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Valentine’s Day in U.S.A

It was Valentine’s Day in USA today. Today, because it has already ended in India, so it must be yesterday for many. Anyways, I want to share my experience of the day here, in USA.
Since it is a holiday on Monday, the 16th Feb, so this was a long weekend coming. It is Valentine’s Day today, Saturday, made the weekend special. Hence, the result was that all the tickets for buses/flights were long booked. Whether you check for Los Angeles, or Las Vegas, you could not find any seat vacant. Forget cheap tickets, even expensive ones were hard to find. This was the only weekend that was long enough. We were looking forward to it with great expectations. We were thinking of covering atleast one of Los Angeles or Las Vegas. All our plans were drowned now.Β 
Then, I and Nupur decided to visit the places around. The Santa Cruz beach on one day and San Francisco on the next. Then, we will relax on Monday. But, how can things go as per plan?!!! The weather predictions said it’s going to be rainy for these three days. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!!  😦 
Now, we were just seeing ourselves locked in our house for the 3 days. The 3 days which were expected to be days of fun and full of excitement were turning out to be 3 days of nightmare and prisonhood. 😦 :::::(
But, the morning came in with positive hopes. By God’s Grace, sun shone and we decided not to waste the opportunity and go somewhere. Β Since it was already 12.30 PM so we found it better to go to San Jose Downtown than anywhere else which may require long transit time. So, we two, with our new roommate, started quick and by 1.30 PM we had locked our house door.
All alone here with not even much of friends, I hardly remembered that it was 14th Feb approaching. I did chance remember it, when I remembered the reasons why we were not going anywhere else but Downtown! But when we reached there, a poster here and loads of people on roads made me remember the day’s speciality. There were no Heart-shaped balloons outside Malls. There was no frills hanging out of the shops. It was just another day.Β 
But, the Love…. was in the air!
We had gone to the Egyptian Museum before going to Downtown. There you could find families out. The kids with their parents out for some fun. The parents casually close. A casual hand of the husband around his wife’s waist….was changed to hands around her neck, from her back. There were loads of couples who could be seen on roads. No! There was no obscenity or public display of emotions as we obviously expect in USA, for sure. Everything was subtle and beautiful.Β 
People were simply celebrating the day in the way it was supposed to be. They were celebrating it by being with their loved-ones. They were spending some time with the person who was special to them.
There were flowers… There were beautiful, large, heart shaped ballooons which people had tied behind their cars. Their were young girls, dressed and powdered excessively for the day, hoping to find their special someones! There was an old couple going for a show in the theatre. There was a girlfriend and a boyfriend, with the girl holding flowers in her hand. They were crossing the road to the restaurant round the corner. There were married people spending some quite, happy moments somewhere. And there were families out for some fun! All in all there was Love….simply Love.
No Pomp n Show. No odd eyebrows raising. No malls full of hearts and dressed in red and white. No girls wearing odd skimpy dresses which don’t even suit them, but they got to wear coz it’s V-day after all!
I think I like the US version of Valentine’s Day than the Indianized one. The day truly is beautiful when seen here. And, it is truly shabby and weird somehow in our country, India. We need to see and feel it here once before we try and celebrate it at our place.Β 
Every culture is beautiful and has the occasions nice if the essence of the celebration is kept intact. Everything has a purpose and a meaning and that shouldn’t be lost, if we really want to enjoy it truly.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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USA – The Stroy : Phase II

