I finally got some time to sit down and write about my leave. I have been rather busy. Our days are long, and after I get back from work, I don't have very much time and I'm too tired to sit down and write a journal entry! Well, anyway... here it is. Be warned... it's pretty long!
Ok, so this last month (May), I went on leave. My leave date was the 8th of May. Little did I know that this day would be the beginning of what I would like to call...
The Worst Travelling Experience Ever
We meet our hero at BIAP where he is waiting with his fellow soldiers to get a flight to Kuwait. It is around 8 in the morning, and the day hasn't gotten hot just yet. Everywhere there are Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, Seamen and Civilians sitting and waiting. Some are playing cards or talking amongst themselves. Others are listening to music, or watching movies on their laptops, or reading books. Still others are sprawled out on benches or on the dusty concrete floor, sleeping, using their luggage as pillows. At about 9 in the morning, a formation is called. As our hero hurries and falls in, he looks around and notices Captains, Majors, and Sergeant Majors also in formation. It strikes him as a little funny since he usually sees them in front of a formation, and not in one. Leave - the great equalizer. Somebody comes up to the front of the formation and informs everyone that there are two flights leaving Baghdad. The first one leaves at 12 noon, while the second one leaves at 10 pm. However, there are personnel who have been waiting at BIAP since yesterday, and therefore, they will be given preference for the 12 noon flight. Our hero hopes and prays that there is enough room on the flight for him. However, he has been in the Military long enough to know that expecations are rarely met, and Murphy's Law holds sway most of the time. Sure enough, there isn't enough room on the flight and he has to wait for the 10 pm flight. He settles in for a Long and Boring day.
It is past noon. The time is irrelevant. Our Hero is extremely bored. It is much hotter than it had been in the morning, and there is a hot and dry wind whipping through everything, drying everything out. Lips feel like parchment. He drifts in and out of sleep. There is only one thing on his mind. Getting to India on time for his Brother's Wedding. He is understandably anxious and keeps exploring all the different possibilities that this journey could take. In the best scenario, he reaches India on the evening of the 9th, in good time for The Wedding. However, as he will soon find out, this will be far from the case. 5 pm rolls in, bringing a blinding sandstorm in its wake. The sun is blocked from the sky by a huge wall of sand, and the bright sunlight is replaced by a sickly yellow gloom. A lot of people leave the outside waiting area to wait in the tents. Our hero and his buddies decide to stick it out. Sand and grit get everwhere and faces feel like sandpaper.
It is 2200 (10 pm). There is no word on the flight.
It is 0000 (12 am). There is still no word on the flight.
It is 0130 (1:30 am). Finally, everyone is told that the flight has arrived. All of them wait to board the C-5 in a zombie-like daze. His last thought as he drifts to sleep is "Finally made it out of Baghdad... it's just a hop, skip, and a jump to India now. Everything should go just fine..."
"What do you mean I can't fly to India?!"
"You need a clearance from the Indian Embassy. You can't just fly to India."
"But I'm an Indian Citizen! I hold an Indian Passport! They can't keep me out of the country!"
"Regardless. Furthermore, you don't have a Kuwaiti Visa, so you won't get a departure stamp. And they won't let you in India without one. You're a Permanent Resident of the US right? Yeah, so they'll probably ship you back to the US, not even Kuwait!"
"But see... I have an Indian-"
"I'm sorry, there's nothing we can do. Rules are Rules. You have four options. You can either cancel your leave, or apply for a Kuwait Visa - this will take a few weeks so you will have to fly back to Baghdad - you can't wait here, or you can fly to Frankfurt, buy a ticket to India, and get your departure stamp there, or you can fly to the US, buy a ticket to India, and get your departure stamp from there."
19 thoughts on “The Worst Journey Ever. The Best Vacation Ever.”
Awesome post Viv. Awesome..
That was a nice vacation which you enjoyed. Your blog is quite interesting and informative. I appreciate your flair for writing as well.
Hey bro! lol jp my brother’s name is vivin too. that’s tight. he doesnt really like his name, tho.
text to be coloredtext to be colored
Was reading on the ancestry of the Nairs, when I got to see your website. How did you get all this material? Its wonderful. I am a Nair myself, have to check my Tharavad from my parents. Was born in North India so have very little idea of Nairs and their history. Parents are settled in Perumbavoor, so still do get to see Kerala once a year. Am based in Singapore now. Would be nice to keep in touch.
One thing i forgot to ask you. you made that article on nairs??? If so 2 points to note:
1.Nairs were never classified into kshatriyas, vaishyas and shudras.
2.Villakithala, velluthedathu and Chakkala nairs are not true nairs. No nair would knowingly prefer a marriage alliance with these castes.
