Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pappu ka Amrica Safar...Part 3 (Lautke Pappu Ghar ko aye....The Homecoming Story)

After the very long post I'll try to keep this one as short as possible :) .... The return journey started with the cab coming to pick me up on 24th Jan Saturday morning... the cab guy was a friendly and interesting guy... he could not get in through the main gate as I didnothave the security code of the gate.... I had to carry the big bags all the way to the gate where he had parked the car...he started chatting with me while driving asking about my final destination and after knowing that it'll take more than 24 hrs. he said he would rather not undertake such a long journey as he is quite old... he started talking about himself that he was a senior executive in some company and after retirement plays professional golf as part of PGA tour. He then spoke about "Arjun Atwal" (the first Indian to become a member of the U.S. based PGATour) with whom he had played... Arjun seemed to have impressed him as he was praising Arjun a lot... he was also asking how to pronounce "Atwal" and I mentioned it and he was happy.

The Greenville SpartanburgAirport United Airways check-in counter was manned by a old cheerful lady and she was very happy that my passport was a new one with the barcode which can be swiped to gather all information :)... after seeing my final destination as Bangalore she pointed to the next counter saying the guy checking in there was also going all the way to Bangalore via Washington, Franfurt(same itenary as me)...then she started telling that her father had served as officer in India during the British Raj... her dad liked 'Chicken Tikka Masala' among other things from India.... I must say there's lot of India connection everywhere :D ... I got introduced to guy he was on L1 visa from Infosys and was being sent back due to recession ( :( ) ... both of us we delighted because were getting a company till the end of the journey specially the long layover periods in Washington & Frankfurt... actually we had a waiting time of more than 5 hrs at Washington so we decided that we can have short tour of the city if possible...

We got into the flight from Greenville for Washinton Dules Intl Airport on schedule... as the plane was lifting off Greenville my heart felt heavy a little bit. It was a feeling similar to what I had when I was relocating from Kolkata (my hometown) to Bangalore. I couldnot understand why because this was a very short trip and there shouldn't be any attachment but still some things are inexplicable. While getting down from the plane at Washington Dules Intl Airport it was very cold and it was snowing a bit. So we decided to stay inside the airport and not to venture out in the given weather conditions.

The wait for the next flight had just began and to pass the time we took out our laptops tried to connect to internet but all the networks were paid ones. The airport was a Wifi enabled but one had buy hours to be able to browse which didn't make sense so the laptops were closed. We began talking about different things and trying figure out who are the passengers for our flight to Frankfurt. In the afternoon I had a lunch of chicken sandwich with coke. After lunch we were speaking about different things like our experience in US, he was telling he has to adjust to many things because he's returning after 11 months. He said he had travelled a lot during his stay. In the evening we went into the Starbucks Store I got a Iced Caffè Americano - Tall size and a Chocolate muffin that was enough till we got our snack in flight. Before boarding we handed over the I92 counterpart to the Lufthansa counter person.

After boarding the plane I got into my seat which was aisle one with two fat Germans(no offence meant) as co-passengers . No, I am not going to talk about Air hostess this time as I don't want to waste bytes in doing that. Meanwhile flying away from US soil something was telling me that I need to come back as they say "Yeh Dil Maange more".... It took 7 hrs to reach Frankfurt and this time I was racing withtime as I was losing time ;) ... After getting down I met up with the infy guy who by now had befriended a Tamil guy from Bangalore who was returning from Philadelphia. We became an Indian triumvirate. After the same long walk from one terminal to the other, that took me through a same journey which I undertook six weeks back while going to US. We reached the same gate from which I had taken flight to Chicago, here we had to wait for 4 hrs before the next flight to Bangalore. The wait was filled with serious discussion about the economic slowdown and its impact on us, since all of us were from the same industry. We discussed Indian politics, terrorism and many more issues. Finally I got into the last lap of the journey, I boarded the aircraft bound for Bangalore :) and I got a Window seat for the first time naturally quite excited . The view of the Frankfurt city was very nice from the window. At this point I saw a pretty German Airhostess coming over. I must say she was the best Airhostess among all the Lufthansa Airhostesses I had come across in my flights previously. I felt like taking a picture of her but didnot have any cam to do that. One more thing I had heard about the Germans being tall and well built was true because she was quite tall. She was also more polite then the other ones. The inflight movie was 'Singh is King' and I was facinated to see some foreigners watching a bollywood flick with sub-titles ofcourse. While flying over Iraq, Iran, Afganisthan I looked down and the towns below looked very nice withlights on. Nobody could tell that we were flying over a strife-stricken land with so much unrest. The rest of the journey was again a usual fare and time seemed to fly. When we got off at Bangalore Intl Airport it was very crowded any many more international flights had come in... the immigration counters were having huge queues, it took some time to clear and reach downstairs for luggage. While picking the luggage I was little nervous about the customs, what they'll ask its not that I was carrying anything more than the limit but still.... anyway nobody asked any question only the guy at the exit point took the customs form so I was relieved to be out hassle-free. I took a cab and it was great to hear Hindi songs after a gap of six weeks and my US trip[first overseas trip] had finally come to an end. I was heading home with candies (chocolates) and sweaters and memories ;)....
Hindsight : I must say besides this being my first international travel it was at a very significant time. I had witnessed History when I had seen the Inaugural speech of "Barrack Obama"on tv 'Live' along-with hundreds of US citizens.... and I felt that I was never so interested in any other American president before but I was listening to Obama's speech as this man's words will actually impact my life. The Washington Intl Airport was filled with Obama life-size cut-outs, keychains, his autobiography, pens, penholder, coffee mugs and what not maybe even on under-wears...the life-size cut-outs were no different than the ones our politicians use during elections.... I also witnessed the grim situation of economic meltdown.... how it is hitting hard on the world's most powerful economy.... it was some contrast as I found large corporations are going bankrupt at the drop of hat, at the same time some small/medium companies are witnessing phenomenal growth both in terms of size and bottomlines... this 'global meltdown' is also proving that efficient organisations are not only surviving but actually growing in these conditions...but I must say its one of most turbulent times that we are passing through. With these thoughts I am ending my marathon series.
This the final part of the series {Pappu ka Amrica Safar}

1 comment:

  1. Hi Dhiman
    Finally i am over with your posts. Phew!!
    Though a long narrative yet interesting.
    //only walking souls//
    (with reference to your prevoius post...quite interesting expression)
    You have jotted down your experience quite vividly. I liked everything you have written.

    hey, one thing more don't confuse me with SM from India though i also write under the name SM and member of indiblogger and am the one whose blog(Another Voice) you reviewed recently. I got the hint when you wrote Seasoned blogger in your comment. I too have recently started blogging.