With the interview given and it’s going fine, I was content with the fact that I gave it my best. I was least bothered by it’s result, and least concerned. Yes, it was there on my mind all the time, but I never anticipated or thought that it would actually get through and I will actually have to go to USA.
The reason for this uncertainty in my mind, despite it being so clear already, was coz I strongly believe in destiny. I don’t admit it or accept it that I believe in it so strongly, but I do. I had never been told by any of my pandits that I wil be going abroad. On the contrary, one had even stated, that she would dream of going abroad, and there will be a chance of going out, but things won’t culminate. That chance’s happening had already happened in 2007 when HCL was planning to send all the engineers with JLPT Level 3 certification to Japan. It hadn’t culminated then. So, I never thought things would go through this time either.
I know, sounds so narrow minded. So ancient!! But, that is what it was.
So, finally, zindagi chale ja rahi thi. I came back home from Noida on Saturday. Then, I had an important exam on Sunday, so I got busy with it. I went for the exam Sunday morning.
It must have been around 12.30 that the exam got over and I came back. My dad was waiting outside the examination hall for me already, as usual. We sat in the car, thought whether we want to go to some market for some quick snack or wanna go straight home. I just wanted to be home. Wanted to eat mom’s home made delicious food. I guess my stomach had already sensed that there will be very less of it coming in future time. So, we started for home.
We had only covered half the distance when Nupur called me. Nupur, my colleague, who had given the interview next to mine, for the same company, same post. There was no competition. The company had the requirement of many. She said “Did Arvind call u?” I said “No, what happened?” She said your phone was going out of network since morning. Arvind had called to inform that we both have got through the interview and have to fly by next weekend. It was a Sunday, and by next Sunday I would need to fly to U.S.A!!!
I didn’t know how to react. I didn’t know if I should be happy or sad. I just looked at my dad and broke him the news. He smiled and said “Congratulations!!!” Ok! So I have to be happy. πŸ™‚
A different look had set on my dad’s face. A look that comes from a proud father when his kid does something great. Something that sets him apart from the rest of the kids. The feeling that comes from within. The feeling that “Today, I have been renumerated. All the efforts that I’ve put in your upbringing, all the hard ships that I’ve gone through in nurturing you, all has been accomplished now. The goal has been achieved. Today, I can look into the eyes of the world and tell them that I didn’t fail. My faith in my child didn’t fail.” πŸ™‚
Now, he looks in everyone’s eyes with pride. There’s a different smile that always remains on his face now. There’s a different rythme, a different music in the laughter that he laughs now. It’s not a fake one, or a plastic smile, so usual to people nowadays. It’s more real.

The look has not left him ever since. πŸ™‚

After telling him the news, I called home and talked to Mom. I told her the result is out and it’s rejected now. She had almost started on her questionnare round and her boost up sessions when I broke the good news in. She was equally happy as Dad. Her voice was ringing as she spoke. She said… “Congrats! I am proud of you”! I could see her say that even on phone. I could see her eyes beaming with joy and heart overflowing with happiness.
Then, I and Papa went to a sweets shop, to get some sweets for home. There, we started looking at the sweets, then looked at each other. Looking at each other, we both started laughing. In car, we couldn’t really share the moment and the joy. There, standing in front of each other, when we looked, it all came. We started laughing loudly. “Oyyyyeeee!!!” hahhhahaa! Then, again we started looking at the sweets, then again looked at each other! “: :” “Oyeee!!! Hahahaha” Another round of hihihahaha. I wonder what the people around us must be thinking of what we are doing. hehehehe. But, we couldn’t really digest that it was all true. It was a dream coming true. It was a strange thing happening.
Then, we decided that before taking the sweets we better confirm the news. πŸ˜€ Strange but true!
So, I came out of the sweet shop and called Arvind Sir. He talked to me as if that was quite obvious that you would be through. He didn’t even talk of the interview or how it went. Or, as if it was an achievement. He just talked of the convenient time to fly and the need to start preparing right away. It was a daily job for him. It was a celebration for us only. πŸ˜€

