"This definitely is the longest blog I had ever written (done over the past 7 days). So I warn you early not to read it till the end in a single day. But if you feel fresh and awake, do dig in so that U would be drooling by the time u reach the end. May your age be long enough to withstand more such torture"
Last minute Ruckus: Sunday 2 am:
After all the heavy work involved with the car wreck and Diwali Dhoom and the on stage performances and fun that had been outsourced to my happy side, I was dead beat by the time I reached my lab. Though the jingling of the Chem dept keys was deafening, the sorrow of not being much to my labon ko stage performing roomie was hurting. Decided to analyze my samples with the only equipment that could decide my next 2 months research in a flash and run to my roomies workplace for some support. Unfortunately, the pride of a good result went till 4 45 am and was furious by the time I finished packing and got ready. Luckily the day light savings which I never remembered today gave me a last min peek into my best friends sleep work, and with some funny talk I made sure that he goes to sleep right away from his work.
Painful Phoenix: Sunday 9 am:
Just like the Irish luck, my adrenaline luck once more proved to showcase it’s freedom to scare me. This time it was my new coat which I forgot in the restroom. Thanks to the post memory/friendly reminders, I did not lose anything so far. The flight of the phoenix was heavily burdened with back aches, thanks to my sincerity towards the old woman in flight 1 and to the kid in flight 2 occupying the rear seats. Instead of the $54 for extra room space, United should provide options for comfortable seats. One good thing was that Dr. Peppas – my academic grandpa, winked at me while ousting at SLC, which I returned with an equal amount of ingenuity. SLC at the first glance proved to be tasteless in entertainment which I later realized was compensated with the reality in tastes given by the multitude of cuisines.
Finally my very own Team: Sunday 7 pm:
The reception proved to be very frustrating with me being the only guy introduced around UDCT gang. Though I was happy to see my classmates notching up big money in Industries or specialists in IT companies or doing big guns in IIM’s, I was wondering why the hell did two of my great friends who had much more intellectual knowledge of all the people I had ever seen were doing sitting around back in India. I just wished I had them over here trying to help me out. Thanks to the frustration, met the Chevron senior who eventually started scanning the UDCT guys for potential career giving’s. This year went forward and introduced myself to the big shots of the chemi engg world, who in fact stunned me by knowing about me from other seniors who made it to the US. This was one hell of a moral boost for me. Decided to arrange a lunch session for the ACTech guys.
Animosity to Animation: Sunday 9 pm:
Sleepless from two days of work, my burning eyes gradually cheated me to sleep at the Marriott lounge and thanks to the timing, was noticed snoring by Dr. Bacchas and Daunert from the chemi dept. A pool side discussion on the slides instead of cooling my mind, made me work at night on the animation part of my ppt. I cursed myself for proving my animation skills to my advisor the last time I presented in Chicago. Worked till 3 am to finish the animation and slept couple of hours so that I can get ready for work.
The Lagging Impetus: Monday 2:30 pm:
Two awesome talks related to my work, I was pretty much charged up to rock at my talk. Definite absence of the working crowd, made me still go so so with my talk. But the real doom came when I had no questions from the audience and eventually Dr. J showed mercy by shooting one which I thought was conveyed clearly in the introduction part itself. My anger pointed directly at Dr. J after the talk made him smile and say that ‘Yours is a novel technology. We are still lagging in thoughts from your cool concepts. Heard that you wanted to become a faculty. If so, then hundreds shall be shot at you when you prove your point in the future. Till then wait like Dr. Peppas did.’ Two minute silence, and sense of the concepts and the work I delivered in a couple of months did show me a good future. I wish people can understand the importance of my sweat soon.
