Saturday, January 21, 2017

Drama filled journey to New Zealand... (Part 3)

Arriving at Auckland Airport, I headed straight to the arrival gate, as I didn't have any luggage. The customs officer stopped me and questioned why I didn't have any luggage. After showing my "missing report form" to the officer, he said, "This form is incomplete. You need to report it to the luggage help desk here." So I had to go all the way back to luggage area and report my suitcase missing. This time they asked the colour and description of the suitcase (which helps!).
Gursikh Pyaare came to collect me and took me to a Gursikh's house. As I didn't have any clothes, Gursikhs kindly arranged a (new) Kachhera so that I could do Ishnaan. As I had no spare clothes, and needed to the Gurdwara straight after I had a shower. I gave my clothes to get washed (on a quick cycle) and asked Mata Ji to put the clothes in the dryer afterwards so that my clothes will be ready to wear by the time I have had a shower and washed my hair.
Mata Ji gave me a vest. I have not worn anyone's vest in my life. However, this was a pressing time! Unfortunately the vest was super tight! My clothes were put outside on the clothes line for drying rather than the drying machine, so I had nothing to wear to the Gurdwara. Mata Ji kindly gave me her son's Kurta Pyjama to wear, which she said should fit me. Again, I don't usually wear other people's clothes, but I had no choice.

When I wore the Kurta Pyjama, it was big for me and mega loose. So underneath I am wearing a mega tight vest, and on top I am wearing a mega open and loose Kurta and Pyjama. The Kurta Pyjama was a traditional Punjabi style one, with a very loose and open Pyjama. When I walked the Pyjama moved (I suppose it could have acted like a fan). Going to the Gurdwara Sahib, I walked really slow to do Matha Tekh, hoping my baggy Kurta Pyjama doesn't move side to side too much. After doing Parkarma, I sat down to listen to Keertan. At the end of the programme I met the Gursikh whose house I was staying at. Bhai Sahib said to me, "Your clothes look very loose and baggy. It looks like you are wearing someone's clothes." I awkwardly responded, "Bhai Sahib, these are your clothes. I lost my suitcase and don't have any clothes!"
The following day I had my Chola to wear (which had dried by now). The drama and tribulations continued for 3 days. (Thank you to the Gursikhs who took me shopping to buy some vests - sadly couldn't find a Chola to buy. The closest thing an Indian clothes shop had was a red Sherwani suite with embroidery. As expected I thought I would give it a miss!). We must have visited Auckland Airport on three ocassions to find out what was happening with my suitcase. Eventually the Airport located my suitcase in.... Singapore! How on earth, it arrived Singapore I don't know.
On the fourth day, the day Khalsa Camp New Zealand was taking place, I got a phonecall at the campsite from Auckland that my suitcase had arrived (after several Ardaas'). The airport luggage worker said I had to speak to the customs officer on the phone. The customers officer said, "Excuse me Sir, your luggage has arrived but we have to ask some questions regarding the contents.... Can you please explain why you have several large knives in your bag." I explained, "I am Sikh, they are Kirpans. They are part of my religious dress." The customers officer then said, "Can you please confirm that you are not intending on using these knives on anyone during your stay in New Zealand." (Who on earth would say they planned to use them on someone!)  I felt like the phonecall was a prank (but it wasn't). Taken aback by his strange comment, I said, "No, I don't plan to use them on anyone." He then said, "That's fine Sir. Well, you are free then to collect your luggage. Thanks."
The experience made me appreciate my clothes, and realize to always keep spare clothes in the hand luggage bag. The experience for sure added drama and humour to the trip.


Jagjeet Singh said...

Oh I am in stitches after reading this!

Vikram Singh said...

Not intending on using these knives on anyone! hahaha!