Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rohit's American Adventure:Chapter 6. Moving out to a new unkown

I had found a place closer to campus. I had a look at it and liked it because I was having my own small room. It did look a bit scary but I liked it. In fact call it fate or what, I happened to be a friends place and it turned out his roommate was moving to a new place close to campus. It so happened that this guy(roommate) happened to turn up to take his stuff to the new place he was moving into and I was there. I spoke with him and decided to have a look. That is how, I stumbled across this new place close to campus.

The only thing not in favor of the room was the location of the house. It was along Adelphi road, which is considered to be unsafe. My academic term had already started and I did not have a house to live in. Bharat and other guys at home were growing impatient. It’s the worst feeling in the world, when you go back home and people are wanting to know about when you are going to leave the place. I felt angry on Bharat and other roommates at that time. However, now I realize that he was not wrong. Even I would have got impatient.

So I was all set to move into this house close to the campus. However that was not to be. I came to know that some guys living in Seven Springs village were looking for a roommate.I called up one of them and fixed up an appointment. I was supposed to met that guy on Saturday. I was supposed to move out of the place I was currently staying last week but still was there in the same place. Throughout the week, I was held up in my job and studies and I was working on all cylinders to get the place to stay but I had nothing to show to my roommates who were really impatient. Finally on Saturday morning, Bharat lost his cool and he told me to move out as soon as possible.I was almost on the verge of breakdown. I could not take it anymore. Everyday Bharat or someone would ask me about when I am going to move out and I could take it no more. I had tried but had nothing to show to them . My flaw of not taking quick decisions was exposed. I should have moved into the house in the last week and put an end to this matter. I didn’t because I was waiting for better options. I did not want to move into to an unsafe locality even though it was close to campus.

I was alone in my room in the afternoon and voices of Bharat and other roommates kept echoing in my ears. I felt ashamed and miserable. I had come to USA to study not waste time finding a place to stay close to campus. I started crying unable to control my felling of helplessness. It’s a horrible feeling when you have no options in front of you and you have to settle with the options from which you are trying to avoid. There was a knock on the door. I opened the door and it was Elvita. I had spoken to her in the morning regarding wanting a ride to go to Seven Spring to meet this guy. She happened to be God’s angel. She told me to get ready in 20 minutes. I could not believe what had happened. When I was getting ready, the guys came back in the apartment. Bala, one of my roommates, looked me in the eye and told me, “Stay back,We will adjust. ”I did not know what to say. Within a span of 5 minutes, my world had turned upside down. I told Bala I will let him know. I left my apartment feeling good. Elvita was waiting outside in the car with her mom and her friend. Her good friend, whose name I unfortunately forgot drove us to Seven springs.

I fell in love with Seven springs at first site. It looked posh and was high rise apartment complex. The guy who I was supposed to meet was Kunal. The meeting went well and I seemed all set to move in with this lad.I liked him after the first meeting. I was a bit apprehensive regarding moving into Seven springs because there were rumours floating around that there are three guys from ENTS department living in Seven Springs village, who party a lot and are looking for roommate. I was hopping that they were not the group who I had heard about because these guys were also from ENTS(Telecommunications Management) and they were living in Seven Springs. Whats worse, I had seen champagne bottle and cigarette ashes lying in the balcony of Kunal’s apartment.So I was in a dilemma now. When I look back at this, I laugh at myself. It is immature to judge someone based on whether they drink or party. However, coming from a conservative family in India had its own effects on me.

To make matters worse, I happened to know of MBA guys in the same neighborhood who were looking for a roommate. I met them and again the meeting went well. So I had three options now. I explained to Bala my situation and he told me to stay back since I had got adjusted. However, my mind kept saying to go to Seven springs because of its proximity to campus and its cool looks, which I immediately liked.

So Sunday did arrive and I informed Bharat and roommates that I will be moving out. I hugged him and thanked him for his offer of letting me stay back. I had grown close to Surya and Bala, other roommates in the number of days I had stayed with them. I also hugged them and thanked them. Last but not the least,I hugged Mohan and thanked him. I still was not sure about whether I would end up going to Seven springs or with MBA guys.

I moved in with the MBA guys primarily because I thought I would get along well with them. I liked Dhiraj, the guy who was supposed to be my potential roomie. I had met him during my first visit to the MBA guys place. On the other hand there was this option of Seven Springs village, which seemed enticing. The only flaw was I hadn’t met all the folks who lived in the apartment and I had heard some negative things regarding a particular group in Seven Springs who were on the lookout for a roommate. So at the last moment, I switched paths and decided to move in with the MBA folks. Even Mohan was surprised. The MBA guys lived just 3 blocks away from the place I was staying.

