Posts Tagged ‘ aviation ’

American back in India

I’m now an American who is partly Indian-afied, who is returning back to India after a brief intermission. The return has been fruitful and interesting. It has been easy to return to the left side of the road; my interaction and reaction time has not been so good. Yesterday, as I have forgotten that cars and bikes pull out from all directions, I took a lovely dive (I’m perfectly fine besides a bruise on my bum) outside of a hospital. I love the response time of people; I don’t love that the person who pulled out from the wrong direction, drove off immediately. Four people came rushing out to help me, picked me and my bike up, grabbed my chapals, and took me to the side of the road. They made sure I was ok; someone coming out of the hospital commended me for wearing my helmet and told me I should have sent someone after the guy. It’s the good and the bad of people all over the world. I’m fine, so no one worry. I also have to get used to seeing over 24 dozen eggs loosely packed into the trunk of an old Maruti (car). I also started paying more attention to the cows and water buffalo on the street. I’m not sure why.
New Years was amazing. We got some free passes to a non-us kind of party, but we went anyway. In our own way we made the party an us-kind of party and brought in the new year singing, dancing, laughing, and being ourselves. Here’s another shocker for this American in India; most of my friends had to work on New Years Day. That was beyond me.
For New Years Day I went to Bhakti’s house to have our long awaited reunion. Besides being amazing coworkers and teammates, we’re great friends. I showered her with I love New York items and spent the afternoon with her over lunch and tea. It’s always strange to have a holiday on a Tuesday. It definitely throws you off for the rest of the week.
I forgot to mention that I would never, ever, fly Kuwait Airs. It was not a fun flight back at all except for meeting a couple new people who were equally as frustrated yet not aggressive. We got stuck in Kuwait for a long time without any information. We actually got on the bus to go to the plane and sat there for over a half hour before they took us off the bus and put us back in the airport. They didn’t tell us what was wrong, when we’d board, or anything. There was a very, very angry crowd surrounding the Kuwait Airs desk. There was shouting from both sides. I met a British rock climber who was going to Hampi for a few months to climb there and we stayed off to the side peacefully. There was an Italian couple equally appalled at the crowd mentality. They sent us upstairs for sandwich, and we boarded the plane at around 3am (originally 7 I think, then pushed to 2 but we didn’t really board until 3). It was a nice travel meeting. I don’t usually get those because I live here, often forgetting that it’s still kind of traveling for me.
It’s back to the grind of the day to day life. The first week, or semi week, was a good filter back into living here. Tomorrow is Sports Day again. I’m not so thrilled about waking up early on a Sunday, but the day is always fun and a great way to bond informally with the kids.
Because I never mentioned it before – Happy New Year!

Frro again…and again…

On Sunday night I saw a movie, English Vinglish. It’s a Bollywood remake of a Tamilian film with one of the most famous actresses in India, Shri Devi. It’s about an Indian woman, a homemaker who does not speak English and is either ostracized or made fun of by her family. She is soft spoken and feels embarrassed often. Her sister’s daughter, in New Jersey is getting married so her sister calls her to help prepare. She goes alone and manages to get on the path train to the city, and finds an English in 4 weeks class. She secretly goes to learn English. There are a mix of interesting English language learners including ones from Mexico (who I thought looked less Mexican than not), France, Pakistan, a non descript African country, India, and China. The story takes her through various spots of downtown Manhattan. At one point their at the Sunshine theatre on E. Houston and then all of a sudden they’re walking next to the Flat Iron building. I found that funny, but no one else would know the difference. The movie was sweet. It made me a little homesick. I wanted to fly home for the weekend just to see everything and run, as Gayatri would say, helter-skelter, for a while.
I also just had a great day yesterday as well. It’s always nice to work one on one with kids, especially when they’re the kids who really need the one on one work. It was also due to my FRO experience. Yes, I had a good day because of the FRO!
After four trips to the local police station and only two to the FRO, I’ve successfully submitted my extension papers. Everyone knows me there now. It’s kind of funny. After you walk in the main gate you have to scan your bag, even if you walk out for only a minute. Most people have to walk in and out several times because they don’t have one copy or another or they need to get their paper stamped from a different desk outside the main building. The women officers who sit there just smile at me as I put the same bag through the same scanner each time. While entering my information into the computer at that table, the man at the front desk (which is kind of smushed up on the side of the computer) started talking to me. At one point he yelled at me last year, but we’ve let bygones be bygones and now he asked me how long I’ve been here, what I do, where I live, what I do for fun. The conversations are in Hindi. There was a new woman entering data in the computer and she did something wrong so her supervisor, very nicely took over and did it again. Everyone was laughing. It seemed like some odd movie. The only thing I can think of comparing it to right now is in Coraline when she meets her other mother and everything is eerily amazing. The rest of the day was just as smooth. Even the woman who scans the documents said that my Hindi was getting better. The main woman who has been super nice through this whole ordeal smiled at me as I walked back to finally submit my papers. As she looked through them she already handed me the famous slip of paper that states I’ve submitted my documents, handed me the whole puncher for me to put them all in my folder. When I was done she smiled. I put a little chocolate éclair candy on the whole puncher and said thanks for being so nice and patient with me through all this. She smiled a huge smile. I decided that this would be my thank you to people. They barely get recognized for what they do, and even better, they’re really nice about it these days, even through people who are quite ridiculous. There was a man who came the first day who was particulary not nice to them. He kept saying whatever and just do what I say. I couldn’t believe that they let him speak to them like that. I think they were just amused at his guts to not care about his own paperwork. So I’m done…for now.