It’s Something Different

‘Yippee! I am going to Paris tomorrow. Finally, the summer vacation has started and I don’t have to go to my school for 1 month.’ I exclaimed while jumping on the bed. ‘Calm down’, said my mom. It’s good that you’re excited but don’t jump around here and there.’
‘Okay’, came a partial frown.
I was going to Paris with my family for one week. It was going to be amazing. I knew a little bit of French which I had learnt in school and it was hopefully, gonna help. I had packed around 10 pairs of my best clothes with an extra 5 pairs for safety. I took 3 pairs of shoes- my normal sneakers, my party wear shoes which were flat but glamorous and my house slippers. All of this was packed in a big blue suitcase. I also took my french textbook just in case.
I took my bath at night because we had to go to the airport early in the morning.
In the middle of the night, my eyes were open and I was ready to leave. I got in the car with my mom and dad. I had worn my comfy clothes. We reached the airport 3 hours before the flight. First was the baggage submission counter at which we got our seats. It was in the middle of the last row. It was a boring safety measures skit and speech but I suffered through it.
I quickly had to pee after eating airplane food and I saw a girl in a hijab about my age coming out of the washroom. I thought I recognized her from somewhere and then it clicked me. This was Almisha Saqab- whose entire story was covered