Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My First Experience - Not An Erotica - 1

This blog is written on April-12-2006 in my MSN space.

Hello There!!!

Thanks for choosing to read my blog.
I got this idea of blogging "my journey to USA" when I first saw the coulds from above them, from the window next to my seat right over the right wing of the Air-India flight on March 11th, 2006.
I have experienced a lot of new things during my first ever flight journey.
I am going to bite and eat a small piece of your mind by sharing these experiences with you.
After all I am a non-vegetarian :-) Ha.Ha.HAA [an attempt to laugh like a devil]
[Today, I completed my first assignment, internal website construction, and got the appreciation; I have no work this evening ]
Let me start from Bangalore Airport.

As I entered the first gate, I am separated from Gopi, my father and a friend who accompanied me.
Then, my baggage got separated from me. Wondering where I meet it I stepped on to the escalator.
First floor, I met my baggage on the conveyor belt. Pulled it down. Mind was blank.
Father, friend and Gopi are watching me. I stood there for some time.
I found Air-India boarding pass counter and baggage check-in queue.
Pulled my two suitcases and stood in the queue, watching what ppl are doing at the head of queue.
10 min in queue.
A white old lady standing before me turned towards me with a tag in hand: "What does itinerary mean? I am poor in words, ...Hello !!"
Though I understood what she asked, I couldn't reply there and then, so I asked "Come again please...".
She repeated the question. I said "it means the details of your flight journey... which flight, number, timings, stops, price etc... simply put it's a record of a journey".
First time I talked to a person from west. She is a German.
She thanked me. Now my confidence levels grown to 90% from 30%. Now I can ask her any doubt.

She smiled and said again, " I am poor in words."
I too smiled, and pressing each word so that she could understand my accent, I said :
"Not every one knows all the words. It's the first time ever in my life I am in an air port.
I need a lot of help from you regarding the check-in procedure, boarding etc... thanks in advance"
She agreed and I felt relaxed as if my mother is there to take care of everything for me J

My turn in the queue came, I said "Sir, pls look for a window seat. It's first time for me"
Then my baggage disappeared on the conveyor belt.
I came out with a form to fill to get boarding pass. Looking for a chair to sit, I found the same lady smiling at me, and I sat next to her.
Filling the form, I asked where she was from, she said "Germany. I have to go to Frankfurt."
"Oh... I am going to Houston." She said "Oh my god, it's a long journey"
I observed SatyaSaiBaba on her watch and asked "You came to visit Baba? Are you his devotee?"
"Yes I came to Bangalore to visit Baba but I am not his devotee. I am a devotee of Ramana Maharshi"
I said "Ramana Maharshi ! Pondycherry? Aravinda Ashram...!!"
She: "yes yes yes... who do YOU worship?"
I replied "I am born to Hindu parents. So I am a Hindu by birth. But I am not much religious. Humanity is my religion. Be good and Do good is my simple phylosophy. That's what any religion says, isn't it?"
She is apparently impressed by that. She asked me "How old are you?" I said "Almost 26"
"Good. At an early age, you got an opportunity to see places. I have a daughter of your age. She is working in New York"
I asked "What is she? " "A fashion designer"
I said "Good !! Happening business." "Yeah"

Then we both went to get the immigration check done and stood in the security screening queue.
She waved her hand for me to follow her. But there were three Indians in between.
I requested them if I can go... that gentleman got angry and grunted at me ---'come in the queue'. Typical Kadapa treatment I got :-)

That's the end, I could not talk to her after that.
Waiting in a room for 2 hours till 4.00am, they announced that my flight is ready to board.
Slowly joined the queue. She came next to me and said "Hi".

Entered the flight. An air hostess welcomed with a plastic smile and an unnatural Namasthe.
I found my seat and it was a window seat. Happy. Looked out side. It's all dark outside.
Could not see any thing as the flight took off... I felt dizzy and head-ache.
I scolded myself "God [damn], these are precious moments. Why am I not healthy today?"

But I controlled the sleep…. out of curiosity.
Mind you I did not sleep from the evening, reached B'lore airport at 11pm.
Watching around in side the flight. Seating is no better than our Hi-tech buses. Volvo is far better.
Hand rest has a few buttons. What are they? Thought of experimenting, but asked the guy next to me.
I admitted again "Sir, it's first time for me. How to bend the seat back? what are these buttons for?" That guy explained every thing in detail. Good.

