I returned to India in September 2011.
I flew out of Miami on a clear morning, had a stopover at Newark and then got on a direct flight to Mumbai.
I flew Air India. I have heard some not so good stories from people who have flown the airline, but I must say I had a pleasant experience. The crew were very polite and had to deal with some idiot passengers who thought it would be fun to pull stuff out from the overhead luggage when flying through turbulence.
I feel sorry for airline crews. They have to deal with a lot of stupid, thoughtless people every single day AND smile while at it. The crew handled it pretty well though, kudos to them.
At Mumbai, I had to change flights to get to Hyderabad. It was an Air India flight, again, crew very polite and helpful.
I don’t remember much of what happened in the 50 minutes it took me to get off the plane and get to a cab, mostly because I was ecstatic to return to Hyderabad. I pretty much ran through the terminal to the visitors area where my mom had come to receive me.
During my stay in the U.S, I had an opportunity to work with some very bright and kind people. I would not be exaggerating if I were to say that I must have gained about a decade’s worth of life and work experience during my stay.
Every few months, I take a step back and evaluate how things are going. I try to list down the things I am doing right and stuff that needs to be worked on a.k.a course correction. It will probably take me a few more months to put everything that I have learnt in the past 4 years in perspective.
Some (material) things that I miss:
1. Amazon.com – I must admit that Flipkart has been a worthwhile replacement. Even though they don’t list anything that is remotely close to the huge catalog of products at Amazon, I mostly shop for technical books and so far I have been able to find most of them on Flipkart.
2. Pandora. This was my primary way of listening to and discovering new music. Does not work in India, thanks to Big Music.
3. Blazingly fast internet connectivity. This too has been mitigated thanks to Beam (a local Hyderabad based ISP).
The one thing I do not miss however, is not having my own means of transport. During all of my stay in America I did not own either a 2 or a 4 wheeler. Chalk this up to my laziness and the fact that I was on a temporary visa and a not so predictable itinerary. Now in India, I have my own bike and I can’t really express how liberating it is to not have to wait and rely on public transport.
A few things I’ve been doing in the 8 months I’ve been here in India:
Sold my old Bajaj Pulsar and replaced it with a new one. Why Pulsar? I have found it to be very road worthy and reliable. Also 150 cc ought to be enough for the streets of Hyderabad. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just plain crazy.
Started working towards getting my Masters in IT. Previously, I had to drop out as I chose to take up the opportunity to work overseas. I enrolled for the course last year and just last month, I finished the first 2 of the 4 semesters. I am all set to complete it by early 2013.
I bought a bunch of books (dead trees) that I always wanted, mostly technical. When in America, I had to primarily rely on e-books, which I am not too fond of. Don’t get me wrong, Kindle’s e-ink display is good, but the rendering sucks for technical books. Also I love the feel of a book in my hand and reading off a e-book reader is just not as satisfying.
Bought a 27 inch LED monitor (Yay!!) I have always wanted to work off a big screen. Visual Studio and Emacs, my 2 primary development tools, look gorgeous on the big display.(not to mention, Katy Perry’s music videos)
Oh also, I met and fell in love with this insanely intelligent, pretty woman. We are all set to get engaged in April 2012 🙂