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Musings on a flight

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An old lady is sitting next to me on the flight. We are headed from Kuala Lumpur to Kochi.

I wonder if she is nervous. A few moments earlier, I smile as I walk to my seat and motion her that my seat is next to hers. Her hair is silver, and she is dressed elegantly in a simple saree. She stares quietly at the surroundings and a wave of protectiveness for her, surges through my being.

The past few days too, I met a couple of very old women in Bali. Amongst all the clamour by young girls offering massages and more on the streets, its an old woman with a spine curved like a bow, her teeth discoloured, but smiling beamingly as she tries to sell me some trinkets, whom I remember most vividly.

I get reminded of my Nani and I close my eyes. I have my own ways of escaping pain. But I get reminded of our walks, of bachpan and her achaar, of mangoes in a bucket full of water.

The old lady next to me on the plane asks me if I am Mallu too. I try to explain that I am but can’t speak the language. She smiles at me. I ask her if she is travelling alone. She nods. I silently tell myself I’ll see her till the exit at Kochi airport.

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Neeraj Narayanan

Neeraj Narayanan, a.k.a Captain Nero, is the founder of OHOT. In the summer of 2013, he quit his corporate job and went backpacking around the world. In a year full of (mis)adventures, he ended up being chased by a bear in a Croatian forest, being held at gunpoint by a mafia gang lord in Turkey, running with the bulls in Spain, and dancing in the clubs of Spain and Italy. A year later, he started leading group trips for people.

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