It was a chaotic morning on airport road when I packed my bags from my hometown,Bangalore for my higher studies in the United states
I reached the airport in time and after a warm hug to all my closest buddies and also one to my uncle,I went in to check in my baggage and was promptly fined for excess baggage(the entire JP nagar was in my bag so this was expected!!!!).After shelling out a fortune I took off to Delhi but I couldnt take my eyes off Bangalore till the last moment and I mean it :)
After spending 10 hrs in dilli in the unbelievably cold climate(I was shivering with a monkey cap on!!!).. I left by the early morning flight to london.London was really cold I heard but I never stepped on British land.After 5 hours in heathrow airport where I felt as confused as a rabbit in the headlights,I got ready to board the flight to phoenix.It was a long haul,one of 10 hours.I was happy that I was going to the united states for the first time(as everyone would be),but I couldnt but think anyless of the place I had just left.Call it whatever u want,obsession maybe.It is an emotion that everyone feels when they leave home for greener pastures,I guess.
I soon landed in phoenix at the Sky Harbor airport(and was welcomed by real cold weather,it was deja vu..) and to study in one of the US's premier institutes,Arizona State University in Tempe,about 25 mins drive from the state capital,Phoenix.I was lucky that my cousin resides here,so the initial homesickness was dealt with comfortably and I felt still at home.After a phone call to my folks back home,I felt normal again.
It took 5 days for me and my friends to find a house here and we moved in on the 6th day to a 2 bed room apartment.I realised when I moved in to a house,how difficult it is to set up one on our own without help from the elder folks.Here everything had to be done by us,including that priceless art form called cooking and I knew it would be a challenge.It will continue to be..
My university is a 10 min walk from my room and I was told that it is best to purchase a "Bike",no not bajaj pulser,but our very own do-pahiya cycle(cykil in kannada :)).I immediately did buy one .People think about life in the US as a luxurious one,with all the facilities thrown in for good measure,but for a student it exactly isnt one ,surely not at the very start.
Surely a demotion from TVS victor to a cycle is not luxury,so isn't sitting in the room on the carpet(for the time being) without furniture,without tv,computer,internet and phone.It is a hard grind,but I love challenges.As they say,it is all a matter of time :)
Arizona's(state where I stay) climate is the best in the US during winters(its like delhi),but atrocious during summers(ala rajasthan).My university is the second largest in terms of student population in the US,almost catering to a 50ooo students.The building is also a tone down version of the royal and regal campuses in Infosys,India.This is more of the traditional variety,grandiose nevertheless.
Here the eye always is on the look out for indians,'desis' in the local lingo.There used to be a hazaar ones around me in Bangalore,but here the number is 800(in my university), so it is a very close finish :)
I have seen desis here giving each other a smile,almost a sheepish one(though seeing each other for the first time),as if to say "tu bhi aa gaya kya bete". :)
One lesson that everyone learns when they leave India is that "rupee" works only in India and in the US it is dollars.Strange?? No..I mean you cannot survive here if you convert your expenditure to rupees. For example a good chicken burger is 60 rupees but here cheese chicken burger(cheese seems compulsory herefor the locals,but desis like us desis-t it!!!!) is about 5 dollars or so. 230 Rupeeeesa???? No buddies it is just 5 dollars.(Conversion works when you come back to India.So hold on till the semester breaks:))
I know this is the place I will be in for the next few years and so the mind has now adjusted accordingly.It will be the same with whoever leaves India.It will take time to adjust,may be 1 to 2 weeks... :) The traffic follows rules here(they dont in India),everything seems so systematic unlike the mostly haphazard setting in India.But does that mean this is better? Well you can make your head change its thoughts,but the heart will do its own thing always.
As I write this listening to a few select kannada songs on the internet and having had a good voice chat with my buddies in the morning,I miss home yes.But thanks to internet it is not as bad as it used to be,I am sure.
And yes I do make it a point to catch a bangalorean and speak to him ONLY in kannada because I feel like I am in Jayanagar then rather than university drive in tempe. :)
US rocks,but india is the best,anyday(and this wont change for me,forever:) )
Guys who are planning to leave india in the next few years,do make sure that you enjoy your time out there instead of the uncontrollably bad cribbing that goes on "is desh ka kya hoga" and all that bullshit. And guys home food is the best always.Trust me you will find it out when you eat your own cooked food :)
Keep the desi flag flying high and by the way
Navaduva nudiye kannada nudi.. :)