My mind rewinds these particular series of incidents that happened with me; and this recollection happens quite frequently. Thinking about it even now, sends a chill down my spine. I cant believe I managed to survive those ordeal. But yeah, there must be some invisible supernatural guiding force or my utterly blind courage that led me through them. When we are so foolish, we get that gut courage that has never existed in us. This incident occurred 3 years back in June 2006.
Right from the beginning, things were shocking and over-whelming. OK, I have never boarded an aircraft prior to that day. It was jittery. It was not that I didn't get a chance to fly. I did get, but each time I preferred the more economical mode of transport. My senior manager at office was amused when he heard to what I said. I went to meet him to get his signature for my travel expense report; reading my expense report, he found that I took a bus to Chennai for my Visa interview. I saved the organization about 80% of the probable travel expenditure!
Forget boarding a plane, I had never ventured anywhere near an airport. So everything was new. Adding on to that, I had to travel solo. My manager called me and pleasantly wished a "Bon Voyage". I did not have anyone to receive me in USA. But I behaved as if everything was alright. Perfect!!!
Then came the day. My airline was Singapore Airlines, scheduled to depart around 12:30 AM. My folks accompanied me to the Bangalore airport. The first stupid behavior of mine was when a cute lady asked me to fill up some form. Oops, I didn't have a pen. A friend of mine went to a store and bought a pen. I filled the form out. All these things with my 50+ kg of luggage, my cabin suitcase, laptop and a vanity bag; as I was supposed to stay in USA for at least 3 months.
Once nearing immigration counter, visitors were not allowed entry. I could not manage my luggage anymore. I was using the cart, yet it was really uncomfortable, the cart was pulling me in all directions but not in the direction I want it to go. I know that thing played a dirty prank on me, so that I looked foolish for others.
So here I was, struggling my way upstairs to the baggage check area and then to the immigration. An attender who works in the airport saw my battle with the baggage, all this while my folks were still looking at the combat I was involved in through the glass partition. OK, this guy approached me in the sweetest manner possible, as if trying to show a gentlemanly behavior towards a lady and asked me if he could help. I was so naive, happily accepted his HELP. He shoved my nearly falling baggage properly to the cart and took it forward 5 feet, threw them on to the conveyor for the baggage check.
Well, is anyone so angelic? He asked me for money. All I had was 500 INR and others in $ and TCs. I had that 500 Rs to be used in case of emergency. It was meant to be held so that I could use it in case I had to make a phone call or to hire a taxi after I return back to India. I gave him a 100 Rs note. I thought he will give back some change. He just pocketed it and when I asked him, he said "Its OK madam!". I was like, could not believe it. I asked him to give me half the amount. He just walked away :-( My first bad experience.
Checked in the baggage, went to the immigration counter. A stern looking officer scanned my passport. It was as if I have committed a treason against my country!! He harshly asked me if I had my office ID and asked me to display it. I obediently showed my office ID and my invite letter. You see, it were my looks. I looked like a school girl, and was showing signs of nervousness.
Immigration check was done, screening was done, I waited for about an hour before I boarded the plane. Always had the habit of rushing to board a bus, and always been familiar with the idea of First Come First Serve. But I was one among the last few to be allowed to board the plane. Economy class you see. I didn't have an iota of idea. Was excited to see how a flight would like it, was pleased when the hostesses welcomed each one. I was waiting to occupy my seat. Guess what? I opted for Window seat!! Seat by the window is what you wanted as a kid, why kid? As an adult too. Isn't it nice to see the ever morphing scenery as we travel? Insignia had the same idea. To watch scenery while flying on a plane!!! How I wish someone was there to advise?
Real fun waits here for Insignia once inside the aircraft and later.....Poor thing, had no idea what all was waiting for her........
PS : I did not want to dig my own grave once for all by revealing all my funny misadventures in just one post. Let me do it in installments. So next is 'Insignia goes to America'...Watch out for it...Coming soon!