If you, like most people, like your information neatly packaged in structured, speed-readable communication, the long and short of what follows is that my wife and I set out on an European vacation that was rudely cut short because of the volcano trouble. We decided to redirect to countries broadminded enough to offer citizens of India visas on arrivals (since we didn't want to waste time queuing up outside snotty bureaucratic satraps with bank statements and IT returns). Thus, we landed up in.......Uganda
Also, apologies if I seem uncommunicative but the fact is that Uganda has the feeblest internet in the world. And the missus isn't too keen on me spending hours on the computer, cursing silently at the monitor or pulling my hair out or both, as is my wont when the internet refuses to respond.
So, that's that. The complete executive summary. You don't need to read on, unless you are one of those very few in the world who have nothing else to do)
Life has been whooshing past these past few days.
First it was the proposed get-away. Did I mention it? The missus and I were planning to visit Europe for a long relationship-rebuilding vacation. This has been necessitated by the missus' firm conviction that I love my computer more than I love her. Completely untrue of course. I don't take my computer to dinner or to a movie. Not always anyway. That argument of course did not cut much ice and said vacation was planned in great earnestness and detail. Which Venetian canal to cruise down in gondola with gondoleer singing which Italian love ballad and so on.
But I digress. The said proposed vacation necessitated many subtle strategic moves such as ensuring that my Airtel bills and Icici credit card dues were paid off. They are direct descendants of Gnghis Khan where it comes to tardy settlement of dues, the aforementioned Airtel and ICICI chaps. I have heard that they behead their defaulters and pile up the skulls in neat little heaps outside villages as a deterrent to other potential defaulters. I'm a sentimental kind of guy. I'm very attached to my head, unattractive as it may be to other people. So I pulled out the old cheque book and did the necessary writing. I just don't remember if I dropped it into the box. Guess I'll find out. If they come at me with machetes, it was nice knowing you folks.
Coming back to the res, the next on the list was helping the missus pack our suitcases. This is an enterprise fraught with danger because my darling helpmeet, the apple of my eye, the nuclear reactor of the little submarine of my life, my safe and secure elastic rubber cord in the Great Bungee Jump that is worldly existence, is apt to get a tad ballistic when I can't find my things when she asks for them.
“Get me that striped shirt”
“Er, which striped shirt?”
“The black one, the one I've been telling you about for the last ten minutes”
I found something which answered loosely to that description.
“What is this?”she asked, holding the shirt up like an exterminator holding up a recently exterminated pest. Never a good sign.
“Black striped shirt?” I answered hopefully.
“This color is called 'blue'. These little squares are called checks. Stripes are – Oh, you're hopeless, Naren” and in a marked manner, got up and picked the shirt herself. I swear it wasn't there a moment ago. The missus must be a prestidigitator or something.
She went back to the suitcase.
“Now, please pay attention. AND SHUT THAT COMPUTER.”
And so on. Finally she got the suitcases packed. She'd tucked in an enormous amount of stuff including my wedding suit aka my ticket collector disguise. “Just in case we go to the opera” she told me. I fervently hope we don't. No offense, but opera always sounds like people panicking in song. The missus doesn't care much for the music either, but she likes the spectacle.
“Have you called the cab?”
Thankfully, I had. Having thus saved my marriage by the merest skin of my teeth, we set forth for the Airport.
And to our dismay, were resolutely told by the Emirates people to take a walk. They didn't say that in so many words, of course. They are too well bred for that. But in the round about way so popular with the airline people, they told us that there was a volcano blasting away in Iceland which is why we couldn't fly to Rome, though Rome airport was open, because of back-log problems and they would be happy to refund us our money in due course or reschedule our flight as and when it pleased them.
First, dismay. Then anguish. Then anger (I chose the charged-with-sarcasm route, completely wasted on the rhinoceros hides that airline employees are equipped with). And then the missus, practical as ever, said “Where can I book tickets for some other destination?”....... (contd)