Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Monday Feb 13.

44 days in the year gone already. Scary thought. It’s 11:30 PM in Mumbai, though my PC clock tells me it’s just 18:11. Why can’t they use locational services to identify my longitude and offer to change my time so I just have to click on “Yes”, “No” or “Remind me later”! Intel says they’re putting 3G on the chip soon, so may be we’ll get that feature in Windows XP 2010.

Usually in Mumbai, my evenings are just about halfway through. Mornings in office. Afternoon to early evening on work outside of the office and then into the night with friends. Often a couple of hours of surfing/ mailing before I sleep around 4 AM only to dash off at 8 again! (don’t worry I get my sleep on those 1 ½ hour journeys that litter most working days). But this time, we’ve already had 2 almost sleepless nights and Karuna is struggling to keep her eyes open. She’s drifted off half way through the first line of my first para. Without the embarrassing adrenaline rush opening my laptop gives me, I would be dozing off about now, as well.

We were tempting fate of course, when on Saturday evening at the Abyssinia restaurant, over sumptuous Ethiopian food, we regaled each other with travel horror stories. Just to prove we hadn’t quite covered the lot, the BMI flight gave us some more to remember. Despite checking in before 7:30 for a 10:00 flight, and despite us asking for seats together, the guy behind the counter managed to give us seat numbers 26F and 30D. At least he gave us the aisle, which bore no comfort for Karuna, who patiently explained to the harried stewardess that we didn’t want to “take a chance” and sit down, hoping the people waiting next to us would shift/switch and that she was perfectly willing to get off the flight if we didn’t get the seats we had been promised. We got our seats, though fate exacted a high price for the result. Next to Karuna on the right was a lady who (a) spoke little, and only monosyllabic Gujarati (b) expected Karuna to help her operate the remote control through the journey (including when Karuna was trying to sleep) (c) rather incongruously, drank lots and lots of beer at every meal, belched quite loudly and (d) unpacked copious amounts of pickles from her bag beneath her seat for mealtimes. This apart from the fact that the elderly couple behind us, didn’t like us to push our seats back at any point of time. Though the air-hostess told them they would need to live with it, they remonstrated by continuously pushing against the back rest. At one point, I noticed to my horror a grey, socked foot, on my arm rest, which had been pushed through from the back. Before I could ask the hostess to remove it, it went away whence it came!

Ah the joys of travel!