Rest is in my posting in Discussion
No comments from yu about my posting in ‘Nairs’ in Discussion. Do you know anand Paliyath presently working as a scientist in NPOL
Sorry for the delay. Being in Iraq, my internet access is rather limited.
While it is true that I was the one who initially wrote the article, it has changed over time due to the fact that Wikipedia is a collaborative effort. A lot of people have made changes. Furthermore, I haven’t been monitoring the article lately, so I cannot tell you much about the new changes.
As far as your first point goes, I agree with you completely. The Kerala caste system was completely different from the rest of India. While the Nairs were the ruling class, the highly orthodox Namboothiris still considered them to be untouchable due to the fact that they considered anyone lower (according to them) than their caste, untouchable. In fact, even other Brahmins (Iyers, for example) were considered untouchable by the Namboothiris. In that sense, you are correct – the Nairs were never classified into Kshathriya, Vaishya, or Sudra. However, I was merely trying to show a comparative analysis.
As far as your second point, I am no authority on it, and therefore, cannot comment.
If it is the Anand Paliath I think you are talking about, then I haven’t met him in person, but we did talk online once. What is NPOL, by the way?
NPOL is National Physical Oceanographic Laboratory.
2.About my second point in my last mail, it is well known. You can ask anybody, anand for instance (No that he need be an expert. i just want to indicate that the idea is common place). You’ve been out of the country for long, I suppose. Then why are these castes (like Veluthedathu, Vellakithala, Chakkala Nairs etc.) not members of Nair Service Society (NSS), the premier organisation of the community?? On the other hand, they have their own associations like Villakkithala nair Samajam etc.NSS is in forefront in the criticism of the present reservation system of the government which it feels affects badly the members of the Nair community; these communities, meanwhile all belong to the Other Backward Category (OBC)enjoying the benefits of reservation system.
3.Parasurama may be a myth. But the very edifice of the caste structure and scriptures in every religion rests on mythological premises.So should you axe the Axe-Rama (Axe is Parasu in Sanskrit)? RAKS
Like I said, I do not know enough about that point to comment. I did not add that information. You may remove it if you wish, as long as you provide proper documentation and references to support the change.
I believe that the caste system originated as a system for the division of labour. The myths were most probably added later to give it religious legitimacy. No doubt, certain parties had vested interests. However, using a myth to explain the origin of the Nairs doesn’t really get us anywhere. You can add the information if you wish, but probably want to phrase in a way such that it is evident to the reader that the legend/myth of Nairs removing their poonollu to escape Parashurama is just that – a myth. It may or may not have happened. The real reason may be something else, and the myth may have been created over time to explain it. We do not know, and therefore you cannot state it as a “Theory of Origin”.
Please continue further discussion on my Talk Page at Wikipedia.
hai vivin we both have the same name . iam glad to; meet you please be in contact with me lets we rock and roll
check you e-mail!! I finally got some picture of you from our last trip to the pool. You almost killed me remember???? The worst driver ever!! Don;t take it hard, I still love you man.
I should be dropping by in BIAP shortly so I’ll definitely come visit you.
PS: did you get your movies back?
Happened to go through this post…..Have to say it was an absolute delight to read….Nice pics too….Looking forward to reading more in the future…..Keep up the good work….Cheers !!
WHATEVER DUDE! Ok, in all fairness, that was my first time driving from BIAP to the IZ and back! Hahaha! Hey, I got that picture of you in the gunner’s turret too. Yeah Ortiz has my movies – I just haven’t gotten them from him yet. Stay safe in Ramadi!
Glad you enjoyed the post – I try to update as often as I can. I’m working on one to put here within the next few days!
Hi again.I had posted a comment a few months back.I’m at university now-university of British Columbia in vancouver.Thankfully the experience is’nt too scary.I mean,the day before i got here,i was totally freaking out.The place is huge,but i’m settling down.I find your journal quite interesting.I was in India too in august before we moved to canada.
I’m doing Anthropology and lots of other courses here.According to my textbook,nairs are classified under Kshathriyas.I am a Nair and have often heard others classify it under shudhra. So,which is it?!! i have’nt located your article yet.
Anyway,your pictures and descriptions of kerala did make me feel a little home-sick.Kerala has to be one place that sucks you in with all it’s vigour and energy,and yet when you’re out,you’re so much more of yourself.Maybe it has to do with truly indentifying yourself and fitting in completely with the people. You should visit the Guruvayoor temple.Even with all the madness in the crowd,(some women can really push and squeeze through crowds!)it’s truly liberating to be so close to god.
juat saw you and raks talking about me.. i am anand. i work in npol. naval physical and oceanographic lab. juat wanted to say hai… happy holi and easter