Istanbul Prelude – flying to Dubai and beyond

Dubai airport

In the beginning there was chaos – and then there was more chaos! Well that’s what makes trips enchanting. That feeling of something must have been left out – it was there all along as the cab scurried along the ever repair-in-progress Bangalore roads. It was not the dead of night but being around 11 pm the road was congestion free.

I am a budding writer so I see plots everywhere – the corn fields in the dark became the marshes of Dartmoor and the dimly lit distant houses became haunted; however before long I realized I had forgotten to keep my toothpicks handy – btw they are my life line. Also I had forgotten to pack the ginger cough drops which I so painstakingly bought after comparing prices and going for the cheapest ones obviously.

From then on we, and on our insistence the driver, kept all eyes open for a medicine shop – but liquor yes, grocery yes, pan shop, water cans even clothes yes – but not a single medicine shop was open.

We were on our way to Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), Bangalore, India via Budigere which is the shortest road to KIA for people like us who stay in Whitefield. Being out of the city limits development is catching up but has not throttled the landscape as yet.

So Istanbul, Turkey! – A long time romantic affair, mostly for my husband Rajib who is an historian in his own rights – not formally trained but passionately dedicated to it. Me? I am just happy to be outdoors. Our Son on the other hand agreed to accompany us for the meat, though he also consumed a lot of corn and bagel and deserts and ice creams!

I have never flown international from Bangalore – the only two times I went abroad per say that is if you consider Nepal as abroad and Singapore – was from Calcutta. We went up the escalator and landed in front of a medicine shop – but no cough drops – only anti-tussive tablets – a hundred rupees for just 10 of them! – sob sob.

Then we queued up for the booths where they check your passports and visa and ask questions which you are not prepared for and some of them make a face as though conveying the message – ‘I know what you did last summer’.

My current passport was being used for the first time to fly international so I am supposed to carry the previous one too which has the record of my previous outings outside my country – thus advised the counter professional who challenged my memory by asking when I had visited Singapore. “I don’t remember!” I said in a tone as though ‘you expect me to remember dates? How outrageous!’

Rajib the good man was at the next counter – he must have overheard so prompted: 2016 – and I said, “Ah 2016” with an air that the elderly gentle man at the counter nodded and smiled and said ‘husband’ – and in that smile I could see the pain and understanding of a brethren for another as if to say – ‘I too am one’.

After a very long wait at the lounge we boarded the Boeing 777-300ER (twin-jet) that flew us to Dubai.

The first 45 years of my life I have always had to load myself up with all kinds of anti nauseating tablets to deal with my extreme motion sickness and as a result have slept through all kinds of vehicles except trains where I am absolutely at home. But then my hormones started playing some tricks and slowly and steadily I no longer felt that extreme discomfort unless on hairpin bends ofcourse, and last summer I felt nothing while flying to and fro to Calcutta – it might not sound much but for me it opened a whole new world – I for the first time in my life saw the eastern coastline of India, the numerous rivers and the mesmerizing landscapes and the mighty Sunderbans from the skies!

But old habits die hard and I popped in an Avomin tablet before boarding – and that spelled my doom! As such we were awake the entire night so the normal sleep added to the Avomin induced sleep made me very sleepy. I tried watching a film to keep awake but soon breakfast was served.

Though growing older has delighted me with enhanced travel experience by allowing me to keep awake without discomfort it has taken away my capability to read close range without spectacles. What a glint of joy there was in the eyes of the ophthalmologist when he pronounced – You need reading glasses – you have aged!

So I quickly stashed my reading glasses into the seat pocket in front of me and lowered the table for food to be served. Now food induced more sleep and I slept off. It was not until I freshened up at the Dubai airport and settled to check for connectivity and turned on the mobile did I realise that my reading glasses did not de-board with me!

Last time my glasses photographed at Bangalore airport

We did all that was possible for me to get reunited with my quintessential glasses without which I am practically blind as a bat when it comes to letters and numbers at close range – but to no avail – we did not enjoy the huge shopping paradise and left it anxious and agonized at the inefficiency of Emirates staff to clean an aircraft in 3 hours and not find my beautiful blue glasses even though we mentioned the seat number. Did I mention the glasses were brand new?

Now I was wide awake and was thrilled to see the double decked aircraft – the Airbus 388-800(quad-jet). Rajib suggested Hitchcock and I thoroughly enjoyed, the food was delicious, the ride was smooth, and thus we landed in Istanbul International airport leaving our woes behind – happy and curious.

By Moutushi Ghoshdeysarkar