Take off from Chennai
You won’t realize how much you love India until your flight actually takes off the sky from Chennai airport. Unknowingly, I told in my mind ‘Ennodo Naadu idhu…This is my country”. A young Indian women was traveling with her kid asked him to say ‘Bye Bye Chennai” looking at the lights down there. I assumed many Indians who are working and settled abroad bid good bye to India when they don’t know when they would visit again.
Our journey in Lufthansa from Chennai to Frankfurt was nice. Just that I was offered “More Kolambu -” as I had chooen Asian Veg as food option and I never have ‘Curd” in any form ever in my life. Even when they have More kolambu in the mess near office where I have lunch with my friends, I used to get annoyed. Anyway, They also had Sambar rice in the other side of boxed food which was nice. I kept having Apple juice during the flight. I could have watched a movie but felt happy listening to an Audio book by Seth Godin.
Landed in Germany where my Sister did her Phd years back
When we reached Frankfurt, I asked for Wheel Chair for my parents. Meanwhile, my Mom felt dizzy. I asked her to have Orange mittai which helps her. She was better and hence got on the small airport vehicle which took us towards Z69 terminal for our next flight. I gave 3 dollar tip to the Ethiopian man who rode us to a place for his next colleague to pick us. I don’t like anyone asking for tip but if they don’t ask for it, I give.
There were another Old couples from India. The lady was telling my Mom
“Mudiyave illa maami, Ava easya Americala irundhutu nallama vara solra’..he he.
We can’t travel so far. They live in America and make us to come so far.
Seems their Son is in the U.S and forced them to come. Later, we took a train for security check. Germans are stren in the way they answer you. They smile but if you ask for something twice, their answer is little stern. – “Please wait. I am working” kind of answer.
But basically, Frankfurt Airport was big and beautiful. Finally, another airport staff took us in a lift and then another man took us to Gate Z69 for our next flight to U.S.
Parents, when they are old can get sick anytime during such long travel. My Sister was so caring that she booked us Premium Economy seat which was really luxurious to me. Irrespective of all this, my Mom had pain. While we sat in the seat near the gate, My Mom said ‘I need water. I am dizzy.”
In every Airport, before we had to give away the water bootle, my parents have a sip but who would guess Mom would get dizzy before i could get another bottle of water
So I ran for the Mc Donalds, I found on the way. I had to wait 20 minutes in the que to get a bottle of water. Just because I had to wait, I decided to buy Muffins and Donots. Later, I ran to the place my Mom and Dad were sitting hoping she would be fine.
Thankfully, since my Mom had mittai, she was fine. I gave her Coffee and water to drink.
I am fascinated by Aircrafs right from childhood. So took videos and photos of Frankfurt airport. I even told a German airport staff “Its a beautiful Airport”.
We boarded the flight to U.S.
Many Americans, Some Germans and few Indians in our Boeing 747-400. This one was a bigger flight. Again premium economy seat was luxury for me. I could not sleep well as I was anxious about reaching U.S and clearing immigration and security check with in 2 hours time for the next flight to my sister’s town.
A guy near my seat was kind. He’s from India and going on a Business trip to U.S for 2 weeks. We spoke less but I got his number as he’s from Bangalore with a Startup.
Yes! The moment has come.
Breathed oxygen from United States of America for the first time in my life
For the first time in my life, I actually had a look of how America looks! This time, not on Google Maps.
Denver was beautiful from sky though I did not had window seat, I managed to get a view. As we moved out of Aircraft, 5 to 7 men were with Wheel Chair. I asked them fof wheel chair and they seemed to wait for passengers from Business class to come out. I will surely write this to Denver Airport authority that its not right for these people to assume people who travel by economy class won’t pay a good tip even when we had opted for the service.
We have to move on quickly. So asked my Amma and Appa to better walk fast. Every time my Mom took escalator, it was Sai who helped her balance. She’s so weak that I want her to balance. As we walked along the corridor for immigration and customs lounge, I felt happy as the que wasn’t that long. We got Visa stamped. I can stay in the U.S until Feb 2019 if I wish to. he he..
By the time we completed security check of bags and walked out, the United Airline staff asked us to be quick as we still had chances to catch the flight. I ran into the security checkup for us and our handbags. Finally, it was done. We took a train to Gate B. Then, had to find a counter where I can ask for the gate number. Meanwhile, Amma again was tired due to all the walk.
I ran to the shop and din’t know what to buy. I can’t understand what to buy from these glossy American airport restaurants. I asked for Coffee and Donots. I asked Amma and Appa to have it saying we have enough time for the flight. I still believed, we can catch the flight for sure.
