Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Well, it just transpires that I have reached the United States of America to pursue my masters in Engineering. My geographical coordinates could be corrected as Raleigh, North Carolina 27606, USA ...

WEEK 1

Just to say that I haven't got over the jet lag phase yet, after that lousy marathon flight to out here... I still get up very early in the mornings... and struggle to suppress rising tides of drowsiness in the afternoon at three... ... but in between, you realise that you indeed have actually realised the United states of America...

... US of A is a phrase that takes a while to get adjusted to the fact anyway! You get out on the road to find everybody driving in the wrong lane, sitting on the wrong side ... having a laterally inverted traffic sense and the fact that you have to cross only at the zebra crossings - Thats a tad too much "whats wrong with everybody?", one is compelled to think. The fact that you are in the US of A ...maybe

... Also, I keep often forgetting that I am in US of A... because of the fact that there are so many indians around... yeah, there are like about 150 indian engineers invading the graduate school of North Carolina State University... and its often a cryptic surprise to find the familiar faces and languages and accents among freakishly neat surroundings... and a stale realization of the country hits hard when one is hungry and is forced helplessly to head towards the kitchen or browse suspiciously through that junk food menu for bland vegetarian grub... That trans-atlantic lufthansa flight had an impending impact on my appetite over the past week... I don't know.. but they served this horror of a sandwich as a 'special vegetarian meal' that corrupted my appetite till this day... that I have developed a phobia that western people always tend to have an alterior motive to ill-treat vegetarianism... But I have judged a little too early until I chanced upon this chocolate ... The chocolate and ice creams are like that most amazing lot here... and dirt cheap... the strange thing is that in India, ice creams and coffees and burgers, pizzas, cakes are all freakishly unaffordable on a daily basis, and here - the whole nation munches the damn stuff all day. No wonder America is such an over weight nation. You wanna have bland vegetarian stuff at restaurants here all time, you better plan a hollywood career right after graduation!!! Its that costly....

(Sorry, for all the americans here but, its a kind of a culture shock)
... However, I have started cooking and got the dal almost acceptably right after 4 trials... the rice is still a paste - we are currently blaming it on the american variety though, The sambar was almost saltless, the rasam was over spiced, and the upma is still brown... The eggs don't boil and who the hell put chilli twice in that vegetables anyway? A unanimous democratic resolution is passed that moms are the best cooks in the world. One would easily give up than having a bunch of engineers to cook their own food... but we are worth the salt and this emperical approach to cooking will go on for another 2 months, I presuppose and have presently resigned myself to consuming some amazing fruit juices and fruits... which by the way is my best culinary booty in the US of A... still a better alternative than visiting those debacle museums of junk food outlets!!!

(The culture shock continues...!)

The university is amazing... Even the indian institute of technology back home could be as self chauventistic but this is a sprawling campus with beautifully landscaped lush green surroundings with a lot of trees .. North Carolina is a very green state... There you really are not in India... impeccable neatness just almost pervades every spot of the country... and its just an awe-inspiring environment to educate oneself... the climate is very inconsistent and gets quite hot and humid here and most of the time its pleasant and would invite you to just walk around in my New Amazing Adidas Sneakers I bought here recently.... for $30.

The education system ain't like ours at all... its pretty flexible... you can choose your hrs of work and I have been given a key to the building, my office is getting ready, and I have to get ready to studying again... classes and lectures are recorded on video and are downloadable from the net as well, in case you miss (read "bunk") ... and my library has already given me an ipod on rent which I am using it for songs obviously... The library is like the best of my life ... its just way too good... 9 floors of diverse knowledge ... just unstoppable temptation, sometimes... and you literally have to cross 7 seas to see stuff like this... I met my research group, we went for a lunch and stuff... where I had my usual veggie burger... Atleast, I am up for some exciting research in the coming weeks... The classes would start from 23/08 .. sorry...08/23/06...

Well, at the brink of a new kind of experience that I stand at the threshold of, I am still uncured of this eternal nostalgia... I still miss my home, I miss India... I miss rajahmundry ... I remember the school, which i have never thought about for years now... the cricket matches that we played ... and then the ugly unpromising face of my college principal... and then roorkee... that civil dept., ... and our cycle trips to hardwar ... I miss the 4'o clock after-taste belch of amma's cooking when i lie idly on one side of the bed... and the office of Larsen & Toubro Ltd.,... and that notebook I forgot there... and the Underpass project site in dwarka ... Its just that I feel the seperation in space and time...

And then I am hungry... and this whole chain of thoughts remininscing the past would absorb into the perilous concentration of what to cook and when to eat... huh... the mundane stuff is back for the best...

As always and as with everyone, there is nothing like a mathematically perfect or a happy experience... same here. Its always a mixed one with a lot of imperfections and one inadvertantly falls in love with those imperfections and diversities... and delight of human experience is always relative... the good times are relevant only in the light of the bad ones...

But being a very systematic country, its not tough to adapt or anything and there are lotsa frens and stuff and theres my new Adidas Sneakers to cheer me up... I love going and exploring the campus by walking though 2100 acres is bit lot and would take 2 years anyway... One needs a car here or life is pretty stupid and they build the damn places assuming one has a car ... so long distances and broad roads... gotta get working on my wish list though... - iPod, LapTop, DigiCam, A Car ...

Coming up : WEEK 2

2 comments :

Anonymous said...

Separation of time and space...sash did it boy, capturing the essence of the whole damn thing...all the very best to you as you figure your way through..

Twilight Musings said...

That's some great writing there. (Not that your current writing isn't good).

There is so much of "hanging node" scenario in the first few days of grad school. Then we get linked to appropriate elements and have to become a part of stresses and strains.

I guess that's the fun of moving to new place.

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