Today, I complete two weeks in Chicago and it’s been some experience, already.
As I left my uncle’s house and took a bus from Blue Ash, Ohio to travel to a city that I had only heard of, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Getting off the bus, coming to terms with the fact that I was actually in Chicago, I paused for a second, spread my arms, gave the widest smile, closed my eyes and told myself, “This is happening!”
That moment! What was big about that moment? Nothing. I had already known for almost a month that I was going to be in Chicago, but it was just that moment…there was something about it. It was special. It was a moment when you promise yourself that no matter what happens, I will make it big here. It was magical!
As I was in the cab, riding through the Chi-town downtown, I pounded myself on the chest and repeated Jameis’ words, “If we’re gonna do it den, we’re gonna do it big den!” I had been to Los Angeles, New York city and even to Chicago once before but seeing the sky-scrappers in downtown, it felt different. It felt like a city that may demand great strength, charisma and desire if I had to truly make it.
Chicago gave me the same feeling you get if you are in Mumbai for a job interview, knowing that you might be living there soon. It kinda felt scary for a split second but it felt more like an adventure that would be wonderful to live through. Plus, my new job with STATSports was the greatest opportunity I had to learn and it was exceptional how easily I said Jameis’ words to myself.
After all, I don’t believe in miracles, I rely on them.
That moment. Just that.
When I was in Blue Ash for a couple of days before coming to Chicago, I couldn’t wait to get to mid-west and start working. You know how they say that players find it hard to sleep the night before their first game, I couldn’t sleep on Sunday night just thinking of how awesome first day of work would be. I would look at my phone and be like, “Ten hours to go for work…nine hours to go for work.” It was crazy!
Monday was awesome. Seeing what work had to offer was great. I was made aware of the work assigned to me, my responsibilities and duties. It was brilliant to get started. We broke off for lunch at half-past-noon and it was crazy to walk around the downtown. I couldn’t stop smiling! It seemed like a fancy India! It really did. I knew Chicago was a big city and it had a lot more people than Tallahassee but I didn’t realize how big it actually was, and how many people lived and worked here.
It was like walking at MG Road in Pune on Sunday afternoon – there were people everywhere and there was continuous movement around the city! I had come from a rather ‘chilled’ Florida where everything went at its own pace, to Chicago where everyone was in a rush. For once, I wanted to make people sit down and say “Guys, relax!”
It was crazy but in Chicago, I wanted to experience something different. It’s always been about experiences and this was an experience that I know I would enjoy living.
On my way back to the apartment, we rode on this thing called ‘CTA’, which was nothing but a fancy Mumbai local train (with obviously no people clinging on to the train via a metallic column). So many people traveled by it that if one hits the stations during peak hours, he may not even be able to board the train. It was so fascinating! I mean, you don’t experience such things in Florida. But for some reason, even though thousands of people traveled together on each day, people who didn’t know each other avoided having conversations one another. It was rather strange but I guess that’s how they roll.
The most incredible thing that I have seen in Chicago so far was the people on the train stations playing guitars and singing songs…I was like, “Dude, that is so India!” It always caught my attention as to how much talent resided within India…I mean thousands, who were labeled ‘beggars’ – a word that I absolutely loathe when you consider that they are singing, dancing or displaying some sort of art to earn money – could sing and most of them are very, very good at it.
The same was with Chicago. There was so much talent that it was extraordinary even to observe. Some call me mad but if someone is genuinely good, you ought to tip them and well, buying an occasional rap CD from someone on the street isn’t the worst thing one can do.
As of India, I wish the government, the local TV shows or the new channels pick up or do something to identify such talent. In sports, you talk of scouting networks and how kids come up through the ranks. I wish something of this sort is established as well…that would be the thing!
My first weekend in Chicago was the ‘Fourth of July weekend’ and it was fantastic. I had never hung out with people from Ireland and as I quickly found out that they are a lot of fun! Before coming here, I didn’t know Chicago had a beach – it apparently does. I also quickly realized that Chicago is a very expensive but a beautiful place.
In my first two weeks, Chicago so far has been an experience and an adventure that has just started. I am loving life in Chicago!
I came here aiming for the impossible and it feels good to be getting an eye in. And I know, at times, life will be challenging but if it was too easy, I wouldn’t be doing it, would I? It’s brilliant to accept challenges, overcome them and be successful, but it’s even better to learn.
After all, I don’t believe in miracles, I rely on them :)
“When you have done everything possibly possible, He makes the impossible possible.” - Dinesh Ghodke
- Kratik Malhotra