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Settling in – My beginning days in Tallahassee

In the USA, from day one, I used to wake up very early just like I was in India. I intended to settle into my new apartment searched by my host John and my friend Srimani. I wanted to buy things online instantly and settle in and in the wee hours of the morning, I thought of doing some adventure and wanted to increase the limits I had set to my borderless Thomas Cook card. To advocate my cause, I may state that, this was a felt need (!!) as I had to pay the house rent, in shops to buy furniture and some basic requirements like mattress and frame. The card limit was 500 dollars and I had to do more than one transaction. As each transaction is chargeable, I thought of increasing the limit to 1000 dollars. I was unaware that increasing the limit is not allowed online. With several attempts with OTPs somewhere I clicked save details and my OTP got saved as my login password. Next time I wanted to login and the password was wrong two times. The third time without caution my card got blocked. Tried all possible ways to contact Thomas Cook between 4 am and 6 am of local time as it is 2 pm and 4 pm IST. I might have tried some 20 to 25 times, none picked, most numbers did not work, one worked but could not solve the problem. I sent an email with my details. Got an automatic reply that it will be looked into in 2 working days. Oh that was a Friday!!! I had to wait till Monday to hear them and know more about it.
Here I had come on Thursday night…and it was peeping into wee hours of Friday. I had planned to settle in by weekend to be in my research zone by Monday. But as you can understand things did not tick by my timeliness. Out of frustration I informed Nruthya (My younger daughter-in-law). She gave me step by step instructions to enable my SBI debit card for international payments. In the process I did something that the card got disabled. Nruthya sent her card details to make payments for the day. Buying a mattress and frame was a priority and while making payment through her card it was asking for a US address, I gave mine but it was not matching with her card so payment got denied. Srimani had already paid my apartment rent a day before as my card could not pay that amount due to the limit set. Though she insisted on calling her any time, I didn’t want to bother her often as she had already taken several steps to see that my apartment lease was signed. She and John had taken much of their time to search for a place to rent for my comfortable living for 8/9 months. Nruthya informed Vivek (My elder son) and he called his friend Vinay staying in Chicago and he contacted me to make any payment anytime. But I went on trying my ways to make payment. Definitely giving up is not an option anytime.
I sent a payment link to Nruthya and she too tried but without a US address the payment was not complete. All of her Friday night she was figuring out how to make me feel rich by sending some money to my account here, that was not possible as my phone was not activated for messages. My India number was active to call and WhatsApp.
In the meantime, Friday evening, I went out for dinner with my host John’s wife Deepthi, and tried my SBI credit card and it worked. Deepti said to think of Deepti at any time of crisis. I lovingly said that she is my final straw. The space they shared, the freedom they gave to use their kitchen, the warmth they shower is a lifetime experience to me.
Saturday morning Vivek called and told me not to worry at all and to use my credit card to make all payments and took the details of my Thomas Cook card to resolve it.
Nruthya’s unending efforts worked and she paid through her US card and mattress issue was solved. She had activated her US card loading some money and told not to panic in any situation and use the card for all payments. Vivek called Thomas Cook and could solve the temporary password issue.
By Monday morning, I felt a lot richer. I could use Nruthya s card, Thomas Cook borderless and also my credit card. My debit card enabling task I entrusted to Vivek not to mess further with cards and online dealings!!! And not to block any more cards on the way and stay.

It was 5.30 am, Monday morning, I went into the kitchen, made a hot cup of coffee, with a slice of healthy nutty crunchy bread devoured the warmth of my American host and American bread. I was grateful to my host country for all that is happening smoothly. Imagining the situation if my lifelines were missing.
America is not my home. They treat an American or an Asian or anyone the same way. You can’t use the card, that’s it! Whoever you are the same rule applies. Very interesting, no bias absolutely. But for me as an Indian by heart and soul, culturally deep rooted in Indianness, I felt they complicate living in simple ways!! You may be a Professor of NCERT, daughter of a well-known family, daughter in law of an acclaimed person, wife of so and so who has the reputation of buying the shop if not just the mattress, here the system is simply refusing you. I wondered! I grumbled as I am stomach rumbled.
In Coorg, in Mysore, in Bhubaneswar without a penny I can survive for weeks and months. I have people to drive me at any time, feed me more than I can eat, sort out issues with a wink, and take me around where they go. If I don’t have cash, even an autorickshaw will drive me home in Coorg, Mysore and Bhubaneswar if I take some names. I took pride in all that I had in India, missed the near and dear people of Coorg, Mysore and Bhubaneswar and even fondly remembered some autorickshaw supports of Bhubaneswar and vendors.
Greg the admin support from the institute came to pick me up and drop me to the apartment along with the mattress and frame. Some more basic things I bought as I move to stay independently.
Deepti drove me to show the shops near my apartment, some Indian stores to sooth my palate. She helped me shop the necessary grocery and helped me set up my new home in Tallahassee. The apartment kitchen is well equipped, there is a large spacious refrigerator, washing machine, dish washer, OTG, four burner hotplates. Storage space is plenty. Bathroom is cozy, of course without a bucket and mug!!! I said to myself ‘welcome to the pail less culture’
But, I am still wondering what happened to the bucket mid way…did it sink with the titanic??
How come did the Britishers forget it after all they ensured that no one forgot it with… Jack and Jill go up the hill to fetch a pail of water.