This post is a part of 24-day Marathon fiction called Yaariyan.
Saturday, August 8, 2015
It is 5 AM. Govind checks his cell – Niket has messaged on the group, ‘Swami, Please take care of the bag having my parcel. Ensure it reaches Srinagar on time! :P’ He has packed the long list of gadgets friends and family members have asked for, after taking into consideration the custom duty limits. He has handed over a list of things to be done to his younger brother Shashank with detailed instructions – It is the first time he is going to India taking leave from his work; else, he squeezes his annual visit in 9 days of christmas leaves. It is also the first time, he is spending money and going on a vacation – that too trekking!
After getting assurances from Shashank about safety of Rosie and the house, he gets in the car. Shashank is dropping him to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Rosie is accompanying him along – unaware of what exactly is happening. His flight is at 8.30 AM and they have to reach the airport by 6.30 AM. As Shashank drives him there, he grunts about the list of things he has to carry for others; Shashank laughs over it; he knows its his way to express love for the chosen few people in his life. Govind gets down at the airport, kissing Rosie goodbye and asking Shashank to focus on his studies.
He has booked a flight to Srinagar via Amsterdam and New Delhi – the lay over being for 4 hours and 2 hours respectively. It’s going to be 24 hours to reach Srinagar; he would reach there at 10 PM IST. He is yet to come to terms with the fact he is not carrying work along.
As soon as he boards the flight, he puts his headphones on, listening to classical Indian music – his favourite genre. He closes his eyes, but music is still playing in his subconcious mind, soothing him to sleep. His mind goes to college days – how Arpit, Abhinav, Niket and Madhu changed his life; they stood for him and supported him – when he himself wasn’t there for himself. Their love changed the way he looked at things and people. A smile of satisfaction crosses his lips and he opens his eyes, freshened up.
After the layovers at Amsterdam and New Delhi, he finally boards the final flight to Srinagar. It is quite hot as compared to Seattle’s climate, but pleasant in terms of Indian weather. He watches a movie and finally lands at Srinagar. The air is pleasant, it is pitch dark and he reads a welcome sign – Welcome to Jammu & Kashmir, where time stands still.
He boards a cab to a pre-booked hotel; others are going to reach Srinagar airport from 11 AM to 1 PM tomorrow morning. He plans to visit Dal Lake before they arrive. He has already asked the hotel manager to take care of his luggage for a week when he goes for the trek. He calls up his parents to inform he has reached Srinagar. Running through the list of things to be done in his mind, he reaches the last one for the day- try and adjust to Indian Standard Time and get over jet lag.
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