One of the lessons I learned during my stay in India comes along with the Hindi word “Jugaad”. It describes a behaviour about managing things somehow, and finding solutions for any problem with limited resources. During the project, I could adapt to this lesson, always being confident and knowing “it will work… somehow”. At the Joint Indo-German Experience Lab I worked on a data mining based solution for an advanced process monitoring system. During the three months of my stay, I implemented a quality management tool based on the concept of cyber-physical production systems. And finally, it worked, with some special thanks to “Jugaad”.
It was not the typical tourist perspective when traveling a foreign country. My stay was about becoming part of campus’ daily life in India. The many great colleagues, the very open fellow students and the big hospitality made my stay a great experience far away from touristic paths. It was the second day, when I was still a bit jetlagged and some students asked me to join them for solving a very special task. It was Janmashtami, the day of lord Krishna’s birth and one of the many Indian holidays. On a field, an earthen pot full of butter and milk was hung up approximately 5 meters above the ground. In order to succeed Krishna as a heroic butter thief, we had to build a human pyramid and to smash the pot as the fastest of several other teams. That was a great event. Our team won and from that point on I had the feeling, I had arrived not only at BITS Pilani campus, but right there in BITSians’ life.
My wonderful colleagues provided me with some very personal insights. I learned the Indian style of cooking and we had a great feast with the best Pakoda at a colleague’s flat. Another day, a befriended couple, which we also knew from our project, invited me and the other German students to their family in Bikaner for Diwali. It is the so called festival of light where I saw most of the fireworks in my life. We were visiting different places, e.g. a hinduistic temple dedicated to rats. We enjoyed the time together and personally I felt very welcome.
Besides the work on the project I had the chance to visit Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, and other places. Regarding the Indian landscape, it was most impressing to travel the region of Ladakh in the Himalayan province Jammu and Kashmir. The sparse scenery, beautiful monasteries and remote roads up to 5300 m altitude were truly breath-taking.
I would like to encourage every student, who thinks about becoming part of the Indo-German exchange, to apply for the project between BITS Pilani and the IWF at TU Braunschweig. For me it was an unforgettable time and I’m thankful for all the support during my stay.