Becoming Zaha.

Ideally, I should be writing my assignments right now. But after hours of room-hunting, I feel like spending some me-time. Thus this personal blog post after a long time. If you aren’t interested in my personal whereabouts, this is the moment to click on the back button.

library, otto von guericke universitat magdeburg

Library, OVG Universitat Magdeburg.

I’ve moved to Magdeburg, Germany. This is new life for me; a non-English speaking nation, pure academics and everything that Anirban Saha never stood for. No one’s complaining though: The sophisticated trams of Magdeburg remind me of the heritage trams in Calcutta, the walk by the river Elbe is similar to Ganga. Nothing much has changed; the city is small and the people are mostly young. Mainly because there are educational institutes and I haven’t really explored the full of it.


Magdeburg, Germany

First shot in Magdeburg: The footpath and the tram.


There’s a Cathedral which is over 800 years old. That’s more than twice the age of Calcutta. The “Green” Citadel is pink in colour and is bound to grab your attention. And yes, no one, including the banks, accepts Indian currency even for an exchange. So basically I am roomless and almost cashless in a non-English speaking nation. The shit-expensive room that is available has a good bathroom and a wonderful view from the window; not sure how I could afford it.

It’s not that bad. Sumit is foster fathering me and my city registration is done and hopefully, by tomorrow would create the bank account. The first weekend we went to Tangermunde and the weekend next we went to Barbeler See: Priorities set. Sometime this month, I would go to Frankfurt. The biggest attraction in Frankfurt, for me, is not the Cathedrals or the Churches… it is the SBI. I’m told that the State Bank of India in Frankfurt accepts Indian Currency and exchanges it to Euros. Sometime later, if the Almighty and the Machine Learning syllabus permits, I want to visit Norway.

Md. Baharam, Malda, Bengal

Autumn colours and random posing.

My life for the last few years had been on the fifth gear, till I encountered Machine Learning theory. If the Almighty isn’t very gracious enough, I’m prepared to fail the examinations. The rest of the subjects I have chosen for this semester are nice; Swarm Intelligence is exciting and there’s no point talking about academics here. The teachers are good and they answer my queries. There have been a couple of times when the teacher understood that I did not understand and had volunteered to give me one more hour after the regular classes.

Students here generally take more than 4 semesters to complete their Masters. Looking at the scope and the amount of studies I need to do, I know why they take the time. But I have money for only 22 months with me. Students here often take up jobs that I might not want to take up. That’s another area I really need to work on.


Cannon Beach, Portland, Oregon, USA.

Cannon Beach, Portland, Oregon, USA.


I came to Germany right after the USA trip and during Autumn. Everything that this land had to offer is new to me: The chill, a sudden storm, fall colors ec cetera. There are footpaths and a lane for cycles to pass; people drive on the streets without any noise. There are designated places where people are expected to cross the streets, and people do, unless drunk. A crate of beer comes for 4 euros. And near the Cathedral there’s a wine shop which sells a variety of extremely sweet whiskey; very expensive.


Tangermunde, Germany

Tangermunde Fort.


Umm, what else? People are nice. Germans who know English, talk. I am not the eldest person in the class. Most of the Indians of my age, who are not yet married, are running away from marriages. I’m not the only one who left his business for further studies, there’s a Russian doing the same. Coffee comes out of the coffee vending machine and it is not bad. Coca-Cola Cherry comes for 1.25 Euros but it is worth it. Why do we not get it in India? Sad.

Oh yes. I will no more upload photographs on my Facebook profile. For blog posts, stick to my page. For photographs, you need to follow me on Instagram. On my personal profile, I’ll just bull shit for the next 24 months. That would be it. Do ask me questions.

PS: If you want to teach me Machine Learning, drop me a personal message on Facebook.


Sai Srinivas, Sujitha Pushpanatham, Madhu Thatikonda, OVG Universitat Magdeburg

I study with them: Sai Srinivas, Sujitha Pushpanatham, Madhu Thatikonda


Why “Becoming Zaha”? Glad you asked.
The Germans can neither pronounce “S” nor “Anirban” in the first or perhaps the second chance. When they ask me my name, I say, “Hi, I am Saha”. They say, “OH! Zaha!”. Here again, no one is complaining.

  • Anjana Roy

    Ha ha.. Zaha. Here in Argentina they either pronounce my name as ANHANA or ANA and I also introduce myself as ANA because I feel ashamed of pronouncing my name as ANHANA 😀