An International Trip from Hyderabad to Delhi
We all have those occasional small little trips that are anything but mundane. The same happened with me on my way back home for the sem-end vacations. What happened? Well I somehow found myself in the international terminal, learned the special methods used in college to ‘improve’ sex-ratio and almost got arrested by airport authorities for having ‘suspicious material’. Enough foreshadowing, please read ahead and enjoy :
The Way Tales Begin
“One regular Popcorn Chicken please”.”Sorry sir, it’s only available in large”
“I see, a two-piece Hot & Crispy then“. ”Sorry sir, it’s available only in larger sizes”
“…Fine then, give me a mango mini-crusher”.”Sorry sir, it’s only available in regular size”
I looked at her. The female (order taker/cashier) looked back at me. We both knew what was going on.
I said a half-hearted ‘thank you’ to her and then retreated back to a seat. I was a bit hungry, but not enough to spend on pricey food. My plane was in a few hours and I thought all the excitement was over and done with, till I come back home. How wrong I was.
Custom and Non-Males
In an airport, you have to stand in a queue, get your tickets packed and excess baggage sent off to the cargo bay. That’s where I met MR X (it should be obvious that it’s not his real name) and that’s where he pointed out that the flight would go from Hyderabad via New Delhi to Chicago.
MR X’s an interesting dude. He had graduated from IIT Kanpur and was going to do his Masters at Virginia Tech, US. We had some small chit-chat, the kind you have when strangers talk to each other because there’s nothing else to do
We separated at the security check which was more of a hassle since I had to go through customs (even though I wasn’t going out of India)
I had three hours till my flight. I wandered a bit through the international terminal (again I remind the reader that I wasn’t going out of India); Gawked at the flashy stores and spas. Then like every weary traveler, plopped on a chair at the waiting area. Guess who I found there? That’s right, MR X! And now we had time now for more than chitchat. He talked of how he studied for GRE, how almost all his family in the states. I talked about BITS and the freedom we get there. He was so envious of the fact that we have 0% attendance. He was more envious about the gender ratio (*insert smirk*).
I was speechless though, when he told me that instead of having the standard males and females, his college’s gender ratio consisted of males and non-males (which includes cats, dogs, birds and various other life forms, including the rare female). All this, just to improve the gender ratio. (Talk about desperation).
Getting arrested (almost)
The airport officer looked at me suspiciously. To be honest, I was getting a bit worried about what was happening. A few minutes ago, I had been called by an announcement to the particular area of terminal where one of the airport employees took my ticket, gave it a once over and then asked me to follow him. He didn’t give back my ticket. We went down an elevator to the basement where the ominous “Restricted Area” was staring at me. I quickly noticed the luggage and the conveyor belts; I was in the baggage area. There, surrounding my bags were a few gun-toting soldiers and the aforementioned officer. The conversation went like this: –
He: “What’s in the bag?”
Me: “You know clothes, books and stuff like that”
He: “Our scanners were tripped, please open the bag”
Me: (‘Do they expect a bomb? Did my friends put a bomb in my bag! Curse you backstabbers’)
*Opens Bag, and starts bringing stuff out*
He: “What’s that?”
Me: “Oh, these. They are some circuit stuff for my robotics project at BITS.”
He: “You’re from BITS? Okay, you can pack and go.”
*Stamps verified on my luggage tag*
And I walked away with my ticket in hand, like a champ. Well, almost.
He: ”Sir, you forget to put your clothes back in.”
Ant Man and Red Bull
Finally took on the plane. We had in-flight entertainment and so I watched Ant-Man. Two hours spent. 15 minutes left till the plane lands at New Delhi airport.
Now my adjacent passenger (MR Y) had graduated from a state engineering college and was going to another college in USA (I honestly don’t remember the name) for higher studies. Like MR X, he was happy to be going to USA but unlike MR X he said that he’s going there to enjoy, not to study. I understood from some of the things he said, that his life hadn’t been smooth sailing.
He also told me about how he got his Visa. His interviewer was a strict woman who had already rejected a lot of his friends. So to man himself up, he went ahead and drank Red-Bull for the first time before the interview. He said he was drunk but that made him give confident (almost arrogant) answers to the woman and so he got his visa. He really highlighted the point that him getting a visa was all because of being drunk on Red-Bull.
All very good, but the thing is…Red Bull is non-alcoholic. So he couldn’t have gotten drunk on that. But I wisely kept my mouth shut.
The plane landed, MR Y shook hands and thanked me for listening to his story and went his way.
It’s a strange thing. Both MR X and MR Y were going to USA. One had comparatively a easier path while the other faced some difficulties to reach his current position. But the important thing was, they both had high hopes for their future and they both were happy.
As I was lost in such philosophical contemplations, my phone rang. My mom had messaged me asking whether I had landed. She also typed that my very old grandmother (who was currently living with my parents) had started prodding my mom to get me married.
……I went to the nearest store and ordered a Red-Bull.
Caution: Some of the events that occurred in this article may have been slightly exaggerated. Take it with a pinch of salt.
EDITOR: Yes, yes. Because The Daily Bitsian surely doesn’t endorse underage drinking. *pats our 17 year old, young writer’s head*