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Thrivikramji goes to Lawrence, Ka, June 1972 On the ward of a Fu !

right fe owshi" and trave grant, # took a $akota " ane %#ndian &ir ines ' to (om!a) %now renamed *um!ai' in the month of sa) mid June+ The tri" was !um") a the wa)+ The " ane anded in the Kochin air"ort !rief ) to oad and un oad some "assengers+ () the time it restarted it was we in the ear ) night+ # cou d see the cit) ights !are ) on )+ The tri" was ver) ong considering a "ro"e er " anes air s"eed+ ,hen we anded in (om!a) it was c ose to ten in the evening+ One word a!out $akota "ro"e or " ane+ #t is !asica ) a $-., and whi e #n Tarmac has a considera! e s o"e towards its tai end+ There is a whee at the tai + Once air !orne the fuse age is rough ) hori/onta + The num!er of seats are incredi! ) ow com"ared to their cousins f ooding the nationa and internationa routes+ (eing a "ro"e er and twin engine t)"e the f )ing a titude is ike a!out two ki ometers from the ground+ # was get connected to a (om!a)0new $e hi carave e f ight to 1ew $e hi + The tri" was different as the instrument was a jet aircraft+ #ndeed it is a ver) sma " ane carr)ing under sa) 92 "assengers # wou d imagine+ (ut it had a jet s"eed and we reached $e hi sa) in a!out two hours+ &round one c ock after midnight # checked into a room in *adras cafe in -onnaught " ace+ # had to s"end a!out one night and another da) there+ # needed a courtes) ca to the 345F# in Kastur!a *arg in 1ew $e hi+ () a!out four am ne6t da) # took a ta6i to 7a am air"ort to catch an &ir #ndia f ight eaving around eight in the morning+ Once # checked in and conc uded m) immigration # ran into two gu) from northern #ndia0 a of us going to Lawrence , Kansas to attend the orientation "rogram for the new fu !rigters+ ,e unti # reached Lawrence , in the universit) of Kansas # did not know there was another center !ased in 8awaii and in the universit) of 8awaii + 9egarding the friends at air "ort+ One man was a "h)sicist attached to a $9$O a!, and the other a research scho ar in J13, 1ew $e hi and attached to area studies centre+ # can not reca the names now+ The J13 fe ow was to s"end time in 34& for data co ection for his thesis and hence the award+ 4ome thing a!out the " ane+ Lucki ) a three had seats a otted in the adjacent rows+ #t was a 727 (oeing 0 a narrow !od) version+ There were no over head !ins for on !oard uggage+ # had a h)!rid !rief case, "art ) wood and "art ) made eather, which needed to !e tucked !e ow the seat in m) front+ Once the " ane took off, # was ver) curious to watch the andsca"e !e ow+ #n one row ahead of me there was a gir "assenger headed to Lawrence and another ta man , an afghan citi/en, know in #ndia as frontier :andhi+ There was a third afghani )outh who was a so in the team+ # am not rea ) sure if he was a so a student+ ,e fe t e ated as it was a chance to see the frontier :andhi a ive+ The first sto" was -airo+ The "i ot few a ongside the great ")ramids, so that "assengers got a chance to ook and see the ")ramids at east from the air+ &fter one hour we took off on the wa) to 5uro"e+ The first ha t was in :eneva internationa air "ort+ The "i ot again announced to check out the *t+ ( anc %where in 19;; Jan+, an &ir #ndia0Kanchanganga0 with $r+8omi (ha!ha on !oard crashed ki ing a ' and the

Lake :eneva+ The " ane smooth ) anded+ &fter another hour " ane was !ack in the air and headed to London+ Our first sto" at the end of first eg of our vo)age+ Once we conc uded our immigration "rocess, we !oarded a ta6i arranged !) the strand hote and drove through the motor wa) to London and to the 4trand 8ote + The tri" was on ) sa) <= minute ong+ Though we anded at 8eathrow !efore sunset, it took a whi e to finish the transit forma ities and fetching our uggage+ 4o when we got to the hote it was the )oung night in London made !ri iant !) street ights and neon signs+ ,e checked into the 4trand 8ote and at the hos"ita it) of &ir #ndia+ The hote was "a ace ike !ut for some reason # did not fee ike going for dinner+ #nstead # sett ed for snacks and ! ack coffee from the 2< hr coffee sho"+ # had for the first time the thri of s ee"ing in foreign hote and that too without s"ending even a sing e "ound from m) "ocket+ To te )ou the truth, a that # carried was on ) eight do ars 0 a sum an) #ndian citi/en !ound for outside wor d was entit ed to+ # carefu ) c utched the do ars and had no intention of !u)ing an)thing+ # ! ind ) !e ieved the arrangers of the tri" as we as their hos"ita it)+ # had a sing e room to s ee"+ & co/) !ed and attached !ath and toi et+ Our connection to Kansas -it) was on the ne6t da) !) T,&, to & !u>uer>ue, sa) around one "m+ &fter stomach fu of coffee and donuts we s" it and marched toward our rooms, !ut agreeing to meet ear ) in the morning to go to the (uckingham " ace gate to see the change of guards0 something no visitor wou d wish to miss+ 4o the fo owing morning a of us met at the !reakfast !uffet in the dining ha + # cou d not remem!er the various food items, )et # rea ) enjo)ed !e ) fu mea as # was cosmo"o itan in res"ect of food+ *) friends !asica ) orthodo6 vegans ate on ) after reconfirming the vegan nature of food the) ate+ ,e s ow ) got out of the hote to nosing our wa) to the front gate of the (uckingham "a ace+ #n fact we wa ked over to the "a ace gate from the strand " ace+ #t was no sweat an) wa)+ ,e were there on time to see the eight o c ock guard change+ 1one of us had an) camera and even on ) memories+ On the wa) !ack, we wa ked through the 8)de 7ark+ 4aw the sma !unches of o der and not so o der grou"s enjo)ing the various vistas+ Our ne6t destination was the Thames river shore+ ,e asked down for a whi e in the "romenade+ Then to meet our schedu e of the journe) to Lawrence, Kansas in 34& we rushed !ack to the hote so that we cou d catch our ta6i to the air "ort+ The moment we wa ked into the o!!) we were informed that ta6i !ound to the air "ort was waiting for us+ #n fact !efore we went out in the morning we had "acked u" our suit cases and readied to !oard the ca! in no time+ ,e did e6act ) the same thing+ ,e !) around 11? O c ock, the ca! came in to 8ote "arking+ The trio ha""i ) "icked u" our uggage and jum"ed into the ca!+ The ca!!ie was a )oung sha # sa) kid, ver) ta and s"orted on ) a white rund neck t0shirt and jeans+ @er) o!edient ) the ca!!ie started off with us+ To our sur"rise within 22 min or so the ca! came !ack to the 4trand 8ote area+ # was kind of distur!ed !ut remained un"ertur!ed+ Others rea ) did not notice+ The )oung driver went on with the tri" through severa sto" signs etc and again after sa) after thirt) minutes came !ack again to the strand circ e+ # cou d not

