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Incomplete, me!

Once, I went to an office to sign up for my paperwork due for an employment. Being in USA, I like the way they present the tax forms upfront, so we know that we are part of something bigger and tax is being paid directly, there is nothing illegal about the job offer, etc.  This happiness is short-lived by the amount of confusion innate in any Government forms. And after multiple questions, filling up portion of the forms and going back and forth, I made a friend out of the front desk clerk. Then comes the part which asks for my status in the country. I say without any expression, but surety to know the answer “I am an alien”. That lady held my hand in a semi-sympathizing manner. I was startled, for a moment, because I never expected such a reaction. The movie “Independence Day” (US American English movie) came to mind. I did not dwell myself too much into the implications of the movie, in this context, for I have a job at hand. A job to complete. As I continued, more spaces stood out blank “says aliens to read instructions”, I read out. This time the lady had come to terms with my kind of reading. So, we were back to the content, directly.

Sometimes, in life, when confused, I feel that I live to fill up the blanks in the forms presented at various stages of my life. Except for the space for family, parents, I used to wonder all the humongous amount of information that we had to put into paper to get various benefits from the Government, or even in the case of employment. This continues into online applications, tax filing and almost every place I end up being me. And then this funny incident happened.

In my last visit to the health services I was told there was nothing to do, except the chores. The freedom of the country, I am in, gives the practitioner a complete picture of my previous medical cases. Only, whatever I chose to reveal in the beginning, of course. This is a routine in USA, where you are asked the history of your health, about your parent’s health, so the complete case history is at the fingertips of the doc. This time I only had to verbally fill the form that they had in their system. It is mandatory for them to remind me of all the background I had. Especially allergy and surgery. I have been asked in India, my home country, too, about allergy to medicines. This may be standard across the board. However, surgery was something new. So, I am told ” You had no major surgeries except removal of wisdom tooth”. I ask back, curious to know if it is really that important ” Is it a real surgery?”. Doc replies ” Yes! because they gave you anaesthesia, opened your body and a part of your body is removed “.  I retorted “I am incomplete!”. She in a surprise said “I have never heard someone say like that”.

That realization that I had left something of my body back from where I came from, I had lost it to the modern medicine. A part of my body is removed, therefore I am incomplete. Nevertheless, it helps fill the form, where there is space to fill up with any surgeries I had.  Cynically, I had lost something to gain something. And the insight struck that I do not have to be confused enough to do something to fill up some random blank space in some equally arbitrary event in this life.

 

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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My experience at the Orientation week, UB

It is one year since. This will happen one year hence. I have been lucky to have met the director of a- IIT, thanks to my previous job at CDAC, who is also UB alumni.

The name of UB spreads far and wide. How does one use it. It is not too sure in the beginning. Especially during the orientation week at UB. There is lot of fun and activities going around. Tonnes of people come to UB, esp. North Campus, and it reminds one of how empty the universities such as University of Calicut and CUSAT are. The crowd resembles that of any shopping mall. And people are pretty serious about shopping for courses.

It is so true, that even Open MOOCs like CourseEra are now paid services

Earlier what read as “My courses ” under dropdown on top right corner, now read “My purchases ”

Mypurchases

That is all right as a business model , if you are sure that you are providing services that are needed and has a market. The way of Apple and Steve J of customers not knowing what they want is limited in the educational business model. This is because of the direct link between job market and the student’s (customer) requirement.

There are a few who want to ride their own horses and make their own way. They eventually drop out of college. It was also interesting to note that an IT service provider for K12 schools came up with data analysis that predict the success of a student by analysing data on the collected database. This works best with right feedbacks and control. Great to know this !

Back to UB, this semester, I believe to see the same kind of eager crowd. Sometimes uncertain, sometimes over-confident. Free of prejudices and focus span all these groups, irrespective of the background. They all have this brightness in their face, to achieve. It is importance to keep up the face throughout this short battle of a foreign study. Whatever the reason of arrival, higher studies, better opportunities, international exposure to work and lifestyle.

