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August 18, 2004 14:07 IST

I was excited about studying in the United States, but little did I realise how homesick I would feel for Chennai.

Our seniors had arranged to pick us up -- two of my friends were with me -- at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Our connecting flight from Frankfurt was late and I was worried they might miss us. I decided to call them.

In the transit area, I asked a gentleman where I could find a STD booth.

He looked shocked, said he did not know and walked away.

Finally, I spotted a telephone and tried asking people if I could use it to make a STD call. Again, they looked disgusted and said they did not know.

When I finally reached my destination, I told my seniors how no one would help me find a STD phone. They burst out laughing and that's I learnt what STD could mean outside India.

Antony K, Madison, Wisconsin

Dancing in the dark

Like most kids, I was terribly scared of the dark. I often tried to reason my scare away, to no avail. Nameless monsters played havoc with my senses once the lights were put out.

It was no different one weekend when my parents left me at home with my siblings and cousins for company. I had no idea the night would be a high point for all the wrong reasons.

Post dinner and television, we tucked in for the night. Within a few moments, I became aware of someone or something noisily turning the pages of what was obviously a thick tome. The compulsive page-turner was making no secret of her/his unusual talent of reading in the dark.

I was spooked!

The eerie sound of the pages turning finally got to me. After trying in vain to count sheep, I decided to ambush the night-time offender and leapt out of bed, ready for combat. The lights went on with a deft flick of my wrist as I readied to take out the invisible intruder.

Only to spot the pages of the festival edition of my favourite publication pointlessly turning under the ceiling fan, which was on at full blast. I tried not to shiver as I grinned sheepishly at a confused cousin brought to life by the sudden incandescence.

Somaditya Roy, New Delhi

The milky way

Kalyan and I got engaged in July 2003.

I was pursuing my MS degree at Arizona State University, Tempe. He was working in Chandler. These are adjacent cities in Arizona. We used to meet every weekend.

One of Kalyan's favourite dishes is Majjiga Pulusu, in which buttermilk, coconut and vegetables are the main ingredients. One weekend, I decided to make it for him. We went to the Indian grocery store to get the vegetables. I made sure the buttermilk was low fat.

When I finally served Kalyan the Majjiga Pulusu, he said it tasted very different from what his mother made. I explained this was because buttermilk in the US tastes different from buttermilk in India.

On Monday, Kalyan decided to add some more buttermilk to the Majjiga Pulsu, hoping it would taste better. All he could find in the refrigerator was low fat milk.

When I got the buttermilk from the store, I had made sure it was low fat. I forgot to make sure it was buttermilk.

Mydhili Lanka, Chandler, Arizona

Smart alec!

I had been working 12 hours a day for two months to complete a particular project within the icy environs of my office. It didn't come as a surprise when I finally developed a sore throat.

After lunch, I walked up to a pharmaceutical shop and asked the boy at a counter for a packet of Strepsils.

Just then, a gentleman entered and asked for two Cadbury's bars. The boy said they did not have any in stock.

The gentlemen grinned and asked, "Can I have two 5 Star bars for Rs 5 each?"

The boy thought, then asked, " Do you have change?"

The gentleman waved a Rs 10 note.

As the boy began walked inside, the gentleman muttered, "Moron."

In a flash, the boy turned and said, "Not available."

Shravan V, Bangalore

Illustrations: Dominic Xavier

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Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 7

Sub: How do such fools get visas -

Srinath, there was a time when the only the really clever and intelligent used to make it to the US. Now any Tom, Dick and ...

Posted by Sharu

Sub: STD from f'furt to C'cago

How come such people get visas to US yaar ??

Posted by Srinath

Sub: STD calls

Well, there is nothing called STD and ISD outside India for what is commonly called there as "long distance" calls in the US as well ...

Posted by Vijay Purbhe

Sub: The milky way

Buttermilk in the US may taste different , but the end product should taste the same else it implies that the receipe has been implemented ...

Posted by albert pinto

Sub: STD Pecadillos

This Diary writer seems to be pretty dumb. Which world does he live in ?

Posted by albert pinto


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