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Frequent traveller

By Nickunj Malik - Dec 14,2016 - Last updated at Dec 14,2016

For many reasons I had to make four diverse trips to various destinations in a short span of two weeks. Before my body clock could adjust to a new time zone I was hopping on, or off, an airplane, all over again. This resulted in my brain being in a perpetual state of confusion, especially when I woke up in the mornings. I took several minutes to figure out where I was, why I was where I was, how did I get to where I was, and when would I get out of where I was, etcetera, etcetera. 

These journeys closely followed our daughter’s recent wedding last month, when I constantly wondered who would turn up that day: from the caterer, the photographer, the tent guy, the wedding planner, the DJ, the flowers chap and the electrician, I did not know whose payment was due. I did have a diary, of course I did, but despite jotting down everything I ended up paying some of them twice, while chasing the other poor fellows away without a single penny, for no fault of theirs.

In the midst of all this chaos I learned one important lesson, which is that one should not wish for anything in a casual manner, because more often than not, your wish is granted. And then one has to live with it. Take me for example. I always enjoyed travelling since it gave me a chance to visit different countries, imbibing distinct cultures and observe the flora and fauna of individual lands. I even liked the sound of the lilting foreign accents speaking in a language that I could not understand, but I loved hearing it anyway.

So the obvious choice for me was to take up flying as a profession. An eye test dissuaded me because I had something called colour blindness that in a politically correct world is nothing to feel ashamed about because it only goes to prove that I’m not a racist.

But medically it meant that I had an inability to distinguish between certain colours and I had trouble seeing red, green, blue, or mixtures of these colours. This condition resulted from an absence of colour-sensitive pigment in the cone cells of the retina — the nerve layer at the back of my eye. Most colour vision problems were inherited and approximately one out of twelve males, and one out of twenty women have colour blindness. I happened to be one of them. 

The second best thing to being a pilot was to become an airline passenger. I longed to be a frequent flyer and guess what? Abracadabra, soon I was one. Remember that bit about wishes being granted? I could barely contain my excitement. My bags were permanently packed and I was always ready to gallivant. I toured the globe, marvelling at all my expeditions. 

Presently the exhaustion caught up with me but if I stopped flying, my frequent flyer status would be downgraded. I could not allow that to happen but I wondered if my wish fulfilment was a blessing, or a curse. 

At a party yesterday, I refused a glass of wine. 

“I’m flying out tonight,” I offered my excuse. 

“You are a pilot?” a young man asked me. 

“I wanted to become one but I was rejected,” I said. 

“Gender discrimination?” he questioned

“Colour discrimination,” I explained. 

“Sue the racists, you heard me?” he exclaimed.

“Clearly,” I smiled. 

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