I have met and talked to people from Canada, USA, Honduras, Costa Rica, Haiti, Brazil, Argentina,Spain, Germany,  Italy, Greece,Bulgaria,Turkey, Morroco, Angola, Nigeria, Gabon, Tunisia, Kenya, Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Georgia, Ukraine, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Srilanka, Burma, Thailand, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia,Singapore, Vietnam, S.Korea in UB. It is a great international exposure.

Events (Regular)

The best way to meet all these internationals is at International Tea Time. Make sure to keep checking

This is always kept updated. So it is beneficial to get all the benefits

During orientation it is about meeting new people, remembering names and attaching it to faces. Talking about different cultures and more essentially finding people who are taking the courses that you are interested in. I have participated in some Focus group study about orientation in UB. The officials were full of praise on how organised the Graduate Indian Students’ Association(GISA) is.  This is unlike many other nationals is what I learned. As an Indian there is this auto-tuning towards the languages you are interested in , be it Telugu , Tamil or Hindi. Then there is another group formed based on the language. I find , from this that it was so natural to have the states in India formed based on language.  Then, there is this massive orientation schedule.

Here are things to do:

  • Maintain a calendar.
  • Feed in all the sessions you need to attend = priority 1, getting a UB card – gives you access to libraries  ( Capen and Lockwood in North campus, Abbott in S. Campus) .
  • Get appointments with professors and talk to them about your areas of interest and possible research
  • Attend your department orientation – very important – to get information from professors present there
  • Go through the course offerings throughly

Talk to senior students . ( In UB ” senior ” refers to final  year bachelor’s student. the sequence is freshman – 1st yr, sophomore – 2nd yr, junior – 3rd yr, senior – 4th yr). So , I meant senior as in Indian context, those who came early to UB and are already pursued some of the courses that you want to attend. See also other department offerings. Also, see for dependencies,e.g. pre-requisite courses for the spring or next fall may be offered this fall semester.

  • Food– Feed in all the free food sessions – so you pack less food to university

When I came in there were Bagels and Coffee for the incoming students along with fruits. I did not know how to eat a Bagel or spread what seemed like cream ( cream cheese) on it.

  • Water– Bring an empty bottle /mug

UB has plenty of water fountains, it may be difficult in the beginning to drink from a water foundation , the american student way, which evolves into american way. There are water fountains everywhere in the US. If you prefer water cans, then go to

 

UB student union is the most happening place, with piano and food court with all kinds of food and coffee shops . This place is always bustling with activity , especially during orientation week.

  • Locate oven in the buildings of interest.

Oven Locations:

  • Knox hall – ground
  • Student Union – 2nd floor near intercultural diversity centre
  • Davis hall – near the elevator (lifts are called as elevator)
  • Furnas hall – if you have access to CBE dept. lounge there are 4 ovens there.
  • Friends’ lab – if you know any friend who works in a lab as PhD or MS student then chances are there will be oven in their lab. Mostly, a refrigerator and coffee maker. But be assured that there is no guarantee on the food kept in the fridge.

 

Clubs:

UB has many clubs. You get to enroll in their mailing list by visiting their respective online presence or going to the Students’ Association Office, 3rd floor, Student Union. You can also run for the office or e-board positions of interesting clubs. Eventhough you are a new student.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Narrative of the Blunder termed war

Brig.  J.P Dalvi gives a clear account of want exactly happened at the India- China war (1962), which was less than a war in his book, “The Himalayan Blunder”. The motivation to read this was reading about VK Krishna Menon , the then Defence Minister of India. The title given is great because it happened in the Himalayas and was a huge (Himalayan) in its very sense.

Even if you one is not into wars and more into peace and freedom of choice resting with peace than something evil as war, a history such as this cannot be ignored. Being prepared, anticipating the possibilities is better than having nothing to defend with than the grandiloquence of peace. As a true Indian nobody would support war. And ministry of defense is truly a matter of defense than offense, compared to other nations.

Of course, the world of humans have not learned much even with great people like Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela having walked the earth. But at-least acknowledge that history.

