Cheerless winter reminds of home

Hard times

Cheerless winter reminds of home

The United States of America froze this winter and the world watched in amazement. Be it the gorgeous Niagara Falls looking like an ice maiden, or the video of boiling water turning into ice in a jiffy, the polar vortex captured everyone’s attention. And now reports are in that it might just hit the East Coast once again.

There are a number of Bangaloreans in the States either to work or study. As they gear up to brave the cold winds again, they spoke to Metrolife about their icy experiences the first time.

It was the first winter in the States for Vrinda Kalia, who passed out of MS Ramaiah College of Pharmacy and is pursuing masters in public health at the Columbia University, New York. “My first winter was way colder than I anticipated.

I missed the worst part of the storm as I was in California visiting family and luckily, my flight back home to New York wasn’t delayed,” she recalls. “But temperature was still low when I got back. Everything on the streets was frozen. News anchors broke eggs on the footpath to see how long they would take to freeze and they took about ten seconds,” she shares.

“It’s quite scary to hear that if you walk outside with your skin exposed for as little as 30 minutes, you can get a frostbite. I heard of people going to the emergency room with frostbites. So I pretty much covered every part of my body to avoid that,” she exclaims. “The weather is better as of now and it’s funny how I define any temperature in the positive range as warm,” she jokes.

 Vardhan Dugar, another MS student, had just finished his internship with Intel in Washington and was heading back to his university in Florida via Chicago when his flight got cancelled! “I was travelling during the holiday season for the first time and didn’t know what to expect. My flight from Chicago to Florida was cancelled and it was -20 degrees with people sleeping at the airport.

I decided to stay back in Seattle, which turned out to be a good move as the flights didn’t resume for three days,” he narrates. That’s the time Vardhan, who graduated from MSRIT, missed Bangalore all the more. “We are so blessed with an awesome weather. Being a vegetarian, I also missed vegetarian food at the airport,” he adds.
A graduate from PESIT, Chandramouli also studies in Florida.

He was in India for eight months and left Bangalore on December 29 for the US, well in time to catch the vortex. “My flight from Washington to Atlanta got delayed and cancelled. So I had to spend my time at the airport. At that time, I missed everything about Bangalore — the food and weather in particular,” he notes. Though every place has centralised heating in the United States, Chandramouli feels it’s not the same. “You cannot get fresh air, so it’s claustrophobic,” he adds.

The day before the storm, Rishil Savani saw people queuing up at the grocery store to stock up. Rishil, who is pursuing MBA at the Indiana University in Bloomington, Midwest, was in for a surprise. “There was a huge line for the carts itself,” he recalls. “The whole of Bloomington was shut for three days. In fact, my friend had come to town and we had planned a vacation. But thanks to the storm, we were stuck inside,” he says.

“Driving becomes risky due to black ice (when snow forms ice on the road) too. It’s quite difficult to spot it and there are high chances of skidding once you are on it.” As he reminisces his time in Bangalore, the former employee of IBM smiles, “I miss Bangalore winters. At least, things are accessible and temperature is above 0 degrees!”

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