Just landed Indian in US during Coronavirus

So, taking life in 2020 story a little further. So here I am trapped in Seattle in the middle of the COVID outbreak (no not the one with the mask on hand, scroll below I’m the one with the mask on face). Spooky fact: Check the release date on the movie poster, coincidence!


Just another day in the life of a married maskman (Me, poor husband off grocery shopping).

A cold start in a new country can be a little tricky and challenging. And when the country happens to be THE USA it’s next level. The cherry on the cake, you have to do all this during the golden period of global lockdown.

You can bring carry as many things with you from back home (Cattle class limitations you know).

Cultural (and financial) Shock

  • Water bottle (500ml) at Seattle airport (if not for coronavirus, I would have saved receipt) $2.50 (185 Rupeees). Paani hai ki Gangajal. Now here at hotel also we get water bottles, consuming tap water is so middle class….Monésha.

  • $20 for porter, and no you are not getting him.

….and not even him

  • Not tipping a service person is a social crime. Be ready to pay 10% of bill on any service porter, taxi, food, and have heard hair-cut (not experienced yet, just to remind you … its Lockdown and stay home, stay safe)

  • It’s healthy for your wallet to walk to/from the grocery store.  

Reel life over and real-life hits you…

SSN (Social Security Number): Your lifeline and identity in the US. You need this for practically all govt business, banking & IRS transactions (including Taxes, medical… bla bla bla). And as you know, the US welcomed me with a lockdown, leaving me high and dry.

  • US financial institutes to poor me, without SSN

Credit Card: No amount of credit history back at home comes handy. Man, First time in 20 years I got a credit card application decline … not 1 but 4 in a row & and 2 from the same bank …  like what the F*. I think its karma – curse of all telecalling calls blocked by Truecaller.

*Fun Fact: Food used to be the most searched F word before furloughed)

Then there was a savior in American Express (Credit in US without SSN and Credit history).  I was always a fan of customer service for Amex and here they not only honored my credit history in India but delivered the card to my hotel within a week without the need of any SSN or document. Kudos!

Bank Accounts: By the way, the salary account is checking account, and saving accounts is savings account. OK got it! Declined by US bank (Reminded me of Govt bank back home); Day 1 shared a list of documents to open the account. Day 2 can’t open the account as they have to maintain social distancing.. Ummm ok. So you can visit the branch but can’t open account and to open online you need…… yes… say it loud… SSN.

Chase.. no luck, they need confirmation the company letterhead of your existence. That’s easy right, well of course if the offices are open 🙂

Savior – HSBC, unconventional, and friendly … well overfriendly. But work is done got an account opened instantly without SSN (you need a passport and authorized visa to work). Still not recommended… Sorry HSBC (& your mobile app sucks).

Bank of America is actually you should head to for your first account. Easy process and no fuss account. You need your passport, visa, and no initial deposit (Baniya in me highly recommend this bank).

BTW above is about checking account and saving account is to be opened online and you need …. yes SSN.

Retail therapy (Desi Style): It’s an online world, remember to carry plain papers, Lan cable, passport size photos 16$ for 2 copies. Cultural shock !!!

Every item (yes! you heard it right) can be returned. Opened, used, and even abused… no questions asked. Things I have returned in the last 30 days (last checked this doesn’t impact your credit score 😀) And you can’t blame me for this, it’s because of lockdown … shifting hotel (non-contextual to this post)

Returned with a full refund: Printer, Paper (who buys them anyway), Grocery items, mixer.

Most interesting purchase (if it qualifies as a purchase) Humidifier. Bought this one and got a post-purchase survey to get a free gift. And FREE always gets the attention.  So wrote the review and guess what got another humidifier as a free gift. And I can only return what I have purchased (do I explain the rest).

Anyways  … till I can say,

Me every 10 minutes, you also stay home and stay safe.






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