One hour later the flight landed.
I am in Mumbai for the first time in life.
I had never been to Mumbai before.

Announced to get down the flight. Got down and followed the crowd.
Another security check and boarding pass check.
I understood that there is another flight that flies from here to Frankfurt and then to Chicago.

I got some time to fresh up. Moved my bowels and relaxed. I must tell you how the toilets were in our Mumbai airport. Paperless.
But there was a mug and water. But... it's a western style toilet. Probably this can be called "Unity in diversity!!?"

Security check done. There was a coffee shop. 20 rupees. water coffee.
Pulled out two tablets and swallowed along with the coffee.
Slowly I became fresh and healthy as Mumbai was getting ready to see the Sun raise.
My headache receded. I entered the flight. Found my seat. Window seat again. Bingo!!

Now it was visible out side. Sun raised. And he had gone up. But flight has not started.
Do I need to remind you? It was an Air-India flight.
An announcement "As you can see, there is a technical snag. Our crew is working on it. Once done we take off in a couple of minutes. Thanks for your patience and understanding."
Time 8.45 am. When landed it was 5.00am. Evaru chesina kharma [yaaru maadida kharma]? Nenu anubhavistunna !!

Finally the announcement "We are taking off in a couple of minutes. Pls fasten your seat belts."
I am sitting right above the front part of right wing. Flight moved on to the runway to take off.
I could see/feel the engines starting and it accelerated to move up. Yes, it has left the land.
Tell you frankly I was a little scared once the flight is in the air. I observed it is trying too hard to fly more.
I felt it is not able to fly further high. But slowly it gained the momentum.
I am settled down in my seat looking out side. In a minute I could see the sea and shore.
For the first time in my life. I had never seen a sea before. Never been to a beach.

I could see the sea for the first time from 2 to 3 kilometers above the land. Watching... the flight is in the clouds.
The clouds are looking like huge piles of cotton. Three minutes in the clouds. Then I felt the gravity again. Flight moved further high.
Now I am above the clouds. Sun rays falling freely on the clouds without any obstruction... and I am above the clouds.
Wonderful experience. Slowly the clouds became small.
As I look into the screen before our seat row, it shows that we are flying 11.4km above sea level.
But not over the sea. Over land. West coast land.

If I am not wrong, I have seen the flight flying over the Thaar dessert. I am not sure.
But the map of our route that is shown on the screen goes over Rajasthan.
Then I could not see any thing but clouds well below the plane.
A few more minutes … I could not control my sleep. Pushed the seat a little back and slept.

I woke up to find the song from Ghajini "x pitchchi Y Pichchi Yedo Pichchi..." being played.
I had headphones put on my head, listening to a few songs played in the flight.
Looked out through window. Ohh .. beautiful scenery... a group of small hills all round with snow on their peaks.
After that a sky blue colored sea. I could guess i was flying over the European continent.
Small and big rivers, snow, tall snow filled trees.... all those pictures that I have only seen on wall papers or greeting cards and movies.
The screen before my seat reads... "Out side temperature -20 degree Celsius, Height 11.4km. Opposite wind blowing speed 27miles/h, flight speed 887kmph".
Each of the above details is a wonder to me.
I wondered if we could reach Frankfurt, as and when the right wing gave a few gentle jerks.
I could see the wing bending, moving up etc… when the flight takes a gentle turn.

Through out the way we have been served break fast, lunch and dinner. In fact I could not notice which was what.
Because, in Bombay it was 8.45am…. After 8.30 hours of journey we were in Frankfurt. Time in Frankfurt was 1.30 noon.
I could see what a well organized city Frankfurt is, should not compare it with any of our cities.
There was a big canal/river flowing next to the airport in the middle of the city.
In Frankfurt the out side temp was -6 degree Celsius. I got down there. That is a big [beeegggg, you got it?] airport.
My flight was halted there for two hours for re-fueling. Than took off to Chicago.
This journey is over the ocean. Over seas. After all I am in an overseas trip.

My boss is calling. Will tell you more about this interesting part in my next blog.

Thanks for the piece of mind. It was tasty.

See you,

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