Saturday, October 4, 2008

Rohit's American Adventure: Chapter 1. Arrived in America

I had a stopover at Heathrow airport for over seven hours. After going through the security checks, which went smoothly, I arrived at my terminal. I had met an Indian student during the security check. I spoke with him about life, reasons for coming to USA, and time went by. We exchanged emailid’s and agreed to visit India together after a year as a group so that we could avail some discount. After bidding adieu to my new found Indian friend, I wandered through terminal 4 of Heathrow airport. Terminal 4 was like a huge shopping mall. Everything you ever wanted was available there. They even had condoms in toilets (bathrooms) which was great. I spent my time, dragging my cabin bag from one end of the terminal to other, exploring the people, the shops. I also tried reading the book, ’The Power of the subconscious mind’ to take a break from wandering. Finally I got myself a great place to sit. The only thing which separated me and the mighty airplanes were the huge panes of airport windows. It was quite an experience to see the airplanes land with exact precision and one of them just seemed to approach towards me until it finally stopped. I tried to track the airplanes from their takeoff into their path into sky. No matter how hard I tried, they somehow seem to disappear into the clouds. Finally it was time to go. I boarded my flight eager to reach USA. I slept through most of the flight. I did manage to catch episodes of the Simpsons on flight which cheered me up. I could see on the navigator screen that it was a matter of few minutes before we land in USA and that few minutes went by quickly. I gathered my cabin bag and rushed towards the immigration check counter. There was an American officer giving out instructions to have all documents ready. My immigration check went fine. I handed out my I-20, passport and the form detailing currency and foodstuffs I was carrying with me. I collected my luggage from the conveyor belt and the luggage’s were heavy because there was no dad or mom to help me lift the luggage, I had to do it myself. There was one final check with the custom officer, who asked me if I was carrying any sticky stuff with me. I replied no and put my bag through the X ray machine and I was ready to go. The officer also happened to be a University of Maryland student, so he was friendly and gave me pointers to where to go and what to eat. I walked past the gates to see a young man at the entrance. I knew it was Raj by instinct and I smiled at him and he smiled back at me. Raj was the son of my mom’s friend’s sister. I was supposed to stay with them for few days before moving to place close to campus. I met Raj’s mother, Charu aunty and she hugged me. I felt nice. The drive from the airport to Charu aunty’s place was cool. There was lot of greenery along the route and the roads were not congested, people seemed to drive responsibly here. We did arrive at Charu aunty’s house and boy it was awesome. It looked amazing from outside. I unloaded my luggage and was helped by Raj to take it to the basement. The cool thing was the garage door, which opened and closed with a remote; just like in the movies. Charu aunty told me to call mom and let her know that I have reached safely. I did that and was happy to hear my mom’s voice. I had arrived in America!!!