he jackets, blazers and neck warmers started coming off after we landed at Bangalore Airport. I welcomed the warmer weather of Bangalore after the especially chilly morning air of New Delhi on our fifth day in India.

After 4 days in New Delhi, my lips were chapped due to the cold.

But February is the best month to visit New Delhi as it is not as cold as it was from September to January, and not too hot like India’s summer heat which kicks off from March.

Ramesh, our tourist guide at Taj Mahal, said that you cannot walk barefoot on Taj Mahal’s marbled floors during summer as it would be burning hot.

Bangalore, or also known as Bengaluru, is also a metropolitan city like New Delhi, only it’s not as sleek and as clean as New Delhi. The shops beside the highways show a little more disarray, a bit more wear and tear. It reminded me of Cebu City.

Those different versions of their auto-rickshaws just look whimsical.

Clearly the world's most popular team

Murals are also a familiar sight in Bengaluru's streets.

I waved to a couple of friendly Indians. A rare treat, actually. 
I didn't see many smiling faces from passersby since I arrived. 

But what one would notice right away is their traffic, or lack of it.

Here, the traffic flow is orderly. Traffic lights hung in every intersection. 

Reminders on road rules were aplenty. Some were witty, while some were cheesy.

The drivers were disciplined. I didn’t see anyone trying to overtake. And no one was maniacally honking their horns.

If not for Bangalore, I would have thought that Indian drivers were not capable of disciplined driving.

Along the highway, I saw again a familiar sight in India: cows resting beneath an overpass.

Moo alert!

It is in this city that we got a glimpse of a different side of India. One that proves that India is not only all about Taj Mahal.

Bengaluru is India’s IT and education hub, their seat of knowledge and technology, their Silicon Valley.

Bangalore shot down all the misconceptions I’ve held about India and Indians before visiting this country.

Indian Institute of Science (IIS)

IIS is beautiful 440-acre wooded campus. Trees lined the campus roads. Rows of bicycles were neatly arranged along the pedestrian lanes. Flowers bloomed from the trimmed bushes. Birds flew overhead as I heard chirping from the trees.

The place is so pretty that one wouldn’t have thought that India’s best minds have walked, and are walking, on its hallowed grounds.

The institute offers PhD and MS degrees. They only just offered a four-year programme that will lead to a Bachelor’s Degree.  

Their current student population is at 3,000 with 519 total academic and scientific faculty members.

“Our faculty to student ratio right now is at 1:8, which is one of the best teacher-to-student ratios and we try to keep it that way,” said V. Thilagam, IIS’ public relations officer who gave us a briefing when we arrived at IIS.

IIS is a few years younger than Dumaguete’s SillimanUniversity. It was founded in 1909 by India’s pioneering industrialist Jamsetji Tata. He of the Tata Group which seems to be everywhere in India- IT and communications, engineering, consumer products, energy, autos, materials, services, chemicals. I've silently nicknamed it "Tata Everything", for what is Tata not into in India?

The institute’s first Indian Director was a Nobel laureate, Sir C.V. Raman.

There are only around 250 slots open each year. IIS receives more than 600 applications a year. It’s tough getting into this school. For example, their MBA’s ceiling for admissions is only 25 seats.

Their foreign student population is currently only "around 20 to 50" under mheir student exchange program. Thilagan said the school is inviting interested, bright minds from the ASEAN countries to apply for a slot at IIS. (More info about admissions for international students is on their website.)

I have to warn you though. Their website says they will only award fellowships to the most promising students. 

Their faculties focus heavily on science and engineering, like: biotechnology; molecular reproduction, development and genetics; climate change; astronomy and astrophysics; bioengineering; aerospace engineering; nanoscience and engineering; and supercomputer education and research.

My head was spinning as I read the complete list of courses that were rolling up on the screen inside the briefing room where V. Thilagam was giving us a PowerPoint-led briefer about the institute.

Nanoscience? Aerospace Engineering? Astrophysics?

This place must be crawling with geeks and geniuses, I thought. I was awed and downright intimidated. I couldn’t wait to get out of there fast enough. My brain, or what was left of it at that moment, couldn’t take the high level of geekery anymore.

We did eventually leave, but not after a quick visit to India’s Supercomputer.

We posed in front of Jamsetji Tata, hoping that our brainpower would be magnified
to the nth degree. Didn't work. 

