Saturday, August 13, 2005

A Start

Out of Bangalore
A lot of indecisiveness, deep thoughts leading to nowhere and inconclusive meetings with many seniors and friends, finally brought me to the Hindustan Airport on the 23rd July night (11 pm Saturday Evening : Data for posterity) at Bangalore. I was amidst a whole group of relatives and friends who had come to see me off on this marathon voyage leading to hopefully a bright future. The airport was embellished with a pall of gloom. I was all set to leave the city I love so much. The thoughts of leaving the family coupled with the fact that I had to leave Malleswaram was one of the most emotional moments in my life. Its always a tough call leaving your motherland, your near and dear ones, friends, relatives, and the city with its soul hidden to others but so visible to a person who has been here since birth. But then, tough shots were the need of the hour. Its always nice when someone else is calling the shots for you. I too felt the same way, and thankfully I put all the burden on the omnipresent being. I tried to shy away as much as possible from my family. I did not have the courage to face any of them without moistening my eyes. I tried to put up a brave front in front of my elders, cracking meaningless and silly jokes which would have fetched me a reprimand if the occasion was something else. But then, everyone wanted to forget about my departure. With tons of agony, depression, gloom, apprehension and what not, I went into the International terminal lobby to check in my suitcases, whisking myself into the security check cauldron. At last I was out of sight of my family members. I was through with the emigration process. I waited, waited and waited. The flight was about an hour late. I had all the time in the world to be cut off from the world. I sat there facing the future without any idea as to what it beckoned. I did not have the interest to start off a conversation with anybody around. I wanted to face solitude. Sometimes, solitude is the best company for a troubled mind. As the public announcement proclaimed the availability of my flight, I got ready to board with sleepy and yet thoughtful mind, the flight to Bombay. I just had to get into my seat and I had no time to discomfort my mind with mindless thoughts as I went into a deep slumber. The next thing I heard was the air-hostess announcing the arrival of Mumbai.

Wait in Mumbai
Mumbai it was and my connecting flight just got delayed by an hour. I had a four hour wait in Mumbai, and thankfully I found company. There was a group of four people, and we struck instant compatibility, sticking together for the rest of the wait. Breakfast was served at the restaurant lounge and for anything in the world, I just can't figure out why Rotis and Channa dal was served for breakfast. Beats me!!! (Its a different story that I would like to have the same thing for today's breakfast considering the circumstances). The tiredness was creeping like hell, what with a half hearted sleep the night before and only for less than two hours, and as luck would have it, all the push back seats meant for sleeping had weary occupants. I really envied them! Finally, it was time to board the flight to Chicago!

Out of the country : Mumbai to Chicago
Yes! I was all set to fulfill my ambition - getting a Masters degree! I boarded the flight checking my documents more than a hundred times for its safety. Obviously, I can't afford to lose any of them. They were more precious than me then. I ventured carefully, finding my seat number, to be seated next to an Andhra (not very surprising) couple. I was fortunate to have good company throughout the flight journey. They kept me abreast of the formalities to be taken care at the Chicago airport. The flight had a brief stopover at London for about two hours(another hour's delay) and then a seven and a half hour journey to Chicago. I spent most of my time with my eyes closed, what with the time zones playing havoc. Wherever the flight went, it was only daylight. The refreshments in the flight was not great, but it wasn't bad either for an empty stomach. At last, Chicago it was!!

At the Chicago airport
Chicago airport is a huge airport, considering the cities from which we come from. It had terminals across buildings that can be traversed only by rail (rather metro). I had to take a metro to terminal three. The size and magnitude of these airports are huge and gigantic. I finished my immigration and customs check formalities, and frantically found my way to the metro that could take me to terminal 3. I was in Terminal 3 in three minutes time. I just had twenty minutes to catch my connecting flight to St. Louis. I produced my ticket at the American Airlines counter to get the free boarding pass. Then, I had a security check (a thorough one) for close to fifteen minutes. I then had to walk for around a kilometre to get into gate G19. I stood in a queue for around ten minutes and then was ready to get into my final destination by flight journey. Here too, the flight was late by around 15 minutes to enable the passengers in transit to be available on time.

At St. Louis
I was there in St. Louis in about an hour. Luckily for me, my senior was waiting for me, along with the taxi. I collected my baggage (one of my checkin baggages had a broken wheel. Boohooo), and then it was a one hour drive from St. Louis to Rolla.

At Rolla
Finally, I was there in Rolla. I was temporarily to be put with a senior. I entered the house at around 1 AM in the morning. I just finished the basic formalities and was ready to get up in the morning at around 8 AM. Believe me, I wasn't affected by the jet-lag!!

More from me later!!

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