Lockdown

I have been at home for about 24 days now. Most of my time is spent getting over my jet lag which believe it or not, lasted 22 days this time( without Melatonin). I seem to have finally come out of it. So in fact the lockdown of the country did not affect me much and I didn’t miss going out all that much. For people who don’t have much of a bank balance left, the lockdown cannot affect their spending is my guess.

A lot of the spring break was spent in keeping awake through the night, courtesy the jet lag and getting my homework done.

In the middle of it, the university announced that we needn’t come back and they would get our classes to us online or as recordings- that was a big bonus. An additional bonus was that they would pack and send my things to me if I wished that. I agreed of course, though no one knows when that will happen.

We are stuck here, no in and out of people from the airport, so no extraneous cases of the horrendous virus is my guess. Work goes on as usual, daughters are to date safe in their college rooms and hostel.

Parents and in-laws are well and they are coping too.

Coping is the new normal. Even the little children of the neighbors have stopped coming out to play- there are only the twittering of the birds heard- no cars, no sirens, no fast skidding noises- nothing- the wind blows and its puffs are audible amidst the silence that envelopes the house- the birds sing and twitter early in the morning even at 3 am in unrestrained freedom- the air is a lot cleaner- we have had two rains here and the weather is a pleasant spring like weather. For those who argue for the climate change, this must be a welcome change. I, for one, like it.

Dorm update

Amidst all the chaos that Ms. Corana brought in her wake, I was a tad worried about my things left behind in my dorm room- and some things which I would have liked to get back- some books, a handbag, some clothes etc..,. I decided to go back and get my things if things got better.

Anyway, the university has let me know that they would box my stuff and send them to me. This is good news !

That was my last dorm night

In the previous blog, I mentioned that I spent the night there as a stranger in my dorm room. And with the turn of events that has the world dancing in attendance to a microbe, my world has been turned upside down too- the rest of my classes will be online and hopefully my degree will come to me.

I might not be able to return to my dorm or my things at least not for some time and by the time, the “embargo” is lifted, my room may well be allotted to someone else.

I don’t feel very upset- for not completing the course onsite- online is good enough.

Hope all are keeping safe. I had to have blood tests as I came from the US and though am well, am in sort of an isolation.

Return and night in the dorm

Night in the dorm- almost as a stranger

Surprising though it may sound, having left that dorm room only three hours back, when I returned that night, I looked at the room as a stranger- what was I doing there? I tend to severe relationships rather quickly and it is easy for me to transition from one situation to another but I never expected amnesia to set in so easily. Perhaps my metabolic syndrome was setting in -hard.

Lugging the two suitcases back was hard enough- fortunately for me, I met no one on the way.

A walk to Walgreens’s in the night to get N95 masks supposed that day to protect against Ms. Corona. There were no masks to be had- they said their stocks had run out at least a week back and there were no sanitizers to be had too( I hadn’t asked for sanitizers).

I went to the hospital attached to the university and got a couple of their ordinary masks( not known to protect against Ms.C) and returned to my room to spend the time there, not forgetting to book another Uber ride for the next day.

The Uber company is one enterprise that is gaining from my missed train.Other than the train company and Bolt company, of course.

Travel and more travel fiascos- I

Spring Break

We are scheduled for our Spring Break, starting Friday( yesterday) to the 22nd. The Corona- a friend of students and a foe of everyone else, deems that perhaps the break maybe longer or the entire course content delivery may change to accommodate student requirements given more information.

A little Background

First, my flight ticket was from Boston for Friday night . Cousins of my husbands’ had been inviting me to stay with them at Boston, ever since I came to this college. I never could because of the various constraints on a students’ life. I thought classes finishing on Thursday, and flight ticket for Friday was a perfect recipe for a visit with the cousins- two birds with one stone.

Husband had been advising me to go to the airport as I usually did- that is directly without the detour at his cousins’ place- he was sure I could not manage with two heavy suitcases( for I had to pack thinking I was abandoning my room, courtesy, Ms. Corona).

I don’t listen to my husband often. What does he know about Americans and travel in the US, I thought . Seems like he knew a lot.

LGBTQ class

Per my course requirement, I had to take one course that was on a public health problem with relevance( or something to that effect) and the only one that fit my slot was this class. It is a new experience for me and I often have a lot of questions- having never directly dealt with this in my past life. I come from a country, where no mention is made of such issues. Last Thursday, while asking a question, in class, the teacher shushed me and asked me to wait- I felt it a direct snub- he wanted to get another student to ask his question. I am sensitive and often feel sad professors regulate questions from students based on their allotted time for class. This has happened with a student from the Div school who comes to this class too. This “shush” should have let me know how events of the rest of the day would pan out.

From Dorm to Station

I planned to leave at 5:30 pm to go to Boston. After the next class which finished at 4 pm, I rushed to my room, got my last minute things together- I had two huge suitcases packed up, considering that I might come back- corona scare and all. So I waited for my Uber ride which was for 4:40- he came on time( good thing) and we reached the station on time. That is about 4:45 pm.

Displays

The train was scheduled for 5:34 pm( these timings are important to understand what happened later). The display board said the NE express ( or whatever the name of the train was), was scheduled for 5:34 but was 10 m late. So I sat down on the benches and having not travelled alone on the train in the US before, I didn’t know what would happen. Around 5:30, I still was on the bench, and there were a bunch of announcements- this train is boarding and on the platform 4- I had two suitcases, and surprised beyond imagination, tried to run to the platform, lost my way, reached somewhere else, someone directed me and I reached platform 4 to see the train already moving.

I literally started crying- tried telling the conductor to stop the train as it was an emergency- he just shook his head. The ticket clerk at the information desk had told me to go to the platform only if the display said” Boarding” which meant the train was 10 away. Believe me Linda, no “Boarding” showed up, it was only a group of announcements at 5:30 pm that this train was on the platform- how was one to know? I gave up- lugging two heavy suitcases up to the top and then down back again to the information desk to see what could be done. The cousins’ were waiting for me after all. 

My husband was on the phone with me constantly and he found out immediately that something was wrong- he said, just go back to your dorm and travel tomorrow- you can’t do it- its dark and cold and all-I didn’t want to go back as I had these two heavy suitcases and didn’t look forward to lugging them to the 8th floor.

Stubbornness

I am stubborn, if not anything else- if I had to go, I had to go. So I went back to the ticket information desk and they said, I could go on the next train, which was scheduled for 6:30 pm- found out it cost a whole lot more( about 200$) and decided against it- they wouldn’t refund my money but would only give me a voucher for a next trip- after this experience, I wasn’t going on Amtrack anytime soon for sure. Despite my husband’s admonitions, I went to the Bolt bus counter and secured a bus ticket for Boston for 8:30 pm, which would reach Boston around 11 pm. But who would come picking me up from the station as the cousins were both working the next day and couldn’t stay up late- I would need to Uber myself to their house. All I knew was they lived to the South of Boston. I decided on spending the night at the South Station- after all, it always looked so active and lit up and couldn’t be such a bad place after all, and no one might pull me up for sitting on one of the benches the whole night, would they?

That night

I wouldn’t know the answer to the question, because it turns out I didn’t spend my night there. I spent it back in my dorm room, being the good wife that I am. I ate humble pie, returned the Bolt ticket, booked an Amtrak ticket for the Friday daytime to reach Boston well in advance of my flight at 10 pm.

Conclusions

Always listen to those who know better.

And get onto railway platforms well in advance of the timings- do not wait for “Boarding” announcement on the display board and just assume every US train will arrive at its scheduled time and will leave at its scheduled time and there is no chain pulling to stop trains to allow errant passengers in.