Beer Unconsumed: Monday 8 pm:
Red flagged, was what I did in making others cross the dead zebra road. Red rock made my advisor and most of my group members drunk. Dr. J’s Hindi gaaliyaan and others yapping slowly bored me to make me order a Seafood platter. Thanks to my biology lessons, I found that the platter included small octopus which instead of just keeping aside I dissected ‘em with my silvers and then kept them aside. The onion soup turned out to be pure cheese melt which I played with to design a mini whirlpool model. With all the boredom creeping into my nerve I called my roomie and thanks to my bro’s situation, eventually found out that my parents visa got rejected. Quick call to my parents, made me realize that they are much more fragile at this age. Decided not to make them worry more about the on setting issues, and instead of considering things as a burden/responsibility took them as a challenge/part of life. There was definitely a moment when I wondered, ‘Why don’t I drink and forget of all emotions?’
The Flirt: Tuesday 11 30 am:
After a heavy dose of plenary talks, NM from DB’s lab, Dr. K, his friends, including a cute girl N went for Vietnamese lunch. At the end of the meal which included the usual Hindi chats and technical discussions, we were standing in line to pay our bills. NM all of a sudden smirked at me and asked, ‘Ha’h’ri, were u flirting with that girl?’ 'What made u think so?' for which he said 'She laughed at most of ur jokes' for which I replied, 'So?' and then we both laughed at each other for quite some time. Don't know what NM implied but that comment did make me go confused on my way of behaving with women. Decided not to be too friendly with girls I meet the first time. 'Don't spit against the wind' was the fortune cookie for the day. Thank God it wasn’t 'Don't pee against the wind'
The Crush: Tuesday 3 pm:
Eyes popped, I was in disbelief when I saw a Persian angel give a talk similar to my work. She was beautiful and cute. Her voice was awesome and her actions were strong. My heart literally fell out of my drooling mouth. After her talk she had no questions even from the Chair. I felt real bad, and to make things better for her (and also to have a close up look at her beautiful face) I introduced myself to her after her presentation and asked her questions about research (seriously genuine questions). I have no clue what she answered me, but I did enjoy being with her. It had been long that I had a crush, and wow... double wow!!!! It was worth the wait.
Mr. 'Berry'ani as in Italian: Tuesday 10 pm:
Cold walk to the capitol building made Nintendo go sick and a few others shiver too, but Watti’s comment on a senseless butt made us laugh the whole walk. JB’s desert hunger lured us to meet this awesome Italian server who instead of serving us with good food served us with good fun. Thanks to the jolly mood we provided his work, he gave us free fruit toppings on our cakes.
The Gathering: Wednesday 11 15 am.
Singlehandedly managed to swarm the ACTech gang for a group lunch and it felt awesome to be with the guys. Though I was the junior most of the whole team, it didn't seem to be the like that with Hari mingling good with me and the rest equally respecting my actions and efforts. The Kabob food added to the flavor of sweet reunion. I wished, I had Bals, Avi, Abi, Duck and Krish over there. Aflal being interested in faculty position like I am, gave me important points and critiques to improve my strategy for jumping into the faculty world. Seriously it ain't gonna be that easy to get into faculty positions here. Got loads to work on from now on.
Thai with My: Wednesday 8 pm:
Since My (my ug classmate and good friend) dint make it up for the group lunch, I decided to go with her for dinner. Since her mom shivered at the cold 40's her mom decided to back out. With at least a dozen of the UDCT friends already seated and My not that great in Hindi, I decided to sit alone with her. N the girl whom I was assumed to flirt with was also there. Since we had to wait for the food to arrive, I was running from one table to the other having fun with everyone, and 1 guy from UDCT gang noticed what I was doing and at the end of our dinner he asked me, 'Are u interested in that girl?' I was like, 'All of a sudden what's wrong with everyone?' After making sure that he understood that I wasn't even thinking of hitting on that sweet girl and that I am walking out to accompany my friend to her hotel, I walked out with a confused mind. After sending her the final byes, I started walking back to my hotel with the cold wind blowing over my face.
