A Lazy Evening In An Unknown Country

When I wrote about the pathetic state of media here in America, Saaaar (aka Vijay) and Opinionate Indian wrote a few comments. The discussion slowly turned towards NRI’s, their reasons for staying in America and returning to India. Saaaar then came up with this nice write up on his life in
America. Continuing with the tradition, I decided to write a few more lines from my past.
 

All the incidents in this post are true. What is untrue is that I have made it look like they all happened on the same day. Most of these occurred during my first year as a student in America. 

It was another sunny evening and I decided to go and meet R for a small talk. He worked at the “Memorial Union” and was responsible to setup different meeting rooms everyday. His worked involved lifting heavy furniture and making sure that the meeting rooms looked neat. All across American universities “Memorial Union” or “Student Union” is a common place for food, games and refreshments. During summer, there are quite a few temporary stalls outside the building – they sell books, preach religion, sing with live bands and what not. This sunny evening I was about to enter the building and a smart guy in his 30’s stopped me. He was wearing saffron from top to bottom and his head was shaved. He was standing in front of a table full of books. He handed me a book titled “bhagavaDgIta” and went onto ask me “Have you heard of Krishna ?” I guess my stare was piercing enough that he did not bother to utter another word. He took the book back and started looking for another kuri (sheep, in Kannada). “Ahhh one more Hare Krishna ! Hare Rama !!!” was all I could say. 

After meeting R, I came out of “Memorial Union” and started walking towards my student office. I had to pass an underground library. There is a very small church in front of the library. A nerdy looking guy with glasses, white T-shirt and khakhi shorts stopped me. He wanted to find out if I was doing fine, and I told him that I was doing great. He then asked me if I had visited a church across the street. I said “No”. He wanted me to go to that church and see how nice it was. I told him that I was “absolutely not interested” (A note to my Christian friends – I have been to several churches, just not when I am forced to).

After work, I had to go to the library to help out a group of people who were implementing a cryptographic project. I was supposedly an expert on their project topic and my professor wanted me to help them out. The group had three people – two Indians, like me and an older gentleman from
Iran. The Iranian worked in the semiconductor industry, and he was in his late 40-s, still unmarried. I went to the science library and they were all waiting for me in a small study room. I finished going over their project updates. The Iranian started some general talk and said that he wanted to get married and asked us if we knew any girl in school. The rest of us were obviously puzzled, but politely said that we didn’t know anyone suitable for him. The study rooms in this library were at far corners. Literally, not a soul walked near that place. My Iranian friend told us that when he did his bachelor’s at Purdue, they had similar study rooms. Apparently the biggest problem at Purdue libraries during those days was the fact that guys would go into these study rooms, and for the lack of a better expression, relieve their stress. So, it was hard for the students to find study rooms which were not ‘messy’. I smiled at my friends, gave them some new assignments and walked out of the study room. Hmmmm, Purdue was so messy…the nerds, I thought.
 

Since it was a Friday, I was looking forward to going back home. The plan was to go to yet another movie with the gang. I had to walk back in front of the same church. I was looking around and was happy to see that the nerdy guy was nowhere to be seen. I was about to turn left and go home when a white girl jumped in front of me. “Wow” I said, not because she was beautiful, but because I didn’t expect someone to stop me at that hour. I don’t remember the exact dress (even though it hardly covered her body), but her dress was made up of some translucent cloth. She wore a ‘shawl’ kind of thing on top of it which had a regular pattern of holes. It is fashion, I thought. She tried hard to give the sweetest of smiles, but I couldn’t help but think that the smile was very artificial. And, I was definitely not surprised when she asked me the “Have you been to that church across the street ?” question. I said “No”. She went on and asked me “Do you want to come there on Sunday”. Again, I said “No!”. She was more persistent than that morning’s nerdy boy. She went ahead with a “Well, you should come there on Sunday, I will come too”. I am like “So?”. She must have been taken aback, After a pause she goes on with “We can do something nice after the church”. I am like “Yeah, right” and I walked away. 

Friday night movie was a very big part of my student life. Irrespective of whether there was a good movie or not, the gang would always go and watch some movie. It was a pleasant evening and the theater was hardly a mile from my apartment. So, we all started walking towards the theater. When we were crossing the parking a lot, a really old car came from nowhere, and hit me !!! There were two girls in the car. They were scared. They got out to see if I was fine. I had a bad muscle pain, but no obvious injuries. As I said, the two girls were so scared. They got back into the car and just drove away. 

The movie was not bad actually. We were returning home and it was past midnight. No big deal since our gang was quite big. We were walking on the pavement by the main road. Some of my friends were just pushing their cycles and walking with the rest of us. A car came onto the main road and the guys inside the car shouted something which none of us could decipher. Within the next second, a guy inside the car threw something which came and hit me in my stomach directly. Oh God, that was a bad one. It pained a lot. My friends panicked. Finally they found out that it was either a balloon filled with water or some kind of a small ball. The pain was bad, but it didn’t remain for long. 

We were close to our apartment. Another car came by and stopped next to us. There were two white guys. They asked us if we had been to the party at a yet another church, We said “No”. The guys were obviously drunk. They were harmless, but they really wanted to help us out. They asked us to go to the party. One of them winked at us and said “Easy girls, man !!! You can get a lot of them, I swear….go there”. One of my friends smiled at him and said “Thanks”. The two guys were happy that they helped out a few more guys that night. They zoomed away. We all looked at each others’ faces and walked back home discussing the movie.

