The longest day.
We relocated to London on 30th May. This was one of the longest days of my life.
5:30am India. Wake up. Brush teeth. Bathe. Shave. Pack toiletries.
6:25am India. All set. Leave the house.
6:26am India. Forgot spectacles. Rush back and get them. Forgot many other things, but ignore them.
7:15am India. Long queue outside the airport to get an entry ticket.
7:25am India. Long queue in front of the security machine.
7:35am India. Very long queue to check into Emirates Air.
7:55am India. “Sorry sir. Your luggage is 38 kgs overweight.”
“Can I pay for the excess baggage?”
“Sure. That will be Rs. 1,107…”
“… per kilo.”
“OK, I’ll take some things out.”
8:00am India. Unpack bags. Remove pickles — about 5 kilos. Go back to security counter. Seal bag again.
8:10am India. Back at check-in counter.
“Sorry sir, you’re allowed only 40 kgs. I can stretch that to 60. You’ll have to pay for the remaining 13 kgs.”
“Could I pay for 5 kgs, please? That’s all I have money for.”
“No, sorry. If you were flying to Dubai, that might’ve been fine. But you’re heading to London, and there might be problems on that sector.”
“Can you pay for 8 kgs?”
8:20am India. Scrape all the cash available with relatives. Rs. 9,000 available. Barely.
8:25am India. Stand in queue to pay Rs 8,856 for excess baggage.
8:40am India. “Sorry sir. Excess baggage is to be paid in the next counter.”
8:45am India. Finally pay for baggage. Back to check-in counter. Wait in queue
8:50am India. All settled. Say “Goodbye” to everyone. Walk over to immigration.
8:55am India. “Sorry sir. You need to have filled these forms. You can’t fill them up while standing in the queue.”
9:00am India. Forms filled in. Stand in another long queue for immigration.
9:15am India. “No, sir. You don’t need a customs document for your digital camera.”
“OK, but can I please have one? Just to be safe… It’s been a tough day so far.”
9:20am India. Customs cleared. Walk over to security.
9:25am India. “Sorry sir. The customs seal isn’t on your boarding passes.”
9:30am India. Walk back to customs, get stamp, go through the security machine.
9:32am India. “Sorry sir, no scissors allowed.”
“OK.” (dump scissors)
“Are you carrying any spoons?”
“Can you please unpack this bag?”
Long search for spoon reveals some puja items. Duly entered and signed for.
9:43am India. We board the flight. Flight departure time is 9:45am.
10:10am India. “What would you like to have, sir?”
“Apple juice, please.”
“Sorry, sir. We’re just out of apple juice…”
10:40am India. “Could you please ask the person in front to sit straight? We can’t eat!”
12:15pm Dubai. We land. Long queue for transit security.
12:45pm Dubai. Beep. Security alarm goes off. “Sorry sir. You’ll have to take off your shoes.”
1:15pm Dubai. Try calling a relative at Dubai. Credit card doesn’t work.
1:30pm Dubai. Try again. This time, the number doesn’t work.
2:00pm Dubai. “Excuse me, but are you boarding my seat number now?”
“Yes sir. Please go right ahead!”
My best moment of the day.
2:45pm Dubai. “Excuse me, the movies aren’t working on my screen.”
6:40pm UK. Flight lands without further incidents. Long queue for immigration.
7:30pm UK. “I’m afraid I have to detain you for health control, sir, since you’re staying for more than 6 months.”
8:00pm UK. Realisation that we don’t have a chest x-ray.
8:30pm UK. “Sorry sir. You’ll need a chest x-ray. Please wait here with the others.”
8:40pm UK. “Sorry sir. You’ll need to take off your shirt.”
8:45pm UK. “Sorry sir. You’ll have to take off that white thread as well for the x-ray.”
9:00pm UK. Clear immigration, and pick up baggage. Walk to foreign exchange.
9:05pm UK. “I need to make a call. Could I have change for 10 pounds, please?”
“Sorry sir, all I have are one pound coins. You’ll lose a fair bit if you use these for calls.”
9:10pm UK. Call car company. “Sorry sir. The driver waited until 7:00pm and left.”
9:15pm UK. Very hungry. Walk over to coffee shop. “Could I have that casserole, please?”
“The ham & cheese, sir?”
“Oh… no. Anything vegetarian?”
“That will be 3 pounds 10, sir.”
I pass him a five pound note.
“Sorry sir. These are old notes. You can get them changed at the travel counter.”
10:00pm UK. Driver arrives. We leave for Jurys Inn.
10:05pm UK. Driver’s parking pass doesn’t work at the machine.
11:00pm UK. Jurys Inn. “Can you please help us with our luggage?”
“Sorry sir, most of our staff have left…”
11:15pm UK. Sleep. Almost instantly