I got into the United Airlines counter. The senior staff there told me
“Its departed. I couldn’t believe it. I showed him the boarding pass and told him – This flight”.
His answer was “Yes. Sir, its departed.
As I was about to walk to Uniter Airlines customer sevice counter, the old man ran to me and said “There’s a flight to Sioux Falls at 8.40. ”
The guy in the customer service can’t find our names in previous flight. The lady there asked him to search for our names with just 3 letters and he found it. She also told that man’ I will show you how to confirm their tickets in the 8.10 flight” and he did.
I had a big smile because my parents had to wait just 2 more hours in Airport. I can’t let them remain hungry. So walked to the shop in Denver airport run by people from Nepal. The lady in counter looked at me sweating in the Airport that maintains 20 degree centigrade and asked “Are you from India’.
I said Yes and told her, I have friends in Nepal.
Well, I sweat as I was running around making sure my parents don’t get tired. My Sister was anxious too.
I had time to relax too.I love Americans who live their life as they wish. In India, if you have more than 2 kids, people say ‘What others would think of us?”
In the U.S, I have seen couples having 3 kids because they wanted 3 kids. I found such family near the counter as my Mom sipped the Hot Tea I got for her. A kid was coming near me and smiling to me.
She wanted to hold my palm. I asked myself should I stop it.
I told Sai “I wish to hold Katya’s palm first before I hold any one else in America because I came all the way to hug my Sister’s Daughter.
The kid in the Airport was curious looking at me and walked up to me. I couldn’t resist and stretched my palm to her.
She touched it and I sat down to hug her. Oh Sweet – I felt.
Finally, our flight from Denver to Sioux Falls started boarding. I messaged my Sister that everything is fine as I sat inside the small United Aircraft. My Hang luggage could not be pushed inside the cabin above. So I kept it under my legs. My Parents were 5 seats away from me and I was near an American man who kept humming some song to himself with a Coke and some snacks. – Pretty American ah?
Adventure in America begins!
Announcement came – Ladies and Gentlemen, as you could feel there’s a storm in Denver and hence we might take a longer route to Sioux falls. So its going to take 1.45 minutes. Everyone felt OK. That’s not a problem at all. The air craft moved in the run way. It stopped. It moved. I msg my Sister saying that we got announcement that Denver Airport is shutdown until 9 P.M.
No landings and Take off. And all these 150 passengers inside the aircraft were waiting to pass 9.PM.
I doubted if we will really fly that day. My Sister msg ‘Is he taxing towards Runway or towards other way”. I said “Already Airport 2 times suthi kaamichutaan”. The aircraf kept taxing in the run way that I had good view of the big Denver airport. My Sister said, I am laughing though am tensed.
Well, I also was anxious as Amma was tired but I remained cool.
I found one after another all the mini Aircrafts taxing behind one another and taking off. Auto maari niruthi vachu irundhaanuna. Finally, our Auto, sorry Aircraft propelled and took off.
How happy I felt that that day – We are surely going to meet my Sister after 8 years. When ever my Sister told me that she can book a hotel for us in Denver, I asked her to calm as I was confident that we would fly the same day.
15 minutes in the flight was cool. I had cookies given by Airhostess.
The flight started shaking.
During my Chennai – Frankfurt flight, I slept hugging Sai Satcharita. Later, I kept the book inside the bag. I was thanking Sai for keeping parents safe all the while but natually, you will remember Sai and God only when calamity strucks.
This isn’t ordinary calamity.
Over 150 passengers were in the aircraft. Its shaking. Literrally shaking. The captain’s request was announced.
‘As we are crossing the storm, the captain has requested to fasten your seat belts and hold on to your seats”.
My Amma always advices me to worship Lord Ganesha to ward off any obstacles.
So I started chanting
I was scared. All of you know that I am too soft and get scared easily. he he..
The aircraft was crossing storm and the pilot was doing all he could to make sure the impact doesn’t last long. Just 3 minutes and then it was over!
I assumed this way.
There was a storm near Denver and now we crossed the storm. So the danger is over now.
Even air hostess announced that the captain got good news that we earlier had to re-route due to storm but now we can travel peacefully in same route to Sioux falls.
I thought everything is OK for a while.
The American near me was reading a book – The Land along the River about the struggle of Sioux tribes to secure their land from the congress. Its history but I felt happy because I found the words “The Indians’ denoting the native Americans was Indians in the book. Well, the word ‘Indians” is associated with native Americans which makes me proud. I feel that we belong to this nation too.
Meanwhile, There was another storm which the flight had to cross. This time it was shaking again.
I started chanting.
