5:30 pm local time UAE.
My inflight movie had just gotten over. The display in front of me said that we had another 1:15 to reach Khartoum.
I noticed the flight status display. And then it hit me.
For 28 years, 9 months and 15 days, I had spent my life in one place. The gigantic continent that we call Asia. I looked again at the screen. Our flight had just flown over Jeddah and was just over water.
I opened my window ever so slightly, so as not to disturb the passengers for whom this journey was less momentous, and had chosen to sleep.
I opened my window to view a canvas of shimmering blue that stretched far away and melted into the blue of the sky. This sea of blue was the (slightly inappropriately named) Red Sea.
The fact that I could see water confirmed that I had indeed soared away from home. Having traveled all my life, I’ve never realized that I had a place and a home. That I actually have a place where I can say I have roots with no ambiguity whatsoever. My beloved Asia was gone. Chennai, Dubai, Mumbai, Sharjah, Bhubaneshwar, Muscat .. They were all behind me.
Right now, I could see the blue power of the Red Sea defeated by a coastline, a jagged brown one.
I remembered Leo Di Caprio from the Blood Diamond.
This is Africa.
And I am here.