Coming Home

After what happened yesterday, when I saw that weather predictions in Chicago are still Thunderstorms for the day, I was worried what is going to happen. However, I was not as much worried as I was yesterday. However, given that I did take up a flight that gave me a 5+ hour layover in Chicago was an insurance. I started my day early and reached at the Airport at 7.15am. It was well in time and I did bring in the bag that I was leaving back yesterday. I did bring in some more of my clothes than I was thinking off.

After checking-in the bag, when I reached at the Security counter, I met Alex. We first met at the Marriott last year, but he left the job in January and we have kept in touch via Facebook. We did talk about meeting up at the airport but his was a morning shift and yesterday I was going at noon. But, today I ended up being at the same spot where he had his duty. He did come up to meet me after his shift was over – it was nice catching up with him.

I had a 2 hour wait at the MSP airport which got extended to 2.5 hours because the flight got delayed. Flight was initially delayed for an hour but luckily it was cut short by 30 minutes and we were airborne. I did watch Episode 14 of Season 8 for House MD. I had wanted to complete the series in US itself a couple of months back, but then I got hooked on to Lost and never got around to finish this series. This was an interesting episode where I found Gregory House (the lead character) take an unexpected turn. But, the way it ended, I have a feeling the Lisa Cuddy will break-up with House after what he said to Lisa. Next episode in the flight to India.

I reached Chicago Airport in about 50 minutes of flight which was all smooth expect the last 10 minutes of turbulence. The plane taxied for 15-20 minutes at the airport and the attendant informed us that it had taxied at every taxiway that exists in the O’Hare terminal – that was something. I did notice that place crossed a bridge over roads and railroad tracks – that was cool (don’t get to see that happen in India). At the airport, I found my way to the Gate – K16 and once I had located the same, went over to Starbucks and got a Mocha and Banana Cake. I also paid up $7 for accessing internet at the Airport. I don’t know why people say it is free at the airport!! It is not. And, here I am – writing this blog post which will be updated when I arrive in Delhi. Time to go and find some other stuff to do on internet :).

Enjoy this until I update this on other side of the planet.

Update

Read the update here.

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It happens for a reason and that too a good one

Last month has been a different one for me. Three things happened for me and all those were that are completely against my first nature.:

  1. I took a road-trip to Wisconsin, Chicago and Indiana all by myself. For someone who never goes alone anywhere it was a big deal. People close to me would know that I don’t like to travel much let alone go some place all by myself. This was a trip that happened all of a sudden and in the end it was a one to remember. When I started the trip I did not realize that I would be seeing one of the most amazing things I have ever heard of or seen – The House on the Rock. As the trip ended, I did realize that it was for the good;
  2. A couple of weeks after that, I went on another road-trip to Mt. Rushmore and neighboring areas. This trip I guess was another one out of impulse. I have not yet written about it, but in this trip I did drive though the most beautiful country side ever. I never thought I would do it and thought that my best would be the drive from house on the rock to Plymouth a few weeks earlier. But, this was even better (I will write about this soon);
  3. Another week gone by and I had yet another string of events on the day of travel back to India.

This is not the first time that things have happened around me that I can not explain. While I have a strong belief in “the choices we make are the basis of what happens with us”; yet there are several times where I just can’t explain why it happened. Like today, when I had to cancel my plans, I lost my passport only to find it 30 minutes later. I never wanted any of that to happen yet it all that happened.

I am still trying to understand the events and decipher the reasons behind all of it. I can not  decipher any of that until next few days till the time I reach home safely and I am with my family or till the time I get my bags. The question arises at the point when all of it has happened as it should have happened – “Why did it all happened in a different way if the result was the same?”. Unless, something changes during next 36-40 hours.

I just spent last 5 minutes thinking what to write next and I came up blank – I just don’t know how to think on this. I just am blank on this. I just feel – that things happen for a reason and that too a good one. Few more hours to find the reason behind all this and realize what was good in that.

