Last minute jitters on the way to the airport. ‘Quick, check whether we got the passports. Damn! Did I pack the spare camera battery?’ A long flight. A long flight on a budget airline. ‘We need to pay for watching movies? Forget it. Let’s catch up on our reading. Or sleep. Or try to read minds. I bet the purser just thought of an imaginative invective as he served that pesky brat with a cultivated nasal twang. Okay. Let's passenger watch. See that guy in 21F. Look how his nostril hair merges so artfully with his moustache.’ So we kept ourselves busy with whatever people used to do before in-flight entertainment was introduced.
|Jambiani beach. Hours of meditative contemplation are par for the course.|
Many hours later we land on an island that screensaver daydreams are made of. An island that has captured and fuelled the imagination of many - Zanzibar. We stride confidently towards the immigration officials sporting confident smiles that belie the butterflies staging their interpretative version of Black Swan deep inside. I felt a bit uneasy. Not because of my aversion to ballet performances featuring disturbed souls. My biggest fear is that some day I’d be mistaken for somebody that exists on Interpol missives. I’d be politely asked to step aside and then whisked away in an unmarked car before anyone can say Shawshank Redemption twice. My BMI would reduce from an unhealthy 31 to a respectable 23 as my body violently rejects the daily over-ripe banana served at my solitary cell. My better half would write a bestseller about her struggle to find me. MGM would buy the rights for an astronomical figure. Jackie Chan’s sidekick would win his first Oscar playing me. Well, I’d prefer Matthew McConaughey. But I am not that delusional about my looks.
|The Coral Rock Hotel restaurant serves moments that last forever.|
But today was not that day. A few cursory glances (From India? I'd have thought Indonesia.) and some efficient stamping later, we were out of the airport. A sun that would make anybody from the British Isles think he’s Keats reincarnated, welcomed us. We checked into our temporary home, trying to align our energies together, seeking that one reassuring factor. The sweet spot that sort of vindicates our decision to stay in a faraway village resort during low season. The room, tasteful. The bed, firm. The views, spectacular. The vibe was good. But it hadn't hit that spot yet. You know the feeling. You meet a potential partner. There's nothing that you don't like about her/him. But there's that niggling doubt. You still need that one clincher. And then we headed to the restaurant. The rest, as they say, is a subject that we all studied in school.