Saturday, May 31, 2008

A visit to Uncle Sam's place (Continued) ...

I was climbing a steep hill, dense with vegetation.As i reached the summit I heard roaring noises. At the top of the hill what i saw was unbelievable. There was a pond at the centre of the terrain and a group of lions was serving themself on the pond. I never heard thatlion or tiger or any other kind of carnivorous animal aggroup. The discovery usually shows them hunting and roaming all alone.This was not the time to think whether lion moved in a group or not. The group affrighted me. Sensing me around, oneof the beast turned around and communicated his finding to his members in a language alien to me.I saw the whole group heading towards me. I turned and started to flee. The group waas chasing me. The situation was very tense and horrifying but my active brain did not stop churning weird thoughts. I was running so fast that i thought if therewas some technology to replace someone from a particlar scene, I would have definitely wanted to replace the group withan thelete of the calibre of P.T Usha. I would have definitely won. But this was a race for life. I showed courageto see behind and my heart thumped. One of the animal was barely 2-3 meters behind me and it took a large jump to grab me.Beep... Beep... Beep... Beep... What the hell. Lions do not beep, they roar. Oh my god it was the alarm clock.I Thanked God. t was a nightmare, which could have led to another. I was already an hour late. My peers would have started working. So I got ready and went to office. The workplace was a single-storey red brick buildingwith an exquisite pond adjacent to it, which had quite a number of white ducks. The workplace was a visual treat.Well no need to mention here that i worked all day long.
Tech-savvy guys buy a lot of gadgets from US but I aint one. Yet i thought of buying a digital camera. I went to a well known electronics store to check some of the latest model. I liked almost all of them, mostly the one with a huge price tag.I selected one model and searched someone to enquire about it. I found a salesman nearby. "I would like to know more about this piece", I said."Every thing has been displayed Sir. There is no information left to be told",He said. I knew this, still I had to ask such a silly question."Well, I wanted to know about the prices and all". "The price tag tells you that Sir". Again I made myself feel embarrassed. Finally for the third time I said, "Actually I wanted to know the final price after adding up all the taxes and all". 'And all' is such a helping phrase.It saves you instantly when you are short of words or in a embarrassing situation. It did help me. I felt so embarrassedabout this whole incident of me asking such trivial questions to the salesman. But I did not know that now it was thesalesman's turn to get embarrass. He took me to the cash counter. The model which i selected was of 300$. He read the priceand opened a document to check for the tax rate."How much is it?", I asked. "Seven Percent", he said staring at me."Ok!", I looked elsewhere."mmm 300 is the price plus seven percent of it i.e 21$. So total comes out to be 321$", I caluclated mentally. I wanted to be faster than him so as to tell him that we are intelligent and more comfortable withmathematics as we belong to the land of Aryabhatta and Shakuntla devi. So i quickly turned to him but he looked confused. He had yet not started the calculation.He used the calculator application from windows to calulate the tax amount. Unluckily he typed in worng data and shouted at himself. He pressed the keys of the keyboard in a frenzy and the computer hanged. Calculating seven percent hangs the computer out there. Any Mr Gates know this? He left playing with his desktop and found a pocket calculator inside the drawer.He siwtched it ON but,to his surprise, it did not have battery. Looking frustrated he searched for help. I felt verysatiated from inside. I thought of telling him that its 321$ and wanted to teach him basic mathematical operations which could help him in such a disastrous situation. I told him."Thanks", he said but still staring. So I dropped the idea of teaching him basic mathematical operations. "Sorry! I wont be albe to buy it", I said and quickyl turned to the exit door and walked away. I am sure he musthave stared at me for a long time.

Friday, May 30, 2008

A visit to Uncle Sam's place

I am a cunctator. Me posting this aricle is the very proof of my aforesaid statement.I have visited the United States Of America twice. The first trip happened in June-July 07("YES! I am a procrastinator") and the second one in spine chilling winters of Nov-Dec07.
I visited the city of Champaign, situated in Illinois state. Oops! I forgot to mention that both the trips were work related and not junkets.
I flew from Mumbai to Champaign via London,Chicago. The last flight, the one from Chicago to Champaign, was merely of 30 minutes duration.Also, the commuters on the path were few.So, the aircraft was also as per the need. The Brobdingnagian aircraft made a lasting impression on me.The machine was so huge that one could touch the extreme ends of the aircraft if one could extend one's arms a little wide.
After about thirty minutes of take-off, the aircraft began to descend. I COINCIDENTALLY had a window-seat(the sitting layout of the aircraft was- one seat, the aisle and a pair of seats).As i looked down, I could see a large barren land with very less but weird kind of grass.I thought the aircraft is taking an emergency landing(Because America did not have barren lands- as assumed by a lot of unacquainted indians like me) but as I am always wrong, this was indeed Champaign.I was let down.
I can explain the champaign airport in terms of any indian railway station . Though most of the readers would be thinking how can I do this.The Champaign airport was almost like a railway station of a small Indian city or I must say a village, like champaner.Although the airport was far more embellished than the railway station but the flight and the traffic volume was easily comparable to that of an Indian village railway station.
Finally I took a taxi and went to my hotel. The journey was tiring and I did not experience a Jet Lag.Here, I would like to mention that I have never experienced things at the first-go. I did not get high when i drank for the first time. So I stopped drinking and started guzzling. Even guzzling did not help.
My hotel room was beautiful with all the basic amenities. I unpacked my bags and realised that I was thirsty.I looked up in the refrigerator. There was no sign of any water bottle out there. I called up the front desk. "Hi! I was looking for some water", I said. "Come Again!", was the reply. "I can not find drinking water in my room"."Oh ! you mean Waateyhr(read WATER)". "Yes", I said."Come down to the ground floor and get some from the vending machine".I went down and was looking for a glass and soon i found it. Though an indian will always think of it as a tumbler(because of its size), but people out there call it a glass -that too of an XLsize.
I filled up my glass and quenched my thirst.
(To be continued ...)