Though the thought of a journey never fails to excite me, as the date draws near, I am always filled with trepidation. I tend to worry about making it to the airport in time, the security queues, the weight of my baggage, anything is fodder for worry. Being a hopeless pessimist in the guise of a realist, I realise that most of these worries are common to most people, especially in these parlous times, but some of my them prove to be justified often enough that I can never really stop worrying and become a hardened optimist. I have run the gamut of terrible fellow passengers, nasty security men and women, condescending immigration officials, even spring-balance wielding airport staff hunting down the passenger who has made it through checkin and security, and been lulled into a false feeling of peace that he is now free to board his flight with no more worries about overweight baggage. Apropos of that, once an overly officious checkin woman got me to remove a half pound bag of coffee powder from my bag which was one pound overweight and told me brightly that she would do me a favour and overlook the other half pound. She expected me to thank her effusively, which I did, but I hereby withdraw the thanks I was forced to tender. There was a security woman who wanted to know how much money I was carrying out of her country and when I told her it was a matter of less than a hundred, she was not satisfied. I had to tell her I also had two international credit cards before she grudgingly let me pass. Did she expect me to suddenly incur huge expenses along the way on an international flight which was taking me home? There was the fat man who sat in the aisle seat and glared at me each time I asked him to let me pass on my way to the loo.
There was also a stewardess who brought me several packets of peanuts to make up for the vegetarian meal they did not have on board, though it was my fault that I had failed to make the online request. The steward then cooked me a special meal of quinoa with vegetables, concerned that I should not go hungry. I remember the passengers on a train who wanted to drop me home, the Bengali girl who offered me Sandesh because I had not eaten anything, the passengers like the Papanasam Mami on the Trichy train who kept me in splits with her humor, the young girl who confided her concerns about her career and her disappointment at not having conceived after six years of marriage – how can I ever forget any of them? They are all part of me though I will not recognise them if I met them now, but no matter, they are all dear to me.
So now, it is time to make yet another journey. I am nervous as usual, but it will be another chapter added.