Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I am Back… (I)

The well-known academic proverb ‘whoever goes home, must come back!’ applies quite well to me (at least this time!). So as you’ve guessed, I’m indeed back from home and am trying hard to complete my June’s blog quota!

School kids are usually asked to write essays in ‘language courses’ on ridiculous topics like ‘How you spent your summer vacation?’. And I always feared writing essays on such topics. Why, you ask? For all the obvious reasons: weak vocabulary & laconic nature of mine did not allow me elaborate answers that could be uttered (or written) as simply & succinctly as possible! But today, for the sake of fulfilling my blog quota, I’ll venture into this territory of essaying a typical essay!

How I Spent My Summer Vacation?

I left SUNYSB on eve of 23rd May for the first time to visit my family in Kathmandu, Nepal. There were too many legs in this trip which had to be completed successfully before I could reach my home and rest and relax and be pampered with exotic cuisine & Sweets. Though nothing interesting happened on this trip globally, it is equally interesting to analyze each individual leg of the trip locally to get to a respectable word count:

  • Chapin Apt to Univ. Bus Stop (~5 Min.): [:|]
  • Univ. Bus Stop to SAC (~10 Min.): Loading luggage on the bus is definitely a problem! [:(]
  • SAC to Physics Bldg. (~5 Min.): Meet PJ…
  • Physics Bldg. to SB Train Station (~10 Min.): PJ tags along (or so I’d like to think!)
  • SB Train Station to Huntington Station (~40 Min.): 3 people (AG, PJ, SF) to see me off! That hasn’t happened to me in like 30 years!!!
  • Huntington Station to Jamaica Station (~50 Min.): Got in with some struggle but got in nonetheless!
  • Jamaica Station to JFK Terminal 4 via AirTrain (~15 Min.): Wow! this is just great, the escalator doesn’t work… anyway, got over it… But then why is the ticket to AirTrain called MetroCard? Confused me such that I could not figure out how the card should go in the slot and I’d to be assisted!!! How lame is that? More important than that is this eternal question: WHY is there a LONG line at Qatar Airways baggage check-in 4 hrs before the scheduled time of departure (STD)???
  • JFK – Baggage Check-in: My luggage weighs 30 Kg (should be <= 23 Kg)!!! WOW… am asked to shift at least 6 Kg to my bag on my shoulders or else… So I do just that!
  • JFK – Security Check: No Problem!!!
  • JFK – Boarding QA: All right, at last and its right on time!!! [:)]
  • NY [JFK] to Doha [DOH] (~10 Hr.) : YOU can NOT sleep in the economy class seats. After eating the served meal, playing with the touch-screen monitor, catching a couple of winks, there’s still 5 more hours to go!!! What the Hell??? But it all passed eventually, the flight landed 1 hr before ETA!!!
  • DOH arrival to DOH departure (~3 Hr.): Transit security checks, no problem and boarding again on time!!! I’m impressed…
  • Doha [DOH] to New Delhi [DEL] (~3 Hr.): Peaceful flight again… watched Dasvidaniya on-flight!!!
  • Delhi Arrival formalities: Peaceful again… but just before the exit, a ‘policewoman’ asks me ‘Hey, how many laptops do you have?’ I say, ‘None!’… some more trivial exchanges and after a while her colleague gestures to her to let me go and go I did!!!
  • Delhi Arrival Terminal to Departure Terminal: Came to know about the elevator that runs there for this purpose! Slip-in the terminal by suggesting that security check has started for my Air India flight which did not start till half an hour later… Indeed, I’m pleased with myself!!!
  • DEL – Baggage Check-in: Now 25 Kg (should be <= 20 Kg) is not a problem… Why? I realize later that the flight is only 50% full!!!
  • DEL – Security Check: No Problem again which is not always true!!! And I was right because after this I went to a PCO to call KTM and let my family know that the flight is on-time and ‘send my ride’ accordingly! After the call, I pick up the bill which reads Rs. 811 and I’d talked no more that 2 minutes! I complain to the owner and he says it is to be read backwards and tells me to pay Rs. 118! At this point, I didn’t know if I were to feel infuriated or laugh hysterically… anyway after some more verbal exchanges, I give him Rs. 20 and leave feeling triumphant!!!
  • DEL – Boarding: Which to my surprise was also on time even by Indian Standards!!!
  • New Delhi [DEL] to Kathmandu [KTM] (~1 Hr.): Always enjoyable…
  • Kathmandu Arrival formalities: Everything went smoothly… Collect my baggage and head out of the terminal.
  • Airport to Home (Morning of 25th May): I get out of the terminal and look for the familiar faces of the car, driver, my sister, anyone!!! What the Hell??? No one around??? How can this be happening? Every leg of my trip started on-time and completed on-time (even early sometimes!) but why break that continuity at the last leg??? After waiting for 10 min, I call home and am told my sister & aunt had already left… Well, I wait for 5 more minutes and I see the familiar faces of my sister & aunt… Sometimes you got to ask tough questions without delay so I asked them why the delay? Their answer had two parts: One part was more or less obvious: my sister was included in the ‘receive me’ party and  another was traffic at peak hour which (they were not kidding) has increased a hell lot since two years ago… anyway, it is GOOD TO BE BACK HOME!!!

Tahachal [My house is inscribed in a red rectangle.]

To be continued…

http://mysbfiles.stonybrook.edu/~djain