I made a business visit to the US recently for about a week. It was almost a year since I visited the US. I had meetings in Dulles, Bay Area and Philadelphia, and visited friends in Atlanta and New Jersey.
Every time I land at JFK, the memory of my first arrival into the US comes by. It was in September 1988 that I came – as a student for the Masters programme in Electrical Engineering at Columbia University. I landed at JFK in the afternoon on a Lufthansa flight via Frankfurt, took a cab to the YMCA for a few hours before a friend (who was also at Columbia and had come a year earlier) came and picked me up. Then, we went out and I had my first pizza – at Pizza Hut. Even after two decades, that day is quite clearly etched in my mind.
This was one of those rare visits to the US when I took a connecting flight straight from JFK to Dulles. I also did not end up spending time in New York City, a city that I have grown to love as much as Mumbai over the years. It is partly because of the familiarity and the ease of getting around without being dependent on cars.
This was one of those visits where the travel and meetings went like clockwork. It was a packed schedule and did not give me much time to do what I like to do – just walk around streets that I know. There’s always a next time!
Tomorrow: Air India’s Non-Stop