(Reminder that this is adapted from a letter I wrote home over a decade ago. Still worth reading I think 🙂 )
I get up at 4, share a Taxi to the airport with a german I just met from my hotel, am one of the first people in line and then am ushered to the side to wait for hours while they wait to see if there will be enough extra seats (along with many others … many with wait list tickets hadn’t bothered to get there names on ‘the list’ at all … hmm with all the army officials etc getting on in front of me maybe the manager hadn’t lied to me after all .. maybe there were 11 who had to take precedence) I hear a rumour that the increased security at the airport today is because the Dali Lama will be flying out of Leh later in the afternoon. I wonder if God is going to let the plane crash after all and is deliberately keeping me off it. I wonder if I’m supposed to tell someone about that dream. I decide to pray instead.
It feels like hundreds of people have gone by in front of me … dozens of wait listed passengers. I have once again already asked the man currently in authority twice if I am supposed to do anything other then sit and wait to be beckoned. He tells me “no” both times. A man with more authority comes out and uses his influence to get 3 or 4 of his friends through who were not able to get through before. He says something to the other man that I take to mean that one more passenger can be accommodated. I am resigned by now that I am not going and am making new plans in my head when the man looks at his list, looks up, and points to me.
They take my ticket, I get rushed through checking my bag, security frisks, etc. and end up in the room where all of the passengers are waiting to be allowed to board the plane. I’m taken outside where I identify my baggage to be put on board the plane, it is loaded and I rejoin the other passengers.
And we wait.
Finally an official comes into the room that we are waiting in and says.
“It is doubtful that we will be able to fly … the engineer just noticed that the wing flaps are broken and he is trying to fix them. If we do fly it will be at least another 15 mins.”
God answers prayer.
They serve us Chi and little plastic wrapped fruit cakes.
I go to the rest room.
As I come out I see that the passengers are finally being allowed to board ‘flight 448 to Srinagar and Delhi’. I look at my ticket to confirm again that I am on flight 448 .. yup .. I get in line and board the plane.
The flight is rather uneventful although I find myself thinking about crashing more often then usual on a flight :p strangely though the thoughts are not accompanied by any fear. I overhear a bit of the conversation of the passenger in front of me discussing his travel plans with the stewardess regarding visiting both Delhi and Srinagar. Finally we begin our descent.
I look out the window.
That is NOT Srinagar.
Have you ever had a prayer answered in a way you didn’t expect? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. Thanks for reading! Rusty