Sunday, August 2, 2009

I will be Back There… (III)

Read on…

Before leaving once more for Stony Brook, I would like to make one thing clear: I did also read books at home and fiddled around with some of my MATLAB programs. These were the books that I read:

Four books in one month… not bad I guess!!! Now on to some programming… I thought of upgrading SUDOKU SOLVER from 6.2 to at least 7.x this summer but unfortunately, that couldn’t happen. Instead I just fixed some ‘minor’ graphics issues and a ‘major’ bug in ‘Licensing’ part of the program which had lingered around for too long since last release i.e. ‘Release 11’ and that is why now it is ‘Release 11b’ as can be seen in the snapshot below! (Do check SS 6.2 out by clicking on it…)


Another not-so-well-known program is ACBOOK (derived from accounts book) which received a hefty upgrade from version 3.0.β to 3.5.β where β is put there just for fun (because I can since MATLAB allows me to!) and the fact that no one (including my father – he’d rather fill up notebooks!) has ever agreed to use it even when it is FREE and no ‘Licence’ is required (a ‘password’ IS, though!) unlike SS… Go figure! (So please do me a favour and check it out by clicking on the snapshot below where you’ll get other ‘scientific’ GUIs/programs as well!)

ACBOOK 3.5.β

Now that we’ve outlived our prescribed duration at KTM, I left for Stony Brook on the afternoon of 23rd June and my parents tagged along to send me off. It was not a direct trip to the airport; there was a ‘layover’ included which is probably why both of my parents tagged along as they did not do that in 2007! Moreover, since there was unrest in KTM on that day (actually that week – don’t ask me why?) we had to take a longer route along the ‘Ring’ road surrounding KTM valley to get to wherever we were headed, including the airport.

