September 20, 2016

From Kheng to Japan II

I awoke betimes to the melodic tune of Tequila Sunrise by the Eagles and perfunctorily glanced outside. It was a day unlike any other days, stiflingly hot with mundane affairs taking on its turn gradually. Before long, I made my morning toilette and went to a sumptuous breakfast followed by a brief respite. My three days sojourn had me completely bury the beautiful memories of gorgeous Himalayan air hostesses.

As the clock hands drew close to noon, I readied all my travel documents, baggage, and sundry other items. Just then, my newly met Indian acquaintance sent a message that he was coming to pick me up. I still had luxury of time before he could locate me at the Bhutan embassy. Hence, in gratitude for my host’s generosity, I struck on a conversations and acknowledged him (Drimpon Lobzang) for being a Good Samaritan. After he had primed with his sapient advice and fatherly guidance, I took to my leave assisted by a police officer. We ambled leisurely over to the embassy gate and savored the AC there with some light banter.

No sooner did we close our chitchat then a cab pulled up to the gate. It was my friend. Together they helped me load the bags and before the engine roared to life once again, I waved goodbye.  We drove along the busy and heat laden roads of Delhi and made a halt at serene place where we heartily pitched in to the lunch. An hour’s drive eventually ushered us into the Indra Gandhi International Airport. The temperature soaring, air terminal teeming with lives, we stood waiting restlessly for another one and half hours.

The check in commenced at 5pm. We were put in a long file and the verification went on. Just as my turn came, it took a little longer to authenticate the passport. Shortly, having rejoined some of the queries, the man at the counter handed in the air ticket and let me through the gate. He probably didn’t know on the existence of small Himalayan kingdom, albeit Druk air’s frequent fly to Delhi international airport. It had me vexed for some time and wondered why my lecturer, then in college, asked us which part of India was Bhutan.

Eventually, all the hassles comes to an end. And with a nonchalant gait, I walk to the departure lounge and wait for the take-off.

Few hours into the waiting, the giant Japan Airlines (JAL) loomed within my sight and an elegantly decked crew members showed up before the queue. For a moment, I was lost in their flamboyant parade and kept staring at the hourglass shape -from their neatly kept hair do to the seductively manicured toenails without even batting my eyes.

“Well come to Japan airlines” interrupted a comely stewardess, steering me into the flight. Once inside, I tried riveting all my attention in finding the seat number but only to baffle myself in a sea of heads. My previous knowledge of travelling in Indian jet airways failed miserably. Subsequently, a swift query to the flight attendant helped me settle the search. My embarrassment put to an end, I reclined comfortably at the window seat.

Indian Standard Time 7 pm, all passengers onboard and my journey from Kheng to Japan continued. A little later, with an air of complete confidence, I pulled up the screen from my right flank, plugged in the headphone and observed the flight navigate over the route map until a pacific slumber sent me into a good night.

The following morning, I watched the aircraft fly over South China Sea and had a hunch that we were getting closer. Quite later, an announcement emanated from the cabin gently reminding everyone to remain seated and fasten up the seatbelt. Shortly, the engine ceases.

With a polite sendoff from the flight attendant at the exit point, I hastily disappeared among a concourse towards immigration section- no grooming, nothing.

The clock read almost seven in the morning then. I began to fret because my next flight was just two hours away. Gradually, as more and more people thronged in front of immigration, the tensions mounted further- the likelihood of getting my residence card stamped within a stipulated time looked bleak. Worsened by the circumstances- I moved out of the line, beseeched a lady in-charge and confronted the dire situations. She promptly acted to my urgency and delivered the card. Impressed at the first sight by the lightning speed response, off I went in search of the departure terminal again.

It brings me a good dose of laughter to think of how I nearly exited at Tokyo instead of Chubu airport. Fortunately, a janitor came to the rescue and escorted me lest I go amiss of the track.

After being in flight again for another two hours, ultimately I was alighted at Chubu International Airport. As I had been already informed by my professor that she would be waiting at the exit gate, I rejoiced at a feeling that I have done it after all the struggles. I gathered all my items from the luggage room and followed the exit point. Hardly had I stepped out, I spotted a placard which read “PELDEN NIMA, NAGOYA UNIVERSITY”. It was my professor. As every Japanese would do, I bowed in reverence and thanked her for every support.  

She drove me in her private car until my residence and handed over to the staff for registration. I gave thanks once again for all her troubles and checked in the room utterly exhausted but with hopes and dreams.