After a refreshing bath, we had headed to bed the previous night. All the luggage had been packed already, and it was now time to lug the heavy baggage to the lobby. After checking that everything had been taken and confirming whether the taxi had arrived, we proceeded downstairs. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, it was the same taxi guy who had brought us to Agra in cthe first place, and he had another stunt up his sleeve. On proceeding out into the cold morning air after checking out, we found the taxi to be absent, despite the taxi guy’s insistence that he was indeed there. Further analysis proved that he was in fact at ‘Pyrenees’ where we had dropped our other two friends when we came to Agra. With a voice bordering on irritation, I politely asked him to come to Hotel Bhavna Clark’s Inn as soon as possible. Sanju and I decided to have some breakfast before he came by. Fortunately, the buffet was open, and we had our usual breakfast, before hurrying down and placing the luggage in the taxi.
Then we were off at 715 AM. I had the initiation of a fever coming on, and wrapped myself totally in preparation for worse things to come. Thankfully it was nothing a paracet could not fix. On the way, the car decided to pull a little stunt of its own. Both the driver and his assistant took turns at driving and tinkering with the engine when the car started jerking around. I also noticed the driver had a bandage around his arm (this wasn’t there last time?). The road we took this time was highly bumpy and had some traffic, but it got us there in the same 4 hours it took to come via the ‘Expressway’. We reached the airport at sharp 1115 AM, and I paid the driver and his mate for a job finally well done.
We proceeded with our visit to the airline’s counter at Indira Gandhi International Airport (the cargo luggage was not screened this time – probably it would be, after we gave it at the counter?) After getting rid of the heavy cargo bags, we headed with our hand luggage toward the security check – in, placing our laptop, mobiles and camera into separate plastic trays and sending them through the security scan before proceeding to being patted down by the guard. Finally after being thoroughly scanned, we headed over to food court and had a great dinner (Sanju had rice and chicken from KFC, and yeah, I helped myself to pizza as usual from Pizza Hut)
I badly wanted to have some cold coffee, but noticing it was just twenty minutes to boarding time, we made our way to the required gate. Unfortunately the boarding time was an hour ahead of departure (God knows why). During boarding we met two friends working at Eye Foundation, whom we knew while working at Aravind Eye Care and Joseph’s. We then proceeded into a mix of a sunny afternoon with chill air, to board the bus for getting on our flight.
Once in, there was a huge wait for 50 minutes, during which time three or four other planes took off while our jet sat, engines idling, a huge metallic bird with shiny wings that would take us home, and back to Tamilnad. Finally, it was time, and we departed, feeling the wind beneath the jet’s wings, leaving Delhi far below. We reached Coimbatore at a record time of 5:40 PM. Once we reached, I left Sanju at the airport after claiming our cargo baggage, picked up our Ritz from the hostel, then returned to take her with me and back to Salem.
The drive was excellent, wherein we had fun racing a few persistent Mahindras and Toyotas, and a driver who felt afraid to push his Audi past the 120 kmph mark. Needless to say, the Ritz made its mark as we wove in and out of highway traffic, sticking to speeds of 100 to 130 kmph. Then, Salem it was, arriving at 7:50 PM, the whole journey being done under 2 hours. We decided to have dinner at a veg restaurant right in front of our place, then lug our luggage to our apartment. Finally, we were home. I wasn’t ready for my usual busy schedule, but I sure was happy to be back home safe and sound, after a great experience at Agra.
Upcoming event to look forward to: Annur Rural Marathon on Feb 16th.. heads up!