Monday, 19 July 2010

~ A lone nomad ~






Risk-taking, trust, and serendipity are key ingredients of joy. Without risk, nothing new ever happens. Without trust, fear creeps in. Without serendipity, there are no surprises

I’m in office right now. Under terrible jet lag feeling :( Body is paining like hell; don’t know how I’m sitting straight.

People here are quite good enough. Almost all known faces around, barring a few. Met with my manager and talked. As of now we don’t have much work, only need to read a few things, we are awaiting another guy who will be joining the team from New jersey Akshat Arora next week sometime. Only after he joins we will start our training on the processes. So this week we can just take time to settle down and all.


The best thing that happened was the presence of Sunitha's friends. They managed to get us a lovely 2 bedroom apartment. The apartment is really good considering the rooms I had seen in San Diego with sky rocketing prices. The fixed amount that we have to pay for this apartment is 950$ and electric, water and net bills will be separate, which won’t be too much. The apartment is too cool; we have everything in it and no need to go out Like - TV, internet, microwave, washing machine, baking oven, toaster, dishwasher etc. Totally cool considering the rent. Three of us will be staying here - me, Sunitha’s and Manjry. Manjry is a cleanliness freak so the first condition is we must keep the house spic and span. Well hehehe it’s going to be a tough time for a messy person like me. I find Manjry to be a nice person. She talks well. She has a car and a cycle. So she has offered us that we might accompany her on grocery shopping when she goes in her car. That's also cool enough.

Regarding the room. It’s pretty good looking. Last night we were hopping till Wal-Mart guys shooed us away at 12 am  :P. We bought the entire world and our home is almost set. We need to organize things a bit patiently now. The rooms has a through and through soft carpeting, so it’s nice to walk and sit on the floor also. We have 2 bedrooms, numerous closets, a dining cum drawing room with a plush sofa, a chandelier fan, a wide screen LCD :), table, bean bags...cool na. The kitchen has all the things I mentioned above. We also have a quaint little balcony which opens to a winding gray pathway; it’s mostly the back portion of the society yet to explore it. The place is blossoming with violet small flowers. Looks totally amazing. There is a small wooden jhula also amongst the flowers which can be seen from our balcony. By the way we stay on the 2nd floor. Yesterday I almost died while taking my 46 Kg baggage’s up the two floors through the small wooden stairs. That's the reason my hands and shoulders are paining like hell. Even a dose of painkillers were not enough :( Only rest will help me get back to health I guess.


We got almost everything we needed for the home from Wal-Mart last night. Here we don’t take gaddas or beds; we have something known as comforters which are something like a razai. I took a king sized comforter to use as a bedding. I folded it in two and it made a nice comfy bed. Also I got a second comforter, a colorful one for using as a kambal. Along with that two pillow covers came free :). We also got light stand and all. I still have to set up my pooja room :( That was the first thing we had done last time, but yesterday we were so much engaged couldn’t do that.



Today we will be leaving office early, as Sunitha’s friends are still there, and we need to do the rest of the important things. I need to get a connection, the most important thing. Also might be we will have lunch outside. Last night we dined at an Indian restaurant. And we had chicken biryani, chili pakoras and mango lassi. I didn’t have mango lassi, it sounded weird, but tasted ok ok, but I was too tired to eat. The chili pakorasbiryani, chili pakoras and mango lassi. I didn’t have mango lassi, it sounded weird, but tasted ok ok, but I was too tired to eat. The chili pakoras were so hot that only Uday could eat it, me sunita and shirisha just flipped pour top with the first bite of the pakoras. But tell you what the biryani was the most delicious biryani I have ever had in hotels. It was too filling, and two orders of the same were sufficient for 4 of us.


