Sunday, October 08, 2006

India Trip 2006 – First Installment

I got my first taste of India while waiting for my flight at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, where the American Airlines staff were making announcements first in Hindi and then in English. Punjabi Aunties and Uncles were loudly sharing tales of their businesses and families.
The plane could not take off on time because they didn’t have the correct door to close the aircraft!! An hour and a half and a cynical novel later, the flight finally took off. I had an aisle seat (which I refused to trade to a woman who said she needed to use the bathroom frequently; I mean that was one the reasons I chose an aisle seat in the first place! - also I have very long legs that need aisle space to stretch out into from time to time), which meant I could stand up and roam about and visit the “lavatory” as frequently as I liked. An absolute brat of a kid was sitting next to me. He supposedly had attention deficit disorder or some such affliction. If you ask me, all he has is too much attention and too much sugar. He kept grabbing my earphones, cushion and blanket; claiming them as his own and calling me a “bad boy”. I promptly snatched them back, and told him that he was a “good girl”, which meant he had to wear a pink frock and sit in a corner. I don't believing in giving into the whims and fancies of other people's spoilt children...

Since I had finished both my novels (I had so much time to kill in DFW airport while waiting for my flight to Chicago, since everything, right from the shuttle that picked me up from Plano, was hassle-free and smooth) by then, I had nothing to do except to watch awful Hindi movies while waiting for the dinner service. During the course of the 15 hour flight, I watched one and a half Hindi movies ( Benares- A mystic love story, and Chand ke Paar Chalo), slept quite a bit, and quibbled with the ADD kid. The only English movie on the flight was some old boring James Dean movie. Hindi movies at least have 2 saving graces:- you can laugh at the melodramatic bilge, and the costumes are nice and colorful. I also watched an episode of some American sitcom that they kept repeating throughout the flight.

The plane landed in Delhi, less than an hour after the scheduled arrival time. My friend and her father had come to pick me up. It was wonderful to see my roommate of 4 years again. Even better, I got to actually stay with her in IIT for 2 more nights!! Not that I let her sleep much, of course. Another good friend of mine also came to visit the next day, so it was sort of like old times again….otherwise I couldn’t recognize most of the people I encountered. We had lunch at a fancy Punjabi restaurant with fancy prices, but the food was really quite delicious.
I did meet some other friends of mine too, hung out at the coffee shop, and also gave “fundae” to a junior, so it almost felt like I was back on campus.

The hostel’s cleanliness and hygiene levels had deteriorated quite a bit since the time I left it a year and a half ago. There were mushrooms growing out of the bathroom doors, and the dustbins looked like they needed to be sealed off in a toxic waste compartment and shipped to the moon for incineration.

Before I knew it, I was in Hyderabad with my parents and sister.


Akshay Rajagopalan said...

No Hyderabad yet in your India trip?
But anyway, good you got to give fundae to's the most fulfilling experience. And 2 nights at IIT D? Aren't you in India only for 12 nights? How could you sacrifice home food for mess food for 2 days?

Googoo Baby said...

read the second installment!! Third installment to follow very soon.
well, I didn't eat mess food except for breakfast. All other meals were outside. And one must make small sacrifices for great friends :-)

sushmita said...

Preeti, you are so meticulous and all. I'd never dream of putting up 3 installments on one topic - I'd lose all my steam pretty soon. Nice reading. Almost felt like talking to you. And well, now that you're back, I'll call you soon.