The flight

Dear readers,
This post is going to be about how my trip was like from Mumbai till Edinburgh. But there is a little problem here: I will not be so frequent in posting replies to your comments or even visitng your blogs. Internet access is a problem here and I am posting this as a copy-paste from something I noted on a Notepad :)

Ok, lets start. When I was leaving my room in Mumbai, I had my share of feel-good and feel-bad moments. As someone who has travelled out can confirm, you usually wear the heaviest set of clothing you've got when you travel, so that the baggage weight is reduced. In my case, it was a suit. So there I came out of my room, wearing a suit with a nice shirt, shining shoes, prim and proper shaved face... you get the picture. Now, it was about 9:30-10:00 at night and almost all our neighbours were in the open area just in front of the housing society, having their share of end-of-the-day chit-chat. So here I come out, in a fully suave outfit, with a majestic Aristocrat suitcase behind me, and there is a swanky jet-black car waiting for me. The driver was from my company, and he wore a full white dress complete with a cap and all, wished me good evening, and took my luggage to put into the boot of the car. Now, I don't need to tell you that then and there I was the cynosure of all eyes. I noticed our next-door aunty waiting there and smiling. I said hello and went up to her to wish good-bye. The usual questions followed: where am I going, for how long, is my company sponsoring this trip, etc. And with a casual, blase air, I answered all of them, fully aware that the rest of the folks were hearing all I said. Another face I knew was kind-of peeping high and trying to get my attention, so I turned, bid her a good bye as well, and in the meantime, the driver came and told me that the suitcases were loaded in the car. So I took a slight bow and flashed a smile at people, and walked into the car as the driver held open the passenger door. And that was a really feel-good moment :)

Someone very reliable had told me that the check-in baggage limit is 23 kilograms. As you can imagine, I had leave behind a lot of things and just pack as little as I could. After arriving at the airport, as I joined the queue for British Airways, I saw a sign that said, "Any single piece of check-in baggage should not weigh more than 32 kilograms". I was almost horrified. I mean, if you do not know something, say so. But since that god-darned lady told me that the baggage limit was 23 kilograms, I shuddered to think of the incredible amount of jeans, books, etc that I had dumped just a few hours ago in a frantic bid to bring the weight of my baggage below 23 kilograms. So here I was, with a 20-kilo suitcase when the limit was 32 kilos. The person who was weighing all the suitcases when they came up to him in the queue before putting them in for scanning just picked mine, had a look at the suitcase first and then at me, and then put it on the conveyor belt --- no weighing required. After that, the usual check-in procedures happened. Nothing special, so to say. The only drama that happened was at the emigration counter. The guy queried me in Hindi, asked the usual questions. What lengthened the conversation was the fact that I was born in Bihar, and my passport was issued at Ahmedabad, and I am a Bengali. However, things went of well till the security clearance was announced for my flight, and I sat in front of the departure lounge.

Getting into the plane was a very special experience. From the glass enclosure at the lounge, I could see as the Boeing 747 came and stood at the right place. I have never seen an aeroplane from that close, and the only word that can describe it is 'huge'. Soon, the duct was connected, and we were asked to board. As I stepped in, I could see the metallic body of the aircraft shining and I was literally entering the belly of the beast. At the door, there was the captain, greeting everbody a good morning (it was 2:00 a.m.) and directing us to the right place. The seat was in one of the middle rows, and not a window seat :((. Anyway, since I was flying from mid-night to 7:00 a.m. UK time, I did not expect to see too much anyway. The ambience inside was superb, the air-hostesses were too good ;) and the seat was the best part. Everything was there --- right from an earphone to 18 movies that were playing on a personal TV screen in front, to games, blankets, toothbrush, toothpaste... :) The take-off time suddenly told you what G-force is --- like a thousand invisible hands grabbing you suddenly and pulling you back into the sponge of the seat. Soon after take-off, we were served snacks, and the chicken-sandwich was excellent. There was a Dairy milk, a cake, some water, and a lot of other small eatables which I munched on while watching 'The Lord of War'. The facts and figures menu told me after sometime that we were 36000 feet above sea, and my watch told me that it was well past 3:00 a.m. Time to sleep (with the eye-covers provided by the British Airways ;) ).

I woke up to the sound of the air-hostesses gently asking, "Sir, would you like some breakfast please?". Now, I never refuse to eat, and so had my breakfast as well. The map showed us to be somewhere over Europe, with the outside air temperature -64 degrees Farrenheit :O. The captain announced that it was 6:04 a.m. UK time, and I set my watch accordingly. After I filled up the immigration card, landed, took my hand-bag and went inside Heathrow at London. I followed the signs and reached the Terminal 1, where my flight was supposed to depart. But something was amiss --- all the flights there were leaving for international destinations: Prague, Zurich, Paris, Mumbai. Nothing spoke of any flight to Edinburgh. After wasting 30 minutes there, I went up and asked a person after showing him my ticket. Now, this is what he said, "You are at the wrong place --- this is the international departure terminal. There is another domestic departure terminal, where you need to go to gate 78 after you have passed the passport and immigration check". I looked at my watch, it was 8:10, and the gate for my flight was supposed to close at 8:45. I had my heart in my mouth. After some amount of half-jog-half-walk from that place, I reached the immigration check counter.

