This is in continuation to the series of melancholy posts where my friends leave the city for-
b. a very long time
JS, another batchmate from IIFT left for the US on Tuesday. He was looking forward to it for a long time and its good to see him leave for the land of opportunities and a rapidly weakening dollar ( smirk )
Anyway I'd gone to see him off at the airport and frankly i've seen many people going on trips, whether they be intra-city, inter-city or even inter-country, but man, i've never seen anyone as casual about flying away for an year or so!
ok, ok i'll pull back and start from the beginning.
JS and his wife P form a couple that easily rates amongst the top 5 most lovable and cute couples i've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Jibi and I studied in IIFT and since i came to Bangalore a year and a half back, i've been living close to his place, going on trips together, parties etc etc. In between he also got married to his college sweetheart P.
As it is with people in the IT industry, the holy grail seems to be that coveted onsite posting to the US . Jibi duly got his onsite posting to a project in Houston and was scheduled to fly out on an Air France flight on tuesday last ( 16 October 2007 ).
So RB and I went to his house at around 10:30 in the night to bid him farewell and to see him off. His flight was at 2, and though I had some misgivings about whether he would be in time for the international flight, we still weren't expecting any disasters in catching his flight.
We reached their apartment and all was in abject disarray! Jibi was nowhere to be seen and P was rushing around the house looking totally distraught. We finally calmed her down enough for her to manage to speak coherently - " umm, gulp,sniff...the ..the fridge...its lost! sniff"
"wha...?" (Thoughts in my mind- she's in shock, a refrigerator? how can that be lost? Last I saw, it was a nice, big, roomy 200 lts fridge - the kind that can't be slipped un-noticeably in a trouser pocket...)
"Where's Jibi P?"
" Jibi is looking for the fridge...on the roof"
And then we saw Jibi and the story unfolded. Apparently they were couriering all their home stuff to their hometown. As both of them were at work, the courier people came in the evening and things were sent in a rather hurried rush. And after the courier people were gone- the fridge, which had been 'sold' to some people living nearby and was to be given to them before leaving, was reported missing in action, AWOL...
And Jibi was hunting for this three and a bluddy half hour before his flight to Houston!!
Anyway, this went on for a bit and then it was discovered that the fridge had been put into their neighbour's house by the courier guys.
Whew, you could hear the collective sigh of relief emanating from all of us. The clock was ticking and Jibi, was still roaming about in his casual clothes.
Packing him off to change we started to locate his luggage which we could haul into the waiting taxi. (Incidently we could've done with some help in this. Another batchmate from IIFT, who lives close by, AA, had called in the evening showing his keenness to see Jibi off at the airport in case i was driving him there.[ did i mention that Jibi is one of the popular people at IIFT]. I was expecting to see Ashish at the house and he could've come in handy but i guess he got caught up with something). But, things couldn't be so easy, now could they :).
10:45 on the clock and there we were, putting name and address stickers on his luggage! Things were looking ominous and I had a feeling that we could end up being very late. This feeling was reinforced by seeing Jibi still in his home clothes with a phone sticking to his ear speaking to Nikhil in the US about what documents he needs to get through immigration (yes, ladies and gentlemen, I do not name my blog posts in vain. 'Casual Travellers' means so much- here is a guy who's going to a whole new country for over an year and he's finding out the documents he needs roughly 3 hours before the flight!)
Then I saw the hand baggage that he was taking- Gawd a huge bag that would be thrown out unceremoniously if it was seen by the someone similar to the really angry and rude British Airways lady I saw in Heathrow. She had been callously telling elderly people, young mothers with kids that the luggage was too big and kicking it off - yes, that was a really bad British Airways employee.
Well, nothing could be done about it at this time. So I decided to take my car and go along with Jibi and P to the airport in case some of his luggage was to be offloaded after the weigh in.
oh, oh, oh I missed one thing. As I was getting my car to his house, we saw his friend Rajesh leaving on his bike. Enquiry told us that he was going to get a lock for the luggage. Ladies and gentlemen, the oscar for the most casual international travel goes to....take a wild wild guess!!
Anyway, alls well that ends well. Jibi reached the airport with more than two hours to go. His luggage was excessive (obviously) but not by much. We took out the excess stuff which we took back in my car. Jibi and P couldn't have a personal goodbye which i'm sure they wanted to, because of us three louts standing there, but atleast he got there in time.
Also, I met Jibi online yesterday morning - he's reached Houston safely! :)
PS: in other news Popli, my friend from DCE, returned after a 14 day long motorcycle trip to Leh and Ladakh. You can read about his experiences on http://diamoxandoldmonk.blogspot.com and see some truly breathtaking photos at http://sumeetp.blogspot.com/
Incidently, my new header picture is one of the photographs he took. He graciously agreed to let me use his pictures if I promote his blog amongst the millions and millions of my readers :)