Thursday, August 26, 2010

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

After a tiresome yesterday, I got up by 7:00 AM and got ready well in advance for 9:00 AM. Since I did not have to bother with the cooking. Because our Kictchen was in a mess!!!

Unlike the past 3 days, I walked normally without sweating like a Horse and reached my class 5 minutes in advance. Which gave me the opportunity of picking a seat of my choice unlike the other days, where I had to sit where there was vacancy. I opened my lap top checked my e-mails and got ready for the class. Much to my surprise I was following what was been taught in the class. Though it was the same professor who took our "Workshop" during the last week "LAUNCH" program; and whose lecture did not even penetrate the pores of my skin forget brains ;-).

I solved a couple of problems [ They were simple, yet last week I did not know how to solve them]. And when the class ended at 10:25 Am, I was cool not jumping with joy the class was over. I moved in to my next class and once again, I enjoyed the class. The reason behind this was, I had read through the matter been taught in the class, hence I was mentally prepared. Classes ended at noon. I met Pri at the library, went to submit some part-time job application with her. Came back and my next class was at 1:30 PM, So I decided to chat for a while with Abhi. Had my fruit salad as lunch [ Pears, Papaya and Wild Strawberries]. The next class also sailed smoothly but I was hungry like a pig by 3:00 PM. Pri, Hair and I went to Taco-Bell [ Mexican food outlet in Campus], had a satisfactory meal and headed home. Thanks to Hari he came with us. Hence, I could keep my heavy bag in his cycle boot - a plastic cart used for keeping items on it, mounted to the rear wheel of the cycle [ This is my definition] ;-).

Came home, I was having a bad head ache and it multiplied when I saw the kitchen in the same condition. Took a short nap, by then the guys above our apartment came and told us they would help with the cleaning. I woke up had a cup of coffee to reduce my head ache. Pri and I started removing items form the kitchen, so that it helps them clean. One of the guys came in, and once I asked him to clean all the stains in the kitchen, he changed on his words!!!! How mean and unethical of him. Like a cunning fellow he took us to the apartment maintainence admin and the final result was we had to clean the mess and stains in our kitchen ourselves. Though it was these guys who created the them in the 1st place. I was commutatively less abusive , but Pri was fuming and her dad who was video chatting with her also experience the heat of her words ;-).

Since we had to cook soon, we cleaned up the kitchen by ourselves. While cleaning I decided why not end the day with a good dinner to make our moods better. So I cooked rice and kidney beans side dish. When it was time to prepare curry, we did not know how to open the tomato tinned can. As usual called Hari for rescue and he came home in no time and open the can for us :-P. In the mean time, I prepared spicy butter milk as well :-). So dinner was ready, which was smelling delicious and spicy!!! Just the way "ARPITHA" wants.

We had a royal time eating the dinner [ Compliments flowing from Pri and Hari ] and it boosted my confidence that if I can manage a 2 course dinner like this in an hour, then "I am ready for marriage" :-D. I know I may get a lot of comments for this punch line. We cleaned up after dinner, threw the grab age and settled at our respective laptops burping. I realize today I am doing better than yesterday in terms of Classes or food and even the head ache has come down. It reminds me of "Every Cloud has a Silver lining" proverb. I do not know how well it fits this scenario, but who the hell cares. I am content both in mind and stomach and waiting to hit the bed for a good sleep"post blogging".

P.S :
1.The pictures are taken after we cleaned the apartment
2. Pri and I have sworn to give a piece of our mind to those guys for their irresponsible behavior

Some action after 3 boring weekdays!

Well, from 23rd August 2010 my Fall Semister for 2010 started :-( / :-). I know, I was exicted about going back to college, but at the cost of Studying!! worst compromise ever :-P.

I have on an avergae 3 hours of class everyday...well going by the Indian Standards it is very less, but...but...but...unlike Indian Exams where overnight studies would be the only effort we need to put apart from -
1. Bargaining books at Avenue Road in Bangalore
2. Taking photo-copies of Seniors notes, exam papers
3. Calling each other to check what is in syllabus
4. Cribbing about the subject

Here the assessment is on continuous bases. So 3 hours of class is almost equivalent to 9 hours of your time for being ready with what was been taught for the coming class.

Since it was the 1st class, the usual norms were introduction to professors, classmates, subjects, program overview, grading system etc. By Wednesday I was bored to death by this monotony. After finsingin class at 12 in the noon, I came to the library and pinged Pri who was still at home. I wanted to check with her on the day's plan. First I noticed that prior to this she had sent me an e-mail telling there is no water in the house; hence cannot cook. I was disappointed reading it because after 2 days, I was really looking forward to eating Rice and Curry ( Pri prepares pretty awesome curries). Then next I see her ping, there is water seepage in the roof of our kitchen!!! What a contradicting informaion provided by the same person in a span of 2 hours!!! Well, from the way she chatted, she was so disturbed, I didn't want to bug her with more questions, so headed back to home.

