They say things change after your awakening. It might sound like something corny that doesn’t apply to you. It isn’t though – corny. It is possible for us all to wake up from the humdrum automatic lives we are living, and really smell the flowers. Or coffee, if that is more your thing. I for one am glad to be awake.
I was travelling most of yesterday to get from home to Delhi, with a long layover in Bengaluru (Bangalore). I booked a bunch of tickets at quite the late hour for a trip that is, for now, of a lifetime. I say for now because I hope each trip I take will be of a lifetime, that is how I want to live now. Go full out, go crazy, go with wide open eyes or just stay home. It is amazing the beauty around us that we ignore.
On my second ever post on this blog I wrote about how I love to travel solo, even though the travel so far has been getting from one point to another. Yesterday was no different, I set off bright and early, aound 07:15, and landed in Delhi at 23:00. That is a good 16 plus hours that I had to myself, not the kind of time I find myself with the luck to have too often. I was running on less than ideal sleep so a little dozing happened in the train. Yes, my journey started off in a train. Then it was a tiny Air India flight, one of the 9000 series ones, those that kind of make you question whether you may have only moments more to live.
Let me put this out there before I write further: I was not hosted, I was flying on my own money and all opinions expressed here are my very own.
That tiny aircraft, I believe it seats 60 or less, was pretty shabby, scratched outer panes of windows, dust in between all the seat mechanisms, very sour looking air hostesses, you get the picture. I never got a smile the entire time from either of the two air hostesses, not one polite hello or goodbye. I find that quite unacceptable. I understand they’re probably flying a sector they hate, and many of the passengers are middle-aged first time fliers who are in awe of even that small plane, and invariably clog up the aisle in a bid to check and double check their seat numbers. Oh, and these passengers don’t understand Hindi or English, the two languages the air hostesses speak. I get that. But I also don’t think they should be a part of the hospitality industry then, why spoil everyone’s day?
Then came the layover in Bangalore which was a little bit boring as I had access to only the domestic transfer area. But I used the 45 minutes of free airport WiFi to get my work for the day done, then added a data plan to my iPad when I realized that a mere 45 minutes wouldn’t be enough. Then I looked around, people-watched, caught up with friends over texts, had a chocolate croissant and cafe mocha – okay, I was in the mood for something chocolatey. Then I mentally banged my head against each hard surface I found because I had made the executive, and stupidest, decision of leaving my Kindle behind. So I did what any bibliophile does, I went and bought a book. Which weighs more than my Kindle…. Not Rekha’s finest hour, the morning of 04.08.’15.
Then as 8 o’clock approached, I was in for a surprise. I was in a fantastic machine, Air India’s Boeing 787, one of its Dreamliner fleet – and it was surely dreamy! Polite stewards and air hostesses, comfortable seats, even in economy, good, (yes, good) food and a wide selection of movies to choose from in multiple languages. Pretty neat. With a window seat adjacent to the left wing, I settled in for a movie I’d been wanting to watch – Still Alice. A beautiful movie that made me cry and surreptitiously staunch tears with a tissue. Once I had finished watching that, I settled for looking out the window. There were thunderclouds everywhere, and there was lightning in each, an internal flickering glow in those fluffly humongous masses. My mum would be terrified if she saw this, I thought, and continued to watch in awe.
As we descended, we flew through one of these luminescent clouds, and the light was all around us. Most were still fidling with their touch screens but I watched, feeling so incredible that my heart swelled. The lights around Delhi came into view, and I realized I’d never appreciated a nighttime landing before. The streetlights, cars headlights, buildings, they looked like so many diyas floating in a sea of inky water. It was mesmerising, I tried to guess where the Lotus Temple was, but in the dark, all I saw was the glowing sign of Vivanta.
Why did I go to the extent of writing the longest post in this blog yet to describe to you a journey shorter than most of you make regularly? To tell you that I felt like I was coming home, that I felt like I had never left. Is that what it means when they say you leave your heart in many places? And those pieces will compel you to return, always just one more time? Maybe they don’t say that….but they should.