Anyhow, that was a ecstatic experience. It still is. It is a beautiful phase of my life that changed everything happening in my life. Every damn thing.
My mom goes to her school with a different air around her. My brother misses me more than he used to. My papa is more confident about his ideas and values than ever. There is a little tilt in there heads towards the sky, that I see. πŸ˜€ Feels great!
I always wanted that I do something in my life that makes my parents proud of me. Something because of which they can look up in the society and feel proud that they have nurtured me. I know how many hardships they have faced to build me up. Even with limited resources, I have lived like a princess. I still live like a princess. There’s very little that I care about. If I should be caring, or if I am at fault, then also I hardly ever admit it. So, I have been a spoiled brat. All of this was there love. I wanted to do something worth. I never knew what difference it will make exactly. Or, what exactly that something should be. I just hoped that whatever it maybe, it does something good for them, something extraordinary.
I never knew that such a petty thing will do so much of a difference. I never knew that such small milestones in my life can bring so much satisfaction to them. I am glad I saw this happiness on their faces. I hope I am able to work more harder in this direction now and give them many more of such moments. It’s a great feeling to see your parents happy coz of u.
Thanks God! Thanks for everything.

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USA – The Story

I wanted to write this post right from the time I was on the flight to US. I wanted to record each and every thought that crossed my mind. I wanted to file each and every small detail which went into this complete new phase of my life.

Where to begin? Lemme begin from the point when I got this news that I can go to USA.

It was 31st Dec’08 when my PM asked me, or rather told me that there is a project requirement for USA and we need to send in the resumes. The presumption that nobody will refuse to the opportunity was taken by him. A presumption which is quite admissible. It’s only when he looked at my face, he asked, for a formality, if there’s any issue in your going then please let me know. He was facing a colleague and eyes were on me. His eyes were so fixed on my face that I realised, from his face, that my thoughts are quite visible and prominent. There were two of us apart from the manager, in the cubicle, and the manager was facing my colleague just for formality. He was more concentrating on my changing face expressions! πŸ™‚

Then, I regained my consciousness and collected myself. On his question, I said quite timidly, and like a complete Indian, homely girl, “Sir, I’ll have to ask my parents. I have never been abroad.” Inside me I knew that they won’t be any point of concern at all. The issues at hand are pretty different than stated.

I came back to my seat. Discussed the thing with close pals, family. Things went through and I sent in my resume. It was the release day for my current project so I was quite busy with the last minute finish ups. Then, all this came in suddenly. Then, the resume needed updates and brush up so that it doesn’t have anything that I may not be able to answer in the interview. Ohh! All mess. Anyhow. I quickly managed it and sailed through.