No Indian Food for 1 whole day, boredom classes for 3 days, hot and humid weather and I come home, to see why Pri was that Hysterical!!!! "Wow" The apartment which Pri and I meticulously clean for 3 hours in a week ( not exaggerating) is now in a slush of water. Water dripping from the roof like a leak in Dams ;-)!! My god I had a mini-heart attack seeing it. Soon I then realizaed that this is the case with only our apartment. I thought of checking the people who stay in the top floor; Indian guys, Apt No 2196. I go upstairs knock at the door no response, I peep into thier house through the windows and see there is water everywhere on thier floor. Apparently they left their kitchen sink tap open and due to sink hole blockage the water was over flowing. This is the reason why water has been dripping through our rooftop ( The celings are wooden; hence water can seep in the wood and drip where ever ther is a hole/ opening). Came down, explained Pri the scenario; and for 15 minutes tried to call those guys on the cell phone, but in vain. Finally, the water started falling from the restroom as well!!! We were just hoping it does not penetrate our rooms and cause any short circuit!!! My Blood Temprateture rose like hell seeing our pathetic condition. Finally one of the guys came running to his apartment, I ran behind him, he opened the door and he and I tired to flush out as much water as we can from the entrance door. After about 10 mintues, apartment maintainence guy came in, and vacuumed all the water from thier apartment and ours as well.Though they cleaned up every bit of water, there was still seepage, due to water that was already sucked by the roof. They told us it might take about 24 hours for the water to stop falling. Since we could not do anything we just had to accept it. The 2 guys from the apartment came and apologized and told us they would help us to clean up the mess.

Well it was almost 7:00 PM by the time we settled down, I started doing my "HOME WORK" f0r the day. Since our kitchen was looking worst than a garbage room, we decided not to cook until we are done cleaning it. So Pri and I settled for froozen "Burrito" [ Mexican Food] which was intorduced to us by Hari.

At 9:00 PM, we had "Iron Man 2", screened in open Parade Ground on a big screen, and I was keen on watching it. So willingly or unwillignhly Pri and Hari had to join me [ They both were more intersted with the free Popcorn and Cool Drink provided there, but sad that by the time we reahed the place the sticks were over ;-)]. The movie was ok ok, but sitting in an open ground at 9:00 PM and watching alongside Americans was an expereice of a kind. I am not sure if Pri and Hari watched the movie because they used to say "BRB" to me and take off in search of Free Popcorns [ once again a failed attempt], go to Mc D 2-3 times and what not!! Movie ended by 11:00 PM, Pri and I came to home in "Transit" -> free cab service within LSU campus from 5:30 PM until past Mid night. Though I was exhausted I had to read through some slides for the next day classes and slept at 12:45 AM cribbing about the monstrous task ahead of us "Cleaning The Kitchen"!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

3 Weeks back and NOW!

Come weekend in Bangalore ( apart from the last few months back in MindTree when I used to work even on weekends) an Ideal weekend for me would be:

1. Wake up when I feel like ( 9:00 AM - 12:00 Noon), depending on if I had to go out
2. Have a nice bath, followed by Ragi Ball lunch at home
3. Watching movies at 9:00 PM and some series like "LOST", "DESPERATE HOUSE WIVES"
4. Call or meet some friends ( Abhijith Included in the list)
5. May be clean my room
6. Visit a temple ( Beauty Parlor inclusive)

But after my arrival at LSU, I have hardly found the difference between a week day and a weekend ; probably because of the work I have been doing around and with no schedule in place!!! But this weekend was different, because I got to sleep for long this Saturday, after the hectic 7:00 AM schedule the previous week.

I woke up by 10:00 AM ( that too because Pri was calling and talking to her family and relative for a long time ;-) )
1. Cleaned the apartment
2. Washed my clothes for the week
3. Prepared breakfast and had my 1st meal for the day at 2:00 PM
4. Went to Hari's home to pick up a book shelf, came home decided not to sleep and dozed of reading a book.

Was woken up by Karthik and Abhishek coming to our Apt.
5. Prepared Lemonade for them, did a bit of Timetable editing for the coming week, had dinner in a hurry and
6. Went to Wal-Mart for shopping. Was damn exhausted and hit the sack by 12:00 mid night.

Sunday, got up by 8:00 AM , so I can video chat with my parents and Abhijith, which was for about 3+ hours,
7. Prepared MTR Rava Dosa for Pri, Hari, Myself
8. Followed by coffee for all of us. Washed the vessels

Got fresh went to a Seniors Apt ( Praveen) to collect his study materials, came home and was reading a novel ( The Deception Point by Dan Brown)...But we were getting bored, so decided to go for a movie at 8:00 PM ( The Inception). Had to pack sandwiches for dinner as it would get late by the time we reached back home. Came home after the movies , cleaned my box, got ready for tomorrows classes and made a mental note about what to cook for Breakfast and Lunch.

