Whole of last week, I have been sick. I discovered that I am allergic to the smell of roasting atta(wheat flour) that my mom was prepping to cook something. In 5 minutes, my throat started closing down, my nose got blocked and I developed a sore throat that resembled a cat post after the kitty is done filing her nails. Ugghh. I went to work on and off. On Friday my dad texted me if we could go to San Diego on Saturday to see the University. I had already thought of going to either LA or San Diego for a day trip, so it sounded great. Except, I was still sick and feeling like death. Sheesh.
But when I woke up on Saturday morning, I felt great! Except for the coughing, I felt fittum-fine. And then we headed to San Diego at 11 am and then we hit horrible traffic making sure that we took 2.5 hours to finish our journey of 1.5 hours. But we had carried homemade paratha and potato fry (Indian tacos to the rescue for non-Indians!) to calm our hungry tummies. What was intended to be a picnic food at San Diego State was consumed in the car like road-tripping!
We finally reached University and I could feel flowers blooming inside me when the campus came into view. It still looks and feels just the same. 🙂 Wave upon wave of nostalgia hit me, but it was all good stuff. I could see me yelling at Brian to put his shirt on while walking to the International Student center(It is California and people walk around shirtless in summer, even at school). I could see the East Commons where lab peeps and I sat eating our lunch boxes and Adam accusing me of eating cat food/porridge. There were the famed golf carts around that groundkeepers used, which the xBF also used to trim plants, to change trash can liners, and to give me rides. Not kidding, he has picked me up from engineering building, just to show me giant snails in the gardens, because I love looking at slugs(Go Figure.) Once he was working in flower area with his older non-desi co-workers and he cut up some fresh roses and tied them up with Aluminum foil for me. His buddies teased him about his ‘moves’ to red hot embarrassment that day! And of course the library! Where I studied less, and took naps more/ watched shows/ collaborated on assignments with Karen. Then there was Educational Opportunities Office, where I worked for 2 years as a tutor to undergrad Mechanical and Civil Engineering students, that helped me ease the burden on my parents and enabled me to pay for rent and school.
The iconic Hepner Hall…
It was a Saturday and I was not expecting anything to be open, leave alone Professors being there. But I took a chance and we went to see my Engineering building. Surprisingly, the door was unlocked. We got in and I took my parents to the Department, showed them the lab from outside, and even my first classroom! On a whim, I walked into the faculty area and ran into Prof. B who taught me a couple of classes. He recognized me right away and met the folks too. Being a true Indian, his second question was if I got married?! And then he went on to tell that parents need not worry, I will find a great boy. Haha! He was super nice and he offered to show them my lab. He said he will let Prof. M know later. Ooh we even spoke about our current mutual friends. 😉 You know who you are.
By a giant stroke of luck, he also let me know that Prof. M was at school today since the Research Symposium was on. I have participated in that when I was at school so I knew Prof. M would stick around till the last talk and key note was done. So, after we were done with the lab, we headed towards the library where I was looking for the presentations. I saw a girl in a business skirt walking across the campus and I decided to ask her if the Symposium was still going on. She told me that the key note had just ended and it was at the Student Union. We almost ran there as I kept my eyes peeled. And sure enough, I reached the stairs and Prof. M was coming down! He stopped, did a double take and got mad excited to see me. 🙂 We spoke over there for almost half an hour, took pictures and then said good bye.
The folks and I got some coffee from the Aztec market and finally sat down. What had started off as a generally mundane Saturday had turned into an extremely fruitful visit to San Diego State. My professor, who is never at school on Saturday, met us, we saw the Lab, and we saw my old spots where I had left tiny pieces of me behind. My dad says visiting the University was at the highest spot in his list. He was very overwhelmed with emotions. SDSU is truly where it all started as far as my career is concerned and we shall be forever grateful.
The famous golfcart
Aaah… Sun Diego…
I also successfully managed to put my finger into the Koi fishes’ mouth. Just like old times.
Topping off the evening, we headed to Abhi and Nish on our way back where I learned Pav can be made from scratch and can be more scrumptious than store bought ones. After a fabulous meal of Pav Bhaji and tawa pulav and avocado custard, we set off for home. Mumbai ki galiyon se(Off the streets of Mumbai) should be Nisha’s kitchen’s name till she decides to open her food business.
I learned about another thing on Saturday night while watching TV at home. My very Indian mother who has been in the US for only one and a half month recognized this picture below as the person who is ‘Kardashan’ husband, father of North, insulted a blonde girl and is CRAZY! I think we have hit apocalypse and some magazine stories need to be banned.
This generation is screwed.