Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Yet another Holy Week is in progress; four days past the Palm Sunday; halleluiahs and hosannas have tailed off; the Maundy Thursday, the precursor of Good Friday dawns.
All my belongings were packed up; the bags were weighed and locked; name slips were stuck to; ticket, passport and work permit were checked okay. Phone bells rang; picked up and put down saying “thanks for the wishes and keep me in your prayers”.
The whole family had a prayerful gathering. Heart beats orchestrated the hymn. A few beads of tears rolled down the cheeks; splattered and splashed. Felt the warmth of the parental lips on my forehead. Got into the taxi throbbing outside; the doors were slammed and we headed towards Thiruvananthapuram. My journey into the blues thus began.
It was almost 12.45 pm when the taxi glided to a halt in front of the entrance of the International Terminal of Thiruvananthapuram airport. The big bag and the carton box were put on a trolley while the laptop and lunch hanged on my left shoulder. Attempt was made to move forward. But the trolley did not come my way. Left the disobedient trolley and dragged my luggage towards the entry door.
A stocky uniformed man with a long rifle stopped me and asked for the documents. A permitting nod was given after a quick glance of the passport and ticket. Airport door opened before me for the first time in life. I swaggered towards the Island Airways counter and got my boarding pass. As per the instructions got from the counter I moved towards the counter where my luggage was weighed and tagged. Being relieved of my luggage I climbed towards the waiting room.
The time was almost 1.30 pm. Another two more hours for the long awaited take off. The lunch pack was opened on my lap; had half of it and that sufficed. Excitement of the first foreign trip did not keep me on the seat for long. Moved from seat to seat; started pacing about; rang up a few friends and relatives to say a final bye. Time seemed to be longer.
Some others to the same destination were identified in the meanwhile. Their movements were observed carefully, to follow the suit. Imitation and emulation are ways out for the ignorant. A few minutes later I saw some of them taking their handbag and moving towards a door. Thinking that it is time to board the flight, I brought up the rear. But it was just another waiting room. Restlessly rested on a chair there for another long hour. No TV channel could grab my attention. Millions of thoughts flashed through the mind, filling it with hopes and fears.
It was 3.00 pm. The Island Airways passengers queued up at a bus door. The bus headed towards a little plane waiting at a visible distance. We could see the passengers getting down the bus and mounting the flight. The bus returned for the second trip. Together with the rest of my co-passengers, I boarded the bus gazing at the flight. The bus started rolling. The blue under the white top of the fuselage seemed brighter and clearer. The cavorting dolphins behind the nose of the aircraft caught my sight. The minute in the bus is over. We alighted besides the dolphins and had a curious round around the plane before embarking. A cute young hostess in blues welcomed me with a mechanical grin and looking at the ticket showed me the way towards the second window seat from the cockpit. I pleasantly occupied my seat with pride.
My eyes were always engaged in surveying the premises of the airport and the aircrafts in the vicinity. Calls were made to my parents and close friends to share my excitement while the propeller beside me started rotating. A few minutes passed before it moved. A few gigantic planes and airport busses drifted past the window. It took a turn and drone turned into a rumble. Finally we are in the sky above the Arabian Sea with in seconds. The Island Airways flight carrying us sped through the floating clouds heading towards Male International Airport in the middle of the Indian Ocean.