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Thoreau is back….

January 10, 2012

It was the Christmas morning, to be precise December 25, 2011. I had to catch the early morning flight to New Delhi. Had asked the cab to be there at 4’o clock in the morning. I always remember last year’s missed Chennai-Mumbai flight. And thereafter I have always been extra careful in reaching airport well in advance.

I went to sleep at 12 in the midnight setting the alarm for 3:30 AM in my mobile.

My sleep broke, saw the watch…oh man, its 1:30 AM only…one more time…this time 2:30 AM. Finally I was out of my bed by 3:15 AM (didn’t require alarm) and was ready to go by 3:45 AM. Cab fellow called me at @4 am and by 4:05 am he was there…

Reached airport. While checking-in, I wanted to take my trolley bag as hand baggage with me.

The jet airways fellow, “Sir, only baggage upto 7 Kg are allowed to be taken as hand baggage.”

“How much is this?” I asked.

“Sir, its 12 Kg,” he said after weighing.

“Ok, let it go in luggage and I’ll collect it at Ranchi,” I said.

“Yes Sir.”

Boarded the flight.

I was carrying two books with me including Walden and “Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau’. I think Thoreau’s book is having as much flying hours experience as me. Almost always the book has been with me during my flight journeys. I took out Thoreau from my bag and started turning pages, but lack of sleep the previous night made me feel drowsy. I kept Thoreau in the back-pocket of my front seat. And I dozed off.

Flight landed at New Delhi Airport. People hurdled towards the exit door, rushing to be out of the aircraft. Everyone was in a hurry to be out, as if they have been released from the captivity of some terrorists hijacking the plane.

 “Now it is 8:25 AM; next flight is at 11:45 AM; security check will be there; New Delhi Airport will be crowded; I have to meet a friend; by what time I should positively be back etc. etc.”, my mind was involved in multiple calculations while disembarking from the plane.

I called my friend.

“Take the metro from Airport and come to New Delhi Station,” pat came reply.

“Ok, will be there soon,” replied I.

I was cantering my way to Airport Metro Station.

I was at platform waiting for the Airport Express service of the metro. In another 1 minute metro will be there.

“Oh, fuck man…!!!!!” (multiply the exclamatory “!” n times where n→∞)

“Oh, fuck man, I left Thoreau in the aircraft itself !!”

Metro had arrived at the platform. Reluctantly boarded.

“Whether Thoreau will be back with me? How to get back Thoreau? Off course, I can order another copy of the book and it will be delivered within a couple of day’s time. But I had developed some sort of relationship with the pages of the book.” Multiple questions and thoughts came to my mind.

Nostalgia engulfed me. I went back 4 years in time.

I read about the book in one of the editions of Literary Review, The Hindu. I remembered the euphoria and excitement that I had felt when I had found the book after much of search in Chennai 4 years ago. I remembered the bewildered look on the faces of the book shop managers when I asked about the book. Finally, I had found it at Landmark, City Centre, Chennai.

I thought that once I am back at New Delhi Airport, I will register the information regarding missing of Thoreau at any of the Jet Airways’ office.

Reached New Delhi Station. It takes approx 19-20 minutes from Airport to New Delhi Station by Metro.

Met my friend. Had some light breakfast. Had some chat. And once more I was on my way back to airport.

“Sir, 1 ticket for New Delhi Station,” I asked at the counter.

“Sir, this is New Delhi Station only,” the guy at the counter said.

“Oh fuck, sorry…!! I mean 1 ticket for Airport,” I said in bewilderment and hurry.

“It’s OK, it happens,” he said.

I missed the 10:18 AM Metro towards Airport just by a whisker, next was at 10:30 AM.

Boarded 10:30 AM metro. It took approx 20 minutes to reach Airport Metro Station. By 10:50, I was there. Again I was cantering my way towards Airport. By 11:00 AM I was in queue at security check. Queue was quite long. Now my heart beat had started pacing upward.

“Still there is enough time,” I consoled myself.

By 11:20 security check was over. I put my laptop back in bag arranged things in hurry. I was not aware that where is the boarding gate. I saw the screens where departure information was being displayed.

Flight No. 9W 2291, RANCHI, Gate No.48, Final Call

“Where is the Gate No.48,” I asked someone.

