So I am home, jet lagged and little journey battered. Being the 1st to travel from Jaisalmer to Delhi meant I had three flights instead of two.
I had also reduced 19 hours on the train to 2 hours on the plane. The wonders of technology.
As I woke this morning I had purposefully chosen a piece of music I listened to on the train to Ahmedabad.
Colette and Nawab were both asleep, I was wide-awake and purposefully made a memory.
As I listen to the music while the train rocked from side to side I intentionally looked out at the landscape in order to be taken back to that time whenever I want.
I can remember how I felt, so excited, so full of joy, so very happy to be right where I was.
Now listening to this piece of music at home and I recall those feelings, I feel the same, excited and joyful.
As I sit here in departure lounge. Or is it the arrivals. Maybe there is a revolving sign. Everything is very new, clean and everyone smiling with crisp well ironed uniforms.
There is a mix of nationalities with a common language. Excitement. Making history. The first flight out of Jaisalmer.
Although I made the paper I didn’t make the first through check in. They got a photo and a round of applauds. And they were non Indian. Like peacocks with all their feathers fluttering, smiles and lots of happiness.
There is such a relaxed and calm atmosphere here. Children’s voices echo in the dome of the hall, alongside the breeze of the ever present fan. Freshly painted pots with plants start to adorn the space towards the departure gate. Or is that the arrivals gate.
And now the usual anxiety builds as people jostle to get through. A queue is forming and people approach with haste. We have 20 minutes before boarding. Where is the rush. Shanti shanti.
Jacques is on the flight now to Jaisalmer and it seems I won’t get to meet him. Maybe he'll see a random woman waving at him through the highly polished glass and wonder who I am. I hope in time I’ll get to meet him at the school. Next visit. As my article states. I visit once a year.
A private jet lands next to our plane and everyone strains to see who it is. Lots of handshaking and postering, minimal smiles from the man arriving although his wife smiles while chatting to the other lady on the flight. The second man stands to the rear of the party. I wonder who they are. Not Jacques and I can’t see him in the faces arriving from Delhi.
We board the flight and the peacock in all the postering didn’t have his boarding pass stamped and has to return to security. Twenty rows of double seats, 17A is my resting point for the next couple of hours.
We made our way to the runway after a slight delay for the luggage staff wrestling with a pushchair, which baffled them all and was put on board in the upright position. I watched the landscape around the airport and my heart rose with a longing, a desire to return as tears fell as an alchemical offering to the desert. Jaisalmer, I shall return.
(New Delhi airport. Arrivals lounge)
Sometimes it’s not until you’re in the thick of a situation, when it smacks you square in the face. At the moment you realise it wasn’t until that very moment that you realised...I arrived in Delhi on my own, having flown from Dubai with no one to meet me. And you know what, I hadn’t got mugged, might have been slightly ripped off with a more expensive prepaid taxi. We re talking £15. To me that’s worth it to be safe to get to the hostel, in the dark. Tomorrow in day light I know I’ll feel braver.
And don’t think too much of it. My friend is arriving in a couple of hours, time enough to get mugged I guess while I wait, I’ve even made her a Welcome sign, on Weleda paper and have Citrus Deodrant in case of much needed armpit refreshment.
One thing I’ve noted is how similar we all are. People meeting with welcoming embraces, departing with tearful goodbyes, sharing a funny story and laughter peeling through the echoey airport corridor. And if in fear, just find the families. Even if a lot of them are all on their smart phones and not talking to one another, there is safety in numbers and easier to merge in, even if I’m the only one on my own for now.