Monday, 12 August 2013


If anyone has not said 'Bublaboo' the moment I ever said 'Cincinnati', please know that you are an exception, that you haven't completed the sacred hymn of the Tooth Fairy, who is now going to turn you into an undead zombie.

After the furious procedure of applying for MS during the college exams and then the one lengthy wait, it soon became obvious that I would be joining the University of Cincinnati. Preparations began in full swing, and with it my friends' taunts! It's amazing to find how every meet suddenly turned into the "jaane ke pehle ki last" (the last one before leaving). And if you dare refuse such a meet, you have at least 5 pairs of eyes giving this look:

Only about a week before leaving, by when I had enough 'gori pata ke aana' and 'itni tayari to ladki ko sasural bhejne me karte hain' comments, did my schedule receive some consideration from those eyes.

Finally came the day I was waiting for- the day I was going to fly (I can already read the lame 'do you have wings?' joke in the minds of half the people. No, that doesn't fall into the Anish-type jokes category. Mine are far better :D ). The last day was of complete frenzy.. all the 23rd hour packing, juggling visitors, phone calls and door bells, and what not. I was alternating the whole day between states something like these:

Then, when all was done with and the emotional pangs stopped, we left for the airport, all the while making the last customary phone calls. By the end of the last phone call (and the last instruction!) I guess I must have beaten dear old Santa Claus in saying "Ho Ho" all the way. As we arrived at the airport, I saw a group of about 50 people surrounding an old man and thought that it was perhaps a medical emergency. That thought vanished as soon as a coconut went "CRACK" and everyone roared together  "Ambe mate ki JAI !!! ".

The check-in counters were quite empty. We had got in early and it showed! The cabin bags are often ignored while weighing, I am told. But that day we had the misfortune of getting all our bags weighed, including my regular cabin bag and a laptop bag. "We cannot allow you to carry this much weight, sir!", said the attendant. But then, like a magician who waits for the 'Turn' to settle in before going for the 'Prestige', he paused, and said "But, I will allow you to check-in an extra bag for free!". I though, continued with my previous expression:

Till now I used to think that ration shops had the longest queues outside them (my college office queues could come close, but no!). The queue at the immigration counter however changed that belief.

The flight had two stop-overs at Frankfurt and Newark. The Mumbai-Frankfurt flight was quite uneventful. Had a nice time with my travel mates on the way. At Frankfurt though, the plane gods seemed generous! The lady at the boarding counter, with a heavy German accent said something like "lkgmdlg business class seat become free. andu gundu thanda pani". Only when I actually compared my seat number with my friends did I realise that I had been offered a free upgrade to the Business Class! (Yeah, I can hear you guys yelling "dagabaaz" :D ).

The levels of politeness amongst people seemed to generally increase along the way. By the time I got off the Frankfurt-Newark flight I, in my own words, "had not used as many pleasantries in the past whole week as I had in those 8 hrs, 4 hrs of which I was sleeping"! Food was delicious, with extra-business class courtesy, except for the fork-knife problem during the pre-meal. Now, I know how to eat with all the cutlery, but a roll full of chopped stuff and dripping cheese is, in my opinion, best eaten by hand. Unfortunately, 3 people (all foreigners) sitting besides me did not seem to share my common sense. Ultimately I decided not to stand out, ate that with a fork and knife all the while resisting the urge to lick the oozing cheese clean!

The words 'cabin crew' would be somewhat misleading for the Newark-Cincinnati flight. There was, after all, just one person. Quite a jocular guy he was, keeping the passengers entertained during the flight delay due to the weather. And he even asked for an M&M (Gems- closer home), from a passenger complete with a colour choice!

Cincinnati, right from arrival, has seemed like a nice little city with both greenery and infrastructure. Indian cities have a lot to learn from cities here. If only there was more public transport rather than the reliance on cars, I would have been even more impressed. Activities with college mates have already started and I suppose I'll be playing my first game of football ( I might start calling this soccer inadvertently soon!) today. It's fun here... a new beginning, new skills, new friends... I sooo wish that my old friends and family had been here too. To all the loved ones back home, I am moved by the care and love you gave me. It will be great to meet you again... hopefully soon! Till then, do pay homage to the Tooth Fairy by yelling Cincinnati Bublaboo while doing the chakrasan!


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  2. Nice Experience...All The Best :-)

  3. Thanks Vishal ! You might post something like this soon :P