Finally, sitting now with a hot cup of chocolate Milk and blogging....I still have to plan my activities for tomorrow ranging from fee bill payment to part time job hunting, Ironing my clothes and a zillion other things I need to do!!!

How life has changed for me in just 3 weeks!!! WOW!!!!!!!!! ;-)

P.S :
1. Thanks to Hari ( who was watching INCEPTION for the 4th time) and Pri ( 2nd Time) for coming along just for my sake
2. We had lost our apt keys while walking from the parking lot to theatre, good those guys realized it and by fluke we found the keys at the RAVE MULTIPLEX
3. Once the movie was over, we came out and it was pouring like hell, the Theatre authorities gave a free ( Some repaired, lost) umbrellas, which we used to get into the car without drenching ourselves
4. A nice dinner ( Sandwiches and Pears) in the car, was a treat to our empty stomachs and the drive through the heavy rain just made me feel, how I wish the car stops at my home ( In Bangalore) and I get to sleep on my bed and wake up and everything is back to how it was just 3 weeks ago ;-) (May be I was dreaming because of INCEPTION influence) :-D

Missing the past, enjoying the present and excited about the future .....That's how I see it is going in the coming days.....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

LAUNCH - LSU Flores MBA Program Orientation

August 16th - August 20th 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM, was our orientation into the MBA Program. People call it the "Boot Camp" because of the hectic schedule we have.

Since it was 1st day as an MBA student, I was very excited yet sleepy ( as usual) wore a formal attire and asked pri to take a snap of mine. The session on 1st day mainly comprised about Program Overview by Ed. Watson (Director) and Dana ( Asst. Director), we then had presentation about different associations we can be members of and increase our networking from day 1 here. Post lunch we were having Statics workshop and man!!!! Probability , Permutation & Combinations again!!! NO WAYS...Till today I have always managed to skip this all together for all my exams...and guess what this time there is no way around!!!

The actual course will also be handled by Mr Chun who is taking our workshop and yeah he is a very interesting professor to have. Has excellent presentations, shows us how we can do anything and everything with excel and help us get addicted to Calculators.
Day 2, began with the workshop again and from being confused last day, I was lost totally!!! After a good pizza lunch, we had team building activities. Nothing great, the same old stuffs about team work, leadership etc but I felt it was much better than the workshop nevertheless:-)

Day 3 was interesting, since it was for the nth time people told us how our profile on Facebook (FB), help us loose a job. Here in US it is almost certain that FB is one resource through which people do a back ground check on your "Personality" ; which is measured at the highest level in the Business World we all intend to be a part of. This was followed by Hands on in SMART LAB; it is a room just replicating any stock exchange market. We have many computers, hardware and software that aid us perform real time buying/ selling of stocks. Two huge monitors like score cards indicating the stock market values of all the companies here in America. Amongst all the stuffs this week, though I didn't understand much of it, I enjoyed the SMART LAB Hands on the most!!! :-)
Day 4 began with a very disappointing lecture on "Leadership Skills" :-(. After this we had a company visit to "Grocers"; a local Retail Grocery Store . But unfortunately I missed it because I had to go to check on my fee bill for this semester. The people who went got a lovely blanket which I missed the most :-(. This was followed by the workshop which now was a sleeping class for me. But to my surprise "Personal Branding" session was just amazing!!!!! I had to use the rest room the moment the guy entered the hall, but I got so engrossed in what he was saying that I had to wait for 2.5 hours to go to the rest room. I didn't want to miss a single thing he told us!!!! I just hope he teaches at least one course for us!!!
The very same day, we had a Formal Dinner with classmates, faculty, professors, 2nd year MBA students and alumni :-D. It was 100% business formal attire dress code and was held it one of the most posh places at Baton Rouge called "Jubans". We had to take our profile pictures, then open bar with various cocktails, mocktails and cool drinks were served. After socializing with a few people, we sat in a round table for 8 for dinner. Since I am a veggie; I had a Lettuce Salad, Ice tea, Some boiled vegetables with vermi-celli, a nice desert ending with hot coffee :-)
In US, the basic ingredient is Cheese, Salt, Pepper :-P so I had not expected much from this dinner anyways ;-). And once the dinner was over, many moved for the actual "PARTY", I was also invited but I declined sweetly!!!
Day 5 started late , because of the last days party. We has a seminar on work ethics; Honesty, Integrity etc etc nothing new, but with examples of how your career may be doomed if you don't follow them, The name of the Session "How to Loose your JOB". Post lunch we had session on "Entrepreneurship" ; how a fresh MBA graduate will be aided by the LSU to start up his/ her business and some success stories till date. Here we were coming to an end of the "LAUNCH" and what a better way to end it!!! Close to 12 ex-MBA students from LSU were invited and we had a panel session!!! I enjoyed being a part of it and gathered a lot of information about them and their success stories. Lucky us, for the last presentation the monitor was under repair so we were let go early!!! Yeppy (again).