Travel experience to remember

I don’t know how (good, bad, evil, bizarre or just another experience), but I will definitely remember the experience I had today. Today was the day when I was supposed to fly back to India. I slept well yesterday getting ready with packing and everything. I woke up to an overcast sky and started to watch the weather channel and noticed thunderstorms over Minneapolis and Chicago – two destinations where I had to take my first flight to.

As I was about to start from my place, it started to pour really heave, but stopped before I left and sky started to open. By the time I was at the airport weather was good and Sun was shining brightly. However, the personal at the airport that O’Hare (Chicago) has huge delays and my flight to Chicago is already delayed by 40 minutes. I was given a choice of switching my flight plans to Sunday, but I decided against it and decided to take my chances with the flight and connection happening. So, I went ahead and checked-in, passed through security checks and was at the lounge well in time. However just before the flight was about to leave, it got delayed even more and the woman ay the AA counter informed me that I will most certainly miss my connecting fight. The associate at the airport gave me following options:

  • Take a flight via London, but this was stricken out as there was no seats available out of London to Delhi Sunday;
  • Take a flight via France – these flight meant that I would have lost only 5 hours in overall travel time. The catch here was that the layover in France was only 90 minutes and France only allowed people with Indian passport and US VISA to be in country for 24 hours. If there was any delay in the flight to France and I was to miss the connection they would deport me back to US. This confused me on two counts – 1) why would they deport me after 24 hours; I was not going to leave the airport would just be stuck in transit and 2) Why would they deport me back to US. However, given that this was another country I just did not want to risk sleeping at the Airport or getting deported back to US and then restart my journey. I quickly dismissed the notion;
  • Next option was given was to move the entire trip to Sunday or just the trip from Chicago to Delhi to Sunday. And, again there was the catch that the flight on Sunday had just 4 seats left, so if I choose to wait until I reach Chicago and those got booked it meant that I would leave on Monday instead

 In the end, I decided against all my wishes to postpone the entire trip to Sunday. But, this time I will take a morning (9AM) flight to Chicago to beat any kind of delays (hoping). I rather wait in Chicago than to miss my connection again. I was asked to go to baggage claim and get my bags and come and check-in tomorrow.

As I reached the baggage claim, I was informed that bags could not be given to me because they were already on the ramp and I will not receive them at the Delhi Airport. Now, I didn’t know that or else I would have taken my chances in Chicago. But, nothing could be done now and I was stuck in Minneapolis airport for another without my bags and clothes.

Anyways, I could not do much and I just waited for Sahil and Jiten to come pick me up. As I was waiting on the airport, I decided to check a few things on the flight tomorrow and took out my tickets and passport. As I was still checking my mobile AA application, Sahil called up as they had arrived at the airport. I just got up and moved out. Only after 7 miles of travel I realized that I had dropped my passport at the Airport. I asked Jiten to take a U and we headed back to the airport. Next 20 minutes were so stressful because if I did loose my passport, I would not know what I would have done. I just knew that I was stuck in this country for a few more days or weeks or months.

As I moved into the Airport, I saw that where I was sitting the passport was not there. So my next stop was the closest Information counter and the guy there told me that they found it. He asked me to go over to the nice woman who was helping me with the baggage earlier and she did have that on her. When the woman gave the me the good news, I was so relieved and started my journey back to apartment.

On my way back, I checked the status on the flight (AA/292) from Chicago to Delhi and saw that it gor delayed by 30 minutes. And, I just realized that I would have made my connection. As I was sitting at Aum’s house having lunch I noticed that flight was now delayed by 90 minutes – I would have definitely made my connection. As I sit and write this blog post, the flight is not leaving at 6.20PM which meant I had almost 1 hour and 40 minutes between flights. But, here I am sitting waiting to start my journey tomorrow.

I don’t know why all this happened, but have faith must have happened for a reason and a good reason.

Three blasts rock Mumbai;

Mumbai police headquarters fort
Image via Wikipedia

Once again a sad for the country. May the souls of deceased rest in peace. Three blasts rock Mumbai – 8 reported dead, 70 injured. Read the full article from Times on India

Interesting version of Ramayana

A young second generation Indian in the US was asked by his mother to explain the significance of “Diwali” to his younger brother, this is how he went about it…..

