The Departure (Pondy #1)

It’s been two weeks but I still remember the day as if it all took place just yesterday. It was a day of firsts, it was a day of adulting and most of all it was a day of sweating profusely.

April 14th, 2016: The day Dee, Tash and I went on our first parentless trip together.

I had just escaped from the clutches of my end of the semester examinations. I had survived the ordeal. I had emerged victorious in the first battle but there was one other skirmish I had to win before I could put my guard down.

Packing my bags.

Damn son, the worst part about travelling is packing me bags. Do I have enough pants? Do I have enough underwear? I haven’t forgotten my toothbrush, have I? Are my clothes folded properly?

It’s stressful.

My suitcase was packed and ready by 1 am and the flight left at 9am. We had decided to reach the airport at 7.30 am which meant I would have to open my eyes to the world at 6.15 am which gave me just over five hours of sleep.

Now, five hours of sleep isn’t all that bad. But try telling that to the past me who had gotten through her exams solely by burning the midnight oil (as well as the dawn oil).

Weirdly enough, I ended up oversleeping. My uncle drove like a pro and we reached the glorious new terminal of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport in Mumbai half an hour later than we were supposed to.

A quick hi to my friends, a quicker good bye to our families and we were off.

We checked in our luggage, collected our boarding passes. Then came the endless security queue. We waited and waited for what seemed like an endless time but in reality was about fifteen minutes.

The airport staff declared us to not be mass murderers, crime lords or terrorists and we walked towards the gate until we spotted a loo and realised that we really really needed to pee.

So we did. We peed in peace at the sparkly clean airport loos, brushed our hair and contemplated grabbing some breakfast.

All was fine and perfect until Dee’s phone rang. It was her mother informing us that our flight had left without us and that we were to stay put in Mumbai for rest of our lives.

Well, no. I’m exaggerating a tiny bit. Dee’s mum just asked to hurry after which we checked out watches, realised the airport was a silent one and that we were waiting for boarding announcements that would never come.

We ran. If you were at T2 that day and noticed three fat girls (well no, I’m the only proper fat one) run like the wind, then that was us. Hello!

Thankfully we boarded the plane just in time. It took off in another fifteen minutes.

Problem two. We hadn’t had any breakfast. We were starving. Plane food sucked too much to be consumed after paying 300 bucks. We shall starve till we reach chennai, we decided valiantly. No wasting our (parents’) money on yucky plane food.

What we had forgotten was that we were in an Air India flight. The airplane may or may not fly (mostly it will) but Air India always serves food (so I learned).

Hearing the cacophony of noises made by our tummies, the staff of this particular Air India plane proceeded to serve breakfast.

Dee and Tash opted for the vegetarian meal. Me? I’m a hardcore non vegetarian. Being a non vegetarian eater served my taste buds well this time.

The breakfast included this huge sweet bun along with a small packet of perfectly melty butter. The bun was delicious. It was sweet but subtly so and so soft that it dissolved in our mouths.

The vegetarians had idli sambar but me? I had an omelet. It was an egg omelet stuff with more eggs, cheese and mushrooms. It was served with a side of beans and potatoes. Bliss, I tell you.

I would’ve put up pictures but I ended up stuffing myself up with it before I managed to take pictures. It was too damn yum.

We landed in Chennai before time. It was hot. We felt scalded and burnt and uncomfortable. We took a taxi to the bus stand and then walked towards a nearby KFC for lunch.

The weird thing was, we were all of wearing jeans and t-shirts- nothing special. But everyone, and I mean everyone kept on staring at us. The rickshaw wallahs accosted us offering us rides (not free ones, mind you.)

We trudged towards KFC, struggling with our bags and dreaming of an air conditioned environment.

Entering that particular chain of KFC is the most relieved I’ve ever been. The sun had blazed mercilessly and we were starving again.

We ate burgers and fries. I had a Chicken Zinger, fries and SevenUp. My own version of heaven.

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The burger was huge and it had enough crunchy chicken to make me happy. The bread was fresh and soft. The fries were crispy. Kentucky Fried Chicken is bliss.

We took a ric back to the bus stand and hunted for our bus. After sitting in the heat for another fifteen minutes, the bus roared into the bus stop and we set off.

When the three of us became friends four years ago, we were learning french together and dreaming of visiting Paris together. Now, Paris was a tad too farfetched so we decided on Pondicherry. Why Pondy? Because Pondy was a French colony and now is a Franco-Tamil city.

Keep an eye here to read about all our adventures in Pondy!

Be a happy potato ^_^

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