I came home and told pri, its like I have done an "MBA" going through this rigorous hectic week!!! ;-) she just smiled (grinned) ;-)

P.S :
1. On All days lunch was served by the college.
2. We got a Calculator, A Book, An ID Tag, A Leather File with a polo neck LSU T-Shirt.
3. Coffee, Cool-Drinks, Snacks were available through the day for us as well :-D
So at the end of this week, after attending session and workshops on major specializations, I realized what is exactly my stream of interest in MBA. Will discuss this further with my career guide before I post it ;-)
Photos Description:
1. The one with the Purple T-Shirt is our Flores MBA T-Shirt, we need to wear it for all our company visits.
2. Me with the suit , is what I wore for the Formal Dinner.
3. Me with bushy hair and all smiles is how I looked on the 1st day of MBA Launch

Monday, August 16, 2010

Graduate Management Admission Test!

Well, before I actually start blogging about my MBA experiences, I thought of writing about my journey which ended up with me doing at MBA!!!!
I am listing a few of them here ( so that anyone planning for an MBA in US would get the Big Picture)
1. GMAT -> Registered on 17th December 2008, for an Exam on March 9th 2009 9:00 AM. But I was unfortunate, since that was the time when many from my project in MindTree Took leave and I was loaded with work . Close to 4 Hours of travelling, 9 Hours in Office and a sleep of 8 hours meant I don't have time for preparing. I was adamant not to go for any coaching classes as well. Mean while, since MBA needs a lot of essays during the admission process; I started with that and had set a deadline of 15th January 2009 , though writing essays was time consuming and exhaustive, it made me realize and analyze my need to do an MBA. A zillion thanks to Ambika ( colleague at Mindtree) and Srini ( a friend & a teacher at Mindtree) who reviewed my essays and made sure it sounded as good as my intentions of doing an MBA :-D. But by the time I was done with my essays it was 20th January 2010. I needed to make up for the lost time, when I had no time ;-). I used to carry the humongous GMAT books along with me and used to solve the problems when I was in bus travelling, in the office when I had put the code for a build and even during weekends when I used to travel to meet my friends.
On Feburary 9th 2009 3:00 PM, I just logged into my GMAT profile just to check if all things were fine ( I am usually careful about planning things in advance) and guess what!!!!!!!! my GMAT exam was on that day. Yes!!! while selecting the date in the calendar, I guess I didn't navigate to the March month. There were multiple thoughts flowing in my mind:
1. What if I don't get a date to write the exam again?
2. And the cost of the exam was 80% of the Salary each month !!!
3. And I have not even prepared enough to write the exam on that day!!!!
This was when Ambika and a couple of my team mates helped me, and I was able to re-schedule my exam for 6th March 2009 after 1 week of following up with the GMAT guys. Though I was satisfied with my preparation ( I am a person who would not study if I don't feel like and be happy with what I get from it) I made a huge mistake. I never practised sitting for 3-4 hours at a stretch and take the Mock Exams. This costed me 60 points less in GMAT, I had targetted for a 700, but got a 640. Nevertheless, I was happy with my performance and knew I would not take up the exam again just to perk my scores. Did not make any sense to me!!! That's the end of story with the GMAT ( minus the minuscule details)

64th Independence Day Celebrations outside my Home Country

I exactly do not remember when was, the last time I attended an Indian Flag Hoisting. Probably when I was doing my PUC 2nd year, when I visited my cousin's school ( SDM in Daramastala)...WOW that like almost 7 years ago. Even before that at School the Independence Day (15th August) and Republic Day (26th January) were usually holidays.

Here in LSU, the ISA people had organized Flag Hoisting on the eve of our 64th Independence Day; and we were all sent an e-invite to attend this event at 5:00PM CST at ICC (International Culture Center ; this is the mother organization under which individual country organizations are present like ISA for India).

Hari, had already given us a KT on the events, as I guess its monotonous each year!!! So Pri and I after lot of plannin,g decided to wear Salwar-Kameez for the event. Incidentally I had an Orange Kurta ; Gifted for my last Birthday by Anoop (my best buddy) and Apeksha( with whom I share a very unconventional friendship). And as usual since white is my favourite color I had a whits bottom and a duppata. So I was done with 2 colors of our National Flag, to do it the "Arpitha way", I used a Green rubber band to complete my attire.

When Hari came to our apartment to pick us up we were ready!!! and he said we looked "Glamorous"; do not what is the definition of Glamor in his dictionary.

