Section 125 is on its way to India
Vernon was still determined to stop over in India on his way to Thailand. He had to admit there was something unhinged about going to India for three days only, but he could not resist returning to his place of birth if the fare was being paid, and it was, by the Founding Fathers. Maybe he would experience a sense of homecoming, a sense of belonging; maybe he would find that definitive key to his identity.
He was eager to get to the Indian Embassy to set in motion the process that would fulfil his lifelong dream of returning once again to Pune. He left his home in the English quiet and dark of 5.30 am, with a sense that the adventure proper had begun, begun that was if he was allowed to leave the country. Émile had still not returned home but surprisingly there was little of the expected hullabaloo in the media. Surely the bear that bites loudest was not still hibernating.
The A14 and M11 were both relatively clear and so the trip was unusually uneventful. He’d given himself much more time to get parked at Redbridge this time and the attendant remembered him from his previous recruitment fare fiasco. He joined the Central Line successfully and was relieved to find that there were no accidents or repairs underway preventing him getting to Holborn directly.
India House; the name filled him with a kind of childlike thrill. It conjured up turbaned officers and the palaces of the Raj. As a matter of fact the Indian high commission in Aldwych was surprisingly as he’d anticipated. Situated in a dignified white stone fronted building on a wide, tree lined street, it was easy to find due to the rapidly growing queue developing outside even as early as 8.00 am.
He had read online that he needed to get a ‘queuing ticket’, so he joined the well-mannered queue and lined up outside with everyone else. After five minutes an official of some description asked him his business. Inclined to resent such questions, he stifled his indignation and learned that the ticket booth was by the side entrance further on and the queue itself was upstairs. And then, the fun began.