Sunday, 10 May 2009

Leaves from My Japan Diary: The Beginning

As I have said earlier, I didn’t know how the 10th of May arrived. It caught me unawares. Only on the sunny morning of the 10th did I realise that the day had finally come when I’d be leaving my home to visit a country – all alone. But the realisation had vanished at once. For there were more things to pack and the mobile connection was far, far away. Everyone was trying his/her best to get me a mobile. The final packing was done in the morning. Sister created several lists for me to find my things in the baggage. My parents helped with the packing.

I was going to Delhi with Mother as Father had some important business to attend to. In the afternoon we were off to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport to board a flight to New Delhi. I was still unsure of the weight of my baggage. Till then, there was no chance to talk to my family from Japan. I was in an absolute confused state. I almost wished that I were not going. The check-in counter confirmed my assumption that my check-in baggage was underweight but there was another problem: the rucksack I took was suddenly torn at the airport. You can guess my feelings then, can’t you?

Father, Sister and some of our family friends saw me off. I was not going to see them till the 23rd. I bade them adieu and boarded the aircraft with Mother. I was frustrated and exasperated. To add to my irritation, we got seats in the front row of the aircraft. It was definitely annoying. Mother was also in the same state of mind.

We landed in New Delhi late in the afternoon. We took a taxi to the place where we were staying. So far it was bad but nothing unmanageable. Things turned worse after we came to the place. We discovered that the handle of my suitcase was broken, thanks to the deft handling of the luggage by the airline crew and my rucksack was completely torn. We had to do three things within eighteen hours: getting my suitcase repaired, buying a new bag and getting an international mobile connection.

I will never forget the horrible night when Mother and I went out on the streets of New Delhi on Saturday night without having a clue about where we are going to and we were completely alone and helpless. The street where we were roaming about was not particularly safe at night. We took a taxi and went from shop to shop in search of a mobile connection. But nobody was able to give me what we wanted. We visited a retail shop of a major connection provider, but we were told that we had to come on Monday to “talk about it”. There was no way we could harass ourselves in search of a connection and we almost gave up the idea to have an international number.

We then searched for a very important thing: a bag I could use as a cabin baggage. We went to many famous shops but no bag could fulfil my requirement. Looking back, I think the uncertainty of getting a bag or a mobile actually channelled the difficulty I had to go through to be selected to go to Japan.

At long last we got a bag, which albeit very expensive, was fit to meet my requirement. At one point, the taxi we were travelling by left us and went somewhere else. It was 10:30 at night. Most of the shops were closed. There was not a single vehicle we could see nearby. The way to the hotel was very long and possibly dangerous. And we were alone …

The drunken taxi driver came back shortly and told us that he went off to chat with some of his friends. We came back. I repaired the suitcase with Mother’s help. At least, those things were alright.

I took a very long and cold bath. The temperature was surely above 40°. After our dinner, Mother and I sat on our beds and stared at each other. All I wanted was to embrace her and cry. At that point, I didn’t want to go to Japan at all and preferred my sweet home to everything else on earth. Mother soothed me with her inspiring words and told me to completely forget everything else. I felt a bit better.

A deep sleep enveloped my eyes and senses as soon as I lay on the bed. I remember thinking only one thing: I’ll be in the aircraft in 48 hours.

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