@ Washington DC: This is not an article…this is not a diary entry…For me this post is a documentation of one of the distant dreams of my father, who for many years often spoke about sending me to the US for further education.
“When I finished my engineering in Kanpur in 1978, I neither had the family support, nor the money to even go along with my college friends to the graduation celebration trip they had planned to Mumbai and Goa… But I’m there for you”, he said. (That father-son moment seemed like a scene from the movie Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge when Anupam Kher tells Shah Rukh Khan, “Ja…tu ab meri jawani jeeke aa”.)
I had kept this post for my last day in DC, had planned to write it while sitting on one of the benches at The National Mall, but I leave for New York tomorrow…don’t know if I will ever get that precious time. So here I’m at 2.50 am, with no sleep in my eyes penning down some random thoughts as I relive the last 4 weeks of my stay here.
Washington has surely been the most beautiful city that I have lived in or travelled to till now. I have always believed that you really have to stay in a city for a few days, walk around in the neighborhoods, wander (not be a tourist), get lost (I actually did when after being misguided by a local, ended up being the lone cyclist on a busy Georgetown Highway with cars whizzing past at 60-80 miles per hour and drivers hurling some really good American abuses at me), talk to native people to appreciate its true beauty.
From the awe inspiring 2.3 mile National Mall with the Capitol building on one side, the Lincoln Memorial on the other & the National Monument standing tall in between, to the countless world class free memorials & Smithsonian museums, gardens and parks, the access into federal buildings even while at work, beautiful old row houses of the 1800 and 1900s (there are no skyscrapers in DC), visit to the unique International Spy Museum and the Newseum, friendliness and good nature of the people (not to mention their manners), first time couch surfing experience (Thank You Mihir Pathare for that idea), cleanliness all around, almost zero traffic 24 hours (compared to Mumbai), etc made me fall in love with this city.
It was such a good experience meeting and interacting with doctors and medical students from all over the world. One thing I realized it that here people think and talk a lot about Global Health, research & publications, actually coming up with their own medical ‘apps’ and websites or writing a book, working in war stricken countries, etc while most young doctors in India are worried about getting married !!
There is so much I can write but I’d prefer the photos do all the talking (my eyes are drooping). Here is the link: The Wanderer – USA
I conclude with this thought. Life’s calling, where are you ?? (Inspired by the Smirnoff tagline :p)