Friday, October 26, 2007

The Touchdown...


"God, I do not want to die virgin... There is so much to see... i mean new places... damnn... new states and countries, new culture... I am just 22, it would be so unfairrrrr"

I gulped down the huge bile of slime in my mouth as I struggled to find a polythene bag in the pouch. The thunder at esselworld is fine, but such an experience at an height of 15630 feet above sea level is no fun at all. This was the third time our plane had been warded off by the air traffic controllers to get their calculations right. And it seemed that the pilot might have been an expert at flight simulation before, but he was doing it all wrong with the real thing. 'Mental note: always ask the pilot for his credentials before flying...'

My insides crunched with relief as the birdy bumped on the airway with a bang and slowed down quick enough to prevent me from yelling. I kinda had a hunch that they make the economy class more rickety than its counterpart and was half prepared to ask the blonde who gave me a perfectly fake smile as I exited. Germans! Did they think that we were playing some weird game called 'Blitz Krieg'?? I bid a sour goodbye to Lufthansa and rushed to the immigration counters with Jay to beat the German kids visiting US on a school trip. I grinned as I remembered my last school trip. Crossing city boundary is one thing, but crossing continents! The officer played with my passport and stamped it with the entry date... Boom, I had entered US of A. Jay and me rushed to the baggage claim area cribbing about the 3 dollar trolley. Man! why cant bag makers be more innovative?

Collecting my black and brown mass , i turned around to find Jay missing... Hell. I just realized I was all alone some 23473 miles away from my loved ones with aliens around and English language as my only means of support. The doors opened to the visitors area and i found myself running the 'Image recognition' software in my mind to screen my Pick-up guy, Rajesh from the crowd. Orkut sure helps in times of need, for I found him rather quickly and my first thought was 'Wearing 3/4ths at the airport? My mom would go crazy if i did such a thing...' A smile, a firm handshake and we were on our way outside to his green car which groaned with the weight of 3 mighty bags. The news that my temp acco was suddenly changed from Guru to Varadan disoriented me a little though. But this is how RIGSA works...I presumed.

'Dil chahta hai.. kabhi na beete chamkile din..' I felt a sense of belonging, now that I heard that play in the background. The car was hot, sun was shining high and dry overhead. Mirages formed and evaporated on the road as Rajesh hit the gas and the car sped away. More Burger Kings than Mc Donalds, tall American flags at every turn, cars that didn't honk, ... A halt at the gas station and I made my first phone call to India.

A voice that didnt sound sleepy at 4 am in India. A rush of voices trying to grope the receiver... "Ho... chhaan jhala pravas... Jhop jhali 2 taas... ho, velevar plane aala... " . The rush subsided as I detailed my journey. Good byes exchanged. A short and sweet conversation.

Back in the car, we chatted away as any Indians would after meeting in a foreign country. Home, family, career, courses... soon, we were zooming past the much heard about Cedar Lane and in front of 86 C, my temp acco. My mind was growing numb with every minute, as i was trying to grasp everthing under the sun. Since childhood, i was bad at remembering roads and turns and this extra effort was taxing my little brain. We entered my temporary house through the back door (which I realised quite later) and i saw 2 more new faces. Varadan, my host and Onkar, another temp acco as I was. Initially, assuming both of them to be my hosts, hellos were exchanged and I dropped the baggage in the bedroom which carried no bed. Later Onkar enlightened me about his arrival 2 days back. Rajesh bid a hasty goodbye and I was left again to fend for myself with new people. As I was experiencing the first few enchantments of a laptop with a mindboggling internet speed, Sandeep showed up from the recreation room. Tall, handsome and my communications senior, I was contemplating about firing him with an array of questions when he made up his mind to hit the gym with Varadan and left in a jiffy.

And it was then that the hell broke loose...

1 comment:

vaidehi said...

Can't wait for the chaos to appear here.. ;)