For the first time ever, I made all the arrangements for a holiday myself. All except for the taxi to the airport. That, in his enthusiasm to get me out of the house, Amit did for me, so I could be sure that part would go off without a hitch. It did. Despite a last-minute scare from a colleague that Meru cabs was quite unreliable, and despite various people’s fears of a woman going alone by cab in the middle of the night at the mercy of the driver, getting to the airport was smooth sailing.
Depending on whom you ask, you will be told that I’m a very thorough, careful, organized person (colleagues) or that I’m completely woolly-headed and witless (Amit, of course). The truth, as I perceive it, lies somewhere in-between. I think I’m very careful about important things, which is why it comes as a total shock to me when I casually leave my camera at a roadside dhaba, or my wallet in a restaurant. I can’t really believe that I’m capable of such gross negligence. (To be fair to me though, I’ve only done these blunders once each, in our numerous travels and countless restaurant experiences.)
I’m not so careful with less important stuff. Small things like combs and toothbrushes I can easily forget to pack, and sometimes even nightclothes. These lapses don’t bother me much. Depending on the nature of travel, you either shop as you go, or manage without. Despite various mishaps of this sort, I don’t make lists for the small stuff. After all, half the fun lies in forgetting something and managing wiyhout. You learn a lot about how to simplify life.
But this is a complicated holiday to organise. It’s not as complicated as a trek, of course, where forgetting a small thing like matches can make the difference between dinner and starvation… But trekking is a whole different ballgame. This trip is complicated as city travel goes, simply because it involves going abroad. That means, groan, multiple flights, connections, passport, visa with all its attendant paperwork, room reservations in advance, forex, overland travel in a foreign country, which is so much more complicated than in one’ss own country, wven if that country happens to be India where road and rail systems are about as complicated as they can get…
As I sat in the cab on the way to the airport, I wondered about all the possible ways I might have slipped up. I’d checked and rechecked my documents. I’d got my visa for the right dates and the right country… and that was an experience in itself, though a relatively easy one; I had my air tickets and I’d even checked in online and specified a non-lactose meal; I had my youth hostel reservations and train tickets to Florence and back; so on the face of it, it looked like I had everything in order. But I know better than to count on that. Nobody, not even Amit, had double-checked my documents, so there’s plenty of scope for me to have missed out on something. It was only a couple of hours before leaving home, when I thought I was done with the packing and organizing, that Amit thought to check if I’d taken my youth hostel card. I hadn’t. So we caught that slip-up, but there could be others that will emerge in the due course of time. I’m sure it will be interesting. When you’re travelling, you can only expect the unexpected.
All the same, I felt not much nervousness nor much concern as I left home. There was the slightest wrench as I said goodnight and goodbye to the kids, but Amit is there so I know they’re in good hands. If only I could say the same about myself.