“Sir, it’s upstairs, I mean all the boarding gates are upstairs at first floor.”

“Ok, thanks”

I was running, the airport time showed the time 11:23 AM. I remembered the rule that ‘Boarding gates will be closed 20 minutes prior to scheduled departure time’

In first floor, an arrow sign showed gate nos. 32 to 67 this side.

I was running. People were looking at me.

“Today, I am gonna miss my flight for sure.” I thought.

By the nick of time I reached the boarding counter at Gate No.48 and Ahhhh… a sigh of relief.

Aircraft was almost full. I was sweating in that Delhi cold. The person sitting beside me asked, “Beta, why are you sweating in this cold”

I smiled and said nothing.

“I had almost fucked up my flight journey” I said to myself, instead.


“Welcome to the Jet Airways’ flight to Ranchi. This is Captain XYZ. With me my second flying officer is ABC,” the captain announced.

“Who cares what is your name, until unless you have not obtained pilot’s license by screwing up the System. Just take me to Ranchi safely without crash landing the flight in some river or forest.” I thought.

“We regret to inform that flight has got delayed by 15-20 minutes. We have some guests coming by Chennai-Delhi flight who will be boarding this flight to Ranchi. The Chennai-Delhi flight has got delayed and is likely to arrive in another 10 minutes time. And you will appreciate that it will be inappropriate on our part to leave them.” The captain completed.

“So now I had some time. Why not try to find where Thoreau might be,” I contemplated.

I called one of the flight attendants. And let me confess, she was beautiful.

“Ma’am, I was flying today morning from Hyderabad to Delhi in Jet Airways’ 6:20 AM flight. I was on seat no. 7A and I have left one book there. Can you help me in any way to get back the book?” I asked the beautiful lady.

“Let me check out sir,” She said and went to her senior.

“Sir, can you tell the name of the book, name of the author and your seat number,” another beautiful air-hostess asked me.

“Yeah, I was on seat no.7A and book’s name is ‘Walden and Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau’,” I replied with some hope.

“Please write the name on some paper,” She said again.

“Can you help me with a piece of paper,” I requested her.

“Sorry sir, we don’t have, please write the name on the security check tag on your bag, and please be fast as I have to ask grounds staff,” She said.

I wrote the name in security check tag on my bag and gave it to her.

the tag


Oh surprise….!!!!

Within some 2-3 minutes time, came smiling the beautiful lady with Thoreau in her hand. She gave me Thoreau back.

“Thanks a lot,” I thanked her.

“Welcome sir.”

“Thanks once again,” I said once again.

She smiled and went.

I profusely thanked her in my heart. I thought that Santa has come today in Yellow attire rather than in usual red. So this was Christmas gift to me by beautiful Santa in yellow attire.

“THOREAU IS BACK…..!!!!!” I cried within my heart.

I turned the pages of the book and I was on page no.362:

“Not a drum was heard, nor a funeral note,

As his corse to the ramparts we hurried;

Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot

            O’er the grave where our hero we buried.”

[From “The Burial of Sir John Moore at Corunna,” by Charles Wolfe (1791-1823)]

And on page no.363:

“I am too high-born to be propertied,

To be a secondary at control,

Or useful serving-man and instrument

To any sovereign state throughout the world.”

[Shakespeare, King John]

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Vijay permalink
    January 11, 2012 9:07 PM

    Welcome to the Jet Airways’ flight to Ranchi. This is Captain XYZ. With me my second flying officer is ABC,” the captain announced. “Who cares what is your name….
    haha ..I also feel same way …N always feel captain has to b sm christian buddy 🙂

  2. Vijay permalink
    January 11, 2012 9:11 PM

    N yes beat this record..3 times final call for Mr Vijay…2 times boarding gates were reopened jst for my entry..n 1 time actually missed flight …i reach airport either too early or jit …

  3. January 11, 2012 9:34 PM

    @Vijay… hehehehehe…tough to beat your record man……i can only match ur record of missing a flight……

  4. March 4, 2012 5:01 PM

    May be the author wanted you to read his book once at least? So it comes back to you/ or no one wanted to read heavy stuff while on flight! 🙂

    Jokes apart, you are lucky.

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