The author has a nice narrative style. It is unassuming and very explanatory and easy to follow with the map provided. Many place are difficult to pronounce. But the pattern is there. After describing the background of the political and economic situation of a brand new country and the leaders at the top, their chemistry and the Army positions, it is easy to follow the actual events in its sequence, with the dates provided. I do not know if this book is a reference in the Defense department but definitely a good read for an average Indian to learn about what happened at that time. The author acknowledges his situations and challenges in a very comprehensive way. The book becomes easy to follow this way. And what is better than reading a narrative from the man who was in the conditions.

The writing is definitely very humble to have given all the conditions and expectations of the “war” scenario and what made it a blunder. It was also interesting to read about the fame of the 2 Rajputs, 9 Punjabs and 1/9 Gorkhas and 4 Grenadiers during the world war elsewhere. It is always good to know the history and why the NEFA had problem with China is not yet known, other than the Chinese ambitions and disregard for McMohan Line. My understanding is that the fall of Tibet was not anticipated and India was more towards appeasing the west than immediate neighbours, including Tibet and China at that time. It was surprising to note that the army was not trained in Chinese language and the Chinese Army, some of them, knew Hindi. That was a big surprise. Of course, we expect spies in the NEFA(North East Frontier Agency) region and in any war situation the political bias and national affinity matters. I do not know why we had nothing much to learn about this ” Himalayan blunder” or the history of the north-east regions in our textbooks (2004 Kerala State Syllabus or lower classes). We had a good amount of data to learn about the politics of USA, Independence movements in Africa, India & Pakistan, History of Travancore with the background of various kingdoms like Choyha, Chera and Pandya in addition to the Mughals. I am surprised why I was never taught about the North east region except for the names of these states and their capitals.

However, the effort to write the book, is highly appreciated. The very humble factual narrative, assuming responsibilities also suggesting what could have been the case, makes this a history to remember. And now that people who are looking for can easily get access to the situation that was a blunder.

 

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2016 in Book Review, India, Review, Uncategorized

 

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PM Narendra Modi at the Joint Meeting of U.S Congress

This post is for my collection

The listeners burned a good lot of calories for their very frequent applause.

Did not know that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a website with complete address that could be read.

Here is the link

Heard the complete address in HD

More info on Wall Street journal’s ‘live’ blog

Rise of PM Narendra Modi and India-US relation from Washington Post

and MP Shashi Tharoor tweets it

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Got the visa for CANADA from Buffalo

I am a student in University at Buffalo (UB). I have been to the Niagara Falls, USA on the orientation trip @$12 organized by UB. That was is August 2015. And then at that time the driver of the chartered bus used to caution us not to go too near the river as the flow rate is too high to survive safe. Also, we were the caution of not to cross the bridge come what may. Because then, as an International Student on F1 visa, without documents , If I went across I cannot enter back USA; and start my studies!

Buffalo and Niagara Falls are so close, also the visa to Canada is kind of affordable, many Indians (Bharathiya) came with it when they entered the USA. Better late, I could apply for it from here, Buffalo. It is the summer vacation. And there is enough time to engage in such indulgence. The Canada visa centre in Buffalo is closed and the processing goes through NYC (or LA if you choose to). Buffalo, NY is so close to NYC , LOL!

How I applied ?

I applied online at Canada Government website. There is fee to be paid  almost $78. I do not have any relatives or friends in Canada. So as support document, I attached why I wanted to visit Canada, to visit the Niagara Falls from Ontario, of course. After a few days the website sends email updates on status of application. This turned to “Passport requested”. And then I searched on net, where and what to send. This took some time to understand. This is because the Visa Application Centre(VAC)  for Canada in NY is through CSC, not the embassy. And there is a fee to be paid $ 31 (no card payment online, the CSS VAC website for details, or call them for more information). Here, the fee along with proof of payment, copy of consent form and application number goes to the CSC centre in Pittsburgh, PA, while the passport , signed consent form, passport request document need to go to NYC. This has to be in Prepaid Airway Bill, which is prepaid post (Indian English). US postal service (USPS) people know what the former is. In UB Bookstore, the USPS personnel know about this, because all the time someone would apply to get the Canada VISA in this way. The Prepaid Airway Bill comes with a tracking option. Priority Mail is written on the hard envelope. One envelope to send the passport, another is folded and kept inside it with the return address mentioned. This is the prepaid post! The total postal charges was $ 14.

