January 6, 2003 – I was not yet 21 when I boarded my first international flight to Paris. I think it was via Zurich, but I can’t remember much. My passport was in Delhi with the travel agent appointed by my university who was arranging my visa. I traveled Madras to Delhi to realize that the visa had not yet arrived and we weren’t informed! The travel agent gave us accommodation in a guest house and the only thing I remember of the next couple of days is the yummy parathas served by the guest house caretaker!
Did my parents or I freak out when I was staying in a stranger’s guest house for 3 days in Delhi? – may be not because there were a bunch of my senior batch guys with me going through the same ordeal. Still…!
It was dark by the time my flight landed and I got out of the airport to the luxury cabs that took us from Paris to Fontainebleau. I was fascinated by the fact that it was snowing outside and the temperature inside the cab could be kept at 18 degrees. I was also majorly fascinated by the speed in which the car was zooming and still was so smooth all the way!
We arrived at Fontainebleau, dropped our luggage at the apartment pre-arranged for us and went to 2, Rue de Fleury. This was the ‘seniors’ house, the only one big enough for the whole group to fit in! It was 9 pm, but then in India it was past midnight. I was allowed to make the customary 2 min call to my parents to say ‘I reached’ 🙂 and then the ‘introductions’ happened. I still miss the big black couch I was introduced to there 😉
Well, I don’t remember much about the rest of the night, but the next 6 months were some of the most memorable days ever. And that, I will probably write about some other day.