I'm not going to attempt to give a detailed report of my trip, instead let me just summarise by saying that it involved lots of quality time with my bro's, my sistah's, and a certain someone. As my time in India drew to a close, I looked back and couldn't believe that I had managed to squeeze in so much in such a short time; I felt as if I'd spent three months there and not three weeks. I have to disagree with Elton John here because 'goodbye' (and not 'sorry') is, in my opinion, one of the hardest words to say and one of the hardest acts to actually carry out.
As I boarded my flight for home in Bangalore, I was in a foul mood. First of all I was leaving behind some amazing people, some of them probably never to be seen again (well, for a long time anyway). Secondly I had slept only 4 hours after somehow managing to drag myself out of bed at 530am to make it to the airport in time. Thirdly, I had some drama before checking in my luggage. Yes, the airport never fails to provide some entertainment for me. Yay.
So I toss my bag onto the weighing thingy at the check-in counter and hand over my passport and ticket. The man looks at the scales, frowns, and looks back at me. "You have excess luggage" he says. I look at the scales myself. Sure enough, there it was in bright red on the display - 26kgs. "You are only allowed 20kgs on this flight, sir. I will have to charge you for 6 kgs excess weight". Now I've been travelling for years, and I know the drill. Sure, 20kgs is the limit but usually they're flexible and let me through as long as it's below 30kgs. Just my luck to run into Mr. By-The-Books.
So he asks me to put some of my luggage into the hand luggage bag to reduce the weight, and I say I doubt I can manage that because there's food items in that bag. Suddenly his eyebrows shot up, and he says "Sir! You cannot carry food items on the plane!" I explained that it was just chips and nothing bottled e.t.c., but he was adamant. "Sir, NO FOOD!". Now, my mom loves me. She does. But if I turned up at my doorstep with only myself and my clothes, she would have burned me alive. No, correction; she would have set me on fire, and just before I passed into the light she would have put the fire out and then sent me on a plane back to India to get her stuff. And THEN she would have burned me alive.
So I take my bags back to the seating area and start repacking my bags. I tried stuffing the food items in the check-in luggage bag but most of it would have got destroyed, so it was hard to manage. In the end, after close to 20 minutes of packing and repacking, I took my bags back to the counter. Before I went to the man though, I asked two airport officials about this 'no food in the hand luggage' nonsense and both said that there was absolutely no problem taking the stuff on the plane. Needless to say, I was simmering inside as I dropped my bag onto the scales again. We both look at the numbers - 23kgs.
"I'm going to have to charge you for 3kgs sir"
I looked back at him. I thought about beating him to death on top of his precious scales with the 5kg aata flour bag I had in my luggage.
"You have GOT to be kidding me", I said. "You're going to charge me for 3kgs?!?"
He then gave this long defensive speech about how it wasn't his fault, and that he personally WANTED me to get on the plane, but 'rules are rules' and yada yada yada...
"Look, are you going to let me through or not??" I started flexing my right hand and prepared myself to rip through my bag for the flour bag. Somehow he must have sensed this and he agreed to allow me through this time, as long as 'next time' I was more 'careful' because I won't be this lucky again. I wanted to tell him the same thing.
But that wasn't all. Just to make things worse, after emigration stamped my passport the security went through my hand luggage and called me to a side. "What's this?" the man asked me. I looked inside.
Rats. I had forgotten about that. My friends had gifted me an expensive Ferrari Black perfume for my upcoming birthday just before I left, and in my haste I had forgotten to pack it into my other bag.
"Perfume, sir" I said. (Weak smile)
"Is it more than 100ml?", he asks.
I turn it over and say a silent prayer. It hits the ceiling and comes right back.
"125ml, sir" I say (weaker smile).
"Sorry, can't allow".
So long story short, I had to run all the way back to the check-in counter, plead with the guys there, and then allow them to check in my precious hand luggage with the perfume inside. I watched the bag go on the conveyor belt and just prayed that by some miracle the chips and biscuits inside survived the trip.
So finally, I got on the plane. I sent messages to my friends, and sat back in my seat to sulk. But that wasn't the end of it. I glanced up and looked into the business class section of the plane. There, squeezed into a seat, was one of the largest and most obese men I have ever seen. The fact that he managed to fit in just one seat was a testament to the luxurious comfort that business class seats could provide to the more average sized individual.
And to think they were going to charge me for 3kgs of excess weight! Who's paying for his excess weight?!?!?!
Life is so unfair.