23 hours in Post-Olympics London

730 AM. Airborne all-nighter working on presentation. Plane rolls into Heathrow with Bon Jovi playing in the background. Bon Jovi? Quick walk to immigration. Hello sir. Why do you have two passports? Here we go again? Not one but two green passports. Double the magic! Ah, I see. Thank you sir. Heathrow Express to Central London. Continue work on presentation. Paddington. Black cab to Gee St. Finishing touches on presentation. Cab weaves through the morning city traffic. Glorious sunny day. 930 AM – 7 PM: Presentation/planning session. 3 cups of tea= vitality. More tea and cake at a street cafe with a colleague after. Spot the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson randomly cycling outside. Check-in at hotel. Cab to Arsenal Stadium to see O&M. Greetings! Opening session. Turkish dinner at Iznik. Catching up over meze. Gossip/gupshup runs late into the night. Return to hotel. Emails, a little music. Logistics. To Heathrow once more.

Airport completely deserted. Stopped by a middle-aged aunty dressed in shalwar kameez wile trying to decipher flight timings. She addresses me in German. Disorienting. Recognizing the lack of recognition on my face, she says “no English.” I’m sorry Aunty, I don’t speak German. Urdu/Hindi? Yes! Baitay mein ne Frankfurt jana hay, aap please mujhay guide kar dain. Zaroor Aunty. Where are you from (aap kahan se hain?) I ask. Afghanistan, Kabul. Aunty speaks Farsi and some Urdu. Aur aap? Pakistan, jee. Exchange of wishes for the betterment of our two countries when I guided her to her destination later. Ba-aman-e khuda baitay. Thought: May need those prayers where I’m going. 645 AM, on to Abuja – showtime.


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