1. Turbulence at Houston

My little visit to the East coast — which started very early in the morning of Thursday Sept 10th — ended when I arrived at San Jose on Tuesday 22nd night around 9 PM. I had an exciting visit which included a great deal of going places, meeting people, giving talks and generally having a good time. My colleague, Rajesh Jain from Mumbai, and I met lots of new people and discussed the work that we propose to do. I am sure that I will be writing about that in future blog posts. Right now, I am going to generally ramble on, a stream of consciousness kind of reporting.

Flight from San Jose to Houston

I always take a window seat because I like to look out the window. Even after thousands of hours of flying commercially, I still find airplanes fascinating. I take heaps of pictures and videos of the landings and takeoffs, cloudscapes, the landscape from 38,000 feet, cities and mountains, etc. I like a bit of turbulence to break the monotony of long flights. See for example this video of a bit of turbulence.

On the United Airlines flight UA 234 from SJC to Houton TX, as we were descending through scattered clouds, we hit a bit of turbulence. But all of a sudden, the plane dropped like a rock. The drop was sudden and severe. This short video ends when I dropped the camera due to the sudden jolt.

Upon arrival, I spoke with the pilot as I was exiting the plane. How large was the drop, I asked. He said it was about 50 feet. Wow. The next flight from Houston to Newark Liberty International was uneventful. I was on the East coast, close to one of my alma maters, Rutgers University.

Rutgers is always an emotionally mixed bag for me. It brings back memories. The song “America” by Simon and Garfunkel provides the background music. “I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why”

“Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together
I’ve got some real estate here in my bag”
So we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner’s pies
And walked off to look for America

“Kathy,” I said, as we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh
“Michigan seems like a dream to me now
It took me four days to hitch-hike from Saginaw
I’ve come to look for America”

Laughing on the bus
Playing games with the faces
She said the man in the gabardine suit was a spy
I said, “Be careful, his bow tie is really a camera”

“Toss me a cigarette, I think there’s one in my raincoat”
“We smoked the last one an hour ago”
So I looked at the scenery, she read her magazine
And the moon rose over an open field

“Kathy, I’m lost,” I said, though I knew she was sleeping.
“I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why”
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all come to look for America
All come to look for America
All come to look for America

Coming up next: Goodbye, Yogi Berra.

Author: Atanu Dey


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