The Horse, The Jazz and The Tram : Wednesday 11 pm:
As I walked back, I was pondering over my recent actions for being called a flirt, and all of a sudden some memories, thoughts, and a face of one particular person hit me. I never thought that I would be thinking of this person in such a situation. Before I started to feel awkward or uncomfortable, I decided to divert my mind and so started jogging in the cold weather. Noticed a tourist horse cart going in the opposite direction and decided to drop into it. A few blocks away I noticed the Persian angel walking. I yelled her name, she smiled and waved her to join me which she did do without any persuation. Of the 20 mins ride, we spoke about Utah, research, more research and finally after understanding her culture decided to have academic contact with her. Got down near the stadium and after paying the money walked towards the hotel. Again, memories hit me of the odd person and so decided to stall it by walking to the stadium.
Walked into the Jass stadium, went to the arena and thanks to the security guys chatting in a pile, to my suprise noticed that the Jazz were playing Cleveland. Sat at the last row watched the game using my opportunistic good luck and then noticed that there was someone blocking my way. This person who turned out to be a security guard asked me to keep my camera in my pocket and then he asked for my ticket. Being not a big fan of basketball (coz I twist my ankle everytime I play the sport), I told him that I just walked in (which later my friends called as a dumb thing to do. I never felt guilty of losing of the opportunity). He led me to the exit point, yelled at his subordinates for letting me in without a ticket (coz they were busy chatting) and said bbye in a cool way (liked his attitude of dealing with customers).
With no hard feelings I walked besides the Tram to my hotel and then crap!!! again her face and memories... I was like Damn!!!! and stopped there, turned back and walked to the tram. Checked my wallet and found out that I was short of $1 for the round about trip to the Univ of Utah. Still walked in, asked a regular passenger some details, he offered me a dollar bill which I eventually rejected, took the risk of going ticketless and went to the Univ. Took some snaps and in the return journey though I had money, preferred to take the risk again and made it ticketless. To kill my guilt, dropped the money in the 'Serve your Veterans' program hundi and finally decided to walk to my hotel alone. As usual the odd face came, got more confused and decided to quit on the thought by crashing.
The 10000000 girls in the world: Wednesday 1 30 pm:
Was about to crash when Ni came online and told me that my ever entertaining roomie was stressed up and that he had too many complaints from his academic side. In the mean time, I somehow told him about this image of the person hitting me and he came up with this awesome way of representing love. Am adding a different note to make it better '1000000 passed; 100000 met; 10000 knew; 1000 have a crush; 100 think about; 10 like to be around; 1 loves u; remove the 1, and just like 0 my life has no value' After the hysterical laughter we shared, I called my stressed out roomie and made him chill out. In the process I also lost track of the thoughts that been hitting me and slept peacefully.
A new friend on the block: Thursday 10 am:
Everything has a reason, and all 3 of us guys getting late, made us meet Samantha our co-lab partner invite us to visit the great Lake in her rental car. Me, Nintendo, Viv and Sam after a long smelly ride through the great lake decided to hit the grass when we noticed the bisons. Some funny jokes, scares and pics made Sam go on the fly and after the return she wanted to go to Indian restaurant. In spite of my map warnings, she decided to walk a mile to the restaurant with us. After the lunch, some discussions on the Indian world and shopping she thanked me for all the fun she had. As usual I welcomed the gratuity and left for Ray’s talk. Later when I checked my mail, I saw a thank you note from some guy called Kyle. After deleting the mail for wrong address I was packing my stuff, and that’s when it hit me that Kyle was Sam’s husband. A quick phone call, and some funny talk finally made sense that she was thinking of going alone to the lake to retrospect. She added me as a good friend in facebook. After Coach left, I was a lil lonely not having a good friend from the International side, but now I have two. Talking of coach, December is coming and I have no clue of how I’m gonna make it to see his first child. Hope I don’t make the pregnant teacher mad by not showing up. The rest of the day was all fun with the guys traveling in the car. To add to this day, today Dr. Hilt was extremely stressed out coz of the way things are turning up in the lab. He is now feeling the pressure of staying on the top. It is time that I show him some of my new ideas and make him happy. This is the right time for me to show my potential to him.
