<This was written on the 19th but published today>
I couldn't sleep past 6am this morning; an expected outcome given that I had passed out around 10 the night before. My body clock stays warped for a day or two when I first arrive by the Arabian Sea, but within a few days, I am back to my regular shenanigans between 10 am and 2 am. Ready for the random fact of the day? If you use your laptop/cell phone in India, expect the keys to become sticky, and all white objects to turn a slight shade of brown.
I decided to check-in to my flight to Bangalore over the web, but I wasn't sure if the Indigo website would support this. I was pleasantly surprised with the experience, and barring the fact that I had to call the 1800 number to allocate a new pair of seats for Nikhil and myself, the operation was quite the success. I am sitting in this Bangalore guest house room singularly because of that bright idea. Read on to find out why; as for the airline, the site is http://www.goindigo.in/.
Complete co-ordination was needed between multiple members of the Mehta family this morning in order for two of us to be ready for our trip. Mom packed our bags with the help of Vikas and Tai, Nikhil drove to Nikita's to get a signed photocopy of her credit card, I got ready and guided the packing troops in their duties :). All was proceeding on schedule until I decided to pamper myself with a salon shave. Hey, it usually takes me 20 minutes to shave; considering I had mostly trimmed most of the hair down, I didn't think a professional barber would take any longer than it would take me to clean the fuzz. WRONG!
Almost thirty five minutes later, I sauntered into the living room, clean shaven and extremely late. The flight was to depart at 1:25 pm, and it was already 12:10pm when we left, which was cutting it very close. It is an hour long commute to get to the airport from Worli, and as the trip to the airport progressed, I readied myself to spend another 100$ on our tickets. Here is a play by play for your entertainment in the Manoj Mehta patented Mastercard-24 format: (12:15pm) Cab ride to the train station - 40 rupees in cash; (12:31pm) Train ride from Mahalakshmi to Vile Parle - 12 rupees in cash; (12:58pm) Auto rickshaw ride from station to airport - 50 rupees in cash. Arriving at the airport at 1:13pm and still getting on to the plane, PRICELESS.
Getting on to the plane took a lot of two things - praying, stressing, and a little help from 2 complete strangers. The first one gave us 2 rupees so we could buy our train tickets. The other was the rickshaw driver who hauled ass from the station to the airport; he drove on the other side of the road, blared his horn, ruthlessly cut fellow drivers, and somehow managed to cover 2.5 crowded kilometers within 8 minutes (truly a mean feat of Bombay driving). As we entered the terminal, late as hell to begin with, Nikhil wanted to check our bags in, which I graciously accorded as the stupidest idea of the day, vetoed it, and instead directed our attention to the the security check-booth. Imagine my surprise when I was told that we were at the wrong check-point - halle-fucking-lujah. An alert airport assistant noticed our hapless situation, and led us to the right security gate where things proceeded smoothly until the cop wouldn't accept our printed boarding passes. Nikhil ran out and called the Indigo representative, who stamped our passes while simultaneously informing us that we had arrived in the nick of time - any further delay on our part and they would have departed without us. Phew!!
Bullets of sweat flowing down the sides of our faces, both of us took our seats as the air hostesses closed the airplane's gate. Through the "arduous" ride, we didn't feel hunger or thirst because of the continuous adrenalin rush. About the time we took our seats, our tiny celebration of making the "cut" was rudely interrupted by both parched throats and rumbling stomachs. That's when we started requesting bottles of water, and by the end of the flight, the two of us had gone through 12 bottles (250ml each). One of the air hostess' saw us, smiled at us, and kept bringing us water, sometimes without our explicit asking - the almost instant guzzling down of the entire bottle of water clued her in to how thirsty we were, maybe! :)
Our welcoming party consisted of a familiar face and a new one, but not for an instant during the ride to the hotel did I feel constrained. Gouri seems like a good sport, and if her friend is anything like she is, Gundapps is a lucky man. My opinion is that you can't truly love a person without spending time under the same roof; given my confidence in my friend's ability to love, I think this is going to be a very happy union.