If the last time was full of ‘post-airport-arrival’ adventures, this time was less interesting.
The only problem I faced was the lack of transportation facilities due to the demise of Rajkumar. There were no buses, autos or taxis. Finally, my company arranged for some vehicle and I was in the airport. After checking in the baggage, I got the boarding pass and finished the customs and immigration check. As I was waiting in the lobby, two foreigners sitting in front of me were talking to each other.
“Today I’d been to office. Roads were totally empty. I could finish all my work today. I reached office in 20 mins, which used to take me an hour atleast. Yeah, it was good, yeah. My security told me he would get a printout of Rajkumar’s photo and I’ve to stick it on my car. But, there was no problem, yeah”
“You’ve been to IISc? Indian Institute of Science. Its one of the premier institutes here. The campus is good. Lot of greenery inside. I had been to the IITs also, they are also good, but they don’t have that much greenery…”
It was a good way to pass the time, listening to their conversation. Now, don’t tell me that its wrong to eavesdrop. People who speak loudly in public have no intention of “not-to-be-heard” anyway!
I was traveling by Lufthansa. The air hostess was speaking in German, which seemed to me like she was imitating the sound of firing bullets! I did not know even a word in German. Last time was better. Atleast I knew a few French words – monsieur, mademoiselle, bonjour, and of course lingerie! I learnt a few German words there from the TV though– die, zeit, flug, ankunft. I slept almost the entire journey to Frankfurt.
On the flight from Frankfurt to Chicago, a curly haired fat man sat next to me. I hate sitting next to fat people. They invade the space as well as occupy most of the armrest!
“Lunch illeya?”, the fat man asked me.
“Adu vanda, lunch illeya?”, he spoke in a ‘tybbigle’ tamilian accent.
“I don’t know tamil!”
I had no idea if I looked like a tamilian to him or did I disprove his assumption that the whole world knows tamil?
“I am going to Cleveland Music Festival. Its for one week…you are from Bangalore aa? MS Sheela is coming from Bangalore for the festival…I play Mridangam…my student stays in Canada…after this festival, I will visit him…”, he gave a lengthy introduction about himself till I was asleep.
After the immigration check at Chicago, I boarded the flight to Salt Lake City. A blonde was sitting in the seat next to mine. What immediately caught my attention was the “SuDoKu” book in her hand. She used her pencil with eraser, solving the puzzles, as passionately as a sculptor creating his masterpiece. My instant urge was to grab the book from her, run as far as I could, and solve all the puzzles! But, the residual sanity in me stopped me from doing anything like that. I borrowed the book from her, copied the puzzle to my book and started solving it. Karunesh’s “Call of the mystic” was playing in my ipod. Sitting in an American airline, solving a Japanese puzzle, listening to a German playing classical Indian music. Height of globalization!
After solving the puzzle in half an hour, I smiled at her and said “Done!”
She was impressed and gave her book to me to copy another puzzle. “Wow, you seem to smarter than I am. Try the ‘treacherous’ level then”.
To hell with my smartness – I still cannot drive from MG Road to Marathalli without asking for directions!
After a few more SuDoKu puzzles and a few more albums from Karunesh, I was in Salt Lake City. The trees that once were dry now had flowers, making a fashion statement about their summer collection. I entered my apartment and did something I had missed for more than a day.
I connected to the Internet!