Packing – only to unpack

Packing one`s luggage is an art. Especially since, as the old Tata Indica advertisement proclaimed, we love to carry the World with us. The Tata Indica ad is so true…when I sat down to make a list of things to be packed…I first wrote down “The Globe.”

Rekha and I spent the whole of last weekend packing and believe me it isn`t something you would want to do. No, I am not referring to Rekha….but to packing.

Who will pack the bag?

After spending a Wednesday & Thursday fighting over who would pack what, it was decided that we come up with our own list of things to pack and pack our own bags. Friday was spent deciding who got which bags. Naturally, I ended up with the worst of the three high-profile luggage bags (for some odd reason we still have the bags that we carried in 2000 B.C. or was it A.D.?). Mind you, any bag that wasn`t part of an Allen Solly or Color Plus deal of ‘buy three formal shirts and get a stylish travel bag free` is a high-profile bag for me.

With the bag decided, I sat down to make my list. The last time I had sat down to make a list was in 2004 while deciding the invitees list to my wedding. Back then, I had focused completely on the list and forgot the bride – and thus ended with the one I am stuck with now. Anyway, not wanting to repeat the same mistake….I drove down to Qutub Minar (20 kilometers from my place)….so that I could focus on the list.

My travel packing list

1) Undies – 2 Numbers (remember to wash after every use)

2) Socks – 2 Numbers (remember to hang in sun after every use)

3) Jeans – 2 Numbers

4) T-Shirts – 2 Numbers

5) Deodorant – 1 Number

6) Tooth Brush – 1 Number (See if it can double up as boot brush – to save baggage space)

7) Tooth Paste – 1 Number (Since the destination isn`t five star they don`t provide tooth paste. When will my mom learn to be as hospitable as the Oberois?)

8 ) Shoes – 1 Number (tooth paste will NOT double up as boot polish. Unless the shoe is white like Mithun Chakravarthy`s)

9) Mobile & Charger – 1 Number

10) Shorts – 1 Numbers (Get the darker one. Can`t afford to carry two)

11) Honey Bottles – 3 Numbers (My mother loves honey, especially when I gift it to her)

12) Wall Clock – 1 Number (Since I don`t wear a wrist watch)

13) Cupboard – 1 Number (That`s where I had kept the tickets but can`t find now. Plan to reach airport early and search for the e-Ticket)

The advantage of getting the list done by somebody else is that when you miss an important item, you can always say: “If I had made the list, I wouldn`t have missed that!” Since, I was making the list I had to be double careful.

Cleaning the Travel Bag

Once the packing list was made, I drove back home and started my bag cleaning exercise. I don`t know how you take care of your bags. In our house, after we are back from travel the bag is kept in an undisclosed locality. Despite our attempts to keep the location a secret, spiders, cockroaches & lizards somehow come to know of the place. Now you know why I suspect my wife to be a double agent.

When I pulled out the bag from the cupboard (oops! I just revealed the place – if you are a spider, lizard or cockroach please spare me!) I saw a thriving civilization. So much so, I even spotted some archeologists trying to unearth secrets from the bag.

Here are some of the items that I had to remove from the bag before I started packing:

– Boarding passes

– An unwashed handkerchief, which had become a mass of cloth (guess I had a terrible cold when I last traveled)

– Some coins & some rupee notes (wish I knew this when I was suffering from money-less-ness and my blood sugar had gone down)

– Lizards

– 6 Cockroaches

– 2 Spiders

The best part of traveling is cleaning one`s bag for the travel. Especially, when while cleaning the bag the settled dust raises a stink and gives me breathlessness and eventually speechlessness. I feel as if I am in love again.

My travel bag & airport security

With my packing done (and Rekha having done her share of packing) we reached the New Delhi airport in time. Everything was going fine till the honey bottles were spotted at the security screening and suspected to be liquid bombs.

After I drank one whole bottle of honey and clutched my stomach in pain, the cops suspected it to be a decoy and ransacked my whole bag looking for the actual bomb. With fifteen minutes for my flight to take off….my packing was undone and I had to start from scratch. Thankfully, I didn`t have to make a list.