“So, there was a guy called ‘Ram’, this dude had a big cool kingdom and people liked him. But, his step-mom, or something, was kind of a bitch, and she forced her husband to, like, send this cool-dude, to some national forest or something…. Since he was going, for something like more than 10 years or so…. he decided to get his wife and his bro along…. you know…so that they could all chill out together. But

Dude, the forest was reeeeal scary shit… really man…they had monkeys and devils and all the shit like that. But this macho dude, Ram, kicked them with darts and bows and arrows… so it was coool.

But then some bad gangstar boys, some jerk called Ravan, picks up his babe (Sita) and lures her away to his hood. And boy, our man, and also his bro, Lax man,were reeealy pissed off… all the gods were with him… So anyways, we won’t mess with gods. So, Ram, and his bro got an army of monkeys…

Dude, don’t ask me how they trained the damn monkeys…. just go along with me, OK…

So, Ram, Lax and their monkeys whipped this gangsta’s ass in his own hood….Anyways, by this time, their time was up in the forest… and anyways… it gets kinda boring, you know… no TV or malls or other stuffs. So, they decided to hitch a ride back home… and when the people realized that the macho dude, his bro and his babe are back home…. they thought, well, you know, at least they deserve something nice… and they didn’t have any bars or clubs in those days… so they couldn’t take them out for a drink, so they, like, decided to smoke and stuff … and since they also had some lamps, they lit the lamps also…so it was pretty cooool… you know wIth all those fireworks and puff…. Really, they even had some local band play along with the fireworks… And, so dude, that was how, like, this festival started.

The mother fainted………

Revelation beyond expectation | Indian cricket team has work to do

Mahendra Singh Dhoni of India in action during...
Image via Wikipedia

In some sense I am happy that I did this and sad that no one in BCCI or Indian camp is talking about it. Unless we know where we are we cant look to get better. We need to know our missing points. I rather be a critic to point out the things that didnt go well for my team than be a fan who sits back and enjoy what could be a short-lived victory. I am forced to make to make a comparison with good intentions towards my team. I know, some people will still think me being naive to think all of this and not just be happy, but I want someone to listen and maybe they do.

It started a few days back when my cousin started to propagate Dhoni’s leadership skills over the team members in CSK in IPL. I had liked Dhoni always, but the fan base that called out Dhoni’s captaincy so good that it started to show off other players in the team worthless – was something that ticked me off. In one of the discussion my cousin actually mentioned that players like Bollinger and Raina and Morkel are performing because Dhoni was motivating them.

I took it personally because it meant that the WC victory was only Dhoni’s doing and so was every feat India has achieved in Cricket in last few years and it was hurting. I know she meant no harm and she loves Indian cricket as much as any other Indian, but it was the ticking point for me.

All of this went into hyper drive when I had another discussion with Vineet Malani on Facebook where he was chanting about Dhoni’s captaincy and ignoring facts of what has happened around India and world of cricket. His point was simple – all that India has achieved is because of Dhoni’s captaincy and I wanted to tell them No – any captain in this scenario would have does what Dhoni has done.

I do agree to the fact that Dhoni is a good captain and maybe the best of what India has had, however he is not Great. However, in my zeal to find facts I ended up dissecting India’s path to being no#1 in test cricket and it was a revelation. In my post Deep dive | India route to Test#1; I ended up finding that we are where we are because of the fact that Australia failed to achieve the top standards they have been in the past. India’s efforts have only been marginally better than those of Australia between a period of 2008-2010. And, it was so hurting for me to realize that we are just as good as their worst. I do hope that going forward we can do so much more better than we have in the past and take it to the top level cricket. Australia between 2005 and 2008 have had 70% winning percentage and only 15% each of lost and draw. We managed to equal their worst performance to be #1.

India team – please do so very well in future; my best wishes are with you. Dhoni you are lucky for India and I wish you can take us to peaks where we are untouchables just like Australia were a few years back. I wish that day comes and I will write about you and how you took us to be on the top of the world so convincingly; where we will set benchmarks.