Thursday, August 16, 2007

My First impression

I have been in the US only 2 weeks now but my first words to myself are still echoing in my head. Words that get reinforced, every passing day. "Boy!! everything is so big around here." Right from the moment, I stepped into the cab at the airport, there has been that feeling of "Shock and awe". There I was - a slender 5' 11, lean and mean, being smothered by the cushion around, with barely my neck sticking out of the seat straining to catch the scenery.

The hotel rooms were thankfully small (normal size by indian standards), but there ends the exceptions. The size was what caught my eyes everywhere, and in some cases caused overloads at the business end of my digestive system as well.

Jumping from "3 Idlis-one limited meals with curd - samosaa/cutlet - and a relaxing dinner of rasam/thayir saatham" to "3 eggs,potatoes and pancakes - 2 eggs,toast and fries - cappucino - and a relaxing dinner of belgian waffles/foot long subs"........I guess this was what people were refering to as "Jet-Lag"(It is not that i had choice when it came to choosing the meals, these were the ideal choices considering the "Investment vs Return" tradeoff). It took me over a week to "settle" things down...whew!!

Not ones to take things lying down, we decided to get things moving along by cooking our own food - Target Walmart. Result Disorientation. An hour and a half later all we could select was one packet of bread. And as we stood before the unending rack of vegetables, me and my roomie, exclaimed almost at the same time - "Even the peas are so big....SIGH!!".

Considering the amount of food that goes into an average american, generations over generations, the girth is only natural. And on a boring day waiting for a bus, as one LARGE human being walked past , I was tempted to go "entha kadayile nee pizza vaangare"...

Well you can call that desperation at the effortlessness with which all the fat tends to get concentrated around a few waists, while the rest move along at a Hindu rate of growth. A classic case of the fat getting fatter and the poor getting poorer. hmmmmm...

As the days went past, the shrinking feeling inside me kept growing. But it was Liberty mami who came to my rescue. A sign board quoting the designer and architect who staked his claim to the liberty - "Everything is so big in America - even the peas". hmm, Wise people do think alike. What say people?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Amerikyan Visheshams

The last post below reads May 30, 2007 and the silence out here has been deafening thereafter..atleast that is what people tell me. It was not that there was nothing worthwhile to pen fact there were tomes to write home about. The past couple of months have been a period in which my life turned upside down and then turned back up again - all in a month or so.Made a wonderful journey to wayanad.And to shake me out of the stupor, a torrid week personally almost immediately. And from the nadir it turned quickly with the end result being - me washing ashore(forgive the hyperbole as "landing ashore" doesnt gel with an epic event) the US of A.

It has been 2 weeks to date now, since D-Day. A day when I checked-in at the quality(questionable???)-Inn at Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. A quaint little town that is just like any other dotting the american interstates. Prominent landmarks being a gas station, a high school and a main street (every town seems to have one, just like the M.G.Roads back home).This being the case, it became pretty evident early on that the standard indian manual for settling down in the US will have to be thrown right out of the window. And thus the odyssey began.

With my scheming brain and my friend and roomie Rajavel's caution and lack of tendency to screw-up, I was expecting it to be smooth sailing. But contrary to expectations, our common tendencies to run to the Indian Stretchable Time zone meant the we were pulled up by the account manager(manager Ka manager ka manager). We had signalled our arrival in style. A week went by and we were rapidly settling down to the rhythm of beer guzzling, truck and Harley driving, easy going, friendly and sadly punctual Amerikya - rural amerikya. A barely perceptible public transport system, nothing remotely close to anything Indian, people who are courteous to the point of causing pain, and no drinking water. To those of you who are reading this and are intending to move to the US, (I know of atleast one) don't worry, this is just the cynic in me getting the better of the travel junkie.

To be fair to stroudsburg, it also has a walmart and other such small shops that stock everything except human beings. An idyllic tourist town smack in the middle of a forest on a mountain, rolling meadows, sudden refreshing down pours, picture perfect cottages, architecture that hanks back to the 50s (or was it the 20s..I cant exactly compare), streams running through the town (under the roads unlike chennai). To cut a long story short - the whole shebang that reminds me of a rain drenched team outing to Coorg. The only spoiler in the works being - WORK. An unavoidable irritant that pops up every now and then.

Considering all the hype given back home about the "promised" land, I was expecting to hurt my jaw as it fell to the floor in open-mouthed whatever. The early signs were promising as the BA flight circled around Newark on a clear evening - Liberty mami ot the left, the famed skyline on the horizon and a huge sheet of metal that was gleaming in the evening sun. A sheet of metal hat turned out to be rows and rows and rows of cars arranged neatly. But that was pretty much the anti-climax as we took a taxi through scenery that was beautiful but repetitive and became mundane soon enough.

And this being the case, a weekend tends to become a dreaded part of the week.And it was an unanimous conclusion that one weekend was all that we could stand. Friday and we were off. Hopping on to a bus that headed to NYC. A comfortable ride and 2 hours later, I hurt my jaw. I generally hate touristy people, the kind who strain their necks to the windows and marvel at the lights and sounds around. NYC made me one. And I needed to brag about it.

The road till Newark was slightly more interesting this time around, but the stretch past Newark and into the sight of the manhattan skyline opening up is a once in a lifetime experience. Familiar from ever so many pictures, nothing prepares you for the actual view the first time around. The 2 days from then on has been something straight out of my college days. Friday night at times square, liberty, the empire state - and a whole new bunch of wonderful friends whom i never ever met before.And of course about 300 images on my camera. Life was good.

The experiences have been thick and fast..and my head is write now a melting pot of all these thoughts. And i am going to sleep over it. Running my thoughts over the promises that i made to visit this place over and over again. The sights and the sounds of NYC. At the risk of sounding like a cliche' - I love NYC.

P.S- I am pretty sure that the cynic in me will rise again and I will start sounding normal again. But, If over the following blogs you sense a change and I start sounding like an American Desi, please gimme a swift kick in the balls and that I hope will set things write.So, as I wont around here - "Have a good one" :)