I had forgotten to add some of the mentioned documents. The NY VAC will send details on missing documents if any. I send these via email to them. And in about a week and half (15 days) I received the visa on passport in hand.

Total charges for the visa (including postal charges from Buffalo) = $123.

This may be cheaper in India, depending on the location from which you are applying. Please check the corresponding process for visa application in India. Probably a good thing to consider once you get the USA visa process done.

I read the following blogs for reference to Canada side of Niagara Falls. This may become useful soon.

A good post of USA vs Canada side of Niagara Falls

And someone solidly vouch for the American side

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2016 in travel

 

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Election Campaign experience in University at Buffalo

The election is over. It is summer vacation. People I meet still ask about what happened to the election. This shows how much busy they were during the semester that made them spring. So, this post comes as a natural extension of those discussions. A note of that memory, goes here.

The Graduate Student Association (GSA), University at Buffalo sent mail to everyone, every eligible graduate student about  the opportunity to stand for election. This, I found was a good experience to have. For the fun of it. That day, the first thing I did after reaching the university, was to get the election candidate packet. The GSA office has two full time employees and all other positions are for elected and nominated members. So there is no part time position that available. All right, the GSA elected President and Vice President earn good money for the work. So that was another motivation for my candidacy. As part of the election I have to get the election petition signed by 25 supporters. That was easily done. I know lot of faces who were happy to sign the petition. There were a few who asked ” What do I gain by signing the petition?” , and some other who said ” I had done lot of this crap in undergrad, I don’t want to get into politics now”. They naturally did not understand what I wanted. May be my bad communication. I was determined to work on it. Because, later if the petition is signed by enough people I get to ask for votes top all random people on campus. So, I was ready for the challenge. I was the first person to submit the petition with more than enough number of supporters. I have many friends in the department who stood in actual queue and signed my petition. And there is my business team, most of them, eligible graduate students, who could sign the petition without asking. My job of collecting signature was easy. I did not stop at getting just 25 signatures. I got more than 8 from same department students, just in case they also signed for another candidate. I went further, because I had to tell people, now, that I am a candidate for election and they should consider voting for me. Also, as part of election I was to attend two senate meetings. This comes with the normal student perks of free pizza and soda. This was again fun to sit through, mostly due to the free food and the motivation to go on stage when elected. In the first senate meeting I found my competitor, who still needed a lot of signatures to complete the petition, while I was almost done with the required 25. I made a quick acquaintance. I did not have much time to indulge in a ton of conversation with anyone, remember this is in a busy spring semester, lot of assignments, project and part time work to do. So, I also had to keep conversations to the bare minimum, to save time and cover as many people as possible.

I go by stampede, the UB run bus. This helped me get some contacts. Also, being a regular at wellness center, Intercultural Diversity Center and Office of Student Engagement, gave me more contacts. My lab mates and at-work colleagues fellow-students started calling me “Vice President” already. They were very confident of the majority of the international students, especially from India (Bharath), would vote for me, because I am the only Indian standing! and only engineer! and only man! in the entire candidate list considering President, Vice President and Treasurer. This made my campaigning easier in the sense, when my friends call me “Vice President” the person who doesn’t know would ask in curiosity and then I could pitch in and say ” Vote for me”. Another good thing about the campaign is that the GSA would reimburse upto $20 for election campaign. I got some business cards with “Vote for me” written. I also know some excited friends who started writing on the UB Spectrum, the university newspaper, “Vote for Ajeya”. That was crazy. And I did not know it until someone posted that in one of the common whatsapp groups. I was wondering if that would be an election code violation. But other than I , me and myself I had no regular campaigners. I had folks who said they ask their friends to vote for me and so on. I had turned in the election packet containing petition papers and proof of campaign expenses to GSA. Whoever I met I could go ahead and ask their votes. If they were undergrads I would ask if they had any grad friends. Many did, and said they would ask on my behalf. Some undergrad friends were disappointed that they could not vote for me. That was great. The momentum was on.