I told Baba “We are coming all the way from India traveling for over a day. Please bless us to land safely and meet my Sister”.
I also told baba “I know, I won’t die but my parents and all other passengers in this flight must also live peacefully”
The captain announced – There’s a Storm in Sioux falls Airport. I waited for the storm to pass away as that’s what we usually do. Since the fuel of aircraft isn’t enough to wait longer, we are landing in the nearest Airport. We will be landing in Omaha airport in a while.”
All the passengers were upset but not a small piece of chit chat about what happened. I was laughing inside myself – Yenda..Americal evanum polamba paatingala’. In India, we immiediately open our mouth and share our feelings when were are upset.
I turned to the Man near me and said
“Am I the only one who’s scared?” He simply smiled to me because everyone were scared but they were confident.
Finally, I prayed Saibaba to help the captain to land us safe in Omaha Airport. I felt relaxed as the wheels touched the Omaha airport. Omaha is almost 2.50 hours drive from my Sister’s town but I thanked Sai for safe landing.
None of the passengers complained but none thanked the Captain too. The airhostess was saying “Sorry” to passengers as they could not fly them to Sioux falls.
I usually thank people who help me. Even if that’s a small favour, I thank them from bottom of my heart.
Flash back to a Company where I am surviving for 8 years and will continue to…
I thank and that’s my nature. I can’t change just because you doubt
Couple of weeks back, when I made a video in office, I asked some guys for a Note book to place the microphone to record voice. Nextday, I went near their place to thank. This girl was around who looked at me and hence I thanked her for giving the note book and walked away. Next day onwards, she din’t smiled to me. Usually, she does though I don’t even know her name.
I was wondering what happened. Later, I understood that she misunderstood the fact that i thanked her.
When I thank you, i just thank you. I am not expecting to build any relationship.
I don’t know to laugh or cry wondering how girls and guys in India doubt me as if I am behind someone using opportunities to speak to them. Probably, the guys would have felt why I thanked her alone. Well, she was the one who turned to me and I thanked her. I don’t even know her. My recording for the video was good and hence I thank people who gave me the note book to keep the microphone.
I have hundreds of Sai friends. I just don’t understand the culture in my company is so stupid that it doesn’t match with my nature.
Count my Thank You
My habit is to thank. You won’t even believe if I said, I thanked so many people all through the flight.
The lady in the Air India counter in Coimbatore,
The police man who did security scanning,
The Air hostess when I left the flight,
The Fast track driver who spoke in Madurai accent and dropped us in my Peri Appa home in Chennai, (I gave him a tip too)
My Dad’s elder brother and his wife for their sweet hospitality. They took care of us with love.
The fast track driver who’s native is Vaidheeswaran kovil and lives in Chennai who dropped us in Chennai international airport.
I thanked the Police men who verified our tickets and let us in.
I thanked lady who guided us to Lufthansa counter
I thanked the Lufthansa staff who gave us all boarding passes.
I thanked the man who took my Mom in Wheel chair and gave him a 200 Rs tip.
I thanked the immigration officer with a smile.
I thanked the man in the rest room who gave me tissue paper.
I smiled to the German Airhostess who said ‘Namaskar’ as we got in the flight. Smiling means – I am thanking you for your welcome note.
I thanked the Air hostess and smiled to them often when I come across them.
I do it.
Its in my gene. Its what I am.
You have to smile to people.
But in the place I work, I stopped smiling to most people especially since they doubt even if we smile or speak to a girl for a small chat.
Do you think I will leave the Air Craft without thanking the Captain who landed us safe in another Airport?
As passengers walked out of the aircraft, I requested the air hostess to allow me to thank the Captain. She moved away giving me space to the cockpit. There’s this man in his 40’s or 50’s. He was sad probably since he couldn’t take passengers to right destination.
I told him “We did it”
You did the right thing and landed us safely. I am traveling with my old parents from India for 2 days and hence I was scared. His faced beamed with a smile.
He was desperate to re-fuel and take the flight back to Sioux falls. Somehow, that was not to be as I know the reason later on.
I even made a video with him.
The featured photo is myself with Captain of United Airlines Mr.Paul.
As I got down the Omaha Airport, I called up my Sister to say we are in Omaha. She already knew that as Sioux falls airport was closed. My Brother in law had even told the staff that the pilot is planning to re-fuel and come back to Sioux falls but seemed that man was harsh and said ‘I am the one who decides that and closed the airport”.
My brother in law said “May be he was in hurry to meet his girl friend and hence closed the airport even though the pilot had request to come back”.
My sister went back to her home, made rice for my parents and said she already started driving to Omaha airport.