The Sopapilas: Friday:
14 mid 20’s men, and only me in the role for an adventure. What’s the point in going to rocky structures if you can’t try some adventures. One guy was motivated enough by seeing me, that eventually he did climb the arch to prove his point to his friends. His comment that it involved zero risk, made no point in the closed ears of the other dozen. If girls can climb chimney tops, why can’t these guys climb such simple arches – A question I couldn’t reason out. But other than that some awesome pics, cool fun, better hindi than last year and some Rey touch made my day just perfect. Of course the usual hiccups of solitude and lost memories made me wander alone but this year I was much more relaxed. The return really did make me go down with the remaining 13 getting phone calls at regular intervals, whereas my phone didn’t even beep for a voicemail. The dinner at the Mexican proved to be interactive and thanks to my early walk to the manager and informing about the presence of a birthday boy, my good friend Nintendo had a beautiful birthday, naming him ‘Baba Punchito.’ Years later when I make it to the restaurant and see that pic, I would remember the year when I made at least one birthday perfect of the 7 I tried including my dad's, mom's and my sweet nephew's.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Saturday The ugly mind with all the pervertness gone, made me look into nature as I always liked to watch. The bad thing was, the late night freedom walk to Dennys and the oversleep – thanks to the guys, I was pretty dull the whole morning. The good thing that happened turned out to be in fact the best thing that happened in years. The fast walk to the end of the great view, the climb to the top of the world alone, and the solitude 10 mins to myself made me admit all my emotions to nature today. A final moment of ecstasy was relished when everyone, finally decided to beat their acrophobiac minds, and made it to the top and cherished the sunset along with me. They were thankful for what I showed them, but I was thankful to see them help me reach this level of hope. Some lessons from Guruji, made my heart laugh out loud, my mind happy and my soul go cool. A green teddy, a chipmunk and a big bear won from the slot machine in 3 consecutive attempts made the dinner perfect. Though everyone appreciated my skill of hand brain eye coordination (named by one of the sopapilas), I wasn't entirely happy coz I told Dr. K that it is impossible to get the pink teddy which he wanted the most. Asked the manager if I can at least buy it as a gift, which he denied an option for.
Everything has an end: Sunday:
Though nature proved to be enticing to my eyes on the way back to SLC, my mind was hit with nostalgia of the moments were I blundered the most in life. Some interesting moments with Al and Guruji (made up for the lost pink teddy with some dedicated songs of his taste) eventually made me realize the mistakes I had been doing in life and that I need to improve a lot in my character just to achieve what I dream off. Several moments have made this trip memorable including the past two months and there had been multiple occasions when I hated the way I lived my life just for this trip. Memories of lost friends, heated fights with family members, avoidance even over my nephew, unhealthy sleep cycles, burning stomachs and of course the idea of filling tranquility had turned me into a much different person or rather a zombie. A new start is there facing me as I land in a couple of mins in Cincinnati. I wish I can handle one more year of the ruggedness I am facing in my life. This could be the worst or the best part of my life ever. All I can do is now hope on the new person that’s building inside me. Hope is all I have for now. I hope this does not turn out to be an ending. I hope this is the beginning of a new life. I hope…….
Post landing: Monday 12 30 am:
AL's car battery died and some simple layman effort made it possible to connect the battery cables between his and Nintendo's car. The trip back to Lex was a lil lonely with Nintendo trying to make me normal by putting my favorite songs in the car. But the fact that I had, zero calls from my friends (even close ones) did make me wonder where I had gone wrong. Some comparisions with the last AICHE, made me really down. As I neared my apt, I had to give up all emotions and walked straight into the house, hugged my best friend, another great friend, my bro and finally walked to my nephew's room. There he was sleeping like an angel. All I did was lie by his bed side and watched him sleep for a while and thought that I was stupid to let my guard down just because I was left lonely. I realized that I made more friends in this trip in a weeks time than I had ever done before in my life. I slept in my beautiful wonderland peacefully having blankness for what was lying tomorrow.