Friday, December 19, 2008

A journey of a thousand miles (and more) must begin with packing the first suitcase :)

Considering the amount of packing and unpacking I have been doing since the last two years, I think I should get into the movers n packers business. I have heard there's a lot of money in there :).
I love visiting new places, distant wonders, far-off foreign lands but I HATE travelling, and thus here are chronicled the woes of my travel on one of the longest routes in the world - almost 24 hours: Chicago - Frankfurt - Mumbai - Chennai; Carrier: Air India. (All times given in CST for accurate calculations ;))

And though our travel starts only at 1655 hrs on Dec 13 at Chicago ORD, here's a must-read prologue:
The journey of 24 hours - 8574 miles begins at least one week before when packing is commenced with the first suitcase. Packing, weighing, unpacking, weighing, repacking, weighing! God, how much do clothes weigh? I cannot travel light. I don't have my husband's uncanny skill of throwing everything, consolidating the bare necessities and moving on. I am emotionally attached to most of my belongings - clothes, shoes, accessories, small presents, cards, photographs, favourite mugs and the list goes isn't it inhuman to ask me to pack almost two years of our lives - memories, paraphernalia et al - into four measly suitcases of 23 kgs each and two inconspicuous handbags!
Without any other option, I set out on the herculean task of packing and trashing. My husband performed the last riots of a lot of my beloved possessions and after some sulking I too reconciled to the inevitable. Curse be on those that restrict luggage across cultures and countries - what a barrier!

The travelogue:
13 Dec
0900 hrs - Schaumburg, IL: Last minute packing, weighing, cleaning the house
1030 hrs - Denny's at Schaumburg, IL: A very hearty breakfast
1200 hrs - Schaumburg, IL: Anxious rest
1400 hrs - Schaumburg, IL: Last good byes to all
1500 hrs - Schaumburg, IL: Cab arrives (we had kept ice creams in the freezer to have at the end but that never happened thanks to all the heebie-jeebbies - somebody in the leasing office had a treat that day!)
1530 hrs - Schaumburg, IL:House keys handed over to the Leasing Office
1615 hrs - ORD Airport at Chicago, IL: Lined up at the Air India check in-counter (fingers crossed that the rude european officers on duty let pass the extra 2-3 kgs!)
1630 hrs - ORD Airport at Chicago, IL: All security check-in formalities completed and begins the long boring wait for the flight.
1800 hrs - ORD Airport at Chicago, IL: Boarding delayed by 30 minutes cause the baggage belt had broken! It has to be Air India...
1900 hrs - Seated in the flight - cramped economy seats - the only saving grace it's one of those Boeing 777's
2000 hrs - Somewhere on the east coast: hot bland indian vegetarian food

14 Dec
0000 hrs - Somewhere in Europe: Stiff neck (already!!!) but lots of choices for entertainment - classic movies to the more recent, TV shows...
0315 hrs - Frankfurt, Germany: Sleepy, groggy. Jolted back to my senses when I realized I had lost the transit pass somewhere. Had to some sweet and sad smiling to the German officers (one of them was amazingly good looking) and guess what the chauvinistic gentlemen bowed and smiled back and didn't create any trouble. Thank god for godly men!
0515 hrs - Back on the flight
0700 hrs - I forget what was served - lunch or breakfast, hot or cold - I don't know. I was sick with boredom and Vish did little to help matters. He just doesn't talk. How much can I keep on talking :(.
Till this time we had been dislocated from our seats atleast four times by the guy occupying the windows seat. I hate the aisle and middle seats precisely for this reason. How many times does the guy need to releive himself...good lord!
1130 hrs - Mumbai Airport: Under construction, hot, dirty, congested and stinking. Welcome to India!
1500 hrs - Mumbai Airport: 30 minutes after boarding time no announcement of the flight. Airport officials busy managing a group of Hajis en route to Bangalore from the Middle East.
1600 hrs - Finally we get to board the flight to Chennai...the last stretch!
1830 hrs - Arrive in Chennai (Local time: 6:30 AM - 15 Dec). We lose 12 hours...what the heck!

Both of us are still battling with the changed environment, the body is taking time to reset to the new time zone, the olfunctory organ is getting used to the smells, the ears are trying their best to tune to the increased noise levels but the heart instantly filled with joy and warmed up at the sight of home. Nothing in the world feels like being at home :)!

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