Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I Am Back

after an unintentionally long hiatus. A lot has been happening at my end, so let me first write about all these 'happenings':

My Trip to India

Its been 2 years since I left India. Hence obviously, I was in urgent need of a break, and the vacation couldn't have come at a better time. I opted for an Emirates flight, connecting through Dubai, since my plan was to reach Cochin directly (its barely an hour from the Cochin airport to Thrissur, where I stay). Unfortunately, my flight from Dubai was at 4:00 AM, and I was left sipping gallons of coffee at the Dubai airport for almost 6 hours. I, of course, had to lug around the bottles of liquor and sacks of chocolates that I'd purchased from the duty-free shops wherever I went, and so I wasn't too keen on roaming around inside the airport.

I hate to admit this, but our countrymen are terrible at doing something as simple as standing in line, and waiting for their turn; they almost need to be threatened to stand in line for any damn thing. Somehow, the very folks who at JFK airport had obediently scuttled into line like well-trained puppies (I figure there is something about the U.S of A that intimidates a lot of our countrymen!), created a huge commotion at the Dubai airport. I had observed many of these (expectedly, predominantly Mallu) gentlemen and their families behaving themselves at JFK, so I'd not expected the chaos that now followed. Instead of following the seat numbers being read out loud and clear by the crew, these folks chose to make a race of who would enter the damned aeroplane first. In between, a Mallu-looking and Mallu-sounding (you know what I mean) bald man in a blazer that looked as if it had been bought at least a decade ago, chose to pick a fight with a hapless flight attendant over a rather large-looking suitcase that he insisted on carrying with him into the flight, despite the attendant (by now desperate) offering to check it in for free. Thankfully, his supervisor (I think) soon arrived and put her foot down, much to baldie's chagrin.

The flight itself was, thankfully, uneventful; so was the entire Customs process.

A lot of friends had commented that the first thing I would notice in India after stepping out of the airport would be the dust. Well, they were wrong. It was the traffic that unnerved me - the vehicles zipping in and out at perilous speeds was really alarming, despite me being used to driving much in the same way for more than 6 years. Strange, but true.

The heat levels have definitely increased though; and the load-shedding scene is terrible. In fact, the weekend I came, the frequency was every half-an-hour - can you imagine? One had to shave/have dinner/whatever within half-an-hour, or one would get stuck halfway through. I really can't imagine who came up with this notion of cutting power every half-an-hour. I mean, why 30 minutes; why not 1 hour or 2? But No - from when I was a child, load-shedding has to be for exactly 30 minutes; it's almost part of our daily routine now.

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