Thursday, May 14, 2009

You know you have landed in Mumbai when...

The plane after circling over the city finally lands but then stands on the runway for one more hour. There is no parking bay available for it.

The aerobridge is dirty and hasn't been cleaned for some days. The passengers don't really care. They are too relieved to finally get out of the plane after sitting there for more than nine hours.

The heat engulfs you the moment you step out. So does the stink from the sea, unwashed bodies and a/c ducts.

The pot bellied airport officials glare at you when you present your papers. They think it was a crime you went abroad while they were working.

The women attending to the washrooms zealously guard the toilet door. They refuse to budge or hand over the toilet tissues to you unless you give them Rs 100. Try explaining you left your purse with your husband. You will come back learning some new Marathi words.

After the harrowing wait at the custom clearance, where you explained for the hundredth time you really did not shop for anything abroad as everything was available in amchi Mumbai they finally let you go. By that time you are so tired you could have easily left your luggage with the oafs.

The mass of people waiting outside the airport is more than the mass inside. Grand parents, uncles, aunts, parents, siblings, friends and the entire neighbourhood have come to receive you. For some reason all of them look happy to see you. The same people were also happy when you left.

After negotiating your luggage trolley through some rough terrain, broken pavement, some one's shoe and I swear I am not joking, an entire family sleeping on the sidewalk, you heave a sigh of relief when you finally reach your car... only to realise the driver got bored waiting and went for a cup of chai.

Endless traffic jams later even at one in the morning (the city never sleeps after all) you are so relieved to see your home you actually start weeping. The beaming grandparents, uncles, aunts, parents, siblings, friends and your neighbours think you are homesick and can't stop smiling.

After some tea and a detailed discussion on your trip, with some extra in depth analysis on the food that you ate, you are finally allowed to go to bed. You simply crash and have the best sleep in days.

Coming back home...the bliss is beyond compare.


Onkar said...

Very well drawn scene on return from a journey abroad. Nothing is more beautiful than the nest.

sujata sengupta said...

"The women attending to the washrooms zealously guard the toilet door.... Try explaining you left your purse with your husband. You will come back learning some new Marathi words."

wonderful lines and so true, these women make me want to slap them, they are so mean.

loved the post, its truly endearing.

Tharini said...

Welcome back Aparna. Did you have a good holiday?

Aparna said...

True Onkar, nothing compares to home.
Sujata, did you also meet that mean lady? It was a real emotional atyachar moment for me in front of the washroom.
Thanks Tharini, I had a wonderful holiday. I love Europe, but Italy was simply breath taking.

Sai Charan said...

Hi Aparna,

This blog is really nice and cool and I had a nice laugh while reading this post.

Handling irritation along with a pinch of frustration sometimes goes beyond our control.

Your style of "picturesque narration" is excellent and the way you mixed the flavour of humour in right proportions is appreciable.

Well, thanks buddy for giving a friendly visit to my blog and writing your opinion.

Don't forget to answer the question - "Tell me one simple and easy way to kill time?" :)


nituscorner said...

enjoyed reading the home coming.
and thanks for dropping by in my blog. looking forward for more.

P said...

OMG! this is GOOD!
i remember acknowledging the immigration guy with a polite smile and he looked at me as if I was guilty of blasphemy!!

but to tell you the truth when i returned after almost 18 months, I was actually happy to jump over the puddles, trash talk the guy who rode his cart over my foot (seriously, where can i do it here! may be NY), swear at the traffic and curse as my head gets messed up again by the left sided driving! But... the mess is charming in its own way cause its soo comfortable!