Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I recently flew to Bombay for a conference. I love these work related trips. I’ve done quite a few of them over the last few years. It lets you travel. It takes you out of your usual work environment, into a newer more refreshing one. New ideas, people, offices etc.

But the most amazing bit? You get to holiday for FREE! Well, not for free exactly but for a few hours here and there spent on doing ‘actual work’, but that’s a smart and fair trade-off I’d say!

Before I say more, I need to be clear about one thing though. I HATE the travel bit. I love getting there and being there. But being on a bus, a plane, a train, a car, a boat… oh my! So very taxing.

Let’s take the ‘easiest’/ quickest way to commute known to man at present. The Aeroplane. This is what a typical airplane journey consists of:
a. You’re never packed on time. If you’re like me, you almost always pack two hours before your airplane departs.

b. The one time you are packed on time, your taxi is ridiculously late.

c. If, like me, you live in a big city, your travel time to the airport is 60 minutes+. At the very least. So you’re best choice is to take an early morning flight, say 8am, to beat the peak hour traffic on the road.

d. So if you did chose this flight, you get there in say 45 mins, but what did you have to sacrifice? Sleep! Ah ha! It means you woke up at 5.30am (even the sun is barely up at that hour!), got ready and left home by 6.15, reached the airport by 7, took an 8am flight and landed at around 10.30am. Sometimes you’re barely even alive by the time you’ve landed.

e. Ok, let’s talk in between. So you got to the airport, waited in that long check in line. Why do I have to check in if I have only one bag? Because you see, I brought shampoo and they’re afraid it could be something chemical that I might use to blow up the flight.

f. And of course not, I may
not have the window seat. ‘I’m sorry. Everything is already booked madam.’ Why? By whom?? I got here early didn’t I? And puh-lease, you’re not sorry. I’m pretty sure you hate your job! You’re all dressed and made up at 7am for God’s sake.

g. Fine, so no window. As luck would have it, no aisle either. So you’re stuck in the middle. Great. But what’s next? Security bloody check!

h. This is the part where they frisk you, after you have taken off your watch, jacket, cell phone and even you bloody hair pins! Also, I’m almost always paranoid about my things. The bag goes in and comes out, but your own check takes longer (don’t even get me started on the icky-ness of the frisking). By the time I’m out, my bag has been waiting there for a good five minutes or so. So who is to say that it’s not been whisked off by some klepto?

i. And my God, have you ever had those times when your bag has something you didn’t know it had? Like a lighter that has no gas and doesn’t even belong to you, but was put in with your stuff when you were out drinking with some friends last night? Oh they scare you silly. They keep saying, there definitely is something there, what is it? And for the life of you, you can’t remember! How can you be expected to think so hard at an hour when you’re normally in deep slumber dreaming your last dream?

j. Then there’s the waiting. One hour of waiting for the flight to board you. First, you’re too sleepy to read a book. Second, the seats are too damn uncomfortable, to sleep or to read a book! Third, and definitely the worst, you’re flight is almost always DELAYED. Oh, that dreaded word.

k. So then you board, and behold! You are sitting next to the fattest, smelliest man that burps like clockwork. How are you to survive a trip like this? 2.5 hours of this? No sir!

l. Say you did survive. And the plane ride is almost over. You land. In one piece, thank you. Barely. Then the lines begin. The bee line to get out. Especially with Indians, who have no idea what the word
queue means. There is shoving and pushing and unloading bags and holding up everyone behind you. Relax! How does it matter? We’re all getting on the same bus from the plane to the airport!

m. And besides, why rush when all you’re rushing for is the luggage, that simply does not arrive before you do. As a rule. You wait at the carousel, hoping that it comes soon. You wait another ten minutes, with people pushing and shoving to look if their bag has come. I wonder if they’re scared someone might nick their bag too!

But you see, all this is definitely worth it, when you finally get out of the airport, into a taxi and check in to your hotel. The uber comfortable bed and pillow, the snug fit under the comforter, the AC that’s set at just the right temperature, the beautiful room and the pristinely clean bathroom and most of all, the knowledge that you are in a city that is not yours; new things to see, new people to meet, new beers to drink. Just the new air of the new place is all very worth it.

That said, let me just say, I’m still hoping someone will discover teleportation soon.