So ignore all odds and try to enjoy every moment when you are on any travel.

    4) International travel.
  • Dont forget your Passport when crossing countries.
  • Take a letter that talks about the purpose of your visit (Business or tourist letter)

    Happy Journey