Mood Management: Delayed at Delhi Airport.

The time had come to pack a suitcase for a trip to Ladakh.
Like in everything else in life a wave of constantly appearing necessities keeps demanding attention for maintenance and unless decision is made, there will always be another important thing to do before the final call of departure. So it is better to make decision voluntarily and beforehand with enough time to be free from intensity.

My first leg of flight came in early morning and after quick “goodbyes” and a slow motion walk through security gate, old life was left behind like a movie that was still playing behind the doors of a movie theater.

There was nothing to be changed. It was a feeling of peace of complete surrender, free from prospecting, if this is the best thing I could have or is there anything I should’ve done better. It was a feeling of equanimity, free from anxiety to control the unknown already accepting it in whatever shape it might show up at another side. My mind again turned into beginners mind with willingness to learn and be flexible in the face of the future that would only happen now.

Few hours at the Japanese Narita airport served as a small vignette into a living system indicated by a very different connection between people. There seemed to be less confrontation anxiety between individuals that produces suspiciousness and withdrawal. There was a subtle cheerfulness that could be interpreted as mild carefree being suffused with trust in the goodness of the other.

After more than twenty four hours of travel I landed at the Indira Chandi International Airport after the midnight with a joyful anticipation of a brief wait and a quick flight by a national carrier Jet Airways to Leh.

The Indian airport security wanted to touch every lens in my camera bag and took time to do it. The airport was in a sleep mode with many sales clerks operating independent counters selling “what-nots” for travelers sleeping on the floor behind displays.

At the gate there was a rumor that the plane was going to be delayed by 30 minutes and other western travelers were on a lookout for the official announcement. When it came, it gave an additional hour of delay due to bad weather in Ladakh. It was unexpected because it is usually sunny and dry season in Leh this time. After 5 hours of delays, the official came to announce that the flight is cancelled and arrangements will be made for an extra one scheduled tomorrow. No accommodations were given. In situations like these flight insurance would be a perfect fit. Regretfully I didn’t have any this time.

We were led back through the belly of the airport to collect checked in luggage and find our own methods to cope with this disruption. I felt tired enough already to go into the guts of the city to look for a place to stay, especially when wi-fi for the international traveler apparently is not functioning well to make any research. I was going to stay at the airport at arrival section, where very few people linger.

I was going to use extra 20 hours to observe and write about the pulse of a rapidly modernizing India. I don’t remember the number of times I dove into the moments of deep sleep from where appearances begun to loose the edge of separation between imagination and perception.

On the flight in the seat next to me sat a venerable nun wearing the olive robes of Chinese Chan branch of Buddhism. We chatted and she told that I should visit her family home in Basgo village about 40 kilometers from Leh. She exuded kindness and calm steady confidence of someone who had faced the disturbance of their own mind with the same friendliness they extend to others.

Through the cloud breaks below us there was a serpentine of the Indus river with villages sitting on the foothills. We flew over Phayang village behind the tall crumbling ochre granite mountain made a 120 degree turn and passing low above Spituk monastery we made a touchdown on the airstrip commonly shared with the Indian air force.

With a light head somewhat exuberant with relief of arrival and a promise of rest, I was peeking out of the taxi window into a familiar city, an outpost for many adventures to be unwrapped here this time.