Anyways, we drove to ICC and were there by 5:00 PM. People started flowing in the by 5:30 PM the program started. It was total nuance, with all the useless plagiarized speeches. But the Flag Hoisting was fun, and I stood there with fellow Indians on a foreign soil and sang our National Anthem "Jana Gana Mana..." with pride. This was the 1st time I got to know that in US before you hoist a Foreign Country Flag we need to Hoist the US Flag, wonder if this is applicable back in India as well.

So after the flag hoisting, most of the crowd disappeared - Lucky Them. Again a round of Speeches, 2 Kids performed with their Violin ( This was good) and some students sang "Vande Matharam" not to my expectations.

During these boring parts of the event, I derived my entertainment by playing with a 1-2 year old kid called Adya. Her parents are doing Post Doc here., Tamillians; from Bangalore. So finally after dragging the event like a chewing gum, it was concluded and we came to the kitchen area where refreshments were served; Samosa (the smallest size you can get), Gajar Ka Halwa ( No Comments ), Lays Chips ( No where close to our Indian Version) and cool drinks. I am not criticizing the food, I just want to add in my thoughts ;-). I do appreciated the fact that this much was provided in a place so far away from Indian with limited resources be ii Human or Financial.

While we were having the snacks a couple of people came up and spoke to us, and after a few minutes we left ICC. At the parking lot since we were wearing Indian Clothes we took a couple of snaps and headed back home.

I probably would not attend a similar event next time, just because I could not relate to it. But given a chance I might end up only for Flag Hoisting & Singing our National Anthem.

One more thing I forgot to mention is, I learnt that most of the Indian Freedom fighters like Gandhiji, Subash Chandre Bose, Sarojini Naidu are people who were educated abroad, just like us ( THE LSU Indian Students)...Do not know why but I felt good hearing it!! :-D...Call me non-sensible :-P....Anyways Happy Independence Day to all Fellow Indians. I did celebrate it in a better way than I would have back in India.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

1st Dinner Party at my Apartment

Pri and I decided to call Anusha & Trina for Dinner at our place on Sunday 15th August 2010. But soon we realized that , its Independence Day back home I mean INDIA. And here the ISA (Indian Student Association) have a get together. SO 14th August 2010, was the ideal day because next week onwards we will get busy with and schedule and also may be our initial enthusiasm for cooking may go down ;-).

I called Anusha by 9:30 AM, and to our luck she was awake, she informed me that her roommate Rasagnya is coming back today as well. I asked her to tag her as well for the dinner. Pri and I were exhausted by our house cleaning activity and took a nap, and got up by 6:00 PM odd. Much to our surprise the 3 girls landed in our apartment, and planned to take us to the Riverside for a walk.

Once we reached the main road, we called the Transit ( an LSU shuttle which is operational after 5:30 PM with free pick-up and drop to any place within campus). We had a short walk, fun chat and few photo shoots before we came back to home in Transit. Those girls already had enough rice cooked and bought it once we reached our place. Pri and I quickly made the Beans and Carrot Sambar.

So when we sat for Dinner the basic menu was :

1. Masala Papad
2. Cheese Topped Cracker
3. Rice
4. Sambar
5. Curds
5. Pickles
6. Chutney Powder/ Ghee
7. Muffins and Ice Creams

All five, had a good dinner with great talking :-). We were appreciated for our culinary skills as well. I wish I could record it and show it to mine and Pri's folks!!!! ROLF.

Once done with the dinner we sat in Pri's room and chit-chatted for a few minutes. Then the gals took off, we cleaned the dinner stuffs and here I am blogging now.

Spending some time with the 4 girls was real fun, and wish we can continue this once a while....:-D

Party from IHF - International Hospitality Foundation

On the day of our Orientation, we were invited for a party on 13th August 2010, by Virgina member of IHF; IHF is a non-profit organization at LSU, from what I could get they make foreigners like myself aware about US culture specifically the Lousiana Culture, arrange a meeting for a student with a family at Baton rouge so we get to know them better etc etc.

Pri and myself, convinced Hari to join us for the party. We left home by 6:50 PM ( 30 Minutes late; because Pri realized that she has misplaced her camera, and since its a weekend we cannot even search it in campus :-(...hope she finds her camera soon). Hari drove us in his car, and we reached the place in about 5-10 minutes.

We had to register ourselves and tag our names on a label along with our country and stick it on our clothes. There was food, veg and non-veg. Some south Louisiana Music (live band), some small acts were many involved in dancing. Ice-creams, cookies and beaded necklaces were the highlight of the party. Some Indian guys came and spoke with us; Hari was having his" tamil male bonding" also. It made me feel little less guilty, since some of his purpose was also served :-P.

Once we realized we had nothing much to do, we took leave and came home. IHF was the 1st party at LSU, and well I think I participated well in it; be it in terms of consuming the food, involving in the activities or just showing up. Well Done ARPITHA!!!

