Sometimes I wonder why I do what I do. It just makes my life comparatively more convoluted than that of those around me.
My friends are busy planning a lunch for tomorrow while I am busy planning my ten day whirlwind visit home, to UAE. Their hands are busy flipping through menu cards whereas I am busy checking my ticket and passport.
They are asleep in their comfortable beds anticipating the start of the sudden holidays whereas I am turning and tossing around in bed mentally reviewing to- pack and to -do lists.
The next day as I glare cheekily at the immigration officer who has decided to take his own sweet time to stamp my passport I wonder if he is actually memorizing my details or something.
That done, waiting in the lounge in front of the boarding gate for two hours does nothing to soothe my back which is on the verge of going on strike against the grave injustice I am meting out to it. Can't blame my spine and seats of learning… I subjected them to the torture of staying still and ramrod straight for four fifty minute lectures earlier in the morning. Poor them…. And then my arms that last exercised when I went swimming four months ago, cry out in agony when I haul my suitcase around. As I make my way to the plane, 'goodbye and happy holidays' SMSes that flood my cell phone confirm my hunch about my friends being busy watching movies back to back or doing something a million times better than ending up with co-passengers who snore.
An hour later, when the lady sitting next to me manages to stop snoring and, I manage to pay the courtesy visit to my long lost friend sleep the steward decides on an impulse to stomp his way from one end of the aisle to the other. Nice… he scared my reticent and shy friend away. It is 10 in the night and the plane is an hour late. Nora Roberts does nothing to ease the cramps in my legs which are the result of sitting in an auto rickshaw with one leg over a suitcase for an hour and 15 minutes to reach the airport.
My stomach is grunting and emitting low rumbles that reminds me of a growling dog with its hackles raised. I think the last time some food soothed my innards was at 2:30 in the afternoon. How I wish the plane would take off and the crew would serve me some chow. It is now exactly 12 in the night and the air traffic control finally decides to be gracious and permits us to fly high.
Finally, after 4 torturous hours the plane decides to land itself at the Sharjah Airport thudding all through the runway and then some more. No jolt or thud ever made me so happy. If my back had hands the clapping and cheering would resemble the crowd at a FIFA final because I could finally stand straight, after more or less 8 and a half hours of remaining seated.
As I wait at the luggage carousel, mentally counting the appearance of a particular suitcase for the 10th time in a row I wonder why am I doing this, when I can manage to be snug in my lumpy bed in Bombay and wake up late the next day looking forward to an outing with my friends. I finally spot my bag after a wait of almost 20 minutes and stop short of whooping in glee. I just realized that standing doesn’t agree with me either. I push the trolley with my bags outside the airport almost breaking into a sprint, all I can dream of is going home ASAP and crashing into my cozy bed. HELLO UAE. Imagination becomes reality.
Next day I wake up groggy and ravaged with jet lag. Once again I dwell on the sensibility of my decision to not study in the UAE where my family is and moving back to India to pursue my higher education. Compared to this hassle of travelling every 6 months and the whole rigmarole of packing and having to keep adjusting to my surroundings and two totally different lifestyles the former would have been a better choice. Add to that the miserable feeling of not exactly belonging to any of the two places in particular, I feel like I am stuck in a limbo. As I wallow in self-pity and depressing thoughts of this variety early in the morning, the phone rings. I pick it up and hear my little cousin's chirpy voice.
“When did you reach?” She squeals, "Early this morning honey" I reply
“I am dying to meet you! I wanted to be there to receive you at the airport but I had tuitions this morning. I am so glad you're here, I missed you!!!" says she.
At that particular moment, it became as clear as crystal to me why exactly I have been doing this whole travel gig since the last two years despite the aches and pains that come with it. And especially after spending the last 2 hours writing about how obnoxious travelling back and forth is.
I have, and I would travel to any remote corner of the world a thousand times over just to hear a loved one tell me that.
Yours recuperating from jet lag