Partying till 2am the night before you take an international trip isnt the best idea. And packing with your over-active 3-year old nephew the following morning doesn’t help either. That’s how you end up not taking essentials like chargers, shorts you know you’d need or a lightweight for the Air Cons. But that’s how I started out for Malaysia. But for once, I was travelling in a group- with friends, and that helped!
The Charger Thing- It wasn’t that I absolutely coud not charge any of my many gadgets, I had a galaxy of USB cables I could conveniently plug into any running computer. The problem was-I didn’t have a computer!! Thought I’d be lazy this time cos two of the six among us were carrying laptops and I could always plug into their ports, right? Wrong- we could hardly ever be together once we got to Malaysia and I had to consciously and religiously submit one of my cables with the corresponding gadget to charge them as and when they switched on their laptops whether I could or could not stand guard physically. It was a chore at times but we managed. Thing was, we were in Malaysia for a conference and once that started, we were pretty busy and hardly ever saw each other. That’s why my sim cards constantly shifted phones and my music player had to be ‘preserved’ for absolute necessities.
The Shorts- I never forget to pack a pair of shorts unless im going to a place in the minus degree zone. They are so handy and take up minimal space in my sometimes overflowing but faithful and sturdy strolley. And this time, it wasn’t just that, I absolutely needed them. You see, there was this thing we were gonna do as part of a Community Service programme- plant mangroves in knee-high mud. And it was this time I forgot the shorts. So I ended up buying these really ‘short shorts’ at the night market in Penang and I felt so uncomfortable wearing them. So the morning saw me in my compulsory Orange shirt for the planting, with the shorts underneath and a large red cloth I’d bought to stitch for a blouse worn like a sarong wrapped around my waist. But it wasn’t all bad- got a lotta attention and even managed the South Indian ‘Munda’ with my sarong-y red printed cloth thing-y!
The Lightweight- The second thing I hate about flying is the intense chill of the AirCon after the initial refreshing cool flash so I make sure I have a light sweater/jacket or a stole or something for just such times. It was no different this time, and yes, I’d forgotten the lightweight. I knew Kolkata would be merciless in its heat and Malaysia was supposed to be on the scorching side too. But the flights were brrrrazenly cold and so were our meetings when we had to sit down in a shamelessly Airconned room for hours. The longest plane ride this time was the 5 hour flight from Kolkatta to Kuala Lumpur. This saw me snatch the blanket from Joe’s ‘comfort kit’, wrapping myself up in Air Asia’s unmistakable red. And every meeting saw me wanting to get out for some real air towards the end. The best part, though, were the ferry rides where I snuggled in a towel. With every intention of buying the impressively commercial Air Asia’s jacket on the flight to Penang, I ended up not doing it. By the final stage of travel, I had managed a light shawl courtesy of a friend’s gift bought for her Grandma.