Caribbean Stories

 The Day Time Machines Went Kaput

४ डायरी प्रविष्टि:- एअर इंडिया की उड़ान घर


Sunday 31 May

WE SHOULD BE LANDING IN DELHI in about an hour, so I’d better log this entry, which is long overdue. The trip home has been exhausting  — 13 hrs 45 min  nonstop from JFK, plus the two-hour layover, another hour on the commuter flight from Boston, and three hours from the Copley Plaza to Logan airport, most of that spent waiting at the departure gate. ऊ!  Thank goodness Ḍaiḍī pampered us with executive class for the journey. Mām̐, Ḍaiḍī and Gōpāla attended my graduation! I was so happy. Then we toured Montreal, Toronto, and fabulous Niagara Falls before returning for a grand finale in Boston, where I served as tour director, of course. I’ve had no time to write about our wonderful holiday or about anything else since their arrival. Will do so in due time, but first I must go over the videos we made in Canada and around Beantown, make sure I don’t miss a thing. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime fling, you know.
    On a Triple 7, executive’s pretty good. There are marked differences with economy: the comfortable seat pods that recline into cots, the more spacious cabin, classier tableware with fine linen napkins, and yes, the engines hum softly behind you. Window views are truly panoramic. Cabin service was only moderately more attentive, although the cabin crew were indeed friendly and nice. It was basically a night flight, however. The meals were delicious, all three of them, but so are the ones served in steerage. Curry cuisine is now considered a key competitive asset at Air India, like the sari-clad attendants. Genuine Mahā Bhārata. Ḍaiḍī’s so proud his daughter has become a computer engineer, he splurged on our family vacation and on my concluding flight home. Well, “concluding” for the time being. After a couple of years’ work experience in Bengalūru, I see myself back in Back Bay for my master’s.
    Boston —the university as well as the city— has been a uniquely rewarding experience that exceeded all my expectations. Coming here was the best decision I’ve made in my life, apart from my still being single. But the time-travel project conducted this past year was simply out of this world. Not one of us participating students ever dreamed that such an extraordinary adventure could be possible. The experience was incomparable and overwhelming. It totally transforms you as a person, intellectually, but even more profoundly, emotionally. Not one of us can relate to the world now as we did before our time travels. It is as if you had been transported to a marvellous realm impossible to conceive of before, a remarkable yet quotidian Shangri-la where the old conventions and practices, the customs and beliefs, suddenly became irrelevant and often struck one as foolishly absurd. It made me understand that those chained to their ever-fleeting present are but prisoners in woebegone dungeons, permanently trapped in a dispiriting existence that constantly chastises by virtue of its unending evanescence and condemns with its ceaseless, implacable impermanence. There is no light to illuminate these souls. Wisdom they possess none. For they know not transcendence.

    Mine eyes are closed yet behold beauty.
    My soul soars in the garden where chimes tinkle in silence,
    where the fragrance of the flowers is sublime and everlasting,
    and a gossamer luminescence soothes my timid bosom.
    For harmony reigns and sorrow prevails nevermore.
    Peace and contentment abound.
    The spirit gloweth. My heart rejoiceth.
    For time passeth not any more.

    Suzy asked me to accompany her on the only time travel she could ever wish for. She wanted to witness the Sermon on the Mount. And Lord, so did I.
    “Ladies and gentlemen, this is Captain Singh. We are beginning our descent into Delhi. …”

Posted:   13 Oct 2014
Revised: 15 May 2015


Image credits:

Air India Boeing 777-300ER. Photographed by Adrian Pingstone in June 2008 and released to the public domain via Wikipedia.

"The Taj Mahal" by Amal Mongia from San Francisco. Date: 6 Jan 2007, early morning. This image was retouched by Tom dl on 29 Nov 2009. This image was selected as Picture of the Day on the Odia Wikipedia for 2011-08-31. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license via Wikimedia.

"Vegetarian Curry". North Indian style vegetarian thali served in a restaurant in Tokyo, Japan. Author: GracinhaMarco Abundo. Date: 25 May 2007. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license via Wikimedia.

"Bengali authentic full meal". Original work by Nandinissaha. Date: 11 February 2013. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license via Wikimedia.

"Dosai Chutney Hotel Saravana Bhavan". Author: Mike Linksvayer. Date: 3 January 2007. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license via Wikimedia.

"Spices in Mapusa Market, Goa, India". Author: judepics. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license via Wikimedia.

"Skyline at Rajiv Chow" in New Delhi. Date: 12 March 2011. Original work by Kani1990. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license via Wikimedia.


Additional information:

Wikipedia: Boeing 777

Wikipedia: Curry

Wikipedia: Delhi

Wikipedia: Indian Cuisine

Wikipedia: Taj Mahal

Video: The Beatitudes