I had a very long, eventful day.
I had to board a plane at 5PM, and had a million things to do before that. Hence, I slept until 11AM.
Once awake, reality hit me in the face and I worked like a war machine. Yet, I was behind the schedule and reached the airport half an hour later than the preferred time. But things were under control. I was spared queuing up, checked in like a dream, with enough time to indulge in McDonald’s bland cappuccino. It was perfect, if you skip the part where I dropped salsa sauce on my white dress while having lunch behind the wheels. I multitask like Chunky Pandey does action. Utter fail.
Then I met Maria on the way to boarding. Bless her, she asked me, out of the blue, if I were going to Madrid for IIFA, as I looked ‘Indian’. We chatted some and exchanged numbers before heading to our respective seats. I am really glad to know at least one person in this city.
Flight was uneventful. This guy sat next to me, with earphones on and ’50 short stories’ in his hand. We didn’t exchange a single word. We took off an hour later, because now we have traffic jams up in the sky as well. Landed, caught up with my newfound friend, and went on to collect the luggage. Picked it up and went out to find the metro.
And then I got a call.
I had picked up the wrong bag. My feet swore in three different languages, but I went back after a hasty goodbye to Maria. I tried to retrace my steps, lost the way and then finally made it to Terminal 1. Exchanged luggage, profusely apologised, and started all over again.
Sanity screamed that I should hail a cab; wanderlust said that I should explore the city a little, especially my neighbourhood. I ignored sanity and later faced the music. I bought a 5 day pass after fidgeting with the machine for a while. A gentleman then told me that this particular machine does not take bank notes; only cards and coins. I thanked him, and got my pass from the neighbouring machine.
Train took its sweet time in arriving. It was busy, considering the hour. I was to get off two stations ahead. Dragged my 20kg bag, laptop bag and handbag along. Sanity again whispered – it’s a 12 minutes walk. Want to take a cab now? Wanderlust said you are almost there. Why bother?
You need to validate your ticket to enter the train station – very similar to Dubai. On the way out, I was searching for the slot to enter the ticket, until a passerby told me that you only need to swipe the ticket to enter. You can exit just like that. I could almost see pity for me in her eyes. I felt like Rani (Kangna Ranaut) in Queen.
And then I saw stairs. Lots and lots of them. Do you remember what all I had with me? Yes. All that. And 100 steps.
I took a deep breath, and went ahead. My cape tried to trip me over twice. Big men passed me by, giving me the come-hither look, but wouldn’t offer to carry my bags. Where the hell was chivalry? Then a young couple came along, and my eyes met the girl’s (for a friction of a second). She nudged her companion to help me, and he ran up with it like it weighed nothing. He was very lean, didn’t speak English and was probably 20 years old. I was in awe. And truly grateful. Faith restored.
After another kilometre of struggling with the luggage, and cursing wander-tucking-lust, I finally arrived at my temporary abode, was greeted warmly by the host, who then walked me to the only-open nearby store for a quick bite.
And now here I am, with cup noodles and laptop, in bed, writing away.
– S –