Other Funny Reads

# Guess what we bought this weekend…
# When deodorants got banned
# Today is my 33rd happy birthday
# Taking revenge, the Jammy way
# Is my daughter a super hero?
# The tonsuring & ear piercing ceremony


Difference between train and aeroplane – first time flyer guide

Since fewer people than earlier are going in for plastic surgeries after defaulting on their credit card and loan payments, one can safely assume that the Indian Economy is booming.

Indians now have money in their hands…and thus can try out what has for long been the privilege of the rich – traveling by aeroplanes.

Before I stepped into an Airbus way back in 1997 on my way to Canada as part of the Indo-Canada Youth Exchange Program…nobody in my family had traveled by air.

That is, if I discount my grandpa who once went up because he held too many helium balloons bought in a local fair.

It was an innocent gesture – buying balloons for his children – which turned nasty because he had 11 of them.

Given below are my first thoughts when I saw an aeroplane – a typical guide for the first time flyer.

Aeroplanes don`t have engines

Unlike trains which we are so used to, aeroplanes don`t have engines.

Rumor has it that they have two engines (sometimes four) which are hidden from the public eye.

I would believe it was a decision taken to differentiate an aeroplane from a train.

If aeroplanes also had engines in the front…would people still pay such huge fares to travel in them?

No unreserved compartments …in fact no compartments

You can`t buy unreserved tickets in aeroplanes because there are no unreserved compartments.

In fact, there are no compartments at all.

This also means, you can`t take those long walks of discovery (of pretty girls) under the pretext of going to the pantry.

In fact, most aeroplanes are one hollow tube (something like a 200 ml toothpaste tube) with chairs arranged inside.

No Traveling Ticket Examiner

There are no Traveling Ticket Examiners in aeroplanes. So, if you can enter an aeroplane without a ticket…the travel is free.

Call it coincidence, or hard luck ….but in spite of no TTEs, most ticket-less travelers in aeroplanes have been found dead inside huge suitcases.

You can`t open the windows

Aeroplanes have windows but you can`t open them. Thus, you can`t throw out the plantain leaf in which you had wrapped your lunch.

To wash your hands, you can`t extend your hands between the grille and give them water.

Instead, you will have to go the washroom.

The silver lining is…the aisle is generally narrow and if you are lucky you would get a chance to brush against a pretty air hostess.

If you are traveling by Indian Airlines…such an action would be called incest – all Indian Airlines air hostess are motherly.

You can`t see the gravel thro` the toilet hole

If like me, you enjoy watching the gravel thro` the train`s toilet hole…you would be disappointed to know that it is not possible in an aeroplane.

Aeroplanes travel in the air and at a considerable height…besides their toilet hole is closed till you press the flush button…which when done sucks the ingredients and destines them to hell.

There is no side upper berth

Unfortunately, there is no side upper berth in an aeroplane. So, silent watching (read ogling) is impossible.

Pity because the density of good looking girls is definitely higher in an aeroplane.

The closest you can get to a side upper berth…is the Emergency Exit Doors of the aeroplane (there are anywhere between 2-6 such doors in an aeroplane).

Travellers who are made to sit in such critical seats are generally well built, able bodied men…in short men who have caught the fancy of the pretty girl who hands the boarding pass at the counter.

If you are 165 cms tall (like me) forget it…you will never be considered able-bodied.

There is no garam chai and/or vada wala

Unlike in a train, there are no stations.

Only the long distance aeroplanes travel via other cities and stop for a brief while…but even then, you won`t hear the well appreciated garam chai…chai…garam chai chant.

Neither will the parrupu vada or vada-pav guy approach you with his wares.

In short, aeroplane travel is more money and less excitement. If you love life (and money)…save yourself some money…travel by train.

Other Flighty Reads

The Kingfisher Class – Part 1
The Kingfisher Class – Part 2
Inside the Jet Airways flight
Reporting straight from the Bangalore Airport
Cheap airlines and cheap thrills