Millions of minutes before this moment had started my mantra No motion-sickness please!!
It was 11.45 pm. What an ungodly hour to be waiting in line to drop off my checked luggage and collect my boarding pass! No motion-sickness please!! Fifteen minutes passed and I hadn’t moved an inch forward. Why are all international flights from India scheduled at such ridiculous hours? Our convenience is not their priority, I guess. No motion-sickness please!! Half an hour went by and I was still standing at the same spot. Thank god! My one year old daughter was fast asleep in her stroller. No motion-sickness please!! An hour passed and I was still stuck at the same place but knew why. The computers were down! No motion-sickness please!!
Passengers were getting impatient and restless. Just before it could have turned into a ruckus, they rushed us through check in No motion-sickness please!!, emigration No motion-sickness please!!, security No motion-sickness please!! boarding No motion-sickness please!! procedures and we were seated in the plane successfully.
One hour passed by and the plane hadn’t budged. I started feeling stuffy. No motion-sickness please!! Another half an hour passed and now I was sweating but knew why. No motion-sickness please!! There was a mechanical failure and the air conditioners weren’t working. We sat in there for another half an hour practically melting before the engine was up and running. No motion-sickness please!! They let us know apologetically that we were couple of hours behind schedule and hoped to make it up as much as possible in flying time. What?!
It’s OK, I will still be able to catch my connecting flight. No motion-sickness please!!
We were midway and so far, we weren’t making up any of the lost time. No motion-sickness and let me make the connecting flight please!! As time passed let me make the connecting flight please!! …
The plane reached late! let me make the connecting flight please!! Did I mention that my daughter’s stroller was checked in because it was considered too bulky? None of the flight attendants would be available to help me out in transferring to the connecting terminal till the last passenger left! So I had no option but to carry my daughter, the diaper bag and a carry on and sprint from one terminal to the other which were quite far apart. To make the situation worse, we had to go through the security check as well!
Man! There was a huge crowd at the security checkpoint. I panicked! I hesitated for a while but then decided to put on a brave front while pushing my way through the crowd. I hate breaking rules and felt horrible jumping the line. I was yelled at by few people, ”hey lady! where do you think you are going?” “we are waiting too!” I ignored them, reached the security personnel and explained to them my crisis. They took pity on me, checked me and let me through.
Hooray! We reached the gate on time! I sat down on a chair huffing and puffing and setting my daughter free to move around. She was very happy to be the center of attention of a group of young people sitting beside me. They were cooing and babbling over her in their native tongue and before I could comprehend the situation and react, the deed was done: one of the them shared his white chocolate with my daughter and in no time it was in her mouth! Gesturing wildly I went “Sorry! no chocolate! she eat no chocolate!” She has never had a chocolate or any sugar based sweet up until then in her life, moreover it was given by a total stranger! I can’t believe even today that instead of immediately prying the chocolate out of her mouth I let her eat that piece so as not to offend the stranger!!
I paid the price for my stupidity. My daughter started shitting once every hour for the first half of our journey; we would dash to the toilet and while I would be changing the diaper she would get excited seeing herself in the mirror and would break into a jig on the foldable diaper table. I don’t know whether it was the diaper table or the mirror or the overall novelty of a confined toilet space in the plane that held my daughter’s fascination, but we ended up spending most of our travel time there.
We arrived at our destination on time and everything went on smoothly until one of my suitcases was not to be found on the baggage belt. The helper that I had arranged to help me with the luggage grew impatient and I reluctantly let him go to find another customer. I had no choice but to leave the trolley carrying my luggage right next to the baggage area in order to unfold the stroller, place my daughter in it and push her along to the lost baggage claim area. There I was asked to check through few large suitcases that were separately placed near the counter. Thank god!! My suitcase was there!!
As I was standing there wondering helplessly as to what to do next, I spotted the helper who was to help me before and asked him if he could help me now. He agreed.
I was so relieved to see my husband waiting in the visitor’s area! The first thing he asked me was if I was OK or did I get motion sick? It took me a moment to realize that I didn’t get motion sick at all! In a way it was a pleasant trip!