Ah!What a nervous flight it was!I got up at the first alarm ring that I had set for myself:bang at 3.45 a.m. in the hotel room!Quite incredible,really,as I hardly ever hear the alarm systems.I think the last time I got up at the first alarm was during the 1992 Cricket World Cup in Australia when the matches used to start at 3 a.m. IST!Now,to have that syndrome after more than a decade speaks volumes about what this trip to NY means to me,even if I say this myself!
Got ready,and guess what I did!I wore the t-shirt that I had ironed and kept ready the previous night before crashing.But no!When I wore it in the wee hours of the morning,I didn't like it.So,I opened my big suitcase and picked an olive green half shirt to wear for the flight to NY.I guess I wanted to look,shall we say, colourful - just to see myself in the pink of moods as I approach NY,rather than wear some dull,drab t-shirt which I otherwise so adore!Sigh!
Anyway,I was hungry after my early morning bath,but I just skipped it in sheer excitement!And this,for a person who eats on time,whatever happens!Ok,the wee hours of the night is not the appropriate time for a breakfast,granted,but hell,I was starving!Didn't bother too much and even my hands were shaking as I lifted my suitcase to NY - not because of the weight,it was hardly 10 kgs - but more because of the weight of the moment,so to speak!
The cab guy came,and was talkative right through the trip to San Antonio airport.I didn't even realise what he was talking or saying(just gave him a 2 buck tip!).I was mentally and emotionally completely elsewhere,imagining Manhattan the way I had seen it on TV all these years.And my heart skipped enough number of beats on the way to the airport,just imagining those locales - I was actually going to see those places,dammit!Arun Ranganath,a normal,homegrown,middle-class Indian,hardworking but dreamy-eyed,a chap like me who is not from the 'so-called' Ivy League yet,with dreams of his own,was actually just about to realise one of his great dreams.A dream he had dreamt when he was in school, the trigger being the word, melting pot.I had studied in school or somewhere during my childhood that New York city is the world's melting pot.I quite could never fathom how a city can be a melting pot!But,I wanted to see if for myself oneday.That was 15 years ago.
And I was just about to do what I had dreamt all those years back!