A brief good-morning later, the first question which I was asked was, "So, what business brings you here; what will you be doing in the UK?". The first answer that came to my mind was, "I have come onsite, and will be partying, sight-seeing, etc.". Ugh, the 'khaaenge-peeyenge-aish-karenge' bug! The next thought was, I'll make bombs and blow up the royal palace. Ewww!! Why couldn't I think of the right answer? All this had left me fumbling for the answer to that question, and finally I bluttered out, "Work!!... I'll be working here". All this while, the officer had been looking at me with a quizzical glance, and I was kind-a scared that he will tag me a terrorist or some kind of a potential immigrant and deny me entry. Some more questions followed, and then I was asked, "Did you have a chest X-ray done?" I said no, and then he told that I might be contacted at Edinburgh for something like that. I said ok, and was asked to proceed. I looked at my watch --- it was 8:35!!

I ran ... ran till I was at gate 78. I actually reached there at about 8:44, and found to my relief that people were still boarding. This time, I had a window seat. And I experienced the take-off to the full this time. Suddenly the cars, houses, etc became so small. And soon after, when we were above the clouds, I had a beautiful view. I mean, I hhad imagined something like that in my post Diving through the clouds, but nothing compared with this view. A full white carpet, strewn across the sky, with the light from the morning sun sparkling against it. It is difficult to describe, but that is the most I can say of it. After a very short while, we landed and came out. There was a person with my name on a placard waiting for me at the airport baggage collection lounge. I collected mine, and then walked with him towards the car parking.

The weather was cold - really cold and rainy. But the car-ride was excellent. The place looked so picturesque, together with castles, tiled houses, cool cars and bare trees. It felt like I had walked right into a movie, or into one of those posters people hang at home. I was shown the office and the apartment, which are about a 3-4 mins walk away from each other (really, they are that close). After checking in at the apartment, I suddenly felt that I was onsite!! Whooow! It felt great... and it still does. You know what, the apartment deserves a post by itself. So I'll do that in the coming one. Keep commenting, people. :)

Comments

  1. good to hear from you bhai.so far the best thing u seem to hav enjoyed the food and later running .......lolam waiting for your next post;)

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  2. and....... i guess you also got a preview of whats stored for u ahead in your life i mean suits ..chauffers...
    and many many smiles;) :)so keep rocking.

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  3. welcome to scotland :)
    - reshmi

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  4. Arre sahi!Vilayati babu ho gaye Sir!I hope you have a li'l more than the loads of fun that ppl onsite...I was wondering, If you have sometime in hand would you agree to write a small write-up about your experiences in Accenture as a company for the college newsletter?? :-s The placement season is gonna start soon for our batch...we'll be really glad for the inside dope. Do let me know if its possible..as the editor, the deadline would be around 25th of february?

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  5. Congratulations dude!!!
    It sure feels good when u have to travel....Scotland eh...y don u post some pictures for all of us to enjoy.

    Nothing makes a parent proud than a son who is placed and even better a son gng abroad..its like in their dreams to answer "My Son's abroad" [;)]

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  6. Thaks for sharing your experience with us.Your article was like a train of pictures which has gone through my mind.Please share more

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  7. HMM...hope u have fun out there...hmm...i can understand ur irritation for the female who informed u about the luggage limit,sorry that u had to miss out on so much of ur good stuff.Hope ur properly armed for the cold!

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  8. have fun and keep us posted as well!

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  9. Varun, bhai, thanks! I have been since enjoying most of this place. Chauffeurs for me? :O :)) Man, do you want Accenture to start begging campaigns? :)

    Ellie, that was a wonderful wish -- a little more than all the fun people usually have. Thanks... and I do look forward to having it.

    BTW, you are actually inviting me for writing an inside story about a new joinees experience into the corporate world? Whew!! I am honoured!! I will surely find time and write something up. Do let me know the size details, etc.

    Sriram, thanks, pal.. will be posting pictures soon. And I know that my parents are really happy. My mom right now is at some wedding, and I am sure that people on either side know by now that her son is a very eligible bachelor who is now 'abroad'!! :)

    Animikh, thanks, dear! More coming up soon!

    Kay, yeah... that female will have a piece of my mind about the difference between a 'I don't know' and a hal-truth! But I am well-armed for the cold, thanks :)

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  10. "I'll make bombs and blow up the royal palace."

    Har Har!! Anything remotely like that, and you would have been "outsourced" to Gautamela Bay :P.

    Beautiful post - I like 747s, though they are too noisy and too big. BA is not my fav airline anyways hehehe.

    LOL - your goodbye ceremony seemed straight out of bollywood movie. Heheh - did your neighbors cry when you left :P

    Eagerly awaiting the next one!

    Suyog

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  11. Nikhil, thanks! Will be posting this weekend :)

    Supremus, I kno, I know... that is what exactly I thought when I thought of that bomb thingy. But my exit anyway was a true Bollywood style exit --- cool cars and all... do let David Dhavan know of this idea ;)

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  12. whoosh. so very well written....

    have a nice time Sudipta, and since you aren't around for the Mumbai Blogger's Meet, be in time for the Edulix Mumbai Meet scheduled in March (maybe).


    oooh. my word verification word is : masks

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  13. bhai i read ur mail this is crap... today sory was my mistake...but wud try again later when u r back .and waiting for ur new post !!!!

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  14. So the lad has reached. Great account of flight experience!

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  15. Evenstar, thanks, dear! But am I missing the Mumbai bloggers' meet? Uh-oh :(

    I have got even better word verifications than that --- the next time someone tells you that comps do not swear, tell me :)

    Varun, it is ok, bhai... maybe I'll check my email today itself. New post already in!

    Anonymous, yes, the lad has finally reached. Is this Reshmi?

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