From New York to New Delhi

It was raining since some time in night on Sunday, December 12, 2010, when we were to leave New York for Noida. It continued in morning too. Luckily for the first time during our almost twelve days stay, it was a very pleasant Saturday with comfortable temperature and no wind in New York. We enjoyed fully the evening in Times Square of New York. Svanik had further added to our pleasure with his innovative moves.

Rajesh, Shephali and Svanik, all accompanied us to the airport. All of us were a little more sentimental. We all were morose as we would miss each other.

Medicine and metal detector:
We were prepared for the security checks, but I did never even imagine that a phial of ‘Ecospirin’ in the pocket of this heart patient would create so much of trouble. Every time I was passing through the metal detector cabin, it used to buzz. I showed everything to the security officer. He was also not sure what was causing the buzzing. Finally I asked him to take everything in pocket in a tray. The officer took it to X-ray machine and came back satisfied. As he told me, it was the medicine phial that was causing the trouble. The packaging material was having metallic content and that caused buzz. Yamuna kept on blaming me for keeping the medicine in pocket. She told me that Rajesh was still waiting outside at the far distance watching our problem. We waved and he waved back again and again before he left.

Smart Water for 4 dollar
We walked and waited at Gate 7A JFK Airport for Air India 102 that was supposed to start boarding at 2.30 PM, but finally the boarding started at 3.45PM. Why should not the system find ways and means to cut down this wait or waste of time? Why should for a flight, a passenger must report three hours before the flight time? Does it not increase effective time of commute that should be looked into?

Yamuna wanted to have some water. I went and got one small ‘smart water bottle’ from a shop that was manned by pretty aged Indian women. Yamuna was surprised when I told her that I had to pay about $4 (Rs 180) for the small bottle. It’s common when one converts dollars into rupees.

Presidency College connection helps
We had to wait and waste or kill our time without much to do but going through old family photographs on i-Pad that Anand gifted. But then I met Sunil Kumar Gangopadhyaya and the time flew at the speed of light. He did almost all the talking after I introduced myself. He was in Presidency College for his M.Sc in Chemistry in 1957: a student union president, his achievements, associations, his positions and so many stories of his successful life came out from him almost nonstop. But more interesting was his last wish to be cremated in Keoratallah on the bank of Holy Ganga rather River Hooghly, as his father got cremated there. I reminded of Late Braj Raj Rai of Jaso. Both children of Mr. Gangopadhyaya are in USA. When look towards the passengers waiting for the Air India flight, we found most like us retired and visiting their children in USA. Is it not a great achievement of the younger generation of India or the previous one that motivated them to go out and explore?

And in the flight
Finally we got in and surprisingly, I had another experience with one middle age Sardarji on the seat next to me. He was, as it appeared, under pain. He smelled of alcohol. He had a cloth bag full with his things that he was holding in his lap. It was troubling me. But I thought to solace him and said he would get relieved of his pain. Wahe Guruji will help. And to my surprise again, he opened up to the level of annoyance. He kept on touching me and Yamuna and asking for the blessings. He kept on promising to give me his full address and requesting us to visit his village where he had a good farm. He was speaking in rural Punjabi that we hardly understood. I then requested him to keep his bag under the front seat. He complied. I got a little freedom for moving my limbs. I was surprised that he was served whisky too. We got a mini ‘chanachur’ sachet as snack.

Finally, I went in to mute mode. After dinner, finally he slept. But after getting up in the morning, he was totally different He never uttered a word and perhaps had forgotten of his requests and promises.

And in New Delhi
And on New Delhi’s world class airport, I found Yamuna miserable. We had not asked for a wheel chair in excitement of reaching home. The distance to baggage claim area though assisted by many walkers became really too long. But Yamuna finally managed.

Meru Taxi charged Rs 1220 for the Indigo that carried us to Noida in dark because of a power cut. Inverter was down. We were again in India covered with dust in atmosphere, the one thing that makes me sick. And the system has become immune to it.

We are back in the abode that gives some peace.

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