This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.
Saturday, August 1, 2015
It is 1 AM. Abhinav has reached the Berlin International Airport and checked-in his luggage. The flight is scheduled at 4 AM and boarding is at 3.30 AM. As he walks with his backpack towards the waiting area, he wonders how surprised his mother will be when she opens the door! He has bought warm long jackets for her and his sister-in-law and a small cuddly teddy bear for his cute niece Riya – teddy bears are a speciality in Berlin. He enters the duty free shop and buys a bottle of scotch for his dad and elder brother. They don’t like any gifts other than ones from duty free shops. 😛
His flight is having two lay overs of 2 hours each at Dusseldorf and Abu Dhabi. He will be reaching Jaipur at 7.30 PM IST after a travel of 17 hours. He isn’t carrying much this time back home, like he always does during christmas – Just his backpack filled with clothes for the trek and gifts for family. He is going to stay in Jaipur for a week and then leave for Srinagar for the trek. The eagerness of going home prevents him from falling asleep – he begins to read his novel.
Announcement is made. He walks, sort of runs towards the boarding gate, at a pace where he doesn’t invite crowd attention, he is able to visualise Jaipur in front of him – his bungalow where he and his brother grew up. They would often fight with each other, but Abhinav always ended up having the upper hand as he was younger – his mom would always side with him. Playing in the courtyard with friends, doing a lot of mischief, burning his hand when he was very small and had put it inside the boiling tea curiously, hanging on trees after school, watering trees with remaining water in his bottle on the way back home, leaving home to go to Mumbai for engineering or leaving home to go to Bayreuth for masters – the sorrow in his mother’s eyes. She always was in tears when it was time to say goodbye. That memory haunted him, made him feel guilty – of going ahead towards his dreams but not taking his family along. His elder brother had managed all family responsibilities well. He got married three years ago. His sister-in-law is very loving and they now have a year old daughter Riya – time moves so fast!
This is the first time Abhi is travelling through this route and with Etihad. Else, he takes the Frankfurt New Delhi Jaipur route. He checks the depicted graphic navigation on his screen and then drifts back to thoughts about his home. Luckily, mom wouldn’t have yet started looking for suitable brides for him – he was supposed to visit home in December, it’s way too early for that. But he was prepared for that too, you never know how meticulously moms and his sister-in-laws can plan.
After 17 hours of travel, Abhinav finally touches Jaipur. As he puts his feet on India, a burst of gratitude for his country and motherland grips him and he gets goosebumps. It is 7.30 PM, the time difference of four and half hours works in his favour when he comes to India.
He boards a prepaid taxi and directs it towards his home, watching the lanes and the changes along. He reaches Shanti Villa and rings the doorbell which is answered by his mother; tears of joy filling her eyes!
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