It’s 5 in the morning and I’m at the airport. A little déjà vu of when I was doing the same thing almost 6 months ago before my flight to Kolkata. This time I’m flying to Indore via Nagpur.
The guy sitting opposite me seems to be working intently on his ThinkPad. I’m jealous that he has a laptop at his disposal while I have to type on my iPhone.
I have a six o’ clock flight, which means I was up at 2 AM, caught a cab at 3 AM and made it to the airport at 3:45 AM (perks of travelling to the Bangalore airport before sunrise: you beat the usual travel time of 1 and a half hours).
I then proceeded to stand in an extra long queue (holiday crowd) at the check-in counter, praying all along that I get away with my 3kgs of excess baggage. They don’t care that it’s my best friend’s wedding, do they?
My prayers worked. As did my puppy face. I was let off with the kindest warning. Thank you IndiGo.
But unlike the genie in the lamp, I’m granted only one wish. No aisle seat luxury or window seat view. I’m stuck in the middle. Sigh.
You win some, you lose some, right?
I’m told by the IndiGo airport staff (the same gentleman that pardoned my rule breaking) that I don’t need a luggage tag for my hand baggage. It’s not required anymore. A new development, only three days old.
4:30 AM, I breeze through security check. No queue here. But I do stand in line to grab a filter coffee at Tiffin Express right after. I sit by myself at a table and people-watch while I stir unforgivable amounts of sugar into my coffee.
I hit play on my iPod and shamelessly “observe” the people in my view. Girls dressed in trendy winter-wear excitedly turn their spare time into photo-ops. Solo travellers carrying elongated backpacks and paper cups of podi-idli. Musicians, so many musicians at the airport today. Families sprinting to their boarding gates, maybe they’re going home for the holidays. I see an old woman bid farewell to a family of three and walk away smiling. I wonder what the story is there.
I love that so many different types of travellers cross paths in airports.
Gate 11 is on the ground floor. It’s crowded here. The flight to Bhubaneshwar is boarding, an air bus for blinks impatiently outside to escort passengers to the flight to Trivandrum. It strikes me, to my disappointment, that a gate on the ground floor means no aerobridge. I do not like air buses.
My phone buzzes. It’s a text from IndiGo letting me know that “since this is a silent airport, no boarding announcements will be made.” That’s when I realise that it has been rather quiet at the airport. I wonder if the silence is a temporary measure.
I find a seat near the boarding gate, opposite the man with the ThinkPad.
I finished writing half of this post when they started boarding. Why bother standing in the queue. I always wait till it’s only a few people long.
My seat number is 11E. E for excruciatingly uncomfortable middle seat. E for all the “excuse me”s I’ll have to mumble when I accidentally bump elbows with my seat mates.
Not E for the extra leg room that E for emergency row, which is just behind me, provides. Sigh.
Inflight announcements begin. I grin a toothy grin when I hear the air hostess say, Hello Sexy.
It never gets old. And I always wonder if this was the desired reaction or just a happy coincident of naming their inflight magazine Hello 6E.
The old lady in the seat in front of me is wearing jasmine flowers. The scent coincides beautifully with this time of the morning but the joy is short-lived because one my seat-mates has an upset stomach and wants us all to know.
I hold my breath (less in anticipation and more out of desperation) as we finally take off and watch the sun rise as we ascend into the clouds.