It was the first week of September 1965. My plane from Madras landed in Chicago O’Hare airport about 200 feet from the terminal entrance, unlike nowadays planes always landed away from the terminal back then. A fellow passenger, a lady had a Veena besides other carry-ons. She was struggling to carry them. I volunteered to help her with her carryons. Although I was only twenty four year old and she in her mid thirties, an attendant thought we were a couple, and let us into the terminal ahead of single passengers. This led the lady to be somewhat embarrassed, and she murmured about the stupidity of the attendant. When the next attendant approached, I told him that I was not related to her. Still I helped her to carry her bags up to the third floor where all airline offices were. She was very familiar with the terminal having gone to visit India and back, she directed me to the airline office that would take me to Urbana-Champaign, Illinois where I was enrolled as an electrical engineering PhD student.
Once I landed in Urbana-Champaign, as previously arranged, a person from YMCA drove me to the university campus. As I was a vegetarian, I had to survive eating toasts and fruits for a day until I went to a pre-rented apartment. My expectations of US were exactly as I learned ahead before coming to US.
* The contributor of this story has asked that their name be withheld.