Wednesday, March 02, 2022

running at night

I was on a flight to mumbai. it was dark, and the air was heavy with moisture, although it wasn't raining.

the flight was weird - when it was landing, there were no lights of the city to welcome us. we landed on an airstrip in the middle of what seemed like a jungle. in fact, the area around the airstrip was densely overgrown with what seemed like a tropical rainforest. the trees glistened dark green in the glow of the few lights beside the runway, whick looked more like street lights than anything you'd see at an airport.

once off the plane, we were in a huge shed that served as an airport terminal. while it was pretty huge, it still wasn't anywhere as huge as most airports - about a couple of hundred feet wide and a little less high, and maybe a thousand feet long. the insides were dimly lit and there were loads of people milling about, but no shops or anything like that. in fact, the floor was just tarmac! it was shaped like half a cylinder. it seemed to be made of what seemed like corrugated sheets, and a few metal girders here and there.

i didn't have any bags other than my regular purple cabin bag, so there was no baggage to claim (although if there was, I don't remember seeing any baggage claim area - or customs, border control, or anything else!).

however, I did bump into aunt Dooda! she was directing passengers to the exit of the "airport", which was at the other end of the shed from where we entered it. I asked her how come she was at the airport, and she said she took up this job as she was getting bored at home. I asked her if she would be going home anytime soon, so we could travel together. she had a few hours of work left, so she couldn't.

I also bumped into Apoorv. I had a sense that he was on same the flight as I was, but we were somehow separated after we disembarked. We decided to share a cab, as we lived near enough.

Outside the airport terminal, we got into a cab. It was a rickety white maruti omni, and as we didn't have any large luggage, we fit quite comfortably. the seating was strange though: instead of the two rows of seats facing each other, there were seats on either side. Apoorv and I sat facing each other, and as the taxi drove us to Borivali, the city seemed dark and almost deserted.

Borivali was quite usual though, the streets seemed quite well lit, although perhaps not too busy. I don't remember the time of night - it's possible it was quite late.

As we got nearer to home though, the cab didn't take the usual route - it was passing though one of the more forested areas near home. The cab was headed up a steep hill, when in the distance, I saw what looked like dad!

He was in his favourite blue checked shirt and shorts, and for some reason he was running up the hill!

My first thought was: at his age he certainly shouldn't be running!

My second thought was: let's surprise him! And then give him a lift home.

I instructed the cab driver to drive past him and then stop.

As soon as the cab stopped, we opened the back door of the cab, and while still inside, I called out "Lucian", trying to disguise my voice best I could.

He walked up to the cab and peered inside (there were no lights on inside, so he couldn't see us very well).

Apoorv called out to him and said "surprise!!" And I hugged him and asked him to come home with me in the cab.

He was happy to see me, and as he got into the cab, it started to rain.

And that's when I woke up.

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