We love walking a lot. So when we were comfortably settled in the new abode at Eindhoven, we wanted to stroll around—initially near to the place of residence so that we may not lose our way back home! It was difficult for us to remember the name of her apartment as Dutch names are difficult to remember and much more difficult to pronounce. So we were a little worried of the uncertainty that loomed in our mind but still chose to stroll about, keeping close to the vicinity.
We watched a lot many youngsters biking happily on the cycle-path. Some great hustle and bustle seemed in the area. Out of curiosity we walked closer and found some celebrations on what seemed like a campus of an educational university. I remembered my daughter telling us that just a few meters at the back of our residence is the University of Technology located in Eindhoven. I remembered her telling us, jokingly, that noting like “getting lost” could happen to us, “If you ever feel that you have lost direction, just ask for directions to Technical University and you would be able to find my apartment!” I was sure that we were at the entrance to the park of technical University. Not very sure of whether to walk inside the campus or not, we stood for a while at the gate and then stepped in, still not much convinced.
But my inquisitiveness to find how students in a Technical University celebrate their cultural events and to compare them with how we celebrate back home took over the hesitation. But once inside; all the hesitation vanished away. People of all hues and colors were having a gala time. It was some sort of food food festival going on.
The aroma of the various food items emanating from food stalls, the sound of the music, the clatter of the young crowd, the clamping of small running feat added to the ambience which spoke of cultural amalgamation. Age, color or class had no barrier here. There was music and young people, the students, were dancing to the beats of music. Small kids were running around. Old people sat on the chairs or grass watching the life-at-its-best in the surrounding.
After enjoying the ambience for some time, we walked back to our apartment. We got to talk about the college fest and compared it with the fest on campus back home. The first and foremost observation that came to my mind was about the sound level of the music system kept within bearable limits. More surprise awaited me when I talked about it to my daughter. She told me that before any event on the campus of Technical University; residents of all the neighborhood apartments get a notification about the event informing them of the event, the timings and also the invitation. I quote from one of those notifications about the parties on campus that I found in her apartment mailbox:
“Dear neighborhood resident:
…Because you live relatively close to the campus of the TU/e, it may be possible that you hear some noise from the parties and the campsite. Halfway during the evening, the sound level will be considerably lower than before, since the music from the parties is directed away from your house…we will do our best to minimize the negative consequences…to make sure the neighboring residents will have as little as possible negative effects…Of course you are more than welcome to visit both tournaments.”
And after the event some groups of students seek feedback from the neighborhood residents whether they were duly informed about it or not and whether they were disturbed by it or any other comment that they wanted to make!
The civic sense is promoted by all the stakeholders and the students learn not only the course work but, more importantly, how to be responsible citizens. We sure could learn a thing or two from these seemingly small acts! Could we learn some lessons from Dutch society to raise our level in “happiness” index!
Some lessons to be learnt!!!