Freedom at Midnight

On the night of 14 th – 15 th August, me and my BFF took off to Paris for a week long holiday..an act that has been variously interpreted as an act of rebellion , defiance , sheer selfishness and the like rather than what it really was. ..decision to live your life. That we unceremoniously dumped the men of the house and our own flesh and blood (read fairly grown up children) to go on a long overdue trip, raised quite a few eyebrows. But then we weren’t winning any awards and accolades for sitting around either. So might as well do what we wanted to and get the brick bats than not do it and face the brick bats anyways! So went our (lopsided )reasoning and off we went.
Of course “took off” doesn’t mean that we suddenly picked up our suitcases and departed. For lesser mortals,programmes such as this need to be planned well in advance. Considering what well planned lives we lead, the chaotic 2 weeks we finally devoted to it, are indeed huge. I mean that’s more time spent on planning a vacation than on minor decisions like marriage, job, child etc etc.
Our plan, of course, was to execute the entire programme with military like precision. So it was with all good intentions that we started contacting travel companies in the beginning of July. Our 1st choice, however, was Greece. But the economic mayhem in the land of Zeus acted as a deterrent. “Maybe we should think of China. Don’t like them taking over world markets, not to mention them eating dogs” , growled my IT savvy pal from Bangalore in the midst of back to back calls with irate clients from across the world. Let’s leave ‘travel for the betterment of the world’ to another time I suggested, while threatening to pack off my confused rottweiler to China unless he behaved himself. The fate of the Chinese markets a day after our return however does make me wonder if the 2 of us (my friend and me, not my rottweiler and me) indeed have  some hidden powers to send the economy of our intended travel destination into a tizzy. Just as well we went to France rather than merely contemplate. The French better be grateful!
Coming back to the travel planning stage, had we banked on the big global names to make our itinerary, the only place we would have ended up visiting would have been our poor cousin Nepal, which incidentally I have visited enough to last a few life times. So it was that the military precision like planning went down the drain. Before we knew it, we were into August with nothing in our hands except a long series of mails punctuated by regular disappearances from our dear angrezi agent. It was then we decided to do things the only way we know to…don’t think..just do it. Nike can’t be too wrong we thought. In any case that’s how we’ve lived our lives mostly. How well that has turned out for us…regarding  inconsequential matters such as love,  marriage , finances,  job, children etc …is story for another day. Suffice it to say for now, that our travel plans were finalised and fully paid for before we even got the visa in our hands.
Now that’s a tiny detail that we had casually forgotten to mention to anyone especially our better halves who by now were rather bitter. And if certain prophets of doom were to be believed, a Schengan visa on a virgin passport was more difficult a feat than a ticket to Mars. So while we were all packed up, me with a brand new American Tourister suitcase in neon pink, the chances that we’d have nowhere to go were pretty high. One week prior to scheduled date of departure and still no news. As we went about our daily humdrum life buying vegetables from the weekly mandi, the much anticipated call came- ” Ma’am your visa is done. You fly as scheduled”. Really ? “Pinch me”, I told my 9 year old who duly obliged leaving me with a good red reminder on my arm that I had indeed got the visa.
Heavens still had lot of trials in store. Anything that could possibly go wrong, did go wrong in that final week. From my friend’s dad’s illness to her work related issues, my own bad back to a recalcitrant maid. ..what all we braved to board the Air France flight from Bangalore  to Charles de Gaulle Paris!
Finally on the 14 th- 15 th August night as India slept, the 2 of us almost missed the flight. No it was not the innumerable security checks or long lines at immigration, as much as we might like to blame them. Having been through all that, with plenty of time to spare, the 2 of us merrily wandered off into the duty free liquor section to pre book the liquor we’d like to pick up on return. That this might have led to our return that very night never did occur to us. As we went happily sauntering around,  frantic Air France crew looked for us to get us onto the flight,  despite our best attempts to the contrary it would seem. What we had been telling each other since we started planning our trip , “If we board that flight,  it will be nothing short of a miracle” strangely came true. Yes we did board that flight and yes miracles do happen.
Last year if someone had told me that next year I’ll finally be able to realise my long awaited dream of a ZNMD trip with my dear buddy,  I’d have never believed it. There were certain glitches, especially the absence of our third musketeer, but yes. .miracles happen. Just believe in yourself to make them happen.
On that note…Au revoir! Until my next instalment of the 2 pumpkins in Paris! !
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