January 18th, 2009: Mumbai, India.
The Journey: 9 hours to London + an 8 hour stop over at London + 7 hours to Toronto!
00:01 - I just came home from a close friends wedding. I feel like an immobile python, having eaten enough to more than justify the price of the gift I gave him. In another four hours time I would have to get up and catch my flight. I decide to crash!
02:13 - Missed calls! In the hurry, I forgot to keep my phone on silent and my lukha friend was giving me missed calls. I wake up. Two more hours to go! Damn! There is no way I will get sleep now. I go online and check the score. Chelsea won in stoppage time! Yay! Manchester United have won too! Damn. I try to sleep
03:00 - It is of no avail. I’m just not getting sleep. Too much of food in my system. I go through the messages and the pictures in my phone to while away time.
04:10 - Time to get ready and leave. My sister offers to drive me to the airport, but I prefer a safer cab ride!
04:55 - We reach the airport. It is extremely crowded. Indians are absolutely obsessed with seeing people off. For every person flying, there are an additional five just to see them off. I manage to push my way through. The airport has been renovated and all. It's looking neat and in order for a change.
06:00 - I’m sitting here in the Maharaja Lounge having cookies and pineapple juice. The flight is supposed to leave at 07:00 hrs. The pretty young thing at the counter who doubles up as the waitress informs us that the flight will be delayed by 20 minutes. Expected of Air India! I’m quite happy. 20 minutes actually means an hour in Air India lingo. The later the flight leaves, the shorter does my stop over become.
08:30 - I’m sitting in the aircraft, stretching my legs and enjoying the water melon juice when this blonde approaches me and with a heavy English accent says,
"Excuse me, could you please assist me? My cell phone is showing up. Could you please help me fix it? I am blonde when it comes to technology."
Now, all of you who even just know me know that I am blondest when it comes to technology! But only a fool would turn down an offer to help the proverbial damsel in distress. And so I say,
"Not a problem ma'am. I shall proceed in the most logical manner and if the problem is one that an amateur technician can solve, be rest assured I will fix your cell phone."
She smiles. She looks at me as her knight in shining armour. Failure is not even an option now. I fiddle a bit and viola! The Gods are on my side. I manage to fix her phone.
08:45 - I have a look at the air hostesses. One is so fat; she hardly manages to walk down the aisle. The other borders on being mal nourished. Both of them could easily have been grandmothers. That's one disadvantage of flying first class. You get the most 'experienced' crew.
09:00 - Our flight finally leaves, two hours behind schedule. The guy next to me is a South India. I figure that out from the way he said 'Kafee' when asked what he would prefer to drink. In front of me is a man so obese that traveling by First Class was forced on him. On the other side, is a Gujrati lady with her two kids (who were very quite by Gujrati standards). Ahead of them is the blonde seated next to a Jain! I figured out he is a Jain because he was served a special meal. I asked the hostess why he got a special meal and then she told me that he was a Jain. My friends will agree that Jains are special! ;)
10:00 - Breakfast is served. I opt for poached eggs. The Southie orders the vegetarian meal. He makes a face when the smell of my eggs reach his nostrils. I decide that in deference (GRE), I will have veg food for lunch. The Gujrati lady goes "1 masala dosa, 2 pindi chole". My blonde has continental and Mr. Jain has his 'special meal'. I eat my breakfast and go to sleep!
14:00 - I’m woken up by the air hostess as lunch and drinks are served. I order a Diet Coke and a veg meal. The Southie does a U turn on me and orders murg masala! I feel like slapping him.
18:30 - We finally land at Heathrow, London. I wind my watch five and a half hours back.
13:00 - That is the local time here. The temperature outside is a chilling 2 degrees. I know it is only going to get worse. I sit in the lounge and start reading 'Remember Me' by Mary Higgins Clark.
16:00 - I have another 30 pages to go when I am informed that the lounge will be closed for 'servicing'. I go and sit in a coffee shop.
16:15 - I’m done with my book. I swear I’m never going to read a Mary Higgins Clark again. After a point in time her books become damn predictable.
17:30 - Back in the lounge, I treat myself to loads of fish fingers and guzzle down Canada Dry. Why did they stop production in India? I love that drink.
18:00 - A Japanese guy asks me to play a game of chess with him. I have clicked a picture of the chess board. It was 6 ft by 6 ft and the pieces were 3 ft tall. I enjoyed the game but the dude beat me hollow.
18:30 - Drink some more Canada Dry (after all free hain bhai) and go to sleep.
21:00 - The attendant wakes me up and asks me to board the flight. I look at my watch and its nine! The departure time was 20:45 hrs. I get up and run like crazy. Half way through I realise that it is Air India! I walk.
21:15 - Heathrow is HUGE. Half running, half walking it takes me the whole of fifteen minutes to reach the gate. The flight is delayed by 10 minutes.
21:35 - The flight takes off. This time the first class is empty save for one lady with a Gucci handbag. Dinner is served! I eat continental! Prawns with some weird sauce and then doze off.
I again wind my watch five hours back.
23:50 - The pilot announces that we would be landing in another 20 minutes time and that the outside temperature is -15 degrees! DEAD!
January 19th, 2009:
00:10 - As the aircraft makes its descent, I look at the landscape totally covered with snow! It looks beautiful. I have never seen so much of snow in my life. The flight was quire uninteresting.
01:00 - I am the first at the baggage belt. I have just one piece of luggage. I want to go home fast and sleep! Murphy's Law, my bag is the last one to come! Damn!
02:40 - Home sweet home!
Thus spanning 34 and a half hours, this was technically the longest day of my life. But all I did was eat and sleep!
P.S.: The blonde was some Ms. Andrews, a journalist for 'The Telegraph'. She got off at London and didn't even say bye. So much for her knight!
P.P.S: Slipped twice in the snow!
10 months ago