america · life · Myself

Come a Full Circle

Guessing how to operate the pay phone, wondering if those are actually quarters in your hand, sitting on the runway for more than an hour, reaching the destination, breathing a sigh of relief spotting the baggage, meeting new people, traveling on the right side of the road, listening to “Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera” (wtf!) in the car from the airport, traveling on interstate freeways, sleeping on the couch with empty stomach, waking up to watch India vs England streamed live on the laptop, on campus job search,  blonds in fall clothing, puliyodarai with curd or bread with mayonnaise for lunch, yard sale, first lunch at Indian restaurant in months, sleepless nights, lunch less days, doing homework for the first time since 5th std, project submissions, open book exams, take home remedy tests, academic integrity speeches, complexity theories, network simulators, depth first searches, segmentation faults, grade distributions, fall breaks and thanksgiving breaks, lake visits, travel in 2 buses to go 10 miles, scary downtown visits, first career fair with an almost blank resume, praying for grades, horrible project demos, bad grades.

Throwing them out of the window and going on the first road trip in America, covering almost half of I-95, saying to yourself you are done seeing Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, New Jersey and finally the actual destination, New York City, standing in the middle of the bustling crowd at Penn station thinking whether you are in Bombay or New York, armed with a ticket to Mineola wondering whether you should take the Subway, the Long Island Rail Road or the NJ Transit and then realizing the obvious answer, making the customary visits to Liberty, the Bull and NYSE, remembering John Lennon near Dakota and CPW at 72nd Street, mastering the NY railroads in less than 24 hrs, falling in love with the city, wrapping it all off fast enough to make a stop at Washington D.C, sitting behind the White House at 7pm and frowning at the deserted look of the city, having a healthy argument about which one is Jefferson Memorial, which one is Lincoln and which is the Washington Monument. Because it was so damn dark.

Pissing away the rest of the vacation watching movies, making up for the six months lost, starting a new semester, tougher courses, more time wasted, making full use of roomie’s car, frequent blogging, internship hunts, career fairs, job applications, interview calls, recession talks, wondering where the hell did you land up, putting things into perspective, classifying grad students, writing an amateur movie script on desis, winter wears, gloves, skull caps, first snow, first spring break, making blog friends from Chennai to Delhi to Urbana to Bay Area, first interview, first job, second road trip, weekend visits to Indian restaurant and temple, getting back to driving, third road trip, breaking an year of teetotalism, movies at Galaxy and Mission Valley, regular work outs, better cooking, better eating, pressure free job, carefree living, India trip dreams, good job dreams, next semester nightmares and getting back to the grind. In a months time.

In between all this, a Masters degree, that is on course. Fair deal.

It’s exactly one year since I landed at Washington Dulles International. I was thrust into some seniors place where I stayed for almost 2 weeks. A new guy landed up at my door yesterday and would be staying for a week in my room before he gets his house. He walks out and goes, “It’s 8.45pm and not one bit dark!!” Full circle eh?

(I was inspired by this and this. Will forever be.)


46 thoughts on “Come a Full Circle

  1. Were you separated at the hip? Every line except for the roadtrips and NY trip matches to the extent that I even got a bit senti. I don’t even remm when the last time I got senti was, it wasn’t even when I kissed my mom goodbye for the first time!

    Will be ejjatly 3yrs next weekend and I’m gonna celebrate it with ‘Kuselan’. But then I just had a longer grad student life(I grad last Dec if you remm).Too bad you’re grad in dec, coz the univ is like a fortress and you have immunity for everything.

    Everything is ‘chalta hain’ for you are a student, student discounts, even the univ cops spare you for drunken driving with a warning. Once you join the H1 mela then US starts to show its ugly colors.

    Appa saami, I’ll stop here. Ore peelings coming, ful lsenti you see. Gotta take a shower and I’ll be fine…

    Adi: Hmm, raring to check out how life is in the H1 mela. This got you senti? I thought that would be a tough job to do!


