RANDOM JOTTINGS FROM THE TRIP

Day 1 – Feb 9

It is 4:38 PM GMT – 10:08 PM IST. I am dreary eyed and sleepy. Of course cant expect much more after a cocktail of 10-hr sleepless flight, sleepless last night in India and the jetlag. I am trying to postpone the sleep time by 2 hrs at least, lest I not wake up in the middle of the night. London Heathrow welcomed me at 1300 hrs local time and I should say the airport (T5) did impress me. I mean, hopping on to a transit train to collect baggage after you have disembarked, in how many airports do you get to do that. The weather is not bad at all. 9 C they say it is, but then I hardly needed to step out into the air. The taxi ride to the hotel was fairly quick 15-20 mins. Funny – on the road a UK Royal mail red colored van I saw had so much grime on its back, that someone has marked “even my wife is not this dirty” on the dirt. Nice touch of humor. In India, I have only seen telephone numbers and arrow pierced hearts drawn on dirt. This was a good change. Got to report in office at 8.00 AM tomorrow. Signing off now!

Day 6 – Feb 14

Valentine’s Day! (not that it matters) I am sitting in RP, typing away, trying to drive my sleep away. I am feeling groggy, but cant stop admiring the view outside. It’s like a white sheet spread over the whole place. People have been telling me that this is the warmest day in the season 🙂 well, cheers to that!

Day 14 – Feb 22

Almost in the last leg of the trip – waiting to board the flight to Bangalore at the London airport, after having just bought my last takeaways from the trip – chocolates! Lucky I remembered that I had to buy them.

So what can I say about the trip, wow!

 Ok, so for the sake of anonymity, here’s how I am calling the significant people I met ->> J, M, V and fly, D-N, A, G, T, A-M, C

What I think of them:

– J is experienced and wise, unflustered and a potential candidate for mentor

– M has extremely good sense of humor

– V and fly — nothing new to add, chilled out inspite of the recent disruptions and commotions

– D-N are extremely caring and thoughtful, as always

– A is endearing, nice and pleasant personality

– G is gregarious and friendly, unlike what I expected (was expecting an older, more serious person)

– T is a nice mix of older and younger people, some people much older than I thought. But we spent a nice week, including a fun evening together

– A-M is a lovely couple, dont see them lose patience with children and they are so chilled out about them – something I should learn. Got wonderful home ideas too. Wonder how M functions like clockwork without any sign of slowing down or tiredness, though. No wonder mom is a big fan of hers. The importance A attaches to fitness ought to be seen to be believed

– C is a good person – genuine at heart and a good friend. Got to learn relentless pursuit of values from him. His friendship is worth retaining.

 *—*

I am now about to board. As I wait for the gate to open and the boarding process to start, I look around at the other brown faces and cant help smiling to myself – finally, I am getting back into familiar territory.

What I will miss

 – the beautiful UK greenery – the singsong British accent – the total “me” time I got at airports and hotel rooms – facetime I got with colleagues – (American) buildings scraping the sky – sheet of white anywhere I saw in the US – buildings, roadsides, trees

But here’s what I am looking forward to

– not having to study menus and dissect food, looking for traces of vegetarian options – not lugging 30 kgs of weight around – not having to spend a few seconds trying to calculate time in IST everytime I have to talk to people back home – not having to bother about braided hair, bindi on forehead and salwar kameezes – weather that renders unnecessary the eight layers of warm clothing to wear before stepping out – finally, the comforting warmth of family 🙂

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