As he changes flights across different airports over the past couple of days, VK recalls the reminiscences of the his first journey overseas. August 3rd of 2006, in his life, will be a date that he'd never forget. VK, just like many others in his class, was not too sure of what he wanted to do after he graduated from college and decides to take the momentous choice of most of the Engineers manufactured in Hyderabad.
Just like several others, it was the first time VK was taking a flight to a different destination and just like a thousand others, he was the first in his family to visit the US of America. VK started getting stuff together as the date of his next big step in life neared, bids the final byes to the earnests and still does what he is best at; introspection! "Is this what I really want to do? How different would I be, after I go there? Am I ever coming back?" was the only track on VK's mind despite the fast nearing leap.
Considering the 64 limit on the luggage, VK tried to pack every useless thing that he thought was sensible which included Vim Supreme bar, Rin detergent and the gas stove lighter. Yet, the dude overloaded with some extra stuff and could sneak in through the luggage check in point with the help of influential contacts, which as you know, very well works in India! All the hugging and kissing ceremony was past the security gates and VK entered the terminal dragging the not-so-light cabin baggage, for the first time in his life.
He had to go through the security check point 3 times before VK was clear of everything, as he planned to stuff a few more things in his 8 pocketed cargo pants which could not fit into the over-weight bags. Not sure of what a boarding pass was and unmindful of the distinction between an itinerary and a receipt, VK saved every document that was given to him. While he gets the notification of the first flight getting delayed, VK had no clue of what his next step had to be. Concern-less, he laid there, lost in a world of aimless gaze.
Finally, the moment ticked, when he boarded the enormous, good for nothing and an antiquated flight run by Air India. A saree clad "aunty" rushes towards his seat and questions: "Whose bag is this?" In a spooky voice, VK replies "Mine". "Do you think this is an RTC bus", she asks - the bag was not fit in properly in the cabin; so he casually left it like that (This incident makes him laugh even today ). The next thing that VK remembers was looking at the window as he was about to experience his first leap into the sky and then he fell asleep. When he opened his eyes, VK was in London!
VK never knew when the food was served, nor he knew who was sitting beside him. Sloppily, he got up from his seat, walked towards the restroom and realizes that he opened a wrong door, turned the other side and realized that this one is equally small. Not too sure of how to operate the latch, not very keen on using the Western style commode; VK managed to finish the ritual and get back to his seat. Twiddling with the bulky bags, VK finally reached Norfolk airport. The much helpful ISA's volunteers figured out where he was, despite his lousy miscommunication and showed VK, a place to sleep.
The wonderful students already living there, complained about his unbearable odor and advised him to take a shower very politely. He used one of their phones and informed his family and friends that he reached safely and hit the bed. VK woke up after 14 hours and found everything as different as he could ever imagine. He couldn't eat anything at home as no one cooked during weekends and he was reluctant to buy food from outside as he was still in the phase of Dollar to Rupee conversion. Three days later, he had the food that he was longing for and then the struggle for jobs on-campus start.
And then, life moved on .....
Ever since then, VK always tried his best to help every student that he could and fed every student that he hosted.
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