Some of the friends wanted to vote for me on the condition that I know that they voted for me. They would call me up and vote (online)  in front of me. That was good proof. Some graduated friends who had the UBIT still working tried to cast the vote. They were so excited. But the system is fool proof, they were not eligible to vote.  I was almost planning on what pizza to order on the day of results. I could attend some conferences, workshops, networking events, GSA meetings, Turkish GSA meeting, post in GISA (graduate Indian students association) about my campaign. Some student presidents of other department GSA had told me that they like my honesty during the candidate debate, but I should consider coming up with Election Manifesto. I had no serious intention to come up with manifesto. Because, I hardly knew what was happening in GSA. How it work is still a mystery. Other than being a volunteer webmaster for the electrical engineering graduate student association , I had no contact with the GSA body. But there is no time to learn, and I do not know whom to learn from. Because the incumbent Vice President was also running for the post this semester! Anyways I had all the studies and part time work to do. There is hardly some time to squeeze in. Buffalo winter makes you wear jacket. I had the cards for campaign in both my jackets, whichever I chose to wear, in my bag and pockets. I was in the game.

Election lasted 3 days. The election result day arrived. I didn’t check it till the end of the day. The result came afternoon, is what I learned. For results and campaign blog page, campaign links, results click here.

I came second. Just a few votes short of victory. The Incumbent won. Surprisingly, getting the same number of votes she got in previous year election. And then many people contacted me saying “Hard luck” and “so close” and “Better luck next time”. Hopefully, there is no next time , and I would be graduating from my Masters’ program.i would consider it as a victory considering that I had hardly put any effort into real campaign. I had no candidate meet and greet program, I had no election manifesto, I was kind of lousy in replying to some voters in my Facebook campaign event page. I would consider that number of votes as victory for sure. I made a lot of acquaintances in this process. Some who later said that they forgot to vote! Then I realized that I was so busy those days that I too had.. !

 

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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AC Gayatri

Srikaalahasti is a really very very old temple of Worship. It is so old that the temple tower had collapsed some time back.  The temple is visited by people all over the world. It is situated in a very hot place for people who are not used to Andhra Pradesh.  Therefore, someone had very generously provided Air conditioning units in the sanctum . It is so positioned that we feel that the A/C also gets a feel of being side-deity-idol, as is common in many temples. Definitely the units there would feel so auspicious themselves by having Hundi in front of them. And therefore it is of utmost importance for a devotee not only to pray to God but also pay obeisance to these divine entities. A prayer to go with that in the metric of Gayatri is given here.

 

|| ॐ उष्णनाशकाय विद्महे

शीतकारकाय विद्महे

तन्नो ए\सी प्रचोदयात् ||

> In Romanaagari

||Om Ushnanasakaaya vidmahe

sheetakaarakaaya dheemahi

tanno A/C prachodayat ||

 

 

All Rights Reserved:

If you are using this for any commercial / advertisement purpose you should get the permission from the author

 

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2016 in creativity

 

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As the Bird left the nest, once again

So I flew. I flew over the mountains and the seas. I flew leaving my country, my family, my comfort. My comfort is what I make of it, my friends are what I make of people. Family is what I make my friends to be. And my country is what I make of my surroundings. I would be exposed to International environment. Everything International starts in the United States of America (USA). The land of plenty. The land of ahimsa (non violence) did not care much about its own status. Similar is the case with the land of opportunities, land of rising sun, land of setting sun, land which has no sun and so on. It is this alternate beginning, a thread or branch that would be elaborated here. This is just experience and if there is any spicing up, then that is to be taken lightly at your own convenience.

