28th February 2016

my flight was at 1705hrs on 28th,

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My parents took me to the airport, I arrived at about 3.30pm. Went through all security checks and I had checked in and all set to go by about 1630hrs. I carried only a small gym bag with just 2 t-shirts, 1 dress, a hoody, a winter jacket, pair of stockings and a pair of socks (and ofcourse underwear). Since I will be travelling around, I can't be carrying heavy luggage. I am definitely not planning on paying porters or hiring taxis simply because I can't carry my bags. So this would have to do. If I run out of clothes I will buy one or 2 on my way. Also I carried some Ceylon tea and key-tags as gifts for my Couch Surfer hosts and some crackers for me to eat as I didn't want to eat street food at the start. Maybe wait until my gut is ready for all the masala.

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Through the immigration. My dad was still waiting at the visitors lounge not going back home. It was the first time someone from my family is travelling alone. When I say "alone" I mean not for work, not on studies, not on any other sponsored trip.Just completely alone with no one to take care of you. To top it all its a backpacking trip! And if that was not enough, it's India! So it's understandable his concern. Knowing all the risks and security issues I would definitely face, to go to a country that is not popular for its safety for travellers, I am doing something daring and scary. While standing at the immigration Que, my sister calls and tell me to be safe and all that. It sort of annoyed me a little too. Because I am going, that's that, so what is the point of trying to scare me? There have been news about foreigners attacked, killed and smuggling of internal organs all sorts. But does that mean people should not travel? Maybe not take such a huge risk as a single girl travelling alone backpacking around India. But the bottom line is I am right now standing at the immigration Que. So no point in making things worse by scaring me. I know the news, I know the dangers...and I am pretty sure I don't want to get myself in any sort of trouble much much more than ANYONE ELSE in this ENTIRE WORLD! So they just gonna have to trust me and we all have to have some faith in God.

Everything is clear. I called my father and politely asked him to go home. Off I go.

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It's a long walk to the gates.
Hmmm...
I thought this was #airtravel

I had like a full hour in the terminal waiting to leave. So I was just chatting with family, checking out social media on the free wifi at the Bandaranayake International Airport. Pretty cool and quite fast it was. Taking pictures and posting on Instagram & Facebook was my pastime.

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It's always fascinating to watch a plane take off. Especially when you are at the airport.

There were many Indians waiting to get on. I was making good use of the wifi and was chatting with my Chennai host. As it is the first time I am using Couchsurfing, and my Chennai host being my very first, I wanted to have everything ready,sure and no loopholes. It's going to be dark when I arrive and the last thing I want is to be stranded in the middle of the night in Chennai. I went through the Google map she has sent me to thorough myself on how to get there.

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In the picture above, that is the Air India plane I was supposed to get into.

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Walking to get into the plane that's behind me.#airindia

Air India was ok. A bit compact place than how I remembered. It was 3 seats together. At the check in when I found out, I asked the staff to put me to the corner as I didn't want to be squeezed in between 2 people. He was nice, and ofcourse I had to put on my charm. He gave me the window seat and I was happy.

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I got a window seat! Yupee! 
Well my original seat was in the middle, but a nice smile and a little chit-chat got me a window ;-) #airindia

It's always heartbreaking to leave Sri Lanka. Especially when you see the National Flag waving at the Bandaranaike International Airport ...oh...sad...you are leaving your family,friends all behind...for a whole month :'(

And its always scary at the same time exciting when the plane speeds up on the runway and boop! you are flying! It will always be a heart-stopping, thrill like going on a roller-coaster or something. My seat was near the wing, so it was nice to watch the mechanics of parts of the wing activated piercing through the wind.

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Though I got a window seat this time, I was not that excited about taking pictures of clouds, the land from the top, the sky and all that. Maybe I'm getting old or something. Besides I was feeling a little nauseous looking out the window from a moving plane. It was a little shaky. I wanted to just close my eyes and relax, hoping it would make it better. Since it was only a 1 hour and 20 minute flight, there was not much resting one can do. First would be the safety drill. Then what felt like just 10 minutes later they served the food. So we had to eat whether we wanted or not [ofcourse no one forced it down your throat. but...].

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Inside the air India flight. There were only like 4 flight attendants there to serve. Probably because there were a very little crowd on aboard. I was in a 3 seater and the only one there. So stretched out myself on all 3 seats and relaxed. The interior in the plane was quite gloomy. And looked under maintained. My TV didn't work. Fortunately I had 2 more to choose from. There were not much of entertainment. All Hindi stuff or tourism stuff. And I couldn't find any earphones so no audio either. The flight attendants were not too pleased when you call them for something. I noticed my cup was dirty and asked for a new one. Then they brought another with coffee in it which I didn't even ask for. Maybe they just wanted to make things simpler since only a few to serve the entire plane. They didn't bother to hand out the feedback forms. Announcements which were given while on air and after leaving srilanka were not heard. I am not complaining much, but there's room for improvement.

But, the Air India staff was not so friendly and nice. I felt as if they didn't want us to be on that flight or something. As if we were just such a bother to having to serve to. And one thing I never understood was why there was no Tamil announcements done. They all know that it's going to Chennai and many passengers are Tamil speaking. Even Sri Lankans going to Chennai are Tamil speaking. I have experienced in many Chennai flights that these Tamil speaking either Indian or Sri Lankans didn't understand English or Hindi. But all the announcements including the safety drill was done in both English & Hindi. I never understood why they didn't bother to address this issue. It seemed like they didn't care about the Tamil passengers who were like the Majority on Chennai flights. This is not seen only in AirIndia flights but most Indian originated flights that fly between Colombo & Chennai.

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‪#‎food‬ on air India 
This is the part I love about flying in Indian planes. Masala potato cutlets, and a potato pastry,cheese sandwich yummy 
But that cake was like eating melted rubber. 
Taste of ‪#‎india‬ even before I reach the country. Gulp gulp gulp

I packed the water bottle to use in my travels. Besides I didn't even need to drink it. After eating, in a short while it was time to land. The 1hr20mins just went so fast. I couldn't sleep or relax at all. By now it was pretty dark. But the land down below was lit and you immediately realize how small Sri Lanka is and how big India is. The airport itself was like so massive and in my knowledge this is not even the biggest in India.

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Anna airport in #chennai.
This airport is huge. The very first thing you notice when you land in India or when you reach India and still up in the sky is that, what a big Country it is and how small srilanka is. Everything is so big here. Although things are much posh in Ceylon :)

So here I am. In India. Landed. Welcome to Chennai.

Original Post on www.thesathiworld.wordpress.com

 

Published by SaThi