March 6th - 7:20 PM (?)

March 6th - 7:20 PM (?)

A Chapter by Jim Parson

7:20 PM – Delhi 2:50 PM – Frankfurt 5:50 AM – Los Angeles


March 6th - 7:20 PM - Delhi
                     2:50 PM - Frankfurt
                     5:50 AM - Los Angeles

I’m on the plane in Frankfurt taxing down the runway, just taking off for L.A. on the final leg of my journey.  When the plane lands, Zena will be at the other end.  I can’t wait to see her.  I have missed her so much on this trip.  I think it will be another day or two before I’ll get to see Alex though.  When I talked to her on the phone last, she said she had something going on and wouldn’t be around for a day or two when I got back.  Well, she is a teenager after all.  It doesn’t stop me from missing her terribly though.


To my body, it’s 7:20 at night and I’ve had about 3 hours sleep in the past 36 hours.  The actual time where I’m at is 2:50 in the afternoon, but I haven’t bothered to set my watch for it since I am only here for a couple of hours.  It was supposed to be a two hour layover in Frankfurt, but has ended up being three since we’re an hour late taking off.  Typical.  I’ve already set my watch for L.A. time, where Zena is still sleeping, probably at her sister’s.  I’ll see her in about 11 hours.


We all stayed up all night.  We were supposed to catch a 4:55 AM flight to Mumbai, switching planes before heading to Frankfurt.  Since we needed to be at the airport three hours before our flight, we left the Hyatt at 1:00 AM for the airport.  Well, when we got to the Delhi airport, they were able to book all of us on a flight straight to Frankfurt without the stop in Mumbai, but it didn’t leave until 7:00 AM.  So we had about five hours to kill in the Delhi airport.  They don’t have seats in the Delhi airport, at least not until you get to the gate.  Several of us took advantage of luggage carts.

After a two hour process to get us all rebooked on the new flight, most headed for the gate.  Judy, David and I headed for the bar, of course.

After a couple of beers, we came back down and headed for the gate.  We thought Anil would have everyone out looking for us, wondering where we’d disappeared to.  To the contrary, when we got there, we found everybody sleeping.

We had an interesting time sitting in the waiting area waiting for our flight.  At our gate, we could see the whole line of urinals in the men’s room every time the door opened.  We got some really interesting shots and had some pretty interesting conversations, but they are probably best left out of here.

I don’t know how Judy and I luck out so much.  On the flight from Delhi to Frankfurt, Judy asked for a seat as close as possible to the front.  I asked for a seat close to her.  We got on the plane to discover we were in first class!  The plane was completely full and everyone in coach was terribly cramped with no air.  Now on our present flight, another completely full flight, Judy asked for an aisle seat and I asked for an aisle seat near hers.  The girl that was checking us in said there was an aisle seat in the same row as Judy’s.  It was described to me like it was right across the aisle from her, but when we got on the plane, we discovered that they were aisle seats at each end of the middle section, with two seats between us.  The only two seats that were not taken on the whole plane were those two seats between us.  Clean living, I guess.

An interesting side note to this.  After getting stuck in the back in the cramped heat for the flight to Frankfurt, David cut in line in front of me to make sure he got a seat by Judy.  He was ticked that Judy hadn’t waited for him in Delhi to make sure they got seats together.  He got stuck next to a small child that was bouncing around the whole flight.  I warned him that I better not get a crappy seat because he cut in front of me.  He ended up two rows in front of us in the outside section.  Next to him were a toddler and a crying infant.  In the same row in the middle section was a young family with three small children that screamed and yelled the entire flight.  I do believe in karma.  I reminded him regularly about his cutting in front of me to get that seat.

A funny side note to that side note.  When asked by the man in the seat next to him if he minded children, David told him that his children were good but then made a comment about the “b******s” in the middle aisle next to them, only to find out they were all traveling together.  He wasn’t very popular from that point on.

Oh yeah, I was going to tell a good Dr. Chowdhry story.  Throughout this trip, we met Dr. C only twice - when he came to pick us up and we followed him to Ashok’s home when we were lost upon our first arrival in Aligarh and then again at one of the Rotary club meetings we attended.  He wasn’t a major player in our trip.  But this is a great story.

Judy was in Aligarh for last year’s NID and stayed in Ashok’s home.  Both Ashok and Dr. C have kept in contact with her since then and both arranged to come from Aligarh to meet up with her in Delhi while we were here.  Ashok came up the day we went to Agra.  They went shopping and Mark Hamilton joined them, because he passed on the Agra trip as well.  Mark lived in India for two years when he was in the Peace Corps and had already been to Agra.

Dr. C was supposed to come meet her on the day of the visits to Rotary projects that I missed because I was sick.  It was her meeting with him that she used as her excuse to escape from the visits.  They had planned to meet at 5:00 PM.  Instead, his courier arrived with a letter from him.  This is classic.  I will not recreate the whole letter, which I now have in my possession for scanning and emailing to all, but I will relate the essential message.

 “Dear Judy,


          I was waiting so eagerly to meet you today.  Unfortunately my car was hit by wild cow while on a high speed last night and I injured my back.  Nothing serious but I just can’t stand and walk!”

Only in India.  The other night at the party in Dave’s room, the letter was read by Mark Hamilton with a dramatic flair that left everyone in tears.  Of course, we’d all had quite a bit to drink at the time.

It’s 9:30 AM in L.A. now.  Zena will be up and about.

© 2011 Jim Parson

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You guys all look utterly exhausted! I just want to say how much I have enjoyed reading this Jim, it has been something of an inspiration to me. No matter how insignificant you believe your role to have been, or how you wish you could have been more "hands on", your contributions are note-worthy and valuable. YOU and the entire team did make a difference in some small way. It's a step, and while no one alone can eradicate the problems of the world, lots of small contributions heaped together can have a huge and most significant impact.

Posted 9 Years Ago

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Added on April 10, 2011
Last Updated on April 11, 2011
Tags: India, Rotary, travel, polio, immunizations


Jim Parson
Jim Parson

Los Angeles, CA

I have been a banker for the past 28 years, but my dream has always been to write. I thought maybe it was time to give it a try. I don't think I'm the greatest writer, but I think I can tell a prett.. more..

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