I started from Kochi, my destination is Buffalo. I am once again moving out of job to school. I got admission to State University of New York at Buffalo (UB). Something which I could be proud of. And we; me and institution will be mutually sharing our names. Affiliation may be for the low minded. But that is the rule of life. We always stand on shoulders of giants. The steps to success is shortened by education, even more by affiliation, and yet more by personal effort and commitment to one’s motives and ambitions.

How I got admission is a separate story on its own. In short, I applied , got admission and got visa, got ticket and flew. I did not repeat my mistake of not using facebook this time. I got my future roommates through this. My apartment was awaiting my arrival. And my future roommates were  bang on time to pick me up from Greyhound station in Buffalo. And I have settled well with time and resources. So what next. The sharing of the story, of course.

I had my journey from my workplace, Chennai, the city which had fed me, helped me travel and see a lot of places, friendly people and the unforgiving summer. I will never forget the summer in Chennai even if it freezes in Buffalo, shivers me in the Rainy Miss Buffalo Cruise on Erie Canal, Buffalo or drains me in the Maid of Mist in Niagara. And no one would ever believe that Chennai was the place were I saw hail storm for first time in my life (this video was taken and loaded on youtube by someone at that time).  So, I had this trip , in my favourite, my second home, the divine Chennai Express (yes! the train)  from Chennai. The travel left a lump in my throat. I always wanted all my Chennai Express trips to be my last trip. I had not hated the summer of Chennai ( which is throughout the year 24 x 7) any lesser, in any day. There are lot of facilities that the city gives, most importantly the job, the music , the marina beach and the USA consulate general. But I like the MTC buses too. And one month into my stay in USA I had Chennai as my second home. And super excited to meet a Tamil guy eventhough they are loud and noisy sometimes but almost always friendly and pleasant. From that last trip by MTC bus to and fro the USA Consulate General I had an empty mind. The future is always uncertain. The way the University of Calicut has trained its students, any uncertainty could be overcome. So there I was looking outside the windows at the greeneries which wouldn’t see me for a long time. I am going for a Master’s in Electrical Engineering at the UB. What would the grass know? Or do I know? Does it even matter the grass!

I had to leave the country being sent off by my parents. And so I had a long holiday at home. Jobless and happy as it could be. The flights were booked, bags were getting filled up. Mostly the clothes . Most importantly underwears. Because the laundry cycle depends on it. The airways company was contacted for baggage information. Learned that I could carry 3 baggages each 23 kgs, a shoulder bag and violin. So it was.

Boarding at Kochi was like walking to a bus stop. I had flown all over the country so this was yet another trip. Boarding Jet airways , getting clearance and all was real fast. I chilled out at the airport. And ate whatever I had , some snacks made by mother and just watching people and waiting. Then the plane came picked me up. All luggages in tact, 3 in check in , a shoulder bag and violin with me as cabin bag. The jacket on me with important documents, ticket, passport and few toffees,mobile and that is it. The trip was eventless. Food was good and then we landed at Abu Dhabi. It is important to note this because Abu Dhabi has US pre clearance facility. This was un-planned but anyway good things happen. I could find a person in coat shouting out to people where which flight was, I heard the word Nagoya in between.

I had to get a new ticket for the onward flight. Got it promptly. I did not receive any tag for the bags. I was told that my check in bag will be taken care of, Etihad from Abu Dhabi was a code share partner of Jet Airways. This left me with my cabin  baggages, which was , as expected pretty heavy. Then I roamed the place. Found it as interesting as any other airport. I got a coffee for some dirhams. Yes! Coffee! and could not bother the conversion rate at that timeless hour.

