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India: A Very Long Day


Do you know what the three most exciting sounds in the world are? Anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles. ~Jimmy Stewart, Its a Wonderful Life

In the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart equates happiness with travel (or it may be a metaphor for escaping a life he finds wanting but I’m not here to psychoanalyze the character in the movie.)

I just spent 24 hours getting from my home in Chicago to Pune India and can attest that travel that long travel by airplane in cattle class is anything but exciting. The first leg of my flight was 16 hours, 16 long hours in a tiny little seat in which sleep was difficult to encounter. I may have gotten a few hours but can’t really tell because it was fitful at best. Following a four hour layover, another 2 hour flight, then a 20 minute cab ride to my hotel, I was exhausted. The best way I can describe the past 24 hours is grueling.

Still, my workmate and I headed to the top of the hotel for a nightcap and some ice cream. I had butterscotch which was very tasty. Finally, a shower and some much needed shut eye.

It has been more than 5 years since I last visited Pune, India, 5 years since I last relaxed near the pool on the top of Le Meridien hotel, five years since I last have been treated like royalty by a hyper attentive wait staff, 5 years since I lasted inhaled the aromas of the delicious food at this hotel.

This afternoon I will meet up with Inayat, an old friend, the first friend I made from India, the longest lasting friend I have had in India. He is quick to smile and a gracious host. For me, he embodies all the good qualities of the Indian people. I expect a most agreeable beginning to this two week business trip before the grueling trip back home.

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