SO I moved my stuff into their place and was greeted with hot and fresh lunch. It was good speaking with them and I had this positive feeling that things would work out. Then came the acid test. I took out my book and started reading and somehow it didn’t feel right. I just wasn’t feeling good about it. I decided to go out for a walk and met Satinder.

Satinder was one of the good guys I had met on campus during the initial orientation days. He was jolly and helpful and a cool guy to hang out with. I shared my emotions with him and he just told me to be patient and do what I thought was good. Now this sounds crazy but I called up the Seven springs guy, Kunal and asked if the offer was still on and he said yes. I even got a chance to speak with the other folks living in the apartment. Besides Seven springs was much closer to campus than Greenbelt, the place where I was staying currently. I had to be true to myself. The MBA guys were great. They were probably the coolest guys I had met but I had to feel right when I was studying, which I wasn’t. Besides, there was also this option of moving to Grad Gardens or Grad Hills in next semester. I spoke with the MBA guys and they seemed cool. I spent that night at Satinder's place He was alone in his apartment since his roommates had gone out for weekend picnic. I was again greeted with warm parathas and curd. Satinder was perfect host. For the first time in USA, I was feeling good. We watched the movie, Unusual Suspects and then I dozed off.

The next day, I made arrangements to move into Seven Springs. I hugged the MBA guys and wished them good luck. I did receive some help from Elvita’s roommate in getting a cab. That was kind of her. Within few minutes, I was there in Seven Springs. This was the third place I was moving into in a span of 1 month. I knocked on the door and Anoop opened the door. I explained to him about the conversation I had with Kunal and he said it was cool to move in. I had spoken to Anoop once over the phone. He had picked up Kunal’s phone when I had tried to contact him.

I moved in my stuff and everything seemed fine. I spoke with Anoop about the plan I had to move into Grad Gardens in next semester. He seemed a bit apprehensive but he insisted that I would get adjusted by then and stay rather than move out.

As I was unpacking my bags, I started thinking about how carefully and meticulously my parents had packed my bag. As I was removing my clothes and foodstuffs, neatly sealed in double plastic bags, I thought of my mom explaining all this to me and of how I wasn’t paying attention. I started crying and USA had taught me the value of my family I took for granted. I probably have fought more with my parents than loved them but I realized the importance of things they did for me, which I used to take for granted. Seeing my cry, Anoop went into the bathroom and didn’t come out for half an hour. I guess he also became emotional. After some time, Kunal and Ajay dropped in. It was time for the acid test again. I tried reading the research paper and it went well. I was able to concentrate and be relax. I felt that I had taken the right decision.

I was very fortunate to have a boss, Ms. Mary Scott, who cared for me. I used to share my problems with her and she always gave me solutions. She was like my mother. I thought of giving one last go at Grad Gardens. So I went to the leasing office and put my name on the waiting list. I requested them to let me know if there was any possibility of getting a place to stay at the earliest. They just told me to wait. I told my roommates Kunal, Ajay and Anoop about it and they seemed to take it well. However they told me to let them know about when I was leaving within a time frame. So I was happy for the time being with new found hope of finally getting a chance to stay on campus. However time went by and I got no reply from Grad gardens. Kunal and co. were asking me about my decision everyday and they were not wrong in that. I also had the option of moving into Priya’s place, the house along Adelphi road which was my earlier choice.

