Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Flight to Delhi

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Flight to Delhi

It is the morning of Eid in my IIM Ahmedabad dormitory. It was four in the morning. I am getting ready to catch the Indian Airlines flight to Delhi at 7:50. The head is spinning in Bangladesh now probably giving the Fajr call. Amma is definitely up. He will call his wife while getting up to perform ablution. I took the panjabi that I had kept aside for the night. Today is the day of Eid, I wanted to wear Punjabi. Ahmedabad to Delhi, then Dhaka. Dhaka to Chittagong again. Chittagong to Mirsarai. A long journey, thinking about it, started bothering me. I opened the luggage and put Punjabi in it and took out the t-shirt. The call came from the reception. I told them to call me a little, if not sleep! I looked around the room quickly, so as not to miss anything. After completing the reception formalities, I got into the car reserved for me. It was exactly five o’clock. Amma must have finished praying by now. Calling us all to sweep the porch and yard. Tell us everyone except me today. I am on the way to the airport by car.

Ahmedabad is a very clean city. Illuminated by street lamps, daylight has not yet dawned. When I arrived at the airport, it was six o’clock. I went through the security gate and boarded. Very long line. I thought the line would be less in the morning, but it is the opposite. Later I learned that early morning ticket prices are lower, so many people have preference during that time. It took almost an hour to complete the boarding and security check. By then it was seven o’clock. I ran towards gate number two. At home, children are running around the balcony. Pallava Durlabh gets up and sits on the balcony. Someone is cutting nails. Amma says, you keep dancing, Huzur Basi Thaikbo for you.

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The Vistas cannot find one of their passengers. Announcing by name again and again. I looked around as if I knew the gentleman. How many people are sleeping on long chairs next to it. Vista made the last and final call and probably left.
It’s about half past seven. At home, all the boys are ready to take a bath. Everyone will go out after reading Punjabi. Amma or one of the daughters-in-law will definitely bring the semai in a tray and keep it in the balcony. Come on, come on, everyone, come out with a little smile on your face. Suddenly, I felt very bad, remembering everyone’s faces. How far I am from everyone! Semai has a sweet relationship with Eid in our family. Some like it, some don’t. However, before going to the Eid prayer, we have a custom of putting a little bit of milk in the mouth. For the first time in my life, I was missing the sweet taste of Semai. I stood up and left the chair, ordered chicken sharma from a nearby shop. There is no semai in their menu card.

Waiting times are long. My time stopped at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport. For the past ten minutes I have been sitting in the same spot in front of boarding gate 2, it seems like I have been sitting in this same spot for years. Lying on the floor next to me is a middle-aged man sleeping soundly. A very beautiful girl sits with the phone to her ear for a long time, humming a little, but most of the time she is listening. On the other side, there must be a very favorite person. People cannot talk to everyone for a long time. Either she is someone very special to him or such a long call could be just a mother daughter. I am looking at a handsome man, his head is full of hair, his mustache is full, his face is full of beard, all white. Along with Dhola Dhala Gujarati Punjabi Pajama is also white. It seems to him that it is not the airport, but the balcony of his house. The chair on which he is sitting is not exactly the waiting chair of the airport, but the takiya placed on his balcony. He is sitting comfortably with his legs up. He took out a flask from the bag beside him and poured tea into the lid. It is good to see his comfort. I got a thirst for tea. I went to a nearby stall. Variety of teas. Minimum price is 100 rupees. Subconscious mind conversion will cost about 140 rupees. What a situation! Instead of looking at money, I focused on tea. Masala tea with ginger.

Air India announced the flight time, seven fifty almost. Now Khatib Saheb is performing waj in the Eidgah. Just like the Eid prayer is wajib, it is also wajib to listen to the Eid sermon, no one should go without hearing the sermon. Eid prayers were not offered this year. This happened for the first time after understanding. The travel desk of my office tried a lot to start the prayer, but it didn’t happen. Many people of the area are met at Eid prayers. I am reminded of some dear faces, with whom I once spent a lot of time, now only meet during Eid. I was upset.

The flight crew approached and reminded about the seat belt. I did not notice the various thoughts. Air India’s Boeing is running along the runway. I drifted off to the sky and fell asleep. Almost didn’t sleep all night, tensed to catch the flight. On top of that, I was very tired from the last four days of continuous classes, group studies, cases. Woke up to the light call of the flight attendant. He took down the front tray and served paneer rolls and water. With the cheese roll in hand, it felt as if it had just been taken out of the oven. It was nine o’clock on the watch. Meanwhile at home my brothers went to visit the family cemetery with sure children. Every year I stay together. On the way to and from the cemetery we meet people from old homes, and some of our old friends. I greet everyone, I chat with some. Someone stopped and asked, “You’re not Taher’s son? Your father was a very good man. He played very good football.” The hand cheese roll has cooled.