contain m)se f, and to d the ca!!ie that we need to rush to 8eathrow as we have to checking !) 1.A.2 hr+ and a read) we are at 12A1=hr+ The ca!!ie then sto""ed near an o d man neat ) dressed in three "iece and with a hat, and ho ding a news "a"er seeming ) reading the hot news and was in no mood to answer+ (ut another man guided the ca!!ie, )et with no "ositive resu t+ This time around, when # saw the tunne eading awa) from the 8)de "ark area, # caught ho d of the t0shirt and forced him to take the su!wa)+ To our re ief as we emerged from the tunne , we hit the motorwa) to air"ort+ ,e had a sigh of re ief and "ra)ed and that we wi not miss the f ight+ (ut our uck dashed misera! ) when, our ca! ran out of gas and the ca!!ie "u ed to the cur!+ ,e were near ) c ose to the air"ort and we saw the tai section of the "arked aircrafts in 8eathrow+ & # cou d or we cou d do was there comes some ta6i for our rescue+ # was waving at the "assing !) ca!s !ut our uck god was evading us+ The ca!s heading to air"ort o!vious ) wi not sto" for us+ & of a sudden one ca! s owed down made a u turn some " ace !ehind us and s ow ) came toward us and once it sto""ed we dum"ed the uggage in the ca! and !oarded the new ca!+ #n the mean time the first ca!!ie to d sorr) to us for a that ha""ened+ First ) he comes from a sma town to London seeking a summer jo! and so took u" the ta6i driverBs jo!+ 8e has no idea of the geogra"h) of London+ 4o a the "ro! ems with getting out of the town+ () circ ing round and round in and around London he a so !urned off the gas too+ ,e just got into the "assenger entr) gate+ The driver did not ask for an) mone) and e6" ained to us during our run to air"ort that ca!s running out of gas is not uncommon and such free dro" offs are a so common " ace+ (ut when we reached the immigration check, we were asked to wait to give wa) for white skinners+ (ut we were on ) minutes !efore c osing the !oarding gate+ Our e6" aining did not make an) difference with the officia s at the immigration desk+ ,e got de a)ed a good ten minutes as the checkers took too much time+ Once we "assed the hurd e, we ran to the gate to !oard the T,& to & !u>uer>ue with a sto"over at Kansas -it) in *issouri 4tate+ The ground crew gave three of us seats !) off oading three wait isteds+ ,e were in the f ight and # had a sku s" itting headache+ One of the gir s gave me a "i and ha f g ass water that gave me at east ha f an hour of good s ee" that drained off m) headache+ 4o much for the first transcontinenta journe) with just C D in m) "urse Once we got to Kansas -it) ever)thing worked ike a machine+ There were two )oung students waiting for us and on coming out of the air"ort we !oarded together with some more foreign students straight to Lawrence, Kansas, the seat of the universit) of Kansas where the orientation "rogram for Fu !right "re0doctora s meet, ive and orient themse ves for severa semesters of stud) in a 34 universit)+ 4)racuse was m) fina destination+ # checked into a dou! e room in the Dth f oor of 5 sworth 8a in the *t+Oread+ # saw m) roommate, white man from (ra/i s ee"ing in his !ed under a ! anket+ # said hi and good night and cudd ed under m) ! anket+ The !ath in the D th f oor was without

an) she ter to hide in whi e taking shower+ Or e se it was the 9oman st) e shower !atter)+ # >uick ) got used to the communit) !ath, which is ike our !ath !ack home in tem" e or other "u! ic "onds where friends and com"atriots join together for sma ta k and !ath+ 0000000000000000000