The next day was New Year Day. Had a party at the year’s eve at PG. Slept till late morning. The day ended in wishing new year to friends n family. I had plans to study and use the day but such plans go into the trash can, as usual, quit obviously.
On 2nd Jan, I went to office at around 10.00 ..10.30 AM. Had no project. The last one had ended just a day back. Has worked hard. I deserve a day’s relaxation. No new project was yet assigned. The intvw happens usually after a month, that’s wat everyone told me. So, I was planning to finish the Sherlock Holmes story that I was reading online. Was in full mood of relaxing. I opened my mailbox relaxedly. Dribbled through the en-numerous new year wish mails. But, What’s DDDDAAATTTT in the middle. “Arvind Kumar”….Did I see some “schedule” written in the AutoPreview of the mail!!!????? No, that can’t be…Ohhh!!! Yes … is…..!!!!!!! Phew! I was sweating already.
I quickly opened the mail and saw that it was indeed the schedule for the interview for the US Project. And, the date of the interview is no later than TODAY! The time is 10.30. Ohh Cooooool. Definitely, since we didn’t know of this so this has to get extended. Chalo, ek din ka time to milega hi. …….Ohhhhh Noooooo! It’s not 10.30 AM…it’s 10.30 PM. Holy Shit!!! The time is also quite happenable. Now, the interview will happen at the stipulated time only. No change can be asked for. What Man! I didn’t want the interview to be bad coz it was my first client interview and I was concerned wat an image it will portray in office, if I fail. This is a separate point completely, that I don’t feel any better or special on clearing it, as an after thought. :-/
Anyhow, the interview was today, and I had to prepare for it whatever I can. I gathered myself and quickly started wiring my resources for all the data or material that I would be needing. By the time, I managed to feel that I had gathered the required information and I can start preparing, it was 12.50 already. Sehar was at my seat asking for lunch. There was no one to go with her, so I felt anyhow I need to take my lunch to keep my energy levels intact till 10.30 atleast. So, I went for lunch.
After lunch and till 10.00 PM, I did whatever preparation I could. By god’s grace, or destiny, whatever you may call it, I had prepared one topic pretty well and had managed to surf through the rest. I had even prepared few pilot notes to help me in case I forget anything in the middle of the telecon. But, I don’t know how it will sound, but my conscious woke up ten minutes before the call and I put all of it aside. I thought it better to go just with what I remember. I truly believe that it went good coz I did remove those kunjis aside. The intvw was all based on the one topic that I had prepared.
I asked my PG girls to stay silent for some time and reduce the volume of their movies for my sake, for half an hour. (It was a big favour, after all, it was a Friday Night). I took out a plain sheet of paper and sat down on my bed with pen in a hand and mobile phone in the other, waiting for the call.
Clock struck 10.30, then 10.31…10.32….it continued. I was tired already. I didn’t realise and I had drawn something on the sheet already and my sheet was half wasted already! Even before the call had started. And then, the phone rang. Finally! The number was strange so I got it that it must be “the” call. But I was expecting a lady voice and the voice I heard was a male one. I enquired who’s it! in a bold voice. The gentleman on the other side was bowled over then and there. He timidly said I am D….z.z.z.z. calling from Nethra. I hardly got the name. Just understood that it was the one. The intvw continued.
After almost 20 minutes or so, the intvw was over. In the past 20 minutes, I acted more as a psychiatric doctor, or a geriatrician who’s visited more to talk, than to cure any problem. I heard more and said less. I think you must have guessed that the other person was talking more and I was saying less. He was somehow more keen in tellling what he knew than knowing what I knew! Good for me. You can narrate the whole Ramayana in Sanskrit to me over an interview. I won’t as much as make a sound….as long as you get me through ;P
So, with this, my historical intvw ended and I was glad the person was happy. More so, I was happy too. So, this was an “AND” condition which got through. So, I was exhilarated. I called home and relieved my anxious parents who were waiting up just for my call to get over and for my call to come and say it went fine. After all, a family is a family. Called near and dear ones. SMSed the lil farther dear ones. And, relaxed. The day ended on a positive note.
The year looks promising.
Ohh Ya! Just for the record, FYI, I was told that a Dipti Mohapatra will be calling you and taking your interview. I was prepared for a lady. The name is of a man. I am working under him here. πŸ™‚

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USA (Santa Clara) – Part 1

USA … The land of Americans … The land with all the nationalities living together, in a way….The land where you hardly see anyone.

USA … The place with loads of opportunities … loads of facilities….so many, that you don’t need anyone for anything. Everything is automated. You become so self-dependent that you don’t need anyone…. you don’t get anyone either.

USA … The place with a clear sun, the sky is so clear that it’s amazing!!! At night, you can see the stars, the Orion, the Big Bear…you name them, you have them! The Homes!!! They have all the basic amenities that you may need, right when you move in! There’s no difference whether you are a gardener or a millionaire, everyone gets it all.

The place, where if you lose your job, you don’t have any option but to kill yourself and your wife n kids because you can’t live more than a month. There’s no option of moving into a local chawl and cutting on to your budget, coz watever you may do, the cost of living remains the same for all, for the basic amenities, at least.

USA … where the bus driver would waiver off your ticket if you have any less money than the ticket!!

The place where the buses are so less that one needs to wait for minimum of 15 minutes. The frequency of the most-used bus is every 15 minutes.

USA … The country where people say a “Hi” to you no matter who you are. Whether moving on roads, whether in malls, or in buses. If they see you, they smile or say a hi. No matter whether you are an American, Mexican, or an Asian! Cheers you up, even if it’s for a minute!

The place where people you know are more distant than strangers. If you ask a stranger for a help, he would be always helpful. But, if you know someone, eg. colleague or something, then you must not “expect” that the person will come to your help even at the time when you’re dying. You can’t take anyone for granted, after all!