The biological clock worked excellently within me. The call of nature was duly attended at the spacious restroom in the airport. One could actually live inside that, it was big and clean and pleasant. Then I had this queue for US pre clearance. I stood in the queue.Queue was big, I was sleepy and there was silence which aided the standing sleep. I got some slip to write my details and was led to a place where people fill up the form and go to counters of US pre-clearance. I had mine filled up in the sleep-standing queue. So I located an officer in the counter who nodded at me to approach him. I had my shoe belt and all stuff put on a basket. For this purpose it is important as my father said to keep the shoe in a plastic bag, and have an hand-sanitizer handy. I asked the office some questions regarding the declarations. I could see my three bags photographed and displayed on the screen. I was happy to see them. And then I had the admit stamp on Passport. I was out the place while most of the people were still inside. When I came out I had this dreamy feel. So I asked the security if I had been sent after check really fast, or did I miss something, or is there any other procedure to do, for I did not see any people come out other than me. Then there was this endless wait. I could not suppress my sleep. I laid on the floor. The carpet was good and I could sleep peacefully. The light inside was as bright as daylight but I couldn’t care about it. I set an alarm and had a long sleep. Later I asked the security guard again about the flight arrival. He was very happy guy and replied nicely. I waited for some more time and then I could enter the gate.

The Etihad airways onward had some fancy looking clothing for their associates. There was a bus which would take me to the plane. I felt the humidity of night air for another time. And then very soon I was inside the plane. This plane was big. Seat was big. Headset was big. Once the flight started the number of choices to watch onboard was also big. However, I did not get a neck pillow while most of the others had. Blanket was good and the headset did a good job of cutting out the cold. There were a lot of drinks in juices and others offered in flight. Food was good. And again the restrooms were better than local airlines. This was a long leg for most of the people. The person next to me was from Thailand . And that was reflected by her continuous sleep. I felt that my journey is so short in comparison. I also slept for most part with peace. Food was served at good intervals. I would switch between movies, food and sleep and repeat. There was this eye mask which read “do not disturb” on one side and “wake me up for food” on another. As you guessed correctly I had the latter facing outward. 16 hours or so later, I heard about USA and tracking of flight. People still in sleep state were somewhat alert. After some more food and juice it was landing time. Just like any other landing. And then I had arrived at the domestic terminal in John F Kennedy (JFK) Airport , New York. I could not find anyone to put seal on my F1 Visa. I waited for my luggage quite a long time. There were non standard luggage sizes, mattresses and what not that travelled on the conveyor. The trolley was charged at $6. There was a man who gave change as the machine ate the right amount that he fed in. This releases the trolley that I could take. I waited a long time. Airtel Mobile had range. I called up relatives. They were already there and had a trolley for me. I should have called them earlier at $2 to save the trolley money.

Rest of the story is like anyone who goes to their relatives place. Jet lag followed me for a few days. It would hit me hard on right time, my critical periods of sleep, back home. The feel was awesome. And as my relatives said I had to hold on for the first few days without sleeping much in the evening, which was the night time in India. So I tried, and after a week emerged an adjusted American Biological Clock. Greyhound from New Jersey would later take me to Buffalo.

On the way there was rain, I saw some major places like Binghamton, Ithaca,Syracuse, Rochester and finally Buffalo.And then as I have already told you my friends picked me up to my new accommodation.

If this amounts to be readable or a reference then it is good. I do not believe that I had a unique or obliquely different experience than most of the people. . This is because I tend to believe that I am you and you are me. Somewhat spiritualistic statement touching upon religion and emotions but still works perfectly fine. I know many of my friends would like to know my journey details If I had missed something, please feel free to e-mail me.

I thank the many instances of motivating fuel for putting this up, from family and friends alike.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Jealous Indian

Kaaviya Thalaivan is an old idea brilliantly shown in  a new way on the big screen. The jealousy of a man , how mystically it could be held for sometime and then shown with the thought of revenge, to kill, his fellow man, a brother equivalent, brought up by the same father, the same guru, the same school of drama, the same stories and incidences, only to grow the jealousy with it, to end one with the other, to end oneself in the end. The story is also projects a point of discussion for the discussion on lack of words in Indian language beautifully differentiated by the ideas of “envy” and “jealousy”.

The jealousy of  a person to another mostly involves a sense of revenge and intimidation that forces that person to hate the subject of jealousy. Why not be envious in the same instance, where there is also a possibility to be happy about the achievements of a person and appreciate it and then think why I could not be like that. This is a softer form of jealousy but without any enmity. It can also be argued that there is mild “Asooya” (jealousy in Samskrtam) that grows on and festers into the revenge-ful savage form that is associated with jealousy.The Hindi word for jealousy “Jalan” is very close to fire or burning and used so.

