Thursday, August 25, 2005

First Impressions.

Intro : This blog is my first long mail from the USA. It is named after Jane Austen's book Pride and Prejudice, which was initially named First Impressions. Though I would expect and hope this story's ending to be anything far less melodramic. My apologies for doing injustice to that great novel.

From : RA
To : RD, SO, PS, SM, MS, SV, RP

Hi guys,

I was just wondering if I pestered you with an unsolicited and gloomy update from my side. Then I realised that I did not, what I still did not write to those people to whom without revealing the sender's identity, you show this mesg, they would guess, this is our own typical raka.

So here it flows.

I have arrived in the US on the 9th of Aug, it has been one week exactly, and here are my experiences. This place stinks, I am yet to find our why? Here everything is planned/processed from the trees to the food to the air ! Hence it either smells of the pesticides they use on their lawns, which we seem to miss so much in India or it smells of the air-fresheners that they use indoors. It deprives you of the natural fresh air and I start getting a slight headache, and in one week this smell has moved in to my throat making everything I eat taste like again a pesticide. 'But then none of those who went to the US were complaining like this?' . Now you know what makes my mails typical.

I stayed for the first three days in my uncle's house, in a suburb of Chicago. The house was huge and nice, now I moved to the city of Atlanta and am trying to find houses. The thing we used to do in Bangalore on weekends. Ofcourse, I am disappointed. Again the heart of the city, why does this happen to me? I got admission from Universities that are all in the heart of various cities and I chose the smallest city. Phew!

When I was coming to the US, to the omni-put question 'Are you returning, or staying back there?', ( a question people asked, inspite of the fact that they 'knew' that I am going to stay back ), I answered simply, I am not going to let my children grow up in the US. My opion on this front has only been consolidated by the images here. I will be staying here until I earn howmuch ever I put into my MS with interest ofcourse and also after I regain my loss of pay owing to an absence from my dear Bangalore. It should not take much owing to the exchange rate of the dollar. After the recovery and till the children part, I have to make my jump, that will be some six years period or so. I am trying not think about the Harvard MBA part.

Right now, I am on the lookout for a house, which as I mentioned earlier, in unparlimentary terms, sucks. In the worst case, I will stay in the campus hostel, which is a very good option, at least you need not fear returning home after working late in a lab and all. Back in India only women feel insecure, but in dreamland, the eqality of the genders is more pronounced at least in this regard. Returning to the campus option thing, no Indian opts for it because it is expensive, kind of fifty percent costlier, indian students without aid less so. I should be able to find a person willing to share it also.

I think I will be able to start enjoying life here, once I settle down and start going to the Gym , playing soccer and tennis. Tennis is quiet cheap here, can say cheaper that Bangalore! Gym is said to be very good esp. for the fee you pay for it. And they have an active soccer group here. Reminds me that I did not see any ground anywhere here. But then after all, I did not see even half of the campus. One can enjoy even more , once a professor starts paying your tution fee and once he starts giving you money for living. But then depends on how much time you will have to spend in the lab. Reminds me, I have to sell myself to some of the prof.s and try to get some coding job, after all that debugging in Bangalore better pay-off.

There are a couple of good things. For example, I did not spend a single cent in the last week. I would say the 'lull before the storm'. Just the thought of the tution fee I have to pay next week kind of scares me off. But some how dad always manges to give enough money and enough buffer. Only if everybody has been blessed with one such ATM which gives at least a fifth more than what you asked for, the world would have been a much better place. Seriously speaking, it has been a lot of load on him. It also leaves me with a feeling of guilt that I am consuming so much hard earned money. Hope this entire Gatech thing pays off in the end. I mean it better pay literally off in the end. This entire computer science jimmik, the sacrifice of an potensial ITPL (so finally here the inevitable four letters are) job and a nice Indiaranagar pent-house with a tree by its side, my bike, dance classes, a bottomless ATM card, a known face on every street, a lot of friends, a lot of movies, ... a lot of things things life has got to pay me back for.

Paro, you will not believe it, the TV here is apthetic! There is nothing like a combination of your SUN network channel, MTV India, Star World and HBO. There is nothing like that in the US. We get the best American sitcoms only as they are filtered for us, even though they arrive late. The ads here are so so pathetic, you will not believe it, they are like a desperate salesboy trying to sell you something. It goes on like, this thing has blah.. blah.., with out blah.. blah.. It will male you balh blah, Place your order now, or call now at balh blah. Creativity naam ka koi cheez hi nahi. In India advertising is supposed to be very creative and hence were attractive.

A good time pass these days has been reading 'The Davinci Code', a mosntrous good book. Every aspect of it is good, the drama, the backdrop, the appeal, the plea, the research etc. Dan Brown should have visited India it would have given a lot of food for symbology thought and a great pleasure in knowing that there is a lot of worship of the Female Godesses, the Sacred Feminine as he calls it. I will soon have to get back to PGW, a good sip of good idyllic comedy is always good.

Thats is for now, I am tired of writing, so you guys if at all you read it till here would have been exhauseted .


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