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Travel Diary - My first snowfall in Canada
My first snowfall in Canada
I’ve been waiting for this since the day I’ve arrived here, in fact even before that.
The desire actually popped in my mind on the day when my friend Ankur called in at 12.30 AM on a Monday. I had already been in bed for more than 3 hours by then. All my roomies were slept too. I could hardly hear any sound from the outside except Dog Barks and Watchman’s whistle. From a small town like Jaipur, nothing more than this can be expected.
Suddenly, my phone started generating the ever irritating vibrating sound, since my Nokia N72 was on the Vibrating mode (This is the least you can do to be courteous to the person sleeping next to you and especially when the person happens to be one of your roomies).
Well, you cannot respond to all the late night calls when you support an Australian Project and your work day starts with theirs’, who are 5.30 hours ahead of us. And on top of that, if it is drunk Ankur on the other side of the phone, I bet you’re so tempted to remain unresponsive even if you’re bored to death. Since, I happened to have a long tiring day at work, I didn’t have any strength left to lift my finger up and disconnect the call, I remained unresponsive. All in vein, my unresponsiveness proportionally triggered Ankur’s eagerness to talk to me at that unworthy hour of the day. He called 3 more times. I then realized, when people say that alcohol enhances your personality traits, they are actually correct. Assholes become bigger Assholes. But I too was one hell of a lazy person, I didn’t respond and hence Ankur was left with no other option than giving up.
I was undoubtedly wrong, he cannot give up like that after all he was drunk and thus he had the right to do every freaking thing that a “normal” person would not do, but being normal was Greek to him.
2 Minutes later my roomie Anees’s phone rang with a hit Bollywood track ringtone. After all, you cannot expect everybody else to be as compassionate as you are.
“Hello” Anees answered in an irritated sleepy voice after 8 buzzes.
“Hello Anees Bhai, Ankur here” a drunken voice appeared. “Is Lucky there?” He asked.
“Lucky it’s a call for you, what the hell has happened to your phone man, its midnight”? Anees handed over his phone to me without even answering Ankur.
I unwillingly took the phone from him and thought to answer his question, but he was slept by then. Sometimes people ask questions just for fun, they do not expect a reply.
“Hello” I said gathering all my strength.
“What’s wrong with you moron, where the hell is your phone?” Ankur enquired curiously.
“Is he really expecting a reply on this question, or was this another fun question as Anees’s” I thought.
“What’s wrong with you man” I shouted “I got to go to work at 4 in the morning, don’t you know that?”
“Your 4 O’clock shift might come to an end mate, if you listen to me carefully.” He replied.
Though this was a 2 eye deal for a blind, I couldn’t resist not believing it. This drunkard might want me open a Liquor store, so that he can get the liquor on discounted prices and I am all relieved of my Australian shifts. “Screw your business ventures man, talk to me in the morning” I became frustrated.
“Listen to me, don’t hang up, this is no joke, I am partying with Chaitanya Sir, he has got an onsite project in pipeline, and this would be a travel to Canada for a year.”
Chaitanya was an Assistant Vice President with my employer, Genpact, in fact the most influential Assistant Vice President, I have ever known. I knew him via Ankur. He was a heavy drinker and was a huge party animal, so was Ankur. However I didn’t fall in any of the above categories though I have met him couple of times during such parties where Ankur had took me to.
He said, “I suggested him your name and he sounded interested, what do you say, shall I make him talk to you?” he added.
When I came to know about Chaitanya’s involvement in the discussion, I felt as energized as I would have been between an India Pak Cricket Match. My sleep apparently got disappeared long ago.
“Yup, why not” what else could I say.
After waiting on the line for 2 minutes, I heard Chaitanya on the call.
“Hey Lucky, what’s up Boy, Sleeping” a heavily drunken sound got produced from the other end.
“No Sir, Not at all” Don’t know why I said that. Sometimes we Indians tend to lie just like that, no matter how small or low potential the question is. For instance, while visiting a friend’s or a relative’s place, we tend to answer “I just had it” for any eatables or drinkables served to us. Now how can someone “Just had” everything that is being served?