International Student Orientation (ISO) - 12th August 2010

Priyanka (Pri) and I used to wake up by 6:00 AM in the morning from when we have come to Baton Rouge; but not so suprisingly the day we had to wake up early to be at the Cox Campbell Community Auditorium for our ISO, as expected both were feeling sleepy to even wake up by 6:30 AM.

Thanks to Pri, she got up early and prepared Tomato Rice for lunch; I got up a little late, got fresh and cut some fruits for lunch. Trina, promptly came at exactly 7:30 AM at our apartment, and I had to gulp my chocolate milk before we left the apartment in a hurry :-).

The walk to the auditorium was a short one, condisdering the fact that our apartment is very close to the campus. We did find quiet a few new people walking towards it as well. Upon entering the auditorium, we were greeted by Hari our LINK for the day.

LINK -> Is a senior international student at LSU campus, who volunteers to help the fresher's during the orientation process.

The auditorium was quiet beautiful, and the orientation was very very boring. We had a 1.5 hours lunch break, and post lunch, Trina, Pri and myself decided to utilize the 2nd half of the day to visit Loan's Closet. I re-confirmed with Hari, to make sure he would inform us about the rest of the orientation.

So 5 of us; 3 girls and 2 guys (Karthik and Abhijit PhD student at LSU) set off to to Loan's Closet.
It is a place where you would find used house hold stuffs and some new items for very less price. These items are either donated or sold by people. We need to take a 2$ membership to start shopping there. We managed to get most of the furniture to our apartment there and made a shopping for 45$.

We headed back to the orientation and Hari briefed us about what stuffs we missed. The orientation ended at 3:00 PM.

The ISO, did not meet my expectations, but I guess it would have been helpful for people who had just landed the day before, people who did not know Hari and peole who did not know anything at all about LSU.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Response.Redirect House To Home

After staying for close to a week in Anusha's House as a guest, we ( Priyanka and I) finally were moving in to our own 2 bedroom apt -> #1196. It was 10th August 2010, a HOT and HUMID Tuesday at LSU Campus.
As planned, Priyanka and Hari, came to pick me up from Anusha's Home. I was gulping a glass of Boost, since I was feeling very very weak. From there we went in Hari's car to Edward Gay Apartment , from where we had to pick up our #1196 keys. In about 15 minutes we finished the formalities there and came to #1196.

Exceeding my expectations #1196, was in good shape except the Kitchen and the Bathroom. We used a Fogger ( a basic poisonous gas to kill all the insect/ pests/ cockroaches etc etc; contained in a canned tin ). And since it was tobe placed in an elevated position, Hari came up with a smart and simple idea of placing it on one of Priyanka's luggage bag , as it was there with us. So she & I, rolled tissues round the bag, so the items inside it don't get contaminated. It was a funny experience though, and we had a quick photo shoot along with out master piece ;-).

We fogged the house, locked #1196 and left to Anusha's place so I can pack up my stuffs. I cleaned the room I was staying in, prepared another cup of Boost for Priyanka and myself. And then called Hari to take us for lunch. On the way, if I remember it right, we went back to #1196 and opened all the windows and switched on the AC so the gas gets diluted and the place could be safely habituated by us ;-). Lunch was, near to our Campus, called Illegal Burritos ( A Mexican place). After having a delicious meal, we headed back to our #1196. By then #1196 was ready to be moved in to :-D. Left Priyanka to do the Kitchen cleaning, and we went to pick up by stuffs in his car.

By the time, we came; Priyanka was standing at the door and just said "THIS PLACE IS SO DIRTY!!!". I mean what else can we expect!! ;-D. Initially I took up sweeping and mopping; but soon we realized ceiling height cupboard would be difficult for her to clean, so we swapped our work. I cleaned the kitchen cupboards and was successful in cleaning up a cockroach family in the fridge!! This reminds me, before we fogged the place, Hari commented "My Condolences to the Cockroaches Family" ironical...

After Kitchen cleaning, I did Bathroom cleaning. Yes! yes, you read it right, after doing an ICSE, a PUC (PCME), an Engineering (E&C) and working for 3 years (apart from the fact that though I am 25 years old, I have been pampered worst than a new born baby by family, My BF and anyone else who loves me) I finally got the opportunity of cleaning a bathroom which was used by someone, I didn't even know. The only thing I had in mind was, let me clean it such a way that, Priyanka and I should never ever feel hesitant in using it until we stay there. Got Priyanka to check it once; so even she was happy with the cleaning. The rest of the moving in was simple, we just had to arrange all our shopping (700+ $) with our Indian (60Kgs) luggage.

By the time we were done Karthik and Abhishek turned up. Guys you were supposed to help us when we were moving in, not show up after that!!!. Anyways, we knew to survive we need food and our basic instincts told us a visit to Wal Mart was necessary.

Hari, took us and Karthik to Wal Mart, on the way we stopped by his department office
9to drink water), but he never showed us his office; I really wonder why!!!

