The Reluctant Traveller – Part 1


I am a reluctant traveler.  I don’t really like being confined in a vehicle. Plus, all the preparations required before travel get me all worked up. But sometimes your soul calls you to do things you are inherently scared of. That’s what I did on this trip. So, here I present my travelogue of a day trip to Mumbai.Well, this was a first…in many ways.. first time I went to Mumbai, first time I took two flights in the same day, first time I went on a flight alone, first time I went outside my city on my own, first time I went outstation for an interview, first time I saw a sea, first time I……phew! and the rest will be updated over the course of this post.Having grown up hearing about how it’s the city of dreams and how everyone who goes there refuses to come back…oops… it’s like, they can never come back once they go to Mumbai, I was super duper excited since days about this. Well, actually, I went there more for the sake of the experience than the interview..lol! Since this was a weekday, in the midst of office workweek, I  was very tired. Had had only 2 hrs of sleep for the last two days. And now i think i’ll change the tense to present.So, it’s a Monday. I slept at 5 in the morning and now, at 7:30 am, I am getting ready to go to office.
It’s the D-DAY day after tomorrow, i.e., Wednesday. THE MUMBAI TRIP day!Office is normal today. Some people are here. Work is going on as usual. And by the way, i’ve gotten my tickets booked, my itinerary planned, publicising done all across the country and haven’t applied for my leave yet. This, in an office like mine, can be disastrous. But finally i managed to calm my nerves and tell my senior i would be taking a day-off. And that too without any reason! Miracle of miracles = SHE SAID YES!

So, one more day to pipe up for the D-DAY. And i am off to sleep.

Day before the D-DAY…………………..Tuesday…Again 2 hours of sleep……And it’s a hellish day at office. People from all over India and some from Japan are here. And yours truly happens to be the sole coordinator. Am on my feet all day. Requesting sundry people to be fast! Man! I’ve gotta go tomorrow! Don’t you see the grandness of the occasion?! 😉 😛

Now, i’m all set. Back home, i’m packing up for the trip. Stuffing myself with food to stay energetic.
Cutting the long story short, preparations galore, and by 9 i’m in bed in anticipation of sleeping a good 6 hrs.
But my beloved sleep! She never ceases to disappoint me when i so need her. It’s 1 am and i’m tossing and turning in bed. Anyhow, i sleep for 2 hours before it’s 3.

D-DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sitting in that cab at 4 in the morning, closing the door, for a second i feel i’ve been wrong in arguing since the past few days that i should be going alone. What if????
But as soon as we’re on road, my spirits are soaring high.
Excerpts from my memo written at that moment sitting in the cab…..
“Lonely bird’s first flight
Yes, was the teeniest bit scared while closing the cab door
But then,
It’s what i’ve always liked
Empty well lit roads
Night ambience
Even huge trucks passing me by…….

Rows of light and glitter
Blink and shimmer and flicker
Reminding me of journeys long forgotten
Of laughter and trust and friendships gone rotten
I smile my cheekiest smile
And it’s a hundred memories reloaded

Of days when i was a witness to someone dropping someone to home and just a tag along to dispel certain rumors..

Of the day when i was sitting in a similar cab going for my first flight..

Of many many road trips”

The cab rounds a bend and the terminal comes into view.. It’s a sight to behold! So many beautiful lights, shine, glitter,, all the things i like. I pay and step out. Inside the terminal, it’s beauty again. Somehow i think i appreciate things around me more when i’m alone.. It’s like travelling with yourself.

Some pics and roaming around later, i’m all set to leave for the boarding area when something fancy catches my eye.. No, it’s not that aquarium coz the fish are tacky :O.. It’s the piano whose keys are moving without any human help and producing good music! I don’t know how better to express it.. I’m not intrigued.. Just keep looking at it for some time.

Off to the boarding area downstairs….it’s freezing here or probably i’m the one who’s feeling too cold.
Anyway, the boarding gates open and there’s a red bus to take us to the aircraft. The ride is in itself so good!
BTW did i mention the airhostesses of this particular airline look like redchillies..oh so hot! 😉
Dawn is about to break and we’re riding through rows of aircrafts to ours. Beautiful!
We disembark beside ours and i walk towards the back entrance from under the left wing.. Now there is something DIFFERENT about walking under an aircraft wing with the engine buzzing to your left, scent of burning fuel in the air and the sun rising in the distant horizon………….!!! Beautiful! What else can i say?! Words escape me..

Excerpt………….
‘the sun is rising gradually
on earth
on this day
on my confidence
on my self belief
and on my trust on my people
if you know what and who i mean
i can’t believe a friend woke up so early just to wish me luck
love..yes she is!’

Ascending to the aircraft – check
Finding my seat – check
Settling down – check
Now comes the hard part – avoiding awful things inflight… i put my headphones on. And – gawd! – the plane starts moving to the sounds of ‘Learn To Fly’ by Foo Fighters! Heheh.. God you are gracious indeed, coz these are the things that actually count to me – Signs! Which i must say are pointing to something else too since one year.. But let’s not get there right now! It’s almost certain by facts that THAT won’t ever happen. But SIGNS!

Excerpt…………..
‘this is better than what i expected,
no silly buzz in the ear,
the sound is similar to as if it’s raining outside,
nice ambience,
though without any inflight entertainment,
and lawd m still unable to sleep’

Ok, breaking news, before i know it i’m fast asleep. Too lazy to even eat my inflight poori – aalu and things. Fast forward > > weather near mumbai is bad, it’s clouds and rain and clouds and rain, the descent is beautiful among layers of clouds (it’s like this dream sequence…aaaaahhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaa) and…………… we’ve landed. AND THIS CITY IS WET WET WET!

I change in the airport restroom and get outside. Now somebody (AN), the person who i called first thing on landing here, had told me that autos are best and it’ll take around 40 mins and all. So i grab an auto, haggle with him to bargain to 3/5 of the original fare and reach my destination in 20 mins..hah!

The first things i notice about the city – it’s WET, it smells of petrol (unlike my city), lots of rain, taxis, autos, tacky surroundings and BEST buses.

Now this bank building (my interview destination) is what i call glitzy.. scrolling neon signs inside and outside look especially good in the torrent falling from the heavens. There’s a huge reception area and dedicated elevator shafts beyond that.

The office is cool.. Too cool for a government bank actually..

Interview’s not much to tell about.. Except the panel of 5 people who were tormenting the candidates with childlike smiles intact on their face..

And now i think this post is getting way long, so i’ll keep the rest of the chronicle reserved for the next post…………………………………………(Part 2)

View from the interview venue.

© 2013 Ankita Kala

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