This true story is set during the period of my life, when making stupid travel mistakes was my Superpower.…follow up from the story First International Flight
This was somewhere around October or November 2014. I had already left American Express, and started working for a company named Songdew. I had about 10-12 days of free time before I joined my new job and this was THE perfect time for a vacation.
My brother had travel plans related to work, so I gave up any hope to visit Singapore.
Frustration kicked in when I got to know that a friend of ours visited him on the same dates.
My brother had cancelled his travel plans. What an Ass. Grrrr!!!! 😡
Next, I tried to convince my parents to take a short vacation with me but the closest to travel we ended up doing was a sight seeing of Delhi. Dilli Darshan as we call it in India. WTH!
My Travel-Jinx! All those days were wasted.🙁
Fast forward six months…
Having spent a few months with the new organisation I was aching to take a proper break. I had not taken a holiday since 2007. But, guess what?
My Travel-jinx was finally going to get over!
My brother was getting married and I was making plans to join him and his friends for his bachelor’s trip in Phuket. Woohoo!
So here I was, excited once again and this time, the reason for the happiness was twice over.
I applied for leave at work and got cracking on the planning.
I remember my boss teasing me at work and telling me all the crazy things that I should expect during my visit. Keeping all such thoughts in my mind, I packed my luggage in a small duffel bag, enough for an extended weekend.
The day had arrived, and I was ready to go.
I booked a cab, picked my luggage, checked my passport and headed to the airport. My friends, Sahil and Prateek would meet me there.
Once they arrived, we went for a well deserved smoke before our crazy holiday. They had bought some alcohol along, so we got arranging our luggage to get them checked in.
All set! We are ready to check in to one of the most memorable trip of my life.
As we walked towards the check-in counter, Prateek asks me..
Prateek: Saheb, are you carrying your passport? You know right, you cannot afford to miss this flight. That would be another of your stupid travel mistakes.
Me: Yeah dude! All good.
Prateek: Great and finally your jinx is about to end. Hahaha!
Btw, when was your passport issued?
Me: Hmm, before I moved to Delhi.
Sahil: You had the passport for that long? However, you never travelled out of India?
Me: Nope! But that’s about to change now. Haha!
Prateek: Hold on dude! A passport is valid for 10 years. You need to have at least 6 months validity on the same starting your travel date.
Little did I know that I was up for the biggest shock of my life!
Me: Oh! I did not know that rule. I know that an expired passport would not work and my passport has not expired.
Prateek: Show me your passport, quick! Let me check the validity.
Prateek: Fuck! Your passport is invalid. What now?
Me: Don’t be ridiculous! Stop kidding with me. This is not funny.
Prateek: I am not screwing with you! It is short by 12 days. See for yourself.
At this point I got really nervous and was hoping that by some miracle, my passport would have enough validity to allow me to check in.
While in my heart, I was praying like crazy, my mind was running various scenarios.
One, I could to talk to their airline staff to make an exception. It is a 3 day short trip anyway.
Two, may be they will ignore the fact and let me pass anyway.
Three, this is India! Some “Jugaad” will work out. As in, we can figure some hack and things would work out.
I was a little too naive to have thought that. However, the Airline staff pricked my bubble of ignorance. We were talking about International travel, which meant International laws. Therefore, even the highest authorities could not allow him to bend the rule. His exact words were…
“Sir, even if the Prime Minister of India comes here and vouches for you, I cannot let you go. Even if I let you go, the Thai immigration will chop your passport as invalid and deport you immediately. Trust me, you definitely don’t want that, ever! This would be detrimental to any of your future international travel.”
At that moment, reality hit me hard and I felt a drop of cold sweat run down my spine. My head was reeling and I was panting for breath. In addition, I was feeling very hot, my palms started to sweat and my feet started to shake.
While I tried to register the facts, my friends got their boarding pass. I stood numb not knowing what to say or do.
The airline staff summoned a security officer to escort me out of the airport, but I took a step back.
Everything was happening too fast.
I had to compose myself from the realization that I was NOT going to my own brother’s bachelor’s trip.
Witnessing my dream getting shattered, I felt broken as I bid a safe flight to my friends while the security officer escorted me out of the airport.
Fuck!!! me and my stupid travel mistakes. Am I jinxed?
After that I stayed disconnected from the world for the entire duration of my leave. I had been through a lot of embarrassing situations in life, which were funny. This one was a league apart.
Two days later, I invited my childhood friend Miton to come over for a drink. I needed a friend at that time, and who better than the ones you grew up with.
I remember telling him, it is not only embarrassing, it was insulting. This was a case of ignorance and failure. It was a life lesson on stupidity and learning from my mistakes.
I felt much better the next day connecting back to the world. I told my friends how stupid I was and made fun of myself, which helped me get over with the situation and move on.
The next logical step was to get the passport renewed.
That story in itself is a freaking nightmare! WIll leave it for another day.
Many years have past since, and when I look back now, I realize that everything happens for a reason.
My new passport had a validity of 10 more years. To avoid going for another renewal anytime soon, I had to make sure to have the most number of pages in mine.
Then, I made a promise to myself –
I will travel as much as possible for the next 10 years and more.
Little did I know that my promise would actually come true.
As I write this story, I cannot help contemplate that dreadful episode. It was just 5 years ago. Since then, I have already been to 25 countries around the world.
Moral of the story:
The night is darkest before it is dawn.
I had suffered extreme amounts of setbacks and embarrassments. I made stupid travel mistakes before I could take my first successful international flight. Now, there is no looking back…
Believe in your dream and stay a wannabe. Dreams do come true!