Jan 15, 2010 – 6pm (Bangalore): Left home to take the Jet Airways 10.40pm flight (9W466) to Chennai, with the moist-eyed Sappu seeing me off. The food articles I was carrying were heavier than my clothes and occupied most of the space in my baggage. I had lots of khakras, maggi noodles, biscuits, some snack items like bhujia, moong dal, puris/nippats, pickle and some powders to be mixed with rice. Not too sure if I was going for a picnic or an official trip!!
Jan 15, 2010 – 11pm (Chennai): Reached Chennai in approx half hour. It took me an hour to reach the Bangalore airport from home and another one hour for all the other formalities (boarding card, security check etc). A sandwich and a brownie for dinner in the flight at 11.15pm; I never say no to food be it any time of the day!!!
Jan 15, 2010 – 11.15pm (Chennai): In queue for the Immigration formalities. I had approx 100 people in front of me (guess entire Chennai was headed to the US!!); no proper queue; total mess and chaos reigned supreme.
Jan 16, 2010 – 12.15am (Chennai): Somehow managed to wade through the sea of humanity to finish the immigration stuff and then it was time to fight away sleep and wait for the flight which was scheduled to depart at 1.35am!!
Jan 16, 2010 – 1.35am (Chennai): Departure of Jet Airways flight 9W226 to New York via Brussels. A quick call to Sappu (who was still awake) to confirm that I was on the right flight (she was scared that I might get lost and take a wrong flight to Nigeria!!!).
Jan 16, 2010 – 2am (Chennai): We were welcomed onboard with a towel dipped in cold water (not too sure what it’s called) and a welcome drink - a canned bottle of lemon juice. And then it was time for dinner, or was it breakfast? Whatever, it was food and I had to eat. Rice with some subzi, a bowl of curds and a dessert (a vanilla cake with chocolate topping I think). And forgot to mention, we were offered alcohol as well and I had 2 large vodkas with sprite (Sappu would be proud of me!!!).
Jan 16, 2010 – 2.30am (Chennai): After dinner, the lights were switched off and it was time for a nap. However, the inflight entertainment had so many options that I considered skipping sleep and watching all the movies (there were the English ones like Informant, Inglourious Bastards apart from some classics; hindi included Wanted, Kaminey, Love Aaj Kal, apart from lots of others); approx 50 odd movies that I could choose from!!! But wiseness prevailed and I decided to go to sleep!!
Jan 16, 2010 – 6am (god knows where): The lights were switched on and we were given hot towels this time and a fruit juice to get us ready for breakfast (when will you wake me up like that Sappu?). It was time for breakfast (croissant, fruits, dosa with chutney and tea). I quickly freshened up and came back to ensure that I don’t miss it!! After breakfast, decided to watch Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Bastards. 10 minutes into the movie and I decided to switch to a hindi one primarily because it did not have subtitles. I watched Kaminey for the second time. I didn’t need subtitles because it was in hindi!!
Jan 16, 2010 - 8am (Brussels): After completing 10 hours in the air (my longest ever), I reached Brussels. And just when the plane was landing, the guy sitting next to me decided to throw up (not on me, thank god!!). He used up the vomit bags of almost all the other passengers and I was scared that the crew would run out of stock. Thankfully, he was finished with the ordeal before we got off the plane. It was 2 deg C and freezing like hell in Brussels. But the most painful part was the security check that we had to undergo at the Brussels airport.
Jan 16, 2010 – 9.30am (Brussels): After almost an hour and a half in the queue, I felt Chennai was better. We had to remove our jackets, shoes, belts (thankfully not trousers)!! The security officer who was checking me tried to locate the non-existent explosives / bombs and almost got his hand close to my private parts (unfortunately it was a guy). Once he was convinced that I was clean, I was let go to catch my connecting flight to New York!!
Jan 16, 2010 – 10.10am (Brussels): Now it was time for the second leg of my journey, from Brussels to New York. And to my horror, the ‘vomit-man’ was sitting next to me again. I began my prayers!! It was time for welcoming us onboard again with hot towels this time and lemon juice. I was anxiously waiting to see what I would be given for breakfast or was it lunch? Whatever. Unfortunately, no food came and I thought of reading this time around instead of watching a movie. I picked up Chetan Bhagat’s latest and continued from where I left.
Jan 16, 2010 – 12pm (not too sure where): It was time for lunch and we were served one chapathi, malai kofta, peas subzi, fried rice and curds. I was tempted to tell my neighbour to refrain from having food but couldn’t muster up courage (even he had paid for the tickets, I couldn’t ask him to skip food!!). We were served alcohol as well but I wasn’t too keen because the vodka that I had a few hours back would last me a month. And oh yes, I watched Salman Khan’s “Wanted” (one of the biggest blockbusters of 2009) to keep me company while having food! He still cannot act for nuts even after being in the industry for such a long time!!! And it was time for another movie after I was done with ‘never’ Wanted. I ended up watching a movie called ‘Frantic’ starring Harrison Ford. Now you might think why I watched this English movie without subtitles. The reason is that all Harrison Ford movies have similar plots (his family is kidnapped and he sets out in their search; think Firewall, Air Force One, Patriot Games and so on & so forth). And fyi, in this movie it’s his wife who is kidnapped!!!
Jan 16, 2010 – 11pm (closer to NY): A chocostick ice-cream at the fag end of the flight to ensure a sweet ending to our journey. How I love ice creams!!! I noticed that my neighbour didn’t take the ice cream and wanted to ask him if I could take it on his behalf. But I suddenly remembered what happened just before the flight landed in Brussels and kept my mouth shut!!
Jan 16, 2010 – 12.40pm (New York): Landed at the JFK International Airport in New York, safe and sound. Once again, gave a quick call to Sappu to confirm that I had indeed landed in US!!