  2. Very nicely written, brought back memories of my first year as well. I also got to read your earlier posts. My reaction to NYC was the same as yours, although I didn’t regret not seeing Rockefeller Center that first time.

    Adi: Long time, no see! Thanks. Yeah, I still haven’t seen Rockefeller.


  3. US-la Bhagya paneer manchurian, Nair chaaya, Filter coffee kuda kadaikala na ennada ooru adhu?

    But I liked reading this.
    In fact, I’m konjam jealous. :)

    Adi: Why reminding those niceties of life like Bagya paneer manchurian, filter coffee(but I am not much of a coffee fan). I know, you’ll come here and see you have umpteen reasons to go like Y.G Mahendran, “Enna nadu idhu? Enna arasangam idhu?” But, try everything once, you know? Till then, be konjam jealous!


  4. As I was reading the first few bits, I was imagining Renton’s rant from Trainspotting (which I saw in my freshman year!), especially coz I watched the first few mins of the movie again last night. It was cool to see that it was one of your inspirations at the bottom of the post!

    My college experience was pretty similar to yours for the first year, minus the blogging, working out and watching Indian movies. Instead, I spent that time learning to use a computer and the Internet for more than just printing documents and sending emails – I was so computer unsavvy when I came here and had to fix that, being that all my desi friends then were so computer savvy. (I was a Mech Engg student while a lot of desis were in Comp Engg or Comp Sci.)

    Lol @ the blondes in Fall clothes bit.

    Ditto what Max said about how sheltered college life is though. Once you’re out, everything becomes a hassle when you’re a foreigner.

    @chutney: All those items are available in the Bay area. We have no less than 50 joints that serve idly/ dosa between San Francisco and San Jose!

    Adi: I can imagine how it would be to land up here and not be computer savvy. Hmm, now increasingly have to check out how the OPT/H1 period is. Matter of time. And how the hell can you see Trainspotting more than once? I may puke. (That doesn’t mean it’s a bad movie though)


  5. Vaaaaaaary vaaaaaaary nice. Indha ooru thaanga mudile enakku!

    I need the chaos, pollution, and the noise and I do not want strangers wishing: How you doing!

    Adi: Hehehe! Let’s see how long I last!


  6. Second time, I didn’t make it past the scene where the baby dies. It’s a very dark movie and I wasn’t in the mood for such things.

    Adi: I know, very depressing. But I feel Requiem for a Dream got the message across more subtly than this one. And it is more depressing.


  7. Oh my, it truly does take me back to my first penniless year at grad school. Advisor trouble, road trips, New York City, homeworks – it’s coincidental that I was thinking: Sundays are such a joke, I used to wake up mid-afternoon, go eat Indian food, and then land up in the library and study till 2 in the morning, before the week began again – and I woke up bright and early, mowed my lawn, gobbled down some lunch, and made my way to the library because I feel nostalgic and geeky. Haha. This only increased it. I miss being in school though. sigh.

    Adi: Your blog was probably the first grad student blog I started following. LOL @ feel nostalgic and geeky.


  8. I soo love this post. I am lifting it. Honestly, brilliante!

    Man this post is so fuckin-awesome! I got goose bumps reading it.

    And I just read your earlier post classifying grads. Shedding any traces of modesty I so feel like “The Perennial Scholar Grad”. Coming to an US school was coming home. Nothing surprised me.

    Adi: I am not surprised either. Onnake goosebumps ah? Good job, then!


  9. hahahahaha.. damn, i can’t believe it’s been 5 years for me… and i’ve been away from school for 3… but this post definetly does bring back some pleasant (listening to floyd after having smoked pot for the first time) and unpleasant (not worth the mention) memories…

    Adi: We would like some blog posts about those? You can keep them password protected and invite your dedicated readers. :P


  10. I’m an undergrad but I could relate to most of those things, especially the blonds in fall clothing :D

    Adi: Tell me about it. NCSU is ranked top for Textiles Engineering. You should see the women in that department. Oh my God, that side of the campus is heaven!


