Cambridge Times

This year, almost the same time as last, I'm back in Cambridge, UK. Though I flew via hometown, Bombay, I couldn't break my journey due to project pressures. I hope to do so on the way back, either three weeks hence or six, depending on whether or not our stay here is extended.

I reached Bangalore airport around 1920 while the Sahara flight was at 2040 hrs. Till quite a while, my colleagues hadn't arrived. After having checked-in and offloaded my painfully-heavy bag, I went out with not-so-very-painfully-heavy shoulder bag! They didn't seem to be around until it was a little late to check-in. Somehow, I'd missed them or so I thought. I decided to enquire at the check-in counter. They had data about one person. The other was not found, but I knew he was also past the security point. There, I also met Parag Bhide; an old time colleague from L&T. That was like 7 years before! We recognized each other, spent some time chatting, and followed that we're on the same flight to Bombay! Okay, surprises never end. Past the security check, I found my colleagues waiting, who had sneaked in behind my back, or so I thought. The plane started late, was crowded, uncomfortable with noisy people, extremely small seats and I got the second-last row. I was quite happy when it landed, except for the stupid bump as we touched the runway!

Transiting between Bombay airports was a pain carrying huge bags of ours. Somehow I neatly forgot that I needed a bigger-better-faster-more kind of a check-in baggage since last year's travel. We managed to reach the international airport, but my brand-new haircut nearly got me into trouble at more than one place. I'd a few suspicious looks and a couple of questions to answer at the counter. Fortunately, it wasn't so at the London airport.

The in-flight movies were boring; so was the food distasteful. Moreover, I didn't have any wine but put myself to sleep. In the wee hours of the morning, while in this British Airways flight's toilet, some idiot knocked on the door. As it is, the place was inconveniently small for my height and this knock made things no easier! Stepping out in a few minutes, I saw two people waiting outside, one of them an Indian. Although I said sorry (for nothing) the other chap seemed to be highly irritated and made some smart-ass comment to the effect that I fell in asleep inside. I managed to ignore him, and being pleased about myself, returned to my seat. Later, I was wondering what the heck was he doing all this while, if he was in urgency! I gave up the thought.

Parking the flight at London took a real long time although we were not much late when we landed. After what seemed like 20 to 30 minutes, we got off the airplane. It was a long walk through the immigration and then out via the baggage collection. Our taxi was already around with the huge, tall, driver waiting. After some trouble shoving the baggage in, we rested in the good Lexus till Cambridge was around. The Andy guy welcomed us from Cambridge Apartments and showed us around one of the flats. We were stuck with another apartment not being ready till 1400 hrs as told, and being handed over only at 1800 hrs! Between these times, we shopped groceries and loaded our fridges! A very tiring day ended with a bath and a light dinner.

Lights out!
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