Delhi Airport, I think is one of the most vibrant airports in the world. For some reason I like this airport a lot. It was nine thirty when I landed at Delhi Indira Gandhi Airport. My next flight is ten past eleven. Not even two hours before an international flight. The hope is that I boarded from Ahmedabad with no baggage issues. I quickly looked at the Air India counter to find out my gate number, 19B. far away There is no chance to think about anything. I started walking by walking accelerators. Walking accelerators are very fun, they keep moving, you can go faster if you walk on them. Walking like this, I arrived from the domestic terminal to the international terminal. When entering the international terminal you have to take an accelerator to get off, that area is very beautiful. Duty free shops attract attention after immigration. Their displays are so beautiful – as if calling out, come, why me?

I walk fast, destination 19B. It didn’t take long, in about fifty minutes in total I reached the gate. I checked at the counter, whether my flight is on time. They said boarding will start after some time. The waiting here is a little different. The faces are familiar, the faces of Bangladesh. I looked at the clock, ten thirty. I sat still a little. It was a lot of pressure. Throat is dry. I suddenly thought, why not drinking water! Today is not fasting. Today is Eid. I took out water from the side pocket of the bag. At home now my brothers, boys will return home after the Eid prayer. The younger ones will greet the older ones. Salami will be received. My salami was also understood this year. Although only Amma gives me salami these days, I know it will stick. I left some new notes for the kids at home. I decided to go and call them. Well, I have some rupees left in my pocket. I kept it as a backup. What do they do in the country? I have some time, there was a Haldiram store next to it, I went in. I bought some sweets for home and colleagues. After a quick shopping, I sat near the boarding gate. I talked to everyone by video call at home.

Dhaka flight was on time. Just after takeoff, the flight entered heavy clouds. The entire flight was full. The pilot’s voice came from the cockpit, he shouted and asked everyone to take their seats. I feel so helpless. Favorite faces are very memorable. Call Allah. After a while everything settles down. Cabin attendants continue to serve food. It was lunch time, the flight attendant asked, Veg or non-veg? Easy decision, I ordered non-veg. He took out a tray from his magic box and handed it to me. Cumin Rice, Dal, Chicken. All fires are hot. With sour yogurt, and a pastry. A set of wooden spoon, knife and fork. nice performance Still, I remember plates of milk-soaked semai, noodles, and biryani. I know that everyone in the house is eating these things now. Safuan will come and tell my mother, no one gave me a Birani! It means he wants to eat Birani, but won’t say directly. He studied in three years, my younger brother’s son, a very scholar, Masha Allah. Just thinking about him made me feel better. I was very hungry after running to Delhi airport. I started eating.

I reached Dhaka before the scheduled time. It was fifty o’clock when the flight touched the ground in Dhaka. My next flight is Biman Bangladesh, Dhaka to Chittagong, at 5pm. I called the travel desk of our office while sitting on the flight. The manager said there is a flight at 3:30 if I can manage it. I divided my total time according to the plot. Let’s see what happens, nothing wrong with trying. I got off the flight as soon as possible and started walking along the immigration. It’s better to say I started running than I started walking. I was missing the walking accelerators of Delhi airport a lot. With the luggage, I went to the immigration counter to see that Umrah’s flight had just arrived. Very crowded there. I was wondering what to do in front of a counter, where there was no officer. Today I understand that the flight was not caught at half past three! Suddenly, to my surprise, the in-charge officer came and sat at the counter and said, “Give me the passport.” I wanted to do the first Eid hug with the officer.

After crossing the counter, I really ran with the luggage trolley. After crossing the international terminal, I reached the domestic one. It was almost half past two. The boarding of the plane is still open. I quickly showed my five o’clock ticket to the flight office and requested to reschedule the running flight. The gentleman peeked and saw the line situation once, saw my face once. “Brother, I am coming from Ahmedabad. I spent the entire Eid day at the airport and in the sky. I will go from Chittagong again to Mirsarai. Please, see if anything can be done.” After saying the words, I handed my phone to him. He rescheduled my ticket within a minute. Thanking him, I went to the counter and stood. It was already two forty on the clock. I asked the teacher in front of me, where do you live in Chittagong? He is a bit upset, he is waiting for the boarding of the Jessore flight. Flight time two forty-five! Those standing in front of the counter are passengers from Cox’s Bazar, the flight time was two thirty. Rest assured, the flight is not leaving me. On the occasion of Eid, the staff of Biman was less, the same person who is issuing the boarding card, is putting the luggage tag. All in all a very difficult situation. However, the efforts of the officers were visible. After all, when I boarded the flight, the fatigue of boarding disappeared instantly. It is a Boeing of the prestigious Dreamliner series of aircraft. A very big and modern plane. It will go to Madinah via Chittagong. Many of the boys were reading Punjabi on the flight. One reason is that today is the day of Eid. Another reason is that many people here are pilgrims of Umrah Hajj.

The flight captain initially apologized for the unexpected delay. And said we will reach Chittagong in a very short time Inshallah. The faces of the flight crew, attendants are all charming, it feels good to see. The flight took off so smoothly that I did not realize when I left Dhaka behind and flew to Chittagong. The flight attendant served food mid-air. Our domestic flights usually include a small burger or plain sandwich, with water. Today is a little exception, burger, a chocolate with water and semai dipped in milk. Tears are flowing very little these days. Thoughtful, but sweet.

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