A sunny morning with a frosty window, rays of sun piercing through the flakes into my room, making a narrow beam of light right above below my forehead. This is what woke me up. Those multiple alarms that my smartphone claims to have cannot beat this. Any day. It’s 9AM and rays of sun are pretty rare in this time of the year. I drag myself out of the bed knowing that its a matter of few more hours I shall be done with the chores of the year. The month is December, date, 17. The day my exams for the semester end and I fly away to where I belong.
It often feels like a migrating bird, yes, that is what I am called here anyway. An immigrant. I am not a lonely individual and love to have company around me. Thankfully, that, I have enough off. A bunch of like minded friends and co-workers. Ask me about my life, and I might reply this more often than not: “Can’t complain.” But nothing really beats the fluttering within when Boeing 747 touches the gravel at Mumbai airport, India. The place that I often land when I return back. To think of it, I never say: “I am returning back to USA”, when I leave India. I always say, “I am going back”, “I am returning back” is only reserved for the country I belong to. I have often had elders of the family talking among themselves about how every one who comes to USA doesn’t ever come back. Every single time I hear them say that, I say to myself, “I will prove them wrong”. Not just for the sake of proving them wrong, is the reason that I want to come back. I have some plans, larger plans, that seem “larger than life” right now. But, yes, I would be back. Yes, I can safely say this after 5 years of stay in USA. Yes, it’s a beautiful country. I mean come on, with me hailing from Gujarat, India, a dry state (temperature wise, not otherwise), getting to see leaves change color and then skeleton trees being covered in snow is a sight that always pleases my eyes. No matter how morbid it gets in winters. However, USA is not for me. I would drop this at that only. Some other time in some other blog. Today is not the day I talk about why India and why not USA.
So, the exam looks relatively easy on first look, as it always does. It only starts getting mysterious like a women, the more I try to read in between the lines of the questions and keep pondering why din’t I pay attention in the class when he was talking about it! Some plans are made to make it a point to take seriously the next semester, as soon as it begins. I think of the success that I might achieve after that in the following semester and some one drops a pencil somewhere thankfully bringing me back to the exam. I move on to the next summit, thinking of coming back to it going downhill. The clock nears end and I wind up my work to leave. A sense of relaxation, contempt and satisfaction almost gets knocked out by the reminiscence of grades that I shall get in a few weeks. However, that does not change my stride and I walk with head held up high. At least I got done with the exams. The rest is not in my hands. Selecting a good song on the iPod and humm away the exam blues.
Glad to have seen snowfall before leaving the country although at the back of mind dearly hoping it doesn’t delay my flight and get me stranded on the tarmac for the rest of my vacation. In anticipation I am usually packed and prepared for the trip before the exam week begins. A week before the final’s week, I spend time packing my bags and purchasing gifts for peeps back home. At times I wonder do they anticipate my return or the gifts that I bring for them. I have a feeling its the latter. Anyhow, my priority is to pack bags and then search for notes and compile them for exams. That is how it should be. Think about it. You are busy breaking your head over a statistic problem and you spot a sock/a shirt lying around in your room and instantly mind flies to the thought Am I taking this shirt with me to India? Din’t I just take it along the last time I went? But then the decision lies in the fact whether it is washed or not. If it’s washed, no point taking it. Not washed? Take it! Take it! Without another question. I get up and fold the shirt neatly to put it in the bag. Now, back to the problem at hand. Statistics problem. See how it goes. So, pack your bags before you begin.
Reaching the airport and getting away from house (USA) is the top priority today. Check for papers, passport, ticket, I-20, I-94. Lock bags. Check for papers, passport, I-20,I-94. Wait. I missed something. Repeat the drill. Ticket. Gosh! Put on the army jacket that I so love, stuff all the papers in every other pocket and get ready for the security check. Always, remember, always select your seats while booking your flight. This avoids all the pleading and begging to the person who gives you your boarding pass. I have watched “Up in the Air” umpteenth times. I just like the movie. For the records, nothing George Clooney says, stands true when standing in the line for security check ins. Of course if you are that someone with millions of miles on your frequent flying card, even god can’t stop you anywhere in the line! I for one am always prepared for the check in. My trick is very simple: I stuff my belt, wallet, watch, everything in my jacket. Laptop is always packed in security check approved cases so I don’t have to remove them and shoes are always slip on that make my life easy.
After the security check in ordeal, its time to hunt for the charging point. Theres usually a wait for almost 2 hours before the gates open to boarding the plane. Yes, I am always unusually early. Then they start calling out seat numbers that can begin boarding. Women and children have a priority. How I wish I get on my knees and start acting child like with a drooling mouth and cling on to some lady’s bags. Seat numbers 13-26 please line up for boarding. I look at my seat number: 33. Great. Time to enter the line. My turn comes, and the stewardess goes like: Sir, you are 33, we are boarding only up to 26. Please stand aside. A while later. 26-42 please line up. Guess who’s the first one in the line now Girl! Aisle seat, that reclines back, although economy class and the person seating next to me does me a huge favor. He/She is late and cannot make it for the flight. Extra space. And the feeling to play “this song” when the plane touches the runway.