Friday, October 26, 2007
"God, I do not want to die virgin... There is so much to see... i mean new places... damnn... new states and countries, new culture... I am just 22, it would be so unfairrrrr"
I gulped down the huge bile of slime in my mouth as I struggled to find a polythene bag in the pouch. The thunder at esselworld is fine, but such an experience at an height of 15630 feet above sea level is no fun at all. This was the third time our plane had been warded off by the air traffic controllers to get their calculations right. And it seemed that the pilot might have been an expert at flight simulation before, but he was doing it all wrong with the real thing. 'Mental note: always ask the pilot for his credentials before flying...'
My insides crunched with relief as the birdy bumped on the airway with a bang and slowed down quick enough to prevent me from yelling. I kinda had a hunch that they make the economy class more rickety than its counterpart and was half prepared to ask the blonde who gave me a perfectly fake smile as I exited. Germans! Did they think that we were playing some weird game called 'Blitz Krieg'?? I bid a sour goodbye to Lufthansa and rushed to the immigration counters with Jay to beat the German kids visiting US on a school trip. I grinned as I remembered my last school trip. Crossing city boundary is one thing, but crossing continents! The officer played with my passport and stamped it with the entry date... Boom, I had entered US of A. Jay and me rushed to the baggage claim area cribbing about the 3 dollar trolley. Man! why cant bag makers be more innovative?
Collecting my black and brown mass , i turned around to find Jay missing... Hell. I just realized I was all alone some 23473 miles away from my loved ones with aliens around and English language as my only means of support. The doors opened to the visitors area and i found myself running the 'Image recognition' software in my mind to screen my Pick-up guy, Rajesh from the crowd. Orkut sure helps in times of need, for I found him rather quickly and my first thought was 'Wearing 3/4ths at the airport? My mom would go crazy if i did such a thing...' A smile, a firm handshake and we were on our way outside to his green car which groaned with the weight of 3 mighty bags. The news that my temp acco was suddenly changed from Guru to Varadan disoriented me a little though. But this is how RIGSA works...I presumed.
'Dil chahta hai.. kabhi na beete chamkile din..' I felt a sense of belonging, now that I heard that play in the background. The car was hot, sun was shining high and dry overhead. Mirages formed and evaporated on the road as Rajesh hit the gas and the car sped away. More Burger Kings than Mc Donalds, tall American flags at every turn, cars that didn't honk, ... A halt at the gas station and I made my first phone call to India.
A voice that didnt sound sleepy at 4 am in India. A rush of voices trying to grope the receiver... "Ho... chhaan jhala pravas... Jhop jhali 2 taas... ho, velevar plane aala... " . The rush subsided as I detailed my journey. Good byes exchanged. A short and sweet conversation.
Back in the car, we chatted away as any Indians would after meeting in a foreign country. Home, family, career, courses... soon, we were zooming past the much heard about Cedar Lane and in front of 86 C, my temp acco. My mind was growing numb with every minute, as i was trying to grasp everthing under the sun. Since childhood, i was bad at remembering roads and turns and this extra effort was taxing my little brain. We entered my temporary house through the back door (which I realised quite later) and i saw 2 more new faces. Varadan, my host and Onkar, another temp acco as I was. Initially, assuming both of them to be my hosts, hellos were exchanged and I dropped the baggage in the bedroom which carried no bed. Later Onkar enlightened me about his arrival 2 days back. Rajesh bid a hasty goodbye and I was left again to fend for myself with new people. As I was experiencing the first few enchantments of a laptop with a mindboggling internet speed, Sandeep showed up from the recreation room. Tall, handsome and my communications senior, I was contemplating about firing him with an array of questions when he made up his mind to hit the gym with Varadan and left in a jiffy.
And it was then that the hell broke loose...
Posted by S.Wagh at 5:35 PM
Sunday, October 14, 2007
The hullabaloo outside the terminal contrasted sharply with the serenity of the airport... Through the security checks and trying to guess which of the pretty ladies was going to be our air hostess on Lufthansa, Jay and me settled down in our seats at the lounge... I was starting to wonder how I was going to spend the 3 hours before the flight when Jay forked out his cell and said 'Use up this prepaid card'... The few remaining farewell words were succinctly delivered on the cellphone when the speaker blared "Business class passengers, proceed to Gate 3"...
The walk to the plane was made little more dramatic when the security officer randomly called Jay by the side... I was entertaining myself with the notion that Jay might be carrying some illegal stuff, or may be he could be a terrorist or rather he was some biological weapon let loose on USA (which I might say is half true), when I saw him coming back with a smile on his face... shit, no drama!
We entered the plane nodding to the sweet voices of the ladies in chrome and navy blue... German, as they were, I found myself looking for some tilted swastik sign on their fabric... But the extravagance set before me shook my senses... The seats were none less than the LAZYBOY chairs seen in 'Friends' and I was soon exploring all the luxuries they had to offer... The take-off was smooth but the massage on my back was smoother... The remote control let me choose any kind of music, movie, ebook and documentaries (I wonder who checks them out)... Pretty soon spiderman was jumping on my screen,which merged into Shrek, an episode of friends and the like... small lights behind the chairs were set up for reading... a screen high up on the ceiling periodically showed the path that the plane had to follow... Man, it was -60 degrees outside, what if one of the windows is loose and comes flying by my face... Nasty thoughts... I thought I could use this time for some social interaction with my fellow passenger when Jay plugged in the headphones, switched on some music and let his body embrace the seat which was now a bed...
Lunch time brought relief... A certain chef from Taj, apologies to the man for forgetting the name, had laid down a splendid menu, (apologies to you for forgetting the names)... on a menu card that looked delicious enough... fish, chicken and veg, we had our choice... a seperate page for choicest of the drinks... I toyed with the idea of mixing a martini with a bloody mary when a yahoogroup post by a senior scared me enough to order an orange juice... 'If you drink like a binge, you are going to dehydrate soon enough and mess up your sleep'... Tropicana is no competition to the rasna that we get back home... Food served, Jay and me were checking out the salad when some prawns peeked out from the dish... the butter chicken taste-alike tasted awesome and so did the veggies dipped in sauce... the raspberry pudding was savored with many licks and slurps...
Science fact: When you eat like a pig, the heart pumps blood to your intestine rather than your brain, tickling the urge to sleep like a log... Put it this way... I was soon cuddling on my push-buttons-and-make-bed with soft music playing in my ears... 'Was it Mozart? Was it Bach? Who cares?... ' Two hours of sleep were enough for my dear intestines and I was back on my feet, nah..., back on my bums... I had pretty much decided on watching Namaste London,when it was time to say "Namaste, Frankfurt'... The plane swooped down on the airport with the eagerness of an eagle flying back to feed her young ones... Some towers, row of houses, dark patches of forests and sunlight streaming in my eyes, we landed on the destination,unhurt and afresh... 8 hours of journey, 8 hours of bliss... What are my chances of flying back home on the same flight, same class? Pretty much as my chances of scoring an A in all my semesters, I smiled acknowledgingly...
Posted by S.Wagh at 12:56 PM