Roller Coaster Ride

It seemed a quiet evening as we left our home with tons of ashirwaad, 2 bagpacks and lots of hope on our shoulders.We took a cab to mumbai airport with hope,excitement and glimpses of tiredness in our gleaming eyes.(We havent slept in last few days due to hectic schedule,our idiosyncrasies and of-course extraordinary packing strategy of my partner in adventure).Oh,I forgot to introduce-“we”,We includes my cute wild curious partner Rudie and my sane sincere sulky self.We reached airport in an hour,bid goodbye to our parents and were ready to fly.

We checked in smoothly,had usual quarrels and serenely sat at a cafe to have masala dosa and coffee.Enthusiasm had gripped our not so calm nerves,just then I received a beautiful message-your flight is delayed by two hours. I conveyed this wonderful news to my PIA(partner in adventure).We had few more hours at this stunning airport to explore.As time passed,we had already galloped Mexican pasta, window shopped at fancy jacket shop and had usual nitpicks on our way to our boarding gate.We reached Delhi Airport around midnight.Our first international flight was at 6:30 am in the morning(more than 6 hours at this darling airport) .My PIA had this amazing idea of downloading south Indian movie by airport`s WiFi,Oh! how it failed miserably.Our usual idiosyncrasies included gauging the mood of the people at airport(our fellow travelers).Around 3 am with drowsy delirious dreamy eyes,we went for check in and then to irritating immigration line.For some strange reason,half asleep immigration guy failed to stamp my passport.This bemused my PIA more than my strange acts.After this adventure,we dutifully waited for Turkish airlines not before having sumptuous early morning north Indian food at Delhi heights.We reached our gate an hour before take off .PIA drowned in her favorite hobby as soon as she saw a seat-dozed off delightfully.I was left watching her and hundred other passengers on this crazy sleep deprived morning at Delhi Airport.

Missing Istanbul:Turkish Airlines had comfortable seating with blankets,quiet passengers and entertainment screen(perfect recipe for PIA).I was waiting for flight to take off while doing my favorite hobby:observing people,worrying about possible disasters and thinking on common issues like life of an air-hostess ,cosmic energy and my purpose of existence.Another long flight and I fear another bout of irritating infamous insomnia, PIA is an expert in subject that concerns closing your eyes and cutting off from this physical world(sleeping as they call it).She requested me to play some strange english movie whose name I cannot remember.She insisted that we watch this strange movie together(synchronized second by second),she paused my screen every time I went few seconds ahead of her,I never understood this strange obsession of her.This went on for few more minutes before she finally agreed to watch at our own pace.I took a sigh of relief and waited for food to arrive.After PIA dozed off,I eagerly waited for something to satisfy my taste buds.Elegantly dressed in red and white, air-hostess came to me and asked me in the sweetest voice I have ever heard,”would you like tea or coffee?”,I replied with a smile,”tea for me and a blanket for PIA”.PIA was already feeling cold(we were yet to enter Europe).Besides PIA,sat a stout strong serious looking man probably in his late 30s. He greeted me with namaste. In my bid to engage in interesting conversation,I asked him if he ever visited India.He indeed had explored God`s own country(Kerala) and most foul mouthed capital state in the world(Delhi).Suddenly PIA woke up from her serene sleep and asked our European neighbor,”We have only 1.5 hrs layover time at Istanbul and our flight is already an hour late,will we be able to catch our ongoing flight to Vienna?”.I was stunned,here we were discussing about travel and culture and in no time,PIA diverted the topic amicably in a bid to calm her travel anxiety.She constantly stared at the screen that displayed time to arrive and speed,as if she could convince the pilot to push at rocket speed.She is a funny girl.I chuckled silently,though our neighbor told her in a sincere and assuring tone,”I have been to Istanbul a dozen times,Don`t worry,you will be there on time,Istanbul is a beautiful city”

Our European neighbor was from Slovakia and did tell us about the history of separation from Czech and similarity of rivalries between Slovakian and Czech folks as it is between Mumbai and Pune folks. Guy seemed well read and confident about everything he spoke.His assurance calmed PIA`s nerves and we landed in Istanbul at noon.We had an hour to catch our next flight.

PIA had this special power,she could sense if something was wrong.Yet ,to me and my Slovak friend,everything seemed normal.We swiftly made our way out of the plane and were excited to catch our next flight to Vienna. Tall,elegant and yet little panicky in posture,airport assistant,immediately asked us to run for the next flight.We saw the time,we had an hour,Slovak gave us a “been there,done that” look.We nodded and followed him, as he went from 0 to 60 km/hr in 10 seconds,we knew we were in trouble.I have never seen PIA run with such speed,tenacity and vigor ever in my life.On our supersonic speed run,5 others joined in and together 8 of us displayed Olympic level performance.We ran,clock ran and we found we had to do security check again.Goodness me,it was touch and go now.By special request from lanky Slovak,we were allowed to enter VIP line.Only 15 minutes was left and we ran frantically towards the gate. PIA never expected adventure to be so taxing on her legs.She still had hope in her eyes.We climbed upstairs,ran and again went downstairs,ran and ran and ran.Alas,we finally reached the gate only to read the dreadful line-“Gates are closed”

What an incredible start to our honeymoon trip.Roller coaster ride had just begun.I looked behind to see PIA in shock,some strange Russian in tears and our Slovak leader giving blank look.Journey had just begun.

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