The Ordeal (draft)

Monday, September 05, 2005

I tried pulling the thin blanket over my head, it only ended exposing my legs. The cold air was blasting from the ventilator hole overhead but I didnt have the conciousness or the energy to turn it off. The constant cackling of Wendy besides me was a irritation too. However sweet it may be, the first reaction to a voice that wakes you up is that of a scowl and more so when the voice wasn't specifically targetted at you. We had company. Wendy's friend, one from her group, sat next to her now and they were creating quite a ruckus. Hmm pretty Wendy, working at the education department in Utrecht or was it amsterdam, made me sigh every time I had a look at her. Yeah now i remember, she would soon be in Amsterdam. She was in India to explore this beautiful and wild land. And before you start jumping to conclusions, let me clarify that I had met her only a few hours ago. I hope that exonerates me from any of your premature suspicions/condemnations! Or does it?! Thats not the moot point. We were over Germany. 37000 ft above, to give you a better picture.

The flight from mumbai to frankfurt via New Delhi was in its final stages. Delayed a bit at New Delhi due to a 'technical snag', but the pilot assured us that we would make it on time. Looking out, there was bright sunshine to melt away any frost on the window, it sure looked pretty from the top. With hardly any clouds on the bright spring day, the brightly colored fields were a visual treat. Wendy was butting in every 30 mins or so to inform a very fascinated me which country we were flying over. Some 15 minutes to land at Frankfurt. So i thought i might as well give up my ruse of being asleep. Mistake! Wendy was waiting for exactly that moment. She shows me something below and told me "Look, that is frankfurt!". Which meant we were flying over the city already but then at such a busy airport, one has to wait for his turn to land.

The plane was going in circles changing altitude frequently, skimming the cloudline. At times when it went below, we were offered a breathtaking view of the river Main and the city itself. My heart was beating in trepidation of what was to come. There were stories, always the stories, on happenings at the immigration clearance counter. And there were the worries, such a contagion, of managing to reach Stuttgart safely. Accounting for my debut international travel and barely manageable German language, these worries weren't totally unwarranted. And of course, thanks to the scores of people telling me how tough it would be the first time and that too alone.

There was a churning feeling in the stomach soon, partly due to the descent and partly due to the nervousness. The landing followed soon and we were soon taxiing to the terminal. I went in search of my overcoat which i had handed over for hanging during the fight. By the time i returned, Wendy was already away. With a sense of disappointment and I started to look for Rags. I met Rags when we started our flight at Bangalore. I was walking in the aisle towards my seat when i heard a person asking me "Bosch?". I replied yes and gave a smile. Then I had to move forward towards my seat and didn't have much time to get to know more. Later at mumbai, we introduced ourselves and were happy coz both of us were first timers. But we were seperated when we got on this flight to Frankfurt.

I saw him a few rows ahead of me. There was a heavy rush to disembark and I thought to myself that I would meet him once outside. The aerobridge kept going on and on and once it ended, most people knew where to go forward. Now I didn't. After looking around for Rags and then waiting for a few mins for him to emerge from the plane, I gave up. There were some airport personnel trying to assist people with directions. I approached a lady among them and thrust my ticket forward. She thrust it back and pointed to a passageway and asked me to collect my baggage from there and then go to the other terminal for my flight. be continued


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