11 April 2007
Slept at 11pm and woke by 3am; cab was delayed - stuffed some things at the last minute into my two bags and in the pitch black darkness we were off to the airport.
Everything was smooth as of now - helpful British airways staff everywhere (helpful and pretty I might add!) who ensure that you can't take a wrong step or land up in the wrong queue. I also The only place there really was a queue was at the immigration area. It was nice to hear a couple of typical Engish voices behind me discussing a gamut of topics ranging from the Bush administration to Afghanistan to carrying vodka! After immigration was the security check and that was a snap - you look in awe at the cabin crew and pilots who walk past queues without any prompts.
There was a good amount of time for the flight - spent my time loitering around the departure area reading a John Grisham book "The Broker". Also overheard a couple of middle aged ladies chatting about their fights to the Gulf. Time sped quickly and soon there was a call "The BA flight is ready for boarding - passengers needing assistance on wheelchairs will board first followed by the elderly, passengers with infants and then passengers on rows 26-40 followed by rows 21-25. Exclusive club travellers can board at any time. Please remain seated till further notice".
No sooner had the announcement finished when a huge queue formed - actually a double queue and the people in the queue didn't seem to require any assistance or carrying infants. The next announcement came, "those needing wheelchair assitance can now start boarding. Other passengers are requested to remain seated till further notice". Not many were seated - the queue was there to stay and it appeared as if people were very enthusiastic to sit in the airplane than in the departure lounge. Everyone seemed to have the attitude of "early worm catches the bird" in situations where it didn't matter much. We are anyway going to get our seats and there will surely be space on board for everyone's cabin baggage - so why hurry; we could just follow the airline instructions rather than forming long queues and waiting for longer times.
When I entered the flight I almost immediately realized the disadvantage of having a window seat (something that I had asked for while getting the boarding pass). Beside the window seat where two more seats - so to get to the aisle or to even get out from the seat I would have to disturb two fellow passengers to stand up as well; and my fellow passengers were a couple of elderly ladies - one English and one Indian. I struggled with finding overhead space for my cabin baggage - and realized that the smaller bag you carry the more easier it is to find space. Eventually just as they announce please take your seats I found a vacant overhead cabin.
And off we went in the morning; departing the shores of my homeland - first time in seven years. Was a nice feeling - the takeoff was really smooth and my ears didn't even get blocked during the takeoff. I kept the novel in hand thinking I would read it but for most of the time was engrossed with the inflight entertainment system (you have a mini TV on the back of every seat for which you have your own remote control and on each channel a specific movie is played). I saw the movie "Incredibles" completely and slept off for a couple of hours. I didn't want to disturb the two ladies to the right and timed my walking/toilet breaks such that I had only 3 during the 10 hour flight. I usually hate the food on flights when I was small but used to love them when I came home and ate it. This time the breakfast and lunch was pretty decent and I ate most of it. Towards the last couple of hours of the trip is started feeling miseable - flight sick I guess where that flight food smell was nauseating; mentally I probably felt tired due to lack of sleep (slept only 4 hours before the night of the travel and then during the flight only for a couple of hours), felt my head throbbing a litte and felt simply miserable. I wandered into philosophical mood and wondered "What are we doing in this world? Why are we here? How would it be if there were no earth at all - where would we be?" "Why are we so obsessed with money, matter and looks when everything is just temporary? Where is the world heading to? Does everyone know their purpose in life?"
The flight began its descent and somehow my philosophical mood kind of made me feel better.