To be envious is a peaceful act, where one simply wishes to match the quality or skill of another. This helps to promote healthy competition. This in turn benefits both the subject of envy and the envious. This is an ideal form of emotion. But human emotions knows no bounds. There is always a wilder form. And thence comes the jealousy. Why Indian languages do not have an equivalent term form “envy” is mysterious. Are Indians by nature forced to have jealousy rather than envy. If that is so imagine such a large population dragging each other down because of this bad attitude, which later becomes a habit. It is not for joke that the story of Kerala crab (later scaled up and known as story of Indian crab was told). This is also a frequently told story in Indian speeches by teachers and politicians. Here, it is retold in my version for the record.

The story of the Kerala Crab

Kerala crabs are famous as a culinary item. I found a nice photo of one here.

 

(Image courtesy: http://www.shutterstock.com)

A foreigner from Britain found the crab being loaded in a ship. This was a regularly exported item to Europe. He had come a long way from his land to find how it is that they get fresh crab. The baskets on which the crabs were loaded were not covered. And he was surprised. If it was not covered then the crabs may come out and escape. How then will the basket reach full of crabs, as he has seen in his port-town. Then the loader explained to him. “Sayippe! These are Kerala crabs. It has mindset of Keralites. If one crabs climbs to top of the basket others from inside would pull it down. Like this no crab is allowed to escape beacuse of their behaviour, and you get fresh crabs to eat.”

The British astonishment vanished from the face and now it turned red and laughed.

 

Jealousy ingrained in this form throughout a sub-continent would be a surprise to a naive mind. This is but a working principle in this beautiful land of variety.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Thoughts on Un-civilisation through points by Shantha Sheela Nair on AIR on sanitation

Today morning , as usual , I was cycling to office. There was a  junction at which a Renault Duster , a massive fuel guzzler and quite huge vehicle stopped on its lane to let a lady cross the road. from opposite to where I was waiting. I found the time good enough for my cycle to cross. But some bikers were not ready to wait. They just whizzed past even before the lady had crossed. The generosity of the big vehicle was dwarfed by the uncouth attitude of the road-mates (People who share the road).

This brought about the thoughts on yesterday’s program on All India Radio (AIR) Chennai which broadcasted Shantha Sheela Nair talk on sanitation.  It was said that there was need of toilets. People sometimes build toilets also. But they do not use it for they have to clean it in case land-fill is used up. The amount of care extended for the enhancement of the outward appearance is not given to explain and educate in detail the working of a toilet. What more, the sanitation campaigns by India Govt. target toilet for woman, news also say that women refuses to get married to toilet-less household. But Shantha Sheela Nair said that the majority of non-users of toilet are men, that too in Tamil Nadu. Such a shame. Education has no bearing on these basic things. Films  and politics, money and power, culture and language have not propagated the message of sanitation. Madam quotes that toilet is not a new phenomenon. From Indus valley onward there are ancient remnants of toilets found everywhere. Wherever civilisation had thrived remains of toilets were discovered.  Why people who build toilets do not use it is a mystery. Also, open defecation contaminates the ground water quality and increases the cost to purify it.  It is clear from these statement that there are uncivilised  cultures existing.

Further proof for the same came when we notice that people rush into MRTS trains when actually there are seats for many. No need to push, there is enough time to get in. Honking behind every vehicle and overtaking a cycle from left side are biggest indicators of un-civilisation.

Leave Kindness, politeness, education, GDP etc into improved human level of lifestyle. Basic, the very basic block of existence to be considerate to the surroundings we are in is in bad light.  I was sitting near a person in office. I could know how many milk packets she had in home, what is cooking for dinner and what her children are not eating that day. The way people talk such private things could be kept to themselves. Why to shout out loud and let others know. Even if the content does not reveal any potential threat such behaviour is clearly a sign of un-civilisation.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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