January 3, 2009. I left my family and ventured in pursuit of knowledge and experience.
I remember my mother watching me, her eyes wet with tears. My father didn’t say a word but his stern face carried traces of sadness. My eight year old daughter stood gazing. The moment lives as vivid in my mind today.
More than once I thought life was too short to stay away from them.
Yet human greed beseech everyone in crave of something. Mine was to explore and learn. I was off to Sydney.
Lhakey and Tashey, two people i have grown to trust, volunteered to drive me to the airport. My younger sister, Sangay, whose patience countered my restlessness well, accompanied us.
The one hour journey was all about reminiscing of gone days. My parents never denied my endless demands, never said no to my ideas. I encountered many good people in my life and some proved their friendship beyond doubt. My family and friends became my strength.
Separation from them, churned with excitement of entering a different world created a different feeling in my heart.
I reached the airport only to find that my travel agent had messed up with my tickets and I had to wait for two more days for my flight.
The idea of staying back, even if it was for a short moment, only encouraged me to welcome the blunder of the travel agent but at the same time, the thought of catching a connecting flight to Sydney from Bangkok exactly two days later made my stomach flip.
While the three escorts waited in the car, a tall lady ushered me to her office and asked me to wait while she checked the possibility of rescheduling the flight. She returned soon to tell me that the flight was full. I waited in vain hope to arrange a ticket for the next day.
I could hear the ground staffs running around, preparing the aircraft bound to take off soon. The flight I thought I was supposed to fly in.
A slightly younger looking woman sat next to me and started counting the boarding passes. The phone on the table rang. I easily understood the phone was from the in-flight crew, crosschecking the final details. I waited on and the lady who shepherd me inside kept assuring that she would lend a helping hand as soon as she was done with the current flight.
I overheard officials conversing and the flight was all set to fly. The clock on the wall had already ticked passed the takeoff time.
I was lost in confusion and a bit of worry when a phone ring jerked me to the present. The woman picked it up, uttered several words and look at me. I felt uncomfortable. She hung up the phone and said, “We had counted an infant for a seat by mistake. Would you like to go in this flight?” Before I could answer, she exclaimed, “hurry!”
In a split of second, I called my friends to get my luggage up till the entrance and bid them quick goodbye. The airport was empty. The scanner machines were being restarted. The lady was running after me with forms, asking me to fill up the details while at the same time she inquired for immigration officials.
While I hurried for the security formalities, she completed my boarding procedures. Both of us were running. When I finally exited the airport and ran towards to aircraft, I heard her say “good luck”.
From down below I could see the aircraft opening its door for me. I climbed the stairs and was greeted by a smiling steward on the door followed by over hundred pairs of eyes staring at me. Believe me, I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger emerging from thick smoke in the background in slow motion.
The moment I got seated, the pilot announced for the flight to “finally take off”. A realisation that I was finally going away hit me hard and I couldn’t stop the tears flowing from my eyes.
P.S. You have heard of people making busses and trains wait for them. I had an aircraft waiting for me. If I ever get to meet the lady again, I would like to thank her - for making the start of my journey very special.