Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Of Eventful Journey and First Days...

So long time no see...
It is about five days in the US. I don't know where to begin or what to begin with..the mind is cluttered with so many thoughts just like the luggage in my room. I left New Delhi on 01 August, travelling for the first time to a different country..someone like me who has never stayed away from home for more than 10 days, who has travelled outside Delhi in just 4 trips in the last five years (all office trips)..I was getting goosebumps. Mummy bhi na itna emotional ho jati hai..I wish she had another and a better son :/ Anyways, so I had to fly to Chicago and then take a connecting flight to Cedar Rapids, which is fifteen minutes away from Iowa City. I flew by Air prizes for guessing about their service..rude crew members, frustrated souls with no regard for customer service. There was a stopover at Frankfurt for two hours. Frankfurt looked beautiful from the top...such beautiful houses and fields. And while coming, I watched Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu on the flight and couldn't help but wonder at the similarities between Rahul (Imran) and I. At one point, Riana (Kareena) says to Rahul, "mujhe tumhara problem samajh aa raha hai...tumhara na self esteem bahut low hai." :\ And then I started thinking about some things which I had promised myself that I won't let them bother me..So I reached Chicago airport. It is huge! I landed at about 10:30 AM and my next flight was at 13:55 PM. The security checks, immigration checks and luggage checks are terrifying. An officer came up to me and asked if I was carrying rice. I said yes and then he took them out. What had happened that I met three of my other classmates - A, R and P on the flight. We hadn't planned to travel together but just bumped into each other. This girl P she was carrying 7 bags in all! Seriously!!! I couldn't carry three and she was carrying seven. She somehow got two-three bags as hand baggage in Air India but of course, why would the other flight people allow her the excess baggage? She was asked to pay for them and check in again. Now those two guys A and R simply left without telling anything. How would she carry seven bags? So I helped her out. To go from Chicago International Airport to Domestic Airport, one has to take a metro. To tow such luggage, naturally it took time. We reached the domestic airport at 13:05. She had to check-in again but my luggage was already checked-in, of course she was going to miss the flight. I told her that I am leaving now else I will also miss my flight. She was checking in and I was getting my security check done for the domestic connecting flight. And whoa! there was a huge queue moving at a snail's pace. In my mind, I was thinking I should ask these people to let me go ahead but then I thought this is US, here people will not allow me to jump queues. So after getting scanned from all places with various poses, I got my secutiy check done. It was already 13:45. I literally ran with my belt, documents, and shoes in hand (shudder at the sight :() and reached the gate where the guy tells me, "You flight flew three minutes ago." Oh shit!!!!! Why? For no fault of mine. Oh no! But he said I can adjust you on another flight at 18:00. I went blank. What about my luggage I asked. He said, it will be locked out at Cedar Rapids, so do not worry. What to do? I had to pick up my room keys from the property dealer at 15:30 and his office closed at 17:00. What to do now? I did not bring my cell phone with me as I wanted to keep it at home due to some bank account details. Cannot make phone calls from the phone..luckily, I had written down the address of the property dealer in my diary. I called him up using a public phone booth..wasted 50 cents as did not know how to make the call :( He told me that he will put the keys in an envelope outside his office, so I can come and collect them from there. Now started the process of waiting. I ate a burger at McDonald's for $4.5!! And what was in it - just burger, onion and lettuce. I felt like Rs. 300 for this crap (Yeah I still convert everything into Indian currency). Waited till 18:00..met P again who was going by the same flight. All the while I was thinking about the luggage. Reached Cedar Rapids. I ran to the baggage section and what I was dreading had come true. The lady said there was no luggage! She checked all around but nothing could be found. And P, because of whom I missed the flight, had got her luggage because she travelled in the same flight. I felt so stupid. I mean seriously why! The lady then gave me a helpline number and told probably the luggage hasn't come yet and that I should come again tomorrow. Meanwhile, some Indian students had come to pick us from the airport. They told that it is normal here, so you will get the luggage tomorrow. It was already late...almost 20:00..they told me it would be better if I stayed with those guys, A and R, who had come earlier as I do not have a phone number. So they dropped me at their place (P stays in an apartnemt just below their place). And lo! what I find? They have brought my luggage!!! I felt so releived. But later I felt so irritated at them. Why did they bring my luggage? Who had told them to? At least they could have told the guys who picked me up as they were the same guys who had come to pick them up! They behaved in such a weird manner that they left P and I at the airport, so why showing concern now? And how did they guess that was my luggage? all three bags..They said, when they opened my bags they found photocopies of my passport (which I had put in case of any emergency). So they thought they should bring it for me. If they had helped at the airport, we all would have reached on time. They made such faces when I stayed at their place. And to top it all, they had opened the bag that contained food..ate half of a box of sweets...I know I should be thankful to them but I felt so irritated at those guys :( I had called home from the airport and as soon as I told this mummy started crying on the phone (and it was Rakhi that day and she was about to leave for Mama's place). She got so worried how will I manage and all. Mujhe itna darr nahi lag raha tha jitna mummy ko :\ Then I called her again to say it is all fine now. And she thought I am lying. If I had to lie, why would I tell that in the first place. Then stayed the night at those guys' place and then came back to the room the next day. So this was the first journey to the US began. But it is ok. These are learning experiences. Life teaches lessons. Everything is fine.

So how has life in the US been until now? It is alright. I will write another post soon on my experience with some great people who went out of their way to help us. I haven't cried for home till now and I hope I can stay like this as long as possible :[ I know when some difficult time comes, it will come out :( I have posted some pictures on Facebook. The city is very pretty. The one thing I am literally concerned about is watching Hindi movies. While coming back from the airport, all the while I was thinking about the luggage. The first non luggage related question I asked those guys who had come to pick us was if there is any Hindi movie theatre here. He said no. Noooo.. How can I stay without them :( I will lose my touch with them and become more emotionally dead :(  The other thing I terribly miss is a newspaper. I am so used to reading HT for the last 15-20 years. I can read other newspapers but something feels amiss when I do not read HT. So, the first thing I do in the morning is read the epaper. 

And today only, on Facebook, the official page of Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu posted these lines:
Rahul: Seriously, who are you Ri?
Riana: Your new best friend....

This is the scene where Ri gives Rahul a is so amazing..:( :(

Some pictures...


This is my favorite place..You can play Chess on the floor...

Or paint a bench..anyone can paint...

Or play the piano...

Or just sit around...

And find inner peace ;-)

 The title of the above picture is below: The Ties that Bind

A beautifully painted bench...

Share the road..

Johnson Street where home is located..

The Old Capitol Building..the flag at half mast to honor the victims of the Wisconsin gun attack..

Have to write about so many more things. Will try to update often when I get an Internet connection..

Dialogue of the Day:
यहाँ कोई caste waste नहीं पूछता..आपको अगर अपना काम आता हो, तो रास्ते बन ही जाते है..हाँ, आसानी से कुछ नहीं मिलता..कभी कभी अकेलेपन का...दुखी होने का एहसास होता है फिर भी मुझे लगता है की यही मेरी जगह है..मैंने खुश रहने का फैसला किया है

 - Sona, Luck By Chance.


  1. All the best Panky!!!
    The bench on which you are sitting seems like Indian flag :P

  2. Thank you :) All the best too :)

  3. Sahi hai launde...just one thing.. STOP WORRYING...relax and enjoy life over there!! ATB \m/


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