After a small shopping trip, we came home. I insisted on Hari having dinner with us, and prepared MTR Puliogere; this was after our "HOUSE WARMING" ceremony. It was bit too less, but somehow we managed to fill our stomach with added fruit juice and curds. Hari headed back to his apartment, Priyanka hit the sack and I knew, I wanted to set up my room and indulged in that activity until 12:30 AM.

When I went to bed that might, on an air mattress; I was a bit apprehensive as I knew I am sleeping in a new place yet its going to be a place I may spend the next 2 most memorable years of my life. This was when I recollected what Hari said, when he was monitoring Priyanka's and mine moving in activities; "I want to witness you guys converting a house to HOME".

Yes, #1196 is my HOME away from "HOME" now!!! I wish I spend some bliss full and happy days in my new HOME!!!

I might have missed a lot of details since, the entire act of moving in to HOME was huge.....

Monday, August 9, 2010

A walk by the RiverSide

It was Sunday, 8th of August 2010. I was pretty much exhausted with the whole weeks running around for getting stuffs done, shopping and trying to read the campus map and finding the address of the buildings. So, I thought of going for a walk, early in the morning to LSU lake.

But due to :
1. HOT and HUMID weather here, even 5:00 AM in the morning is not a feasible time to take a walk around.
2. Two guys who were accompanying us Karthik ( A Bangalorean; pursuing his PhD in Math ) and Abhishek ( A Delhite; pursing his MS in Electricals) had already visited the Lake last evening.

We decided to explore the RiverSide, close to our apartment. We left our apartment by around 6:00 PM, the guys as usual carried nothing with them. Trina, Priyanka and myslef had a small handbag. As expected, I carried an umbrella, water bottle, sunglasses , camera and few dollars along with me.

After about 20 minutes walk, and all of us sweating like a donkey, we reached a lane called the RiverSide, it is an elevated road and acts as barrier between the river and the main road. People can walk or cycle in there. To our disappointment, we cannot go any closer to the river unlike in INDIA. If I am right and spelling it correct its the MISSISSIPPI river tributaries I guess. Adamant as I was, I convinced all of them to walk a little further to see I we can get any closer to the river. After another 30 odd minutes walk, we probably got 10 feet closer to it. What a disappointment!!!! :-(. It was almost 7:20 PM and was getting dark, so we thought we would come again next time probably once we get our bicycles and decided to head back home.

We gals took a couple of snaps and the guys conveniently emptied my water bottle :-(, after making fun of our handbags and the umbrella they really did not deserve a drop of water though ;-). Anyways, Priyanka and I walked briskly as she had to go to a different place and it was becoming dark. We reached home by 8:00 PM, and Trina hydrated me with a cup of cold coffee. :-D

It was a tiring experience, but helped me relax and get a good nights sleep so I can gear up for my new adventures in the coming weeks.

Hope someday my dream of touching the water of this river comes true!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Shopping Shopping Shopping!!!!!

Yes 7th August 2010, was THE DAY for going to SAM'S (Equivalent of our Metro Outlets) where you get everything in bulk, but unlike Metor we just need to have a SAMS card; 31$ to be able to shop there ) , and WAL MART ( Equivalent of our BIG BAZAAR ).

Hari, who did his Under Graduation and now pursuing his MS here ( had been in LSU for 7 YEARS ) . He was my brothers friend when , my brother was doing his MS here. Also, he is Priyanka's (My Roommate in Nicholson APT) family friend.

So about 10:30 AM Hari ( In his antique car), Priya, Trina and myself stared off to SAM"S, a 10 minute drive from campus. We bought all the bulk items right from Dishwasher Gel to Tissue Papers there , with a bill of 243 odd dollars. Hair, kept on giving a running commentary of what to buy and what not to :-). By the time we were done with shopping it was like 12:30 PM odd. He suggested us to have lunch, and took us to INDIA restaurant; a buffet meal costing 13$. Treated my taste buds with some stuffs close to Idli and Dosa, and somehow I had lost the appetite so did not hog much as per Indian Standards ;-).

We next stopped at a MALL, it is very huge. Quite a few things, in that place seemed affordable and cost less than the price back home. We stopped by AT&T (Cell Phone Network Company) for checking out the options. Took a de tour around the 1st Floor, and headed back to our next destination.

From there, we made a move to WAL MART ( even if we need a safety pin, here in Baton Rouge, this is the only place we can buy it). They don't have small customized shops just for groceries, stationeries or diary products. So, a visit to WAL MART at least once in a week is inevitable. Hari, passed a comment saying; he feels he is at home when he visits WAL MART, since he has never missed a visit to this place in past 7 years :-D.

We got some basic house hold stuffs like door mats, dustbins, sleeping mattress etc here along with some groceries and stationeries. The bill was around 253$. After this we had the ominous task for loading Hari's antique car with all our items. Upon successful, completion we took snaps with our Shopping items.

