Readers, there are no doubt a number of incidents in your lives that provoke the sentiment – ‘One day, I’ll look back on this and chuckle’. If you have kept up with the tales told on this blog, you may have noticed a somewhat similar pattern in some of the posts herein. Yes, it is a praiseworthy & pleasant luxury to be able to laugh at yourself if you hark back to various potentially titanic-type incidents.
Still, be it ever so narrow, a line is required somewhere; a marker separating the hilarious-in-hindsight from the why-me ones. So, considering how much I did not want to come back to the U.S, it is fitting that this trip will quite likely rule the latter charts for ages to come. At least, for my health and sanity, you lot should join me in praying that nothing else comes along to top it. Just reading this, you cannot understand how close the camel has come to having his back broken.
Saturday morning, at 7.30 am, in a somnambulistic state, I made my way onto the Cathay Pacific flight taking me from Bombay to Hong Kong. I had left from Pune on Friday night at 9.00 pm, so I was a bit tired. Having found my seat, I dozed off, mentally prepared to be woken up by some suitably fetching stewardess announcing breakfast a few hours later. At 9.30 am, yawning and hungry, I awoke. To find that the plane was still in the exact same spot on the tarmac. Ahem…
See, the thing with making a long-haul trip anywhere is the delightful concept of the connecting flight. Those blessed by fate have never had to face the possibility of missing one of these. On the other hand, the fate’s whipping boys club frequently deals with missed connections, lost luggage, missing boarding passes, expired passports or visas & so on and so forth. Being a proud life member of the latter association, I generally expect the worst and am frequently proved correct. Admittedly, I have never had to suffer that holy of holies – dealing with the Air India customer service. For that I am thankful. And yet, this trip… as I said, Ahem…
The domino effect danced its tandav – I missed the Hong Kong to L.A connection – waited 7 hours for the next available flight & then sat thru a 12 hour jaunt. Missed the L.A to Chicago connection – waited 4 hours before making that 4 hour outing. Missed not one but two Chicago to Birmingham flights – waited for 9 hours, then sat in the plane as it decided to top things off by stubbornly staying on the tarmac for over an hour.
Yes, I know. Words ought to have failed me by now, since I am certain it has, you. And yet, dear janata, I have managed to write so far without having to refer to my handy-dandy thesaurus of expletives - English, Hindi or Marathi.
Still, the next time I hear statements even remotely tinged with envy about how I am lucky enough to travel or the exotic airports I may have seen… well, as the shilling-shockers say, we anticipate. I think the forces of the universe are prodding me toward a truth – that it will be indescribably delicious to say “Random-U.S-airport to Bombay – One way”.
Song for the moment: All along the watchtower - Bob Dylan