Thursday, May 25, 2006

Travelogue Part 1

This was written sitting in JFK terminal something or other waiting for my flight, and then in the flight to London. The inflight movie (The Californians) is nothing to write home about, and reading Harry Potter VI for about 600th time can be postponed. Not sure when I can upload this given the dial-up at my home, but will try my level best.


“Getting there is half the fun” I know I have said this before, but my trip to India turned out to be pretty enjoyable. Currently I am sitting at JFK airport. In terms of number of flights, half the journey is over. In terms of distance, I doubt even 10% is.

14th May:

7:55 am: I am all ready, packed up and (I) know where to go. When we got up today, me, my roommates and their parents had to get ready early (8, 8.30, 8.30 resp.). But I had a major advantage over my roomies, I wake up pretty early, especially when the day day promises to be good. So, by 7.30 I was all ready, and my roomies were stirring up. This unfortunately spoiled my plans to get a photograph with them in gowns (the graduation variety, not the night ones) and me in my travel gear. So having nothing productive to do (how many times can you check the mail in half an hour) I call the taxi service, knowing that the taxi should be at my door in 5 minutes. Surprise, surprise! The person has no record of my booking, and runs to get me to the airport on time.

8:30 am: In RDU. Trying to check in my bag. I get a good news (what else can you expect from a Tar Heel) that my bag is overweight. After frantic re-packing and movement (mainly of chocolates) I have to check in both my bags, leaving me with only my sac containing my laptop, iPod and the travel documents.

9:30 am: Seating in seat 1A (the front most seat). Pilot asks for volunteers from front of the plane to move back (to balance) weight and I graciously throw in my (truly insignificant) weight in the bargain. And I move back to my customary window seat over the wings. My journey home has started as the flight takes-off.

10:30 am: The flight to DC is late by almost half an hour (weighty problem), so is the flight taking off from DC to JFK. But as I have a lot of time between the connections, the only worry I have is where and what to eat for lunch. McD to rescue as usual.

2:30 pm: Reached JFK. Get across the terminal to collect the bags. Baggage claim area is situated keeping in mind that the average jet-setter does not get enough exercise done in a normal day, and walking is a very good form of exercise. Pick up a trolley ($3) collect the bags, get to the airtrain (thank JFK authorities for the airtrain) and get to the AI counter.

3:15 am: AI counter is just waking up. PCs starting up, personnel logging in. So understandably, it takes a little time to process everything properly. I decide to be adventurous and choose a isle seat. Then the boarding pass printer at the terminal is stuck, and retry-log off & log on-paper in paper out (in short all the normal things) do not work. Maintenance is called and somehow they get the things back to normal. The printer celebrates coming back to life printing 3 copies of my boarding pass, proving to me that PCs are same the world over. The person at the other end of lounge could see the lady at the counter blush.

3:30 pm: Security check done, boarding time is 7 pm. Till then, eat (chips and cookies), drink (chocolate milk and then coffee) and read on laptop (Don't want to use the iPod till its absolutely needed, battery problems you know). Do not have a single WiFi network in the range, so it seems I am out of net-reach till at least London. Let's see how I fare there.

3:00 am (7:00 am in London): Yet to reach London. A very good flight till now, including service and food (no hint of the erstwhile idlis, Silverine) No individual screens though and the movie (The Californians) is unheard of, a typical romantic movie, leaving me a lot of time to read and write. Just helped an Senior Citizen couple fill up their immigration forms. Hope they pass through without a hitch.

The Great Eagle has spoken...

Quote of The Day:

The saying "Getting there is half the fun" became obsolete with the advent of commercial airlines.
- Henry J. Tillman

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Status Report

I'm back. After a long time... So, I guess a review of what happened in last 1 month, and what is going to happen in next some months is in order.

  • Exams are over. So, I finished my first year in Graduate school. That's all I have to say on this subject.

  • Watched some good old movies. “Dil Chahta Hai”, “Tere Mere Sapne” and now watching “Saathiya”. (Thanks Lily) Some movies are never forgotten, because of the memories associated with them. Thanks to Citibank and my roomie, can watch “Rang De Basanti” whenever I want.

  • Watched “And then there were none”, on Agatha Christie novel. The only gripe, they changed the end. And I thought only Hindi movies had to have the hero and heroin walking into sunset at the end.

  • Watched “Darna Zaroori Hai”. Not a fiasco as the first Darna movie, some of the stories are pretty well executed. Most of the twists are predictably predictable, but then any hindi moviegoer worth his salt should be able to predict any hindi movie story (even if it is a thriller). Acting is above (expected) par in many cases, even Reitesh (is that the spelling now?) Deshmukh. Only gripe, why did the morning have to come in the end? The movie was 2 minutes too long for me. And still, I haven't found a director who uses silence as well as background music.

  • Watched “Private Life of Sherlock Holmes”. If I didn't know it was kind of parody, I would have picketed the director's house (not sure he is alive yet, still). Holmes was engaged to get married? What next, he was married and his wife died??? And I thought Mycroft was supposed to be quite healthy, if not completely round. But the dialogues are too funny sometimes, and I can forgive the director because he hasn't changed the core of The Great Consulting Detective much. Of course, the references to Irene Adler are too obvious.

  • Watched “Dial M for Murder”. Typical Hitchcock.

  • Watched "Iqbal" after a long time. Great movie. Tried to watch "3 deewarein", got till the second last chapter and the DVD started playing wierdo. Still to watch the climax.

  • Missing a great road trip with my friends here, because I have to finish some work here. They are out for a week, and I have only my laptop and movies to pass the time.

  • Trying to finish “Sands of Time” with my friend. Can't pass one level, even when playing co-operatively. Don't know what we can do when we couldn't pass the Sand King (“uncle” in our language) with full life, and computer feeding oh-so-slowly. Maybe will try again when my roomie gets back.

  • Playing “Silent Hunter III”. Finished one career from 1939 to 1945. Got “Knight's Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds”, but my rank was Jr. Lieutenant from start to end. Please tell me how I can get promoted. Started another career, and have advanced till “Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords”. No promotion yet again.

  • Read "V for Vendetta" full 10 comics. Worth reading, and if the movie sticks to the story (except maybe a 16yr old first time pros), I am looking (even more) forward to watching it.

All in all, watched a lot of movies, and played a lot of PC games. Enjoying life as it comes...

  • Last but not the least, going to India on 14th. Will be there for the longest time (without any work) since, let me see, 9th std. From the mails, offliners, scraps, phone calls et al (I love this word) I have got till now, the expectations about me are:

    • I am going to talk with an American accent, and like, start conversations with 'sup dude. (Me, and American accent? That's like, impossible man.)

    • Call taxi cab, and ask for cheque in restaurants. (Fat chance of a taxi in Pune)

    • Start walking and driving on the wrong side of the road (the most probable one, so I am not driving. I am asking my friends to chauffeur for me)

    • Start drinking mineral water only. (Fat chance since I am drinking tap water here, which we use to wash the dishes and all that)

    • And the finest one: Getting down from the plane, I am going to walk to my mother and tell her, “Yeh hai teri noo, teri bahu. Iska naam hoyega Sue. Khas London se pakad ke laya hoon” (Yes, my flight is via London.)

The Great Eagle has spoken...

Quotes of The Day:

Haasil kar aaisa shikhar
Parbat ki bhi nazrein uthe
- From the song "Aashayein", Iqbal