On the way back home, we stopped by to have Chocolate milk shake :-).
Hair and Priya were already getting dizzy and losing their minds, this was evident because they were talking stuffs they also did not understanding. Trina and I, were not even moving an inch sitting at the back seat, because we were stuffed with items more than a soft toy :-)

At the end of the day, I felt I had a eventful shopping experience and don't have to shop much in the coming weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeks ;-)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Visting the Indian Store at Baton Rouge :-)

As part of the extended help from ISA ( Indian Student Association ) at LSU Baton Rouge ( BR ), we ( Priyanka and I ) were offered a ride to visit the Indian Stores at BR. Rahul ( a Doc Student ) and Poonam ( a PhD Student) drove us to the A-Z and India Fashion stores. The stores are located about 20+Kms from our University Campus.

At A-Z we can find all the MTR's, Priya's, Badsha's food items including the Indian Grams, toiletries etc.....We doing our $ to Rs conversion somehow ended up spending around 123.13$ there. I was glad I could convince Priyanaka on most items I wanted to buy (Ghee, some Grams, beaten Rice) :-).

The India Fashion store is not that big and flexible in food items like the A-Z, but it had Indian Salwars, Kurtas, Dhotis, Raymond Shirt Materials, Rakhi's, Mehandi's to name a few. We got Frozen Chapathis there. What caught my eyes were the Gol Gappa Puris and the pani puri masala. While leaving the store, we decided when we visit this store next time we ought to get them!!!!!

On the way back to the campus, our eyes caught up with lovely colorful Hot Air Balloons. We decided to barge in and see what is happening. It was the Hot Air Balloon Championship (6th -8th August 2010). There were families who had come with enough accessories to spend the next 2 days in the field as well. Was surprised looking at the strong family bonding here, as people had come with their families rather than just friends. As part of the inauguration event, all the contestants were asked to ignite their engines as much as possible on a count of 10. And man, that was an awesome view to see; so many colorful balloons lit up at dusk!!!! reminded me of Deepalvali back home, but this was more pollutant free :-).

Finally, after close to 3 hours of roaming we reached back to the apartment, unloaded the items and hogged the frozen chapathis we got with the ready to eat curries :-)

Hope I visit the Indian store soon, to get sweets, savouries and chaats and I hope I dont when I think of the cost involved!!! ;-)

Friday, August 6, 2010

First Travel Outside Home Country

Just reached Baton Rouge - LA (USA) about 1-2 hours back (3rd August 9:00 PM CST / 4th August 7:30 AM IST). Got fresh and had rice and dal (Heaven)...Thanks to Anusha (Indian doing her MS in LSU)....

I had a terrible yet an experience of a kind in my journey from Bangalore (India) to Baton Rouge.

My actual itenary was :
Bangalore (Kingfisher) - Mumbai (Delta) - Amsterdam (Delta) - Atlanta (Delta) - Baton Rouge (Delta).
But due to some delay in the Kingfisher airline they changed my flight to mumbai to JetAirways.
This flight landed 30 mins after my flight to Amsterdam took off :-(. I really must thank the coach drive who took us from Domestic Airport to the Internation Airport, the local admin guy at the International Airport who helped me go to the Delta Airline Office...if not for them I would have been back home....seriously....
Once I reached th delta office I saw another gal (done with her MS and goin back for a job ) in a similar situation..I may sound mean...but it was reallly a booster for me ;-)...
The delta airline authroities were very very kind and helped me get into Luftansa (Mumbai to Frankfurt). I was so exhausted, sweaty and hungry and was welcomed with some snacks and juice...a guy next to me in the aeroplane (Indian) helped me with my monstorous cabin baggage and lap top bag :-)...I had a small nap and was served with a good break fast as well :-)....Asian Veggie....Couldnt have asked for more!!!!!
Landed in Frankfurt after 9 hours of travle, and had to rush to catch my next plane there to Atlanta (Delta)....was just in time at the terminal...had a small immigiration act and finally boarded the plane on time......
Frankfurt to Atlanta was a bad experience :
1. It was so damn cold
2. They had no veg food...had to survive only on salads (tastes really bad if you eat more than one serving)
3. There were a couple sitting next to me...and i leave the rest to your imagination...
4. The movie options were reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaly sad

Anyways, landed in Atlanta after 10 hrs and had a quick & easy next flight was 4 hrs went to the terminal...called up home and started reading a book..soon the flight got delayed by 2 hrs amd since I was starving took a very wise and challenging decision to have a veg burger at Burger King. I dont remember much of my journey from Atlanta to Baton Rouge as I had dozzed off. Landed in Baton Rouge, had all my baggages :-) :-) :-)....Some indians from LSU came and picked me up and after about 15 mins drive arrived at Anusha's is as per line 1 of this blog :-)