  11. nicey one! but a wee bit censored piece, me thinks. :P gotta dig through those other related posts you got. bread with mayo? :O thayir sadam with kettle-cooked jalapeno chips /puliyodra with chile limon is so yumyummy, ever tried?

    @v: someone should have called the venice beach patrol, cha! :P

    Adi: Thayir Sadam with jalapeno chips is yumm!! Tried it. And oye, enna censored? We are all chamathu boys. Not like you wicked a***tis’ of the world:p


  12. Hey, where did my earlier comment disappear to??

    Anyway, I was saying that reading this is a bit unsettling, for me, who has just a few more days left in India, before I come experience all this firsthand.


    Adi: Comment disappeared? Oh, n00bie eh? Where to? But why unsettling!


  13. Got here from lekhni’s blog. Your post was really nice, and I guess everyone who did their Master’s here can relate to it a 100%, aah, those were blissful days… Good luck with the lottery :D

    Adi: Welcome! Blissful days indeed. Thanks for the wishes!


  14. Have never been a student here at Uncle Sam’s land. But a lot of nostalgia from your post. And after having lived in NYC for 3 yrs, it sucks to live elsewhere. And yaa yaa the clevage-showing spring attires!! No elevator in Citi building used to be devoid of them! phew!!

    Adi: Lol, elevator? Ennaku ennamo scenes lam nayamagam vardhu :P


  15. @V: Hmmm.. I think I heard my name being mentioned. Dude you are teaming up with the wrong guy to make fun of people. Adi–Padi is one sappa.

    Ethana paeru samaaan eduthunda vandaalum ennaka avangal adika dairiyum irruke.

    I am looking for a partner. My targets is usually Chutney. We can expand our list .

    Adi: Lol, you try too hard to act like a poriki, ok!


  16. Hahah, pretty much sums up everything. But be assured, you are in for more surprises, and more experiences :–)

    Its so nice to live in a totally brand new environment na?

    Adi: Lol, yeah! Everyone is so apprehensive at the beginning but it so worth it. More? Bring it on!


  17. @confounded lady:

    please allow me to introduce myself: i’m the worsht guy you’ll ever find.

    Adi: “tease” as in ootify macha, for ok’s wannabe porikkiness, your stupidity laden posts, and WT, Drenched, Chutney for obvious reasons. Lol, whattey intro! You’ve done this in person too??


  18. What the fuck? You are quitting even before I join the fray. See WT maybe a difficult target cauze she does not have a blog.

    Chutney is the best. She has a blog. She does not take it lting down. And tries to get back at you.

    But the best part is she sends you stinkers through e mail, cursing you and demanding apologies. And that, my friend, you will agree is the ultimate appreciation one can get for one’s work.


  19. Hahahahahahahahahahha! Whatte comments! ;)

    Maythu! U dno V aa? Epadi? How? Kaise! :D

    And abt the post, sweet :) I’m thinkin of giving my GRE….actually kindaaaa preparing also….edho oru sudden veri :)

    Adi: How did I miss your comment? :O Lol, thanks! Yes, ace GR and come. :D


  20. adithya…you are a gifted writer,and yes these days I am nostaliga personified…,well I am a bit of it all the time but this feeling is stronger now cos most of us where in a different land,a different time zone and a different familiarity a year back…
    and now I love this familiarity!! I do.

    You write amazingly well!!

    Adi: Welcome back, Litun! Long time. Thank you! :D And yes, you are bit of it all the time!


  21. My empathies through out!! :P And more so on – “India trip dreams, good job dreams”. :( It’s been two years and I haven’t made one trip to India.
    Amma kavali!!! (I want my mom) uuuuuuwwaaaaaaa…:(


  22. Really nice write up!
    You have a beautiful flow in your writing!

    I felt as if i did MS in US when i read ur post!!
    I think i must catch up ur blog more often!

    Keep blogging


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