The cab reached my place. The driver’s voice brought me back to the real world. I paid him cash and got down. I sat down near the gate of my building. I wanted to run away. And then my phone beeped. It was a message from her. My tickets were booked again. And this time via Amsterdam. She said. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I read it twice. I felt relieved. She said that my presence meant important to them and so they cancelled my existing ticket and booked another one for the next night. I was excited again.
But this time, my flight was at night. I was supposed to go to Mumbai from New Delhi and then from Mumbai to Amsterdam and from Amsterdam to Bogota. I had back to back flights with hardly any break in between. I climbed upstairs, unlocked my house and let out a huge sigh of relief. After all, the international trip was still on, I said in my head.
That day, I checked everything at least ten times to ensure that I have all the required documents. There were a few documents that were not even required but to be on the safe side, I took print outs for everything.
I got ready and left home at 6:30 pm sharp. My first flight was at 11:00 pm from New Delhi to Mumbai. I reached the airport and moved to the check-in counter. While the staff on the other side of the counter was busy checking my documents, I had only one thing in mind. “Don’t say I can’t board this flight also,” is what kept circulating in my head.
And I was through. I completed the security check and boarded the flight. But still, I was nervous. I had another flight from Mumbai and I was hoping that nothing goes wrong this time. I reached Mumbai at 1 am. I had 3 hours to kill before my next flight to Amsterdam. I took a stroll across the airport. It was fancy. I went through the security check again and immigration clearance. Still, I was hoping that nothing goes wrong. And I was on the other side now.
Every procedure was completed and there was no issue with anything. But I was still uncertain in my head. After all, my luck has never been on my side most of the time. And so, until I board the flight for Amsterdam, I wouldn’t be sure whether I am going for the visit or not.
I know all this sounds so stupid. But there I was, waiting for my flight. Once, I couldn’t board so I was scared and nervous about what it happens again. And if it does, then I won’t be able to attend the conference.
They announced finally. “Passengers boarding KLM flight from Mumbai to Amsterdam are requested to come at gate number…” I took my stuff and started walking towards the boarding gate. I stood in the queue. As I was moving forward with the crowd, suddenly one staff stopped me.
“Sir, show me your passport please?” He asked me
I handed him over my passport.
“Sir, can you come with me for a moment?” He asked me again
I was nervous again. What did I do now? Several questions kept circulating in my head. He walked with me for a while and said, “Sir, you need to go to that counter and get your ticket registered with the airline. Since you are traveling from New Delhi they need to check your boarding pass here.”
I was confused but not nervous anymore. I went to the counter and asked the staff, “What happened?”
“Nothing Sir. We only need to update it here,” he took my boarding pass and did something on his computer. He handed me back my boarding pass and said, “Sir, you are good to go.”
I let out a huge sigh of relief, took my boarding pass and made my way to board the flight. And that’s how I managed to go on my first international trip. With a little hiccup and confusion here and there but finally, when I took my seat it felt good. But that was not it. There was another hurdle waiting for me at the Amsterdam airport.
I was supposed to reach Amsterdam airport at 8:30 am (as per the new time zone) and my flight was at 9:00 am for Bogota. The boarding gates will get shut by 9:00 am is what I was told. The flight from Mumbai to Amsterdam was comfortable. The food was good, the wine was perfect and so the journey. But the moment my flight landed at Amsterdam airport, I was in a hurry.
I had only 30 minutes to get down from my flight, go through security check and reach the boarding gate. I couldn’t even take a proper picture to update on social media that I was here at the Amsterdam airport.
I hurriedly walked to the security check and requested the staff to let me go first as my flight was in 25 minutes. He just asked me to wait as every passenger had a flight to catch. I was standing there for the first time with people mostly from different countries and all we could hear was a lady shouting at everyone.
She was Indian but had a different accent and the only thing she could say in Hindi was “Rumaal nikaal ke rakhna, pocket mei kuch nahi hona chahiye (take out the handkerchief and keep it in your bad. There shouldn’t be any item in your pocket).
I waited for my turn. I kept checking the time. It was passing quickly. And my boarding gate was not near to the security check counter. I knew once I was done, I had to run and run fast.
After a good ten minutes of waiting there, my turn came. I kept my bag in the scanner and went ahead with the security check. There was a cabin, where you just stand and it will do the needful. There was no need for someone to frisk you. I completed the procedure, collected my bag and checked the time. I had only 7 minutes left before the boarding gates get shut.
And I ran. Without giving any thought to what anyone might think of me, I just ran. It was a sight from many movies or novels or stories I have heard but I didn’t stop even once. I kept running. The only difference was, mostly in stories the guy runs to stop the girl. But here, there was no girl. It was my flight.
I could see the staff waiting at the boarding gate. All passengers had boarded till then and she was about to close the boarding gate when she saw me running. I reached there, panting like a dog, handed her my passport and boarding pass. She passed a smile and wished me a safe journey. I was on the flight. I was now anyhow going to Bogota, it was final. I knew nothing could stop me from reaching Colombia now.