It was almost a dream coming true for me -> A project in my favoured domain ’embedded systems’ which was to aid in the development of something (a high definition ) movie camera which captures dreams. And all this right in the middle of hollywood. It has been seven months since I packed by bags from Chennai. Though what happened in real was not as expected in dreams, today when I retrospect with respect to these experiences. I havent become all that I want to be, but I in this seven months I have become better and thanks to Los Angeles. I hated you when I came here, I still like many other places better than you but you have been kind and rich to offer me a unique and best possible experience.
3100 RiverSide Drive is my address within this vast city which had access to an Indian Store, few shopping centers and most important of all to LA metro. It was well connected such that Down Town,universal studios were just a bus away. In a place where you pay 1.5$ for a ride this deserves much appreciation. We were very close to one of the corners of Griffith park and even we had a small park and a beautiful fountain at the end of the road. Watching kids play in those grass lands is a very satisfying experience and there is a soccer field where matches happen regularly. Most important of all I had a toastmaster club just across the street. I was warned that LA is not safe to roam around but inspite of that I had my morning strolls when I came in here.
But.. LA you were not only hot because of the bars but when I came in you gave me shocks by having temperature more than 40 degrees. There used to be sunshine till 8 in the evening. A little disappointment that our apartment is the only residential thing in the road. It was very hard to crash against people. Surrounded by fellow HCLites and combined with the work experience I didnt quite get the ‘American’ feel in my initial days. Indeed I hated LA for being the way it was. Walking across Vine street to SSN office and banks used to be a scary ride coming across lot of homeless people and people who seems to have lost their minds.
I did start in style by venturing out to a toastmasters meet and finding myself in middle of a dozen lesbians in the “Kids are all right” movie. But somehow what I experienced was not worth the efforts I took during those days and gave up roaming out. Got locked up as the winter came and felt depressed because of the lack of exposure and desirable experience. There were even days where I slept for 20 hours a day and wasted a four day long week end within the walls. But slowly there was progress in one part – from a lame and shame cook , I got groomed in to a respectable cook. Thanks to my room mate Ramesh,Harish and Robin. They guided me with my pursuits in the kitchen! We did check out Yosemite and Las Vegas but the trips were made with less enthusaism. It was the Silicon Valley trip which is very close to my heart.
I forced myself out and tried to roam out in style. But again the experience was not rich so it didnt continue. I was all alone to Calf Science center,watched my first Imax movie ! Thanks to Murguesh. I sticked on to him and his habit of spending Saturday afternoons in the library. I did discover lot of interesting reads. If I had known about it I wont have packed some of my books with me from Chennai. LAPL.org is my favourite destination within Los Angeles. When it comes to toastmasters I wasnt regular, attended three clubs and each one was good in its own ways. But I am attached to Loquations toastmasters which is not only just across the street but has people who managed to get inside my heart.
The best week end was the one in which I went to the central library in the morning and USC in the afternoon and Black Swan in the evening. Its when I had rode all around DownTown Los Angeles and felt the majesty in it. The central library is a place beyond normal imagination and it is a kind of addictive place which I fear to visit! I made my little video portrait in USC and walked across the campus.The ride back home towards home through deserted streets waiting for the bus was an experience on its own. From that day I slowly started loving Los Angeles. It was like the love of the heroine for the tamil movie heroes. It appears as if he is not the right person for her but slowly she falls for him learning about his diverse yet desirable qualities. Los Angeles is well connected than most of the rest of the places in United states. Not at once we had suffered for our food here. Los Angeles has a diverse culture and accommodates anyone from any part of the world.
I should say about the Atawater neighborhood which is just a walk away from my place.It is the place where I go across for my library and it used to bustle with activity. I cherish the walks up and down the library. I couldnt forget the day when I saw a little girl dancing looking at the dance classes. I did check out universal studios after a very long time (Even the pass I had bought had expired by the time i went:() and I am yet to check out Disney world. Those are the two most favoured destination in LA. We have been through several streets hunting for an apartment. It was also a nice experience where we were almost not sure of the place where we are going to live but in the end manged to get a place in the same apartment for a much lesser cost.
When looking back I was shaped a lot by Los Angeles and I carry back with me traces of it.Still there were lot of places but they may wait for me.Caltech is just 15 minutes from where I am, Disneys think tank is just ten minutes from my place and Hollywood is where my work place was. So its not an exaggeration if I say I lived between dreams.
Above all , all along I had nice people inside my rooms who made living a lot easier. I had got acquainted with few people whom I will carry on for life! Of course I make more money than what I do in India but the standard of living is not rich as compared to a normal ‘Indian life’ in India. Yet I had many other benefits! The angeles had been really kind to me and the time to depart is just a week or two.
Let me raise a toast to the city of angeles! “Dear Los Angeles you didnt scare me with your richness, rather you were kind to treat my own delights in your own ways. Thanks for offering me a place and by doing so you have got a place inside my heart! Being called the dreamland you did help me bake my own dreams.Wish to see you back in my own ways when those dreams come true”
Goodbye Los Angeles.
PS: I have been asked whether my stint in US ends with it—-> No we may move to a different city within CA. Hence the post!