“OK see, there is an onsite project coming up for one of the North American Clients. It’s a cleanup project and the person will have to travel to Canada for a year, so what do you say, are you willing to join in, are you releasable from your current business”? He bombarded all his questions at once.
“Why the hell would someone not be interested in an opportunity like this”? I thought as I dreamt of myself standing right in front of Niagara Falls but Chaitanya had touched my painful vein too.
“Of course Sir, why not, Thank you so much” I replied eagerly while I felt a sense of masking a huge trouble that I might come across if I say yes.
“Cool, give me a call at 11 AM tomorrow morning and then come to see me, we’ll then take it forward.” Chaitanya’s voice was getting firmer and firmer as my finalization for the role proceeded.
“Speak up, you moron. You cannot let your lying tendency take you over, Tell him about the trouble that you are trying to hide, stop deferring it.” I said to myself. “Procrastination is opportunity's assassin”, I recalled from one of my friend’s Facebook status a couple of days ago. “Facebook is creating an army of philosopher in our country”. I thought.
Well, cut to the discussion, “There was a small problem sir?” I took a stand and said.
“What, you’re not willing” the most firm voice of that evening made its way to my ears.
“No Sir, it’s not that, I am really feeling fortunate to have this opportunity been given to me over several others and I am 100% willing to pursue this, but….” I tried to control the situation. “But my releasabilty from my current business would be a challenge.” I added. “I am handling huge responsibilities there and there is no backup made for me so far. Hence I think they might create an issue while releasing me.”
“Oh, that’s the trouble” Chaitanya sounded sad.
“Well, I can talk to the business leadership and try to convince them though.” I said thinking you cannot sound completely negative to a business leader who has several others lined up for the position offered.
“OK, try and work on it and let me know by tomorrow.” He said formally. “Else I’ll move on to someone else” was an unsaid but understood statement.
“Definitely Sir, I’ll surely let you know by tomorrow” I nodded.
“Great, but let me remind you boy, Canadian winters are brutally cold, they sometimes have a temperature of up to -40 Degree Celsius, are you prepared for it?” Chaitanya’s voice again went into the drunken mode. I felt relieved.
“Definitely sir, I’ll love it” what else can one expect from a Rajasthani who is fed-up of coping up with 8 months of brutal summers.
“Cool then, see you at 11 tomorrow.” Chaitanya said and hung up the call.
I was deep diving in my Canadian dreams by now. What else was I expected to do, sleep? That was all gone ages ago. I planned nearly everything about my “probably going to happen” trip that night. Starting from the excuses I’ll give to the current business leadership in order to get released to the stores I’ll shop from before travelling.
“-40 Degrees would be really brutal, anyway it would still be better from positive 50 degrees” I said to myself “And on top of that they have really huge insulation systems in place and everything is covered by that Homes, Offices, Malls, Public Transits everything, what could possibly go wrong.” I explained to myself. “There would be huge snowfalls, all roads, all buildings, all trees, all cars covered with pearl white snow, like someone has spread a white colored sheet over the complete city. And in the night, it would shine like silver nuggets as the moonlight will strike the ground and it would look like a Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie set” I jumped with joy in the bed. “I’ll take hundreds of pictures and post it on the Facebook and make my Rajasthani friends jealous as hell” I planned.
“Coffee time Bro” Sachin’s voice fetched me out of my past dreams. “All the times, you drink coffee when I ask you to drink, why you can’t take care of this small freaking part yourself. Let me remind you it’s minus 40 outside, you need a good amount of caffeine in order to survive here. It’s not Jaipur where these things were extras; it’s a basic need here in Canada.”
Sachin was my buddy on the project who had travelled with me all the way from Jaipur to Mississauga. He wasn’t an intellect but was a good heart.
“Let’s go, by the way it not caffeine that keeps you warm, it cocoa. That is why we add that little powder at the top of our coffee.” I explained.
“It’s all the same, let’s go.” He saved his ass as we moved towards the cafeteria.