Brain-draining SERC
IIS houses India’s Supercomputer Education and ResearchCenter or SERC. At the center’s lobby, we were sternly told not to take photos during the tour inside the laboratory.

The unassuming SERC building where the supercomputer is housed. 

So I’m sorry to disappoint you but you won’t be seeing photos of the supercomputer in this post. And seeing that I don’t know much about the thingamajigs and whatchamacallits involved in how a supercomputer is made and managed, I’m afraid I won’t be of much help in describing to you how it works, either.

All I know is that while the center’s director was giving us a PowerPoint-led presentation at the lobby, I zoned off. He was rattling off figures and specs. He might as well have been talking in Greek.

When he started showing us inside the laboratory, there were banks of tall, grey boxes with numbers posted on them. A couple of them bore the IBM brand.

I asked him what operating system they were using in that supercomputer. “Unix,” he said, and proceeded to give me a reason why, which I simply, for the life of me, could not remember now. I almost regretted asking him that question.

Then I followed it up with: “So I guess it must be pretty neat checking your Facebook from there because it’s so fast.”

Everyone laughed.

For the second time that day, I heard my brain thud to the ground.

Supalak Ganjanakhurdee of Thailand's The Nation pretending to be one of the geniuses on the center's faculty list on the signboard above him.

Up next: Day 6, Part 1: The City Called Infosys

This post is part of my 7 Days of Incredible India series. In case you missed the previous posts in this series, click on the following (at your own risk!) :

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  1. Thanks for sharing how the cities of India looks like because I wanna go there badly! Followed you now. .

    1. Thank you! I wanna go back there someday. :-)

  2. wow! Manchester United Restaurant? hihi The football team has been one of my fave topic when I was still teaching Koreans online. Nice pics in New Delhi btw! :D
    - sionee

    1. Thank you Sionee! Indians are big football and soccer fans, too, I believe. Aside from cricket, which is their national sport I think.

  3. Very informative visit, but some infos were reserved... anyway thanks.

  4. traffic!! like here in the Philippines... =)))

    1. India's traffic (especially in New Delhi and the towns outside it going to Agra) is what I don't miss in India. :-)

  5. Haha, I like that. You zoned off during the presentation. Who wouldn't? Don't worry about it, I don't think a supercomputer looks any different from the computers we know. Bigger,perhaps? Serously, India is nice. I would love to see it someday.

    1. In fact, come to think of it, I think it looked just like any regular PC, only that there were banks of grey, tall boxes beside it that served like the computer's storage space or RAM or something like that hehe. Yes India is SUPER nice!

  6. I wanted to go to Taj Mahal! It looks very nice there. Your got a very envious trip! Wish I could experience India one day. Tnx for sharing!

    1. Ah Taj Mahal is indescribable. The pics you see online or on print don't do it justice!

  7. wow i can imagine walking on a hot marble floor. yikes!

  8. Replies
    1. Oo nga ang kulit! But this is only in Bangalore. Walang signs like that in New Delhi and outside areas. Duon pa naman ang grabe talaga na traffic ever.

  9. Road accidents is very high in India. Thanks for sharing your informative blog.

  10. At least you got to see a different side of India. I know someone visiting India in April. Will send him your link.

  11. Thanks for sharing this post! I can already imagine what India looks like :)

  12. thanks for the info and giving us a glimpse as to what to expect visiting india. helpful. Yahweh bless.
    ever visited glan beaches in sarangani? http://trunklocker.blogspot.com/2011/05/here-comes-sun-glan-padidu.html

  13. I like how you've captured city scenes, like traffic signs and cows under overpasses. They're not the touristy places that people usually take photos of. Now I feel I've really taken a glimpse of Bangalore that its local population sees every day. Btw, did you see many call centers there? I think it's the call center capital of India. :))

    1. Yes, Bangalore is the IT capital of India (also science and education hub). We visited Infosys, which is one of the leading global IT companies in India, and it's purely Indian-owned. Blogged about it here- http://chellelandia.blogspot.com/2012/03/day-6-part-1-city-called-infosys.html

  14. Thanks for sharing your experience in India. It looks like Manila though its people makes the difference.

  15. thanks for the wonderful description of India,ching.It feels like i'm travelling with you...:)

    1. Hi Kyang! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment! That's my purpose of blogging this (aside from being a requirement hehe). I'm glad you feel that way about my posts!


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