"Full many a ray of purest ray serene the dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, and waste its sweetness to the desert air."
from "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" by Thomas Gray

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Landed in Delhi, Jun 23, 2010

My bags and I are now at the Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi, on sarzameen-e-Hind, - the land of India.

I called the travel agent who was to pick up my passport at the airport for the group visa for Indian passport holders, from the Chinese embassy in Delhi. A week ago, they had realized that they needed to get my passport processed in Delhi - from the paperwork I had sent 3 months ago. I was in Delhi a day earlier in case I had to come up with alternative flights to reach Kathmandu. Fortunately I had planned for an extra day because it was now used to get me included in the group visa. Otherwise how was I going to make this trip??? All these aggravating slips between the cup and the lip add to the worries knowing that something can happen till the last moment to nix this trip. The travel agency guy showed up at the airport after three aap-aa-rahe-hain? - are-you-coming? phone calls - I was too relieved he had shown up to care for the delay. Once there, he was very polite and re-assuring, and I was slightly more comfortable that my trip was still happening.

Jyoti picked me up from the airport. Life was good though my feet were swollen to twice the size. Tomorrow, I need to get a few things I forgot in Dallas - toothbrush, towel, :).

In the flight, the AA counter person had not obliged with a window seat or an aisle seat, and I had ended up sitting next to two children. This could have been a nightmare but they turned out to be very well-behaved, shyly answering questions about their school. The service in AA Economy on this flight was the best I had ever received in AA, and the food from Chicago was good. All positive signs, and then there was the 3-yr old in the seat in front of me whose main activity was to jump up and down on his seat which made my mealtime full of surprises. While his father slept or watched movies, the neglected child watched me closely. A spherical head with the chin resting on the seat stared at me as I watched movies. If I nodded off, he would put his chubby hands on my TV screen to check if I was really sleeping. And when I looked up, I had to ask him to take his hands off so he knew I was awake now. A couple of times, he balanced himself half-way over the seat and twisted around to watch my TV screen with me. I was apparently his on-flight entertainment of choice. It is difficult to be irritated by someone who looks like Pooh Bear. When we landed, he slid off the seat, having never tied his seat belt the whole flight. His father who noticed him for the first time, yelled quite a bit. There was no crying or sniveling, so my Pooh bear must have been OK.

The additional payment made at the AA counter in Dallas is far behind me now. One bag was beyond the 50 lb limit. An additional bag and the additional weight - $100, to get into the flight on a ticket that is already expensive because it was purchased quite late.

Tomorrow, I need to get in touch with Swamiji to find out the agenda for our pre-trip meeting in Delhi.

Aum Namah Shivaaya!!

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