Now regarding the Air France travel. last time the company had asked me about my preference of food, but this time some brilliant mind out there figured out that I would prefer veg food, and on top of that Indian veg food on a French flight.....grrrrrrrrrrrrr.....how I wish I could find that person and strangle him who did this to me. The moment I got into my first AF flight they handed over a meal menu to us and in that were listed many delicious French cuisines. But when it came to serving us Indians they said they said they had veg food for us. Thankfully I asked the air hostess to change mine to a non veg thing and got the French omelets served, it wasn't that good but at least it was different. Same happened while on the next AF flight, there also they were to serve


Same happened while on the next AF flight, there also they were to serve veg meals. I asked for a non veg meal which consisted of a nice chicken and some pasta etc or lasagna. But the guy air hostess politely told me that was only entitled to the 'Indian' veg lunch. I became so sad. And when I opened the lunch box I was even distressed. It looked like a stale veg and paneer preparation from Stone Age. Rice was also there. So I tried mixing all and had the first spoon it was so salty. Somehow I managed to gulp it down. IT was a terrible Indian lunch. And I couldn’t get why the hell they assigned an Indian lunch to me, when I was all set to experiment with French food. While the others feasted on different pastas, chocolate mousses, cheddar cheese muffins and pancakes I was chewing on the tiny naans and stale subzi. Such a bad luck.



The second airfrance flight was a double Decker flight and I was assigned a seat in the upper deck. So after entering the aircraft I was asked to move up through the stairs. Nothing very special it was a normal flight. The only difference is that the seats were much better than air India. They were comfortable, else my poor back would have ended aching more than it already is. Also I had bought one of those U shaped support pillows hence this time my neck got good support and I was able to sleep comfortably. IT was a really good bargain of 380 rupees.

Once in Paris, there was a lot of pandemonium. I only had 2.5hours to catch my connecting flight. Hence there was hardly any time. CDG is a very spread out airport. We had to go from 2C to 2E terminal. For that we had to take a shuttle. IT was an overcast day and was raining. From the flight I could see glimpses of Paris. It had vast pasture lands spread on either side of the road. The pastures were in the shape of rectangles, big rectangles. So once I was in the bus shuttle to go to 2E I thought it would hardly take 3-4 mines. But it almost made a world tour and we finally reached 2 E in almost 15 minutes. I was tired holding my laptop bad, handbag and backpack for so long. :(


Now once in 2E another problem cropped up. There was a specific gate of taking the gate pass and stuff, and to reach to those gates we were supposed to take the train for that particular gate number. Now I was searching for assistance when a chinki girl came to help me. She said I was to go to the southern wing and my gate was 49. She mentioned it at least 5 times. Ok so I moved to the escalator to take my train. Now on the train it was written that it was going to the stations numbered from 21 to 47 and on the other side it was 51 - 76. So there was nothing for 49. I was totally confused. I stood there like a fool in the empty platform. Felt a bit scared also since there was no one there. Then I met an Indian lady who was as confused as me. So we went up the long escalator again and asked the info desk again. The same chinki girl was there and she now assisted to take me to that gate. So we boarded the train number 21-47. I was confused and kept asking her why we got up in this train when we were to go to 49. She said in her typical chinki accent that we have to be in this only. I was fed up with her. Then she left me at 47 and asked me to go for a security check. I went for the check and after that there was a lady at the security she asked me where I was to go, and I told 49, she said there is no gate as 49. I was at my wits end. What was going on? So I asked her can she guide me to the proper gate. She asked about the flight I was to take. And I told her it was to Atlanta. It was then that she told me I was to go to gate 39 and not 49. I cursed the chinki thoroughly and went and sat at gate 39.


In the meanwhile I was too hungry but was too tired to go and get currency exchanged to Euros and then buy food. So I just wandered here and there looking at the shops and taking snaps. Then finally at 9.55 Paris time we were supposed to begging the boarding procedures and flight was at 10.40/ but even by 10.15 boarding didn’t start and people got restless. Finally at 10.45 they asked to form a queue. Almost after 15 minutes of waiting finally they let us start boarding. Once in the flight, it didn’t take off even after 30 min. so that time the pilot declared that there was some issues for which it might tackle time. This particular thing kept on repeating for 3 times in next 1 hour. We were all so tired half of the people fell asleep. Then finally they said something like they were waiting for a few missing passengers for which they couldn’t start the flight. Don’t know for whom they were waiting. Paris didn’t appear all glitz and glamour to me might be outside it would be good. To be a fashion capital it needed more jazz that’s what I felt. But while travelling in the bus shuttle between 2c and 2E I saw the path almost as dirty as some places in India. IN fact I would say, the Mumbai airport is far better maintained than this one. This looked nothing great. There was water clogging at places and dirt. The CDG 2E terminal however is well decorated. Red furnishing and dome shaped structure give it a tasteful look. And nice and expensive brands add color to it. But that’s it. Felt nothing much special in it. Might be I was too tired to appreciate things.