  • ‘Layover’ – This was a visit to Shramanis who were at someone’s residence for the moment. Getting there was an arduous task in itself. We had the directions which said to keep looking at the right of the main road and take the second steep slope we encounter. Well, we came across a 4-point vertex and thought these two slopes qualify as the first slope, lets get to the next slope. Well there were none on the right! So we stopped on a left slope and inquired to be told that the second one on the 4-point vertex was the correct slope to take! Let me tell you about this slope: It was a narrow road with a long, upwards, curving way with a local inclination of at least 30 degrees. I always thought no car would go up there but I was proven wrong! Finally, we reached the house and was greeted by an elderly lady who somehow (this is another great anecdote, but I’ll refrain from revealing it here!) knew my parents. When I was introduced to her and was told that I was leaving for America she slashed out an advice at me, ‘Don’t marry an American girl’. “Hey, what the… whoa!” was all I could think and “this is definitely not the way to make me like you!” Anyway, we chatted with the Shramanis, offered them some snacks and left. On the way out, the lady offered us sweets, the kind which I had not tasted yet, actually that particular combination – cham-cham (I don’t quite agree with 2/3 details on this blog like flattening the rolls or refrigerating them for a day) rolled in mango paste. I thought it would not taste good but I was again proven wrong, it was delicious and this is the best way to make me like you! So we bid her farewell and headed towards our real destination…
  • Tribhuvan International Airport, KTM – We reached there and after some small talk with my parents (and driver) I entered the airport.
    Tribhuvan Intl. Airport, KTM (Just checking 'Insert Map...' in WLW!)
    I was told by my father that paying the airport tax (NPR. 1356 ~ US$ 18) at the airport has been discontinued as it is included in the ticket itself nowadays. (You would think this is good news but then you are not familiar with my misfortune inside airports.) So, I had my baggage ‘x-rayed’ and made a beeline to the baggage check counter. Guess what? The officer there tells me to go back and pay airport tax! I asked him: Is it not already included in the ticket? He replied: It is for tickets issued after March but yours was issued in February. Well, I struggled a bit to find NPR 1000+500 in my wallet to pay the tax. I got change for NPR 1355… I thought to myself this is not that bad! Then came the weight problem: I had 2 pieces of luggage this time, weighing 22+8 Kg (to my relief because at home they were 24+7 Kg!). This meant 10 Kg more than allowed (if you recall ‘Part I’) but then I showed them a ‘card’ and they let me pass without any fuss! The flight was 40 or so minutes late which was earlier than I expected because my sister assured me there’s no way this flight will take off before getting delayed for at least an hour and a half! Why am I making it sound like the flight delay was a welcome event? Because I had a layover of nearly ~10 hrs following the scheduled times at…
  • Indira Gandhi International Airport, DEL – Could not ‘fool’ the security guard this time! Though he did direct me to the visitors’ lounge (there was AC!) where I stayed till the reporting time which was after midnight (~1AM; I reached around 7PM). Now my parents had this weird thought that I would fall asleep while waiting at DEL and miss the flight! I don’t know how such misinformation percolated in their psyche… I mean sure they’ve been locked out of the house twice (or maybe thrice) because they left me alone in the house and I fell asleep and did not wake up to open the door when they returned even after they rang the bell and banged the door for what seemed to them as eternity… But come on, me sleeping at the airport, that’s unheard of!!! Anyway, they were not going to take any chances, so they gave me an Airtel SIM card to check upon me once in a while after 10 PM. Even Didi was recruited for this task! Apart from them, even a cop checked on me and asked for my ID… Little did I know that I’d been ‘tagged’ and something more sinister was waiting for me in the airport! Fortunately, I did not fall asleep (like I would have after that!) and entered the airport building at the prescribed time. The earlier cop was there at the entrance: he frisked me first (which was for the first time in my life) and then ‘checked’ my baggage using some hand-held device… probably for drugs, explosives and books on ‘how to smuggle contrabands through airports’! So I got in the airport, got my baggage checked-in and am stopped in my tracks by the QA staff to be asked if I’d come from KTM. What the hell??? Its on my e-ticket, why the hell do they need to ask me that? Anyway, I proceeded to security check and just as I cleared that, another QA staff stopped me again in my tracks and informed me that a Customs Officer had summoned me. WHAT THE HELL??? By this time, I was pretty much exhausted (I’m usually sleeping at this time, you know!) and in no position to show my emotions explicitly so I put up my best blank face and just tagged along. The CO asked me: ‘Where are you going?’ (Is this guy for real?); ‘Do you work there?’ (I don’t know if he understood what TA was?); ‘How many US dollars are you carrying?’ (Is this a fair question, I have no idea!); ‘How much Indian currency do you have?’ (What? Is taking INR outside India illegal? I again have no idea!) After answering these questions as straight-facedly as possible (it may have been ‘condescending’ on my part too!), I was allowed to go. After this ‘tag-of-war’ was over, other things went smoothly! Also saw a lot of army personnel heading to Congo(?) as UN peace-keeping(?) forces. The flight was on time and it was a nice trip to… (I remember watching a movie but can’t remember the name!)
  • Doha International Airport, DOH – Nothing much happened at the airport apart from a little inconvenience of standing inside the shuttle bus, after it stopped near the plane, for about 20 minutes which is infinitely long compared to the fact that we are NOT supposed to stand in there AT ALL! This flight was not full as compared to earlier flights. Why do I say so? Because the three-seat-block where I was seated had this configuration: ||X G M| Here, X means a vacant seat; G means a girl and M means me. I am not saying the flight wasn’t full because one seat near me was vacant but because in the ‘middle’ of the flight, my co-passenger left her seat and did not show up until the end to take her bag from the overhead compartment and fill-up the immigration forms! She must have found a better vacant place than the two seats she was hogging (for sleeping) before leaving. The tipping point (for her decision ‘to leave or not to leave’) must have been one of these: my refusal to ice-cream (offered by QA); a Mr. Bean-type maneuver (watch Mr. Bean’s video from 2:26-2:31); Jon-like expertise on boredom (read this)! Well, this was good for me because I was now hogging (for sleeping) all the three seats! YO!!! I remember watching ‘Watchmen’ on this flight. After ~10 hrs, the flight journey came to an end and we landed at…
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport, JFK – Formalities completed… AirTrain boarded… MetroCard bought and on to…
  • Jamaica Train Station – Bought ticket to SB but ‘did not know’ which train to board, so Phoned PJ to ask which train to board and Thanked PJ for calling me back with correct information. I’d bought an off-peak ticket but this express train (direct to SB no train-changing at Huntington) was at peak hour so had to pay extra after getting on board the train. I find it funny to note that whenever I’ve chosen a seat on a bus or a train here, most of the time it has been a seat for the disabled but this time it was deliberately so since my luggage was disabling me to climb up/down the stairs in the train to get to a ‘proper’ seat! Anyway, the conductor did not say anything to me and I reached…
  • Stony Brook – Got off the train in the expected drizzle and there was the Railroad bus waiting at the bus stop! Reached SAC without any problems. Hoped to meet PJ so that things would be ‘weakly chronologically symmetric’ but he had already gone to Chapin… The Hospital/Chapin bus was late (some things just have to be symmetric, don’t they?) but without any more problems I reached…
  • Chapin Apartments – I walked to my apartment in the drizzle which was exciting like it was when I reached KTM. [Did I not mention this in ‘Part I’ that I was standing in the ‘rain’ before my sister arrived to pick me up? Oh well…] Symmetry rules! It is Good to be Back Here at the university but don’t worry, Mummy, I will be Back There. (Most probably in 2011, if not, then 2012 for sure because my visa expires then!)

Stony Brook University


So there you have it: my completed essay on something as inconsequential as visiting my home! As you’ve been noticing for a ‘couple’ of posts now that my end-of-the-post-link has been the same. This is ‘because’ my webpage is going to be moved from Google pages to Google sites by Google pretty soon (wow, 3 Google(s) in one sentence, no wait 4 Google(s), no wait … googols of Google(s), ohhh… hell with this, ∞ of them and beyond…) but this link will remain the same, so take a note of it!


  1. superb bro ur blog keeps me glued until I come to an end n i say "itna jaldi finish ho gya" so u must write some more plz its realy nice reading ur lyf adventure toooo gooooooddddd waiting for the next episode


  2. Hi Akash, I did not know you read my blogposts!!! I'm moved!!! [:)] As you must have noticed, I've been posting monthly this year, and that will remain so at least for the remaining part of this year... So expect next post in first week of Sep... Sorry for the long wait!!! maybe things will change next year (or maybe not!!!)...

  3. D'da ...
    nice read after a long time !
    might be posting my "mis"adventures in India too !

  4. SD'da... Nice to hear from you and the fact that you are back!!! Looking forward to your posts detailing India Visit'09 and completion of your still incomplete fire-story...