Only four months into 2016, and my wanderlust has consumed me already and taken me to a good many places. The preceding January, after getting done with half my post graduation course, I boarded a flight to Malaysia—the country where my sister moved to after her wedding—for a long, long trip. Well, at the outset, I had planned on just a month, but I took a visa extension, and I stayed there two months barely shy of a week.
This was my first overseas tour where I was not accompanied by anyone. Oh, I can't begin to describe the kind of jitters it gave me to think I would have no one by my side. The thoughts of forgetting my passport back home, losing the tickets on port, misplacing my baggage—basically making any and every kind of blunder kept plunging my brains until I was sitting on my seat in the plane. I am going to have to break it to you that 'the crowd' on such flights corroborates that if you are a solo girl traveling, you will be looked at as if you don't belong there. Luckily, no one sat in my row. But the guy at the back, figured I was someone who belonged to the opposite gender so he banged on my seat a couple of times, called his janu (sweetheart), exchanged a few over-the-top romantic statements, then called his best bud, threw a couple of Punjabi slangs here and there, and resorted back to thwacking the back of my seat. I, in all my lady-like grace, wanted to avoid a scene so I took out my table, and sat with my head down. In a few minutes, a very stale, stingy smell was pushed in my nostrils, and I looked up to have this another awkward man, in the row ahead of mine, looking at me, grinning big exhibiting all his yellow teeth, terrorizing all the passengers with his greasy, oiled up hair. By this time, I had lost my temper but I went back to putting my head back on the table. We were in the air.