It is indeed daunting to look back and reminisce.
It was August 3, 1998 when I was picked up by CECRI seniors Dandy (Anand Durairajan) and Bend (Venkat Srinivasan) from the Metropolitan airport of Columbia along with Gump (Gomadam Manavala Parthasarathy). As we were driven down the streets the first thing that struck me was the sun shining brightly even at 8:30 pm - a thing unheard in tamilnadu. It may be worthwhile to recap that my first ever flight experience was international, which was not unusual for the Indian bourgeois in 90s. ( The visible resurgence in wealth started in India only after 1999).
Columbia was a small city and the roads were well laid out (which later I understood is just a basic feature of a developed country). From then columbia had become my second home whether I liked it or not.
There had been a lot of good and bad memories associated with this city as the boyish mind of mine grew manly. Circumstances which subjected me to a treatment akin to the heat treatment of iron. But, I guess it was all for good in the end.
I have met some of the most wonderful people in my life here. To name each and everyone and detail their impressive character will take a series of articles (which may not be of interest to many either). I have derived many lessons from various people from various walks of life and I am eternally indebted to all those who have positively influenced my life.
When I leave Columbia, and possibly USA forever, what I take with me is a better chiseled character and invaluable relations (of course financially the stay was hardly rewarding). With the core of my personality shaped by the people in Columbia, I believe I am ready to take the plunge in unknown territories (Melbourne and Berkeley).
Thank you Columbia for giving me the opportunity to learn, both for my professional and personal life.