After a long break, here i am. My dearly blog, the mirror to my thoughts, the archive of all my memoirs, i know you had been craving for some activity for a long time now. I guess its time i have something to put up on your wall. This time its a whole new place, a whole new experience, across the seas, down the horizon.
November of 2012, here i was 9000 miles away from my home at the land of America, in the mission to academic pursuit, a rough journey that eventually got on to smooth sail once i landed in the university. Here i was at Iowa State. The University has a degree program across all spheres of life and studies. From insectary to genetics, from Aerospace to Zoology , there are competitive programs on offer. Thus roughly 32,000 students call this place their home. From a beautiful campus to a cheerful crowd, you name it and we have it.
Situated in a modest University town called Ames, Iowa, The Iowa State University is certainly one of the best universities in the mid west and the charm of the state of Iowa. The first semester back to college, i may have not forayed back into the academic life in the best possible way but yes, surely i am getting better and better by the day. Given the courses of such demanding nature, the commitment it requires is enormous.
Now that was a small glimpse into what happened earlier this year. let me quickly jump into what i am here to do, talk about my first Thanksgiving at USA. Way back in India, i did hear a lot about the Thanksgiving season, the essence of it, what it means to people who wish to buy new things for themselves and their family.Having not had a chance to see wonderful time of the year earlier, i didnt pin much hopes on thanksgiving and what price cuts it brought. But gradually as the day arrived, i was indeed overwhelmed to see shops raining discounts on their websites. Well at first the discounts didn't seem all that huge, but eventually as the black friday arrived, i had a considerable number of hot favourites to choose from, but with a pocket not so deep to accomodate them all.
I don't quite know about clothing and other accessories, but prices of electronics that i am interested in certainly needs a mention. Finally after much deliberation, i was firmly decided on buying a laptop, a watch immediately and a mobile phone may be at a later date. Other tempations like the Camera , etc were promptly put off for the next season. Having too many options at my finger tips, i wasn't really decided which would be the best place to buy the laptop and thus had been procastinating placing an online order. But much to my bad luck, before i realized that the night of black friday had just arrived, all of the online deals for the laptops i was interested was sold out at "Best Buy". This appeared as the best deal so far given to my budget and choices.
Really!!!!. are they all sold out?
Suddenly it felt like the world dawned upon me, for some reason, i couldn't withstand having missed upon a good deal just owing to my laziness. At the same time not really able to withstand the feeling of having brought the same laptop at a higher price or at a later date.
It was about 12AM , the mid night of blackfriday, the options that i had in front of me were either to Door Bust the Bestbuy Store at Ames, hoping i would still have one of the peices left to pick up, else order an other model online with another with a 100$ price difference but with a slightly better configuration. I was personally not happy with option 2 as it would mean spending a 100 more unecessarily for a configuration that would never be required to me. So here i was thinking , if i could only make it to BestBuy, i could still have a chance to pick up the model i desired.
The new 200$ dollar cycle of my Room mate had just arrived from Amazon and we did finally set it up. Although there were a few minor glitches with the gear shifts, the other things like the brakes and the tyre were made full functional :-).
In no time did this event occur, i made up my mind to set off a cycle ride to BestBuy Store at Ames. Given to the odds that i had to battle it out, it was not an easy task. The store just lay by the city 8kms from my home, but factors that mainly count in Iowa are the weather conditions which are already worse in the day and tend to deteriorate by the night. Well perhaps, these are the perceptions of the Souls from the tropical regions closer to the equator
Here's a quick Snapshot from the Weather Conditions the very day:
Here's what it all means
Temperature : -1 DegC
( I guess manageable, with a jacket and a Cap on the head that ensures the ears fully sealed)
Feels like : -8Deg C
Not so happening, you expect a guy bought up all his life in an enjoyable warm and sooting weather of Bangalore to cycle at -8Deg C. That was unreasonable ( Remember, the black friday is still at Stake .). So i say mangeable.
Winds: 42Kmph to 60Kmph
Now somebody's gotta be kidding. The best speed this cycle could reach given to the fact it was a small size and not made for my height was 20kmphr. Now how do you expect somebody to bear -8 DegC and also battle out these head strong winds working against you to make sure you never gained momentum to traverse forward, by the way this actually happened, more of that later on.
So the ride to BestBuy was flagged in no time, the excitement of having got back on the wheels was enormous, the chill didnt really matter, i knew there were a lot of winds but i was lucky this time that they didn't work against me, which meant i enjoyed the ride and reached BestBuy in no time. What this also meant was i would have a tough time with the winds on my way back :-(
So here i was at the store, As soon as i enter, i notice the parking having gone full. OMG!!, i knew that i had very faint chances of finding the laptop i wanted, nonetheless i was not among the ones loosing heart at this sight, i quickly stood by the queue and made it inside. What i find once i go in are huge queues of people with handful of boxes which could be TV, Laptops , Games, DVD, mobile phone, what not. What i also find inside is the more smarter ISU souls who have already made it inside to pick up an item of their choice. Not loosing much time , i quickly made it to the laptop counter. I had a look at the demo piece for my model and instantly i knew it was a fine choice to have made.
I was told that most of the laptops were gone, but luckily my perseverence helped me after i caught hold of many people at the store and finally succeeded in getting a ticket for this model. Now a ticket is a sheet of paper which are printed the same number as the number of quantities of laptops in the store. So what that means is with a ticket in my hand, i was indeed assured of a laptop. Wow!, Is this what they refer to as Efforts that paid off. My hands did go numb when i had got down from the cycle, slight loss of sensation within the face due to constant wind, but at the end of it, it was well worth it.
The next one hour was ensured standing in the billing queue admiring the scores of people who had turned in great numbers and with a spirited heart to fill their shopping carts this thanksgiving. Soon i got my laptop billed and deposited it with the same counter hoping to pick it up the next day . Here i was patient enough to not hurry up and end up carrying the lappy on my back or on the cycle on what could have turned out to be a far more difficult journey back home.
Got my gears on ( Gloves and Cap), and embarked soon on the ride back home. The winds this time were even more horrible as the night aged. On perfectly flat road, i was struggling to keep myself moving, leave alone my cycle pushed in all hapazard directions to the strong head winds that i faced. The joy of cracking my blackfriday purchase kept me going against these odds.
The deserted roads at night 3 AM are beautiful in their own way. On a straight road, you would see a string of traffic lights at various junctions all light up and sychronised, radiating a lavishing green color and turning red occasionally. The exclusive pathways for cyclists ensure, your not risk of getting run over by a drunk guy driving a car. Although somewhere deep down under i did have an infinitesimal apprehension about getting robbed from a guy weilding a pistol , i was told Ames was one of the safest cities to be around in US, I was conscious about the a couple of guys that passed by me during this ride. I loved the houses that i passed by, all mostly wodden and in different shapes. Having all these lovable companions for the ride made no difference to my battle with the wind, i was still struggling hard. A couple of times, it was so severe that it actually threw me of the track, yet i kept battling against the odds and after half an hour or so, i did make it home.
here it was, Home sweet home!, never ever felt this warmth before, my face having turned reddish, did slowly return to normal( Brown :-)). That formally marked an end to my Black Friday cycling adventure which also incidentally was my first cycle ride in USA. I covered a meagre 17kms in all, at the end of it, i have a good laptop deal to be proud off, a memorable cycle ride, and the confidence to take more cycling trips given to the Harsh Iowan Weathers.
Happy Thanksgiving people .