Imagine how this experience would be.
The Omaha airport was huge too. It was the size of two Brookfields mall in Coimbatore. Only 5-10 passengers were there in the whole ground floor. I confirmed our Checkin bags had reached Sioux falls in previous flight itself.
I asked my Amma to lay down in the bench inside the airport. It was so chill and hence she placed another saree over it and laid down. he he..The whole Omaha airport was for us tonight to stay.
I saw a Police Officer and asked him for any place to charge my mobile. He said “Sorry sir. I don’t have it”.
I was wondering something else – That Americans usually are known for their hospitality.
Within 20 minutes the police officer came back tome with a small Plug to USB charging converter. He said “Could you check if you could use this”
I was moved by his gesture. I charged my mobile as my Sister kept messaging that she’s on way by Car.
She sometimes shouts at me as she also was tensed but thats my Sister and I know her love is different.
Finally, early morning in United States. 3 of us blinking and sitting. I was roaming around in the Airport. Finally, I saw a dark blue car and my brother in law driving. I told my Amma “Vandhutaanga’ – They have come.
As we got out of the Airport door, my Sister ran and hugged my Amma and Appa. I hugged Katya. She’s tall now but small to my arms. I said ‘Katyaa….that was like an adventure”.
Rest is history.
A family got united irrespective of the United Airlines flight which took us to a different city.
A family got united after 8 years.
We parked the car in a Petrol pump and had rice my sister made for us. My brother in law started driving towards Sioux falls.
I told him
“I often used to look at all these places in Google Map. So I am waiting for the Sun rise so that I can see the green fields on the way”
And the day broke in.
Sun rose in America!
I bowed to Lord Surya, Thanked Lord Ganesha and remembered Sai.
First day in the U.S
Selfie with a captain inside a beautiful Aircraft’s cockpit.
I do it because my nature is to Thank.
I always express my gratitude to people who do their job well.
I even told the captain
“We must not take one’s job for granted and I wanted to appreciate you for landing us safe”
He won’t forget me for lifetime.
Its not the money one earns that matters. What matters is how you can serve people with your work and skills.
Serve people with bottom of your heart and work with dedication.
I the past few hours in the U.S – I smiled to so many girls, men and women while I was walking in the neighbourhood. This is a country which matches my nature to smile even to strangers. Anyway, in India, people get close once they know you. So its basically, a culture difference.
I just can’t bear when a girl doubts you for smiling and thanking her. Not being married is not my problem but seems it a problem for everyone else that they hurt me with the way they treat me.
I will continue to smile and thank everyone for lifetime because in see Sai in every Man, Women and Child.
I took my old parents all this way for this.
Look at her. I took her to a shop in Sioux falls and got her this Strawberry + Yogurt drink. I told her that I wish to stand under the tree shade and walked out of the shop. She took me to a park near by her home. I told her that I love the trees in her neighborhood.
In the evening, there was a Block party in Sioux falls in the street my Sister lives. I spoke to some men and women. They were so friendly and felt happy that I traveled all the way from India. We were discussing on culture, politics and life style. One of this lady asked me ‘Any idea of settling in the U.S?”
I said, No, I will go back to India as my parents love to live there.
One of this man told me “We are all embarrassed with out president who’s rude.”
He told me President Trump is not the one who represents their views and that they all love and welcome people from all parts of the world.
He even apologized to me saying if I find the president rude.
I told him that I have respect on America and already I experienced its friendly people.
As my Sister’s daughter took me to park, these men invited me to join them for the block party – That’s an year event to know the neighbors and have fun. The lady asked me if I need beer or any drink. I can’t say that I don’t have alcohol but just said I will have snacks and that I just had my dinner.
Over all, my first day in United States of America was adventurous, happy and felt warm in the cold state of South Dakota – The land along the big Sioux river.
I love my Sister, my Brother in law and their kid.
I love friendly American people.
I wish people back in India, especially where I work understand why I smile to them or try to have a small chat with them.
I am trying to be human. That’s why I smile.
After all, its a small world and a small life.
Please pray for my parents good health. Sai grace must be always on them as its cold here.
Om Sai Ram
Note – Look at the featured photo with Captain Paul of United Airlines. I seem to have lost a lot on my head but I am alive today. I never worry about getting old. I just worry that I haven’t made my life meaninful. Sai saved us since he believes I will lead a life thats meaninful. So he saved us.
I have to give Saibaba what he expects from me.
I certainly won’t stop with this smile. I will do more Sai.
I am born for a purpose and you made me realize that you are taking care of me and my family. So I have to keep doing good deeds and lead a worthy life.