Finally the flight began and it was too cold inside. We literally had frost bite inside :( I felt I would get fever if it continued thankfully the temperature came back to normal in a short time. Paris sky was totally filled with clouds hence couldn’t see anything down.

When I reached Atlanta, the temperature outside was 26 degrees. So it was nice and warm. The flight had already got delayed by 2 hrs in Paris and another 20 mins it kept hovering over Atlanta as thunderstorm was taking place and it couldn’t land. So my flight was completely delayed through and through. After that was the long process of baggage collection, customs and stuff. Here baggage collection happened in two phases, first we collect our things and then we hand it over to the airport guys. After that they give us another terminal number and belt number from where we finally get our baggages. So after checking in my luggage for the 2nd time I was asked to board a metro train to go to that last belt. Now here also there was confusion galore. Just to confirm whether I was on track I asked an Indian couple where to collect my baggage. Seemed that I had asked the wrong guys they were waiting for a connecting flight and they told me all wrong things, where to go and what to do and stuff. So I left them and went ahead for a reliable source of info. Just then a bomb squad personnel was going and I asked him. So he escorted me to the proper belt. After that nothing it was a long wait for luggages. After collecting luggage’s I came out to the taxi stand finally and took a cab to Atlanta city. The driver was good and gave a nice briefing about the history of the city. He also told me about the buildings in downtown Atlanta.


Cox is in main city. So I called Uday for the address of the room. The area we live in is known as Dunwoody. The place is very different from San Diego. SD had a very organized look and feel. This one had a wild and vintage beauty to it. It looks more like a European city than an American one. Lots and lots of green all around, it almost feels like the Maharashtra in rains. Dense foliage all over. Bright blossoms dotting the landscape and wooden houses, apartments, etc at long gaps. Will take snaps and sent it across so that you can see what I mean.


The society has an automated security system. It had a phone outside wherein if a visitor is there and u are at home, the visitor needs to punch in a code and press call button. The call gets to your home and you can press the remote to activate the gate lock. The gate then slides back and you are allowed to enter. Else suppose you yourself want to enter the premises, then there is an access card that you swipe at the gate to make it slide. Nice system. The society consists of 3 floored apartments. We stay at the second floor. Nice ambience and all.

Shirisha and Uday appeared to be nice people. Especially Uday, he was very helpful and good humored. We did some shopping after I freshened up at an Indian mart. That when I noticed that even at 8.30 pm it has light like 6 am in India. Only by 9 it is dark. So before that you won’t even know its evening. After the Indian mart we went to an Indian restaurant where we had the biryani I mentioned before. Dinner was done before as restaurants would close by 10pm. So after dinner we went for the second round of shopping at Wal-Mart. Uday was under the impression that Wal-Mart was opened 24x7 hence he was in that mood of shopping. Thankfully it closed by 12 else I would have collapsed in the Wal-Mart itself :(. Even after coming home at 12.30 we were busy setting up the kitchen and all. It’s only by 2 am we went to bed and today I woke up by 7.30 :( so you can imagine the level of fatigue. Just feel like sleeping and having a good back massage.

I just learnt that here we have to go in for a drug test at the hospital before we can get a company icard. Might be tomorrow or day after someone will take us to the hospital for the tests. It’s a mandatory test over here.


 Today also Sunitha's friend's are there. Ok so Sunitha’s friends dropped us at the office in their car today morning. Here trains are known as Marta. So from tomorrow we take a Marta to a station named medical centre and from there we take the office shuttle which will drop us off at the office premises.

That's all for now. Will keep on adding my experiences.



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