I happened to miss the shuttle to go back Seven Springs on Friday. I was unaware of the shuttle timings. So I was stranded on campus not aware of what to do. I did not even know about the Metro stop. The Metro bus was the alternate ways to get back to Seven Springs but it was not free. So I strolled around in vain. I happened to bump into the MBA guys and told them about my moving out to Seven Springs. They were nice to me and I was happy that they had got a roommate. I called Raj, who stays on campus in the dorm and briefed him up about my situation. I was also thinking of staying in the house close to campus (Priya’s place). I thought of requesting him to let me stay for one night and if I liked it, I would stay there since I was growing impatient with the management at Grad gardens. I ultimately ended up staying in Raj’s dorm . He was kind enough to let me stay. My obsession to stay close to campus had taken over my mind. I had stopped thinking. I don’t know what struck me but I decide to move into Priya’s place (house on Adelphi Road) and stay there for few months until I got a call from Grad Gardens office. I had a nice time spending time in Raj’s dorm although he was not here, he had gone out for a party. There was this different environment of energy in the dorms. Students would drop by your room and you could hear someone playing the guitar in the opposite room. I got up next morning and was treated to a wonderful breakfast in dining hall by Raj. I made my way to the Metro stop and had to wait for an eternity for the bus to come. I finally did reach home to see a festive spirit going on there. The girls had come over and they had prepared some good food. Shivangi sharma, the girl from Mumbai , who everyone was speaking about, was in some shorts. I don’t know what was the point of it but just went inside my room. I was thinking of letting those guys know about my decision to move to the house along Adelphi Road. I had my shower and waited for the festivities to end. I said bye to the girls and then broke out the decision to them. Kunal didn’t seem to take it well. He started shouting and abusing me. He told me that it was stupid to change place just because you couldn’t get a shuttle back home. Everyone must adjust. You can’t get it the way you want it. I did agree to him and told that the best thing for me will be to take that option to living in the house along Adelphi Road. He got madder and questioned my integrity. He reasoned, what was the point of staying with them if I had plans to move in close to campus. Were they fools just to accommodate me for few days. He threw the phone in front of me and told me to move out immediately. I was in tears. This is the last thing I had hopped for when I embarked on my journey to USA to study. It had been a month since I had come to USA and I was moving about places with an objective to get a place to stay on campus. At the moment, my mom called on Kunal’s cell phone. I had given mom details about Kunal’s cell no. and informed her about my decision of moving in with him. I broke down while speaking with my mom and told her that I didn’t like it here. My mom was also crying. I hung up. I called Priya, the guy who was living in the house along Adelphi road but he didn’t pick up. So I left a voice message for him. After a few minutes, I got a call from Charu aunty, telling me to cool down and try to adjust. I just said yes and hung up. Few minutes later, Maushmi called and started bashing me. She told me that my mother was crying when she spoke to Charu aunty about my situation. She told she never expected this from me. She told that it is impossible to get a perfect roommate and you have to adjust. People would think that I am crazy seeing the rate at which I was changing places. I said yes to her but told her that I had to move out since Kunal’s words had done the damage and I couldn’t imagine living here for a long time. She told me to get adjusted.

Later on, Kunal came in my room and told me to seriously consider the option of going back home. He told me that it wasn’t that late and it’s not a bad idea to go back home to India. For a moment, I thought that was the best thing to do but then something within me, told me that it would be running away from the problem. I slept that night praying that things would work out with Priya and I would move in there.

I got up next morning with hope and faith that it would be all over. I went to Kunal’s room to only hear him say that Priya had called and that the room had been taken. I almost broke down at that moment. All doors were shut for me. I again started crying. My situation became so miserable that I called back Mohan, to ask if they could accommodate me. I didn’t even spare the MBA guys. I had put myself in a situation where the only way out was to stay with these folks and that was the last thing I wanted to do. I thought about the Tamil guys. They were nice. I was foolish to take a rash decision and leave them just because I felt out of place. I was in tears and was starring at the option of living with folks; I didn’t want to live with.

I realized that it was listening to my mind that fucked me. I was so blinded by the proposition of staying close to campus that I did not know that pain I was causing so many people indirectly. I didn’t cheat anyone. I just wanted to be in environment conducive to studying but instead of adapting and making the environment conducive, I fucked it off and kept on moving places. I learned my lesson the hard way. USA had striped me naked, exposed my flaws, my poor decision making skills and I learned my lesson to not give in to the mind. Kunal was not wrong with whatever he said. It’s just that like my father he had a way of putting things that can be annoying.

In the evening, I apologized to them and requested them to let me stay. In the days to come, things seemed to get along well. There were instances where, I just wasn’t feeling good but tried to put on a smiling face. I also was not that good at cooking. In fact I did not know to cook. So I always used to need a person, to stand by me to help me cook. We used to have cooking turns and I was the bunny at the dinning table being criticized for my inability to cook and other things they claimed to have heard about me.

There were times, when I used to breakdown and cry my heart out to my mom while chatting to her. Being close to the campus did not seem worth it. I was happy with the Tamil guys. They were nice to me. I had problems initially but the desire or should I say obsession to be close to campus drove me like a fool searching for places forgetting to keep track of the most important thing: peace of mind. I just had lost it. I used to have altercations every alternate night and wondered why I had given in to the mind. Its funny but had I been in home, I would have never learn t about this. America had uncovered the flaws in my character and I had learn t a valuable lesson: Never give in to the mind. It might not always the right thing to do.