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12 Comments on “A Lazy Evening In An Unknown Country”

  1. Veena Shivanna Says:

    What is that you wanted to say here ? was that bad or good ? If this was somebody else’s blog I wouldn’t have read it. I finally read all you did that evening. It reminded me the movie ‘Mangal pandey-the rising’ which I happen to watch in a theatre when I was in phx. For me it was so simple to watch because I was picked & dropped to my door step from the ‘Gang’..!!
    I don’t have anything to say here, Have a great weekend saar! Its already saturday morning here. I was planning to go visit my parents, my plan doesn;t seem to be appealing to everybody.! This is also my home at bangalore., I being more optimistic, thought will visit book fair which Belllur said about. Even our FM channels is talking a lot about it.. Lemme go there! I have a retirned person to take with, alas I am lucky if not somebody like my husband but somebody who can patiently spend some time with me in the book fair.. My friend;s dad who is a kannada MA now retired from his job at LIC.. I was so pleasantly surprised when he said he would join when I spoke about this book fair.. All said & done, going alone anywhere make me feel sooooooooo alllllllllllllllllloooooooooooooof!

  2. Vijay Says:

    One of the scariest things for me when I first went to school was the complete metamorphasis that took place on Friday nights and lasted till Sunday. The same kids who lived next door turned into chest thumping creatures on weekends.. then Monday it was back to normal.. kinda like Jekyl and Hyde…

    2 incidents in one night? Wow!!

  3. Vittal Says:

    Ummmm…interesting. Purdue mess – disgusting! 🙂
    I had a mallu friend who would embarrass all of us by asking the person at the counter for a ‘large coke’!! (Try ‘coke’ in mallu accent). It took months to correct him. 🙂


  4. Coke in Mallu… and a large one at that …LOL 🙂 effing hilarious…

    @DS – For a while I was trying to find a meaning or trying to understand where you were going with the post (while reading it). I had exactly the question Veena asked. Then I realised they were just random ramblings. I guess now its my turn to write something about my life in North America. I know the stress relief you’re talking about, in libraries. 🙂

  5. decemberstud Says:

    @Veena : Nothing,…..these were just random ramblings. I don’t see why my posts have to contain an aim or a direction all the time 😉 So, how was the book fair ? How many books did you buy ?

    @Saaaar: You bet, it was hard to gel into the severe party mode. Friday nights were full of cop cars every so often.

    @Vittal : ROFLMAO…….that’s too hilarious…..it must have been quite embarassing, huh ? Talking of which, let me tell you another story. I mean these are the hilarious moments you get due to the difference in English English and American English. A friend of mine was working in his lab. He appareantly wrote something wrong in his notes and wanted some thing to erase his notes. So, he went to this lady receptionist at the office and asked her for a ‘rubber’. She had the shock of her life. My firend, who had absolutely no lcue, went onto finally explain why he needed it. She then went with a “Oh, you need an eraer” and gave him one 🙂

    @OI : Really ? Thankfully, I did not see any stressed guys in the librarie all those years. Yep, me looking forward to your post.


  6. @DS:

    The rubber story eh? That really happen or are you pilfering off American Desi? Just kidding… LOL

    I had gone back to one of Vijay’s posts where I’d asked you if you were located in Fairfield. And you said, you aren’t giving your latitude /longitude, not yet.

    First, rest easy man.. I ain’t no stalker or anything. And considering you are an IT [kinda] guy, working for one of the topmost firms in the world (hint hint), I found it surprising you said that. You do know that whenever you post a comment, I receive an email with your IP and a WhoIS link with your IP already filled in. Its not that hard to find out where you are…just wondering how an IT guy missed that…

    Santa Barbara is one of my fav spots…(didn’t let out the real place… give me credit for that )

  7. decemberstud Says:

    @OI : Really ? Was that in ‘American desi’ ? I had no clue….It really did happen, in my own department and the guy’s name was Manjunath. Yep, there are too many with that forst name, so it’s harmless to throw that in here 🙂

    And, as far as the latitude/longitude thingy is concerend, dude, what makes you think that I didn’t know that you knew exactly where I work and where I live ? LOL…what I meant was that I won’t tell that out loud in a blog comment. I bet you not only know where I live and work, but also how many minutes I spend on your blog and on which page etc…etc…Coz, I track all that info too 😉 I am dumb, but not all ‘that’ dumb 😉

    And believe me, I am so tempted not to log into other blogs from work. But, it’s too hard to come home and read everything, plus sometimes I tend to be jobless at work…and since I trust that people like you are not stalkers, I decide to browse from work anyway ….

    On that note, I’ve never been to Santa Barbara…I’ve heard it’s very beautiful.

  8. Srik Says:

    The Rubber story and the Mallu coke!! hillarious. ROFL…….. 😀 😀 😀
    Keep it coming.

    Reading these experiences make us understand the life there better. Good work DS.

  9. decemberstud Says:

    Thanks Srik…..glad you are enjoying. I sure will write more 🙂


  10. @DS

    Got it 🙂 What made me think – was your comment. LOL … take care bud…

  11. Veena Shivanna Says:

    DS why do people get instigated so easily ? Pls do write a post sometime when you get sometime. I wouldn’t have really bothered to know this unless I have some take from it. Hope you got it, I wanted to ask this question to RB today in his radio show but I wonder whether my hubby likes it making our things so public.. He also hears the show so I just stopped myself. I remember me getting instigated in one such blog & got irritated & commented so wild. After certain days, I was retrospeciting & I was laughing at me being so nasty! At times, most of us behave it this way that is human psychology(or phisiology?).

    Have a great day folks.

  12. decemberstud Says:

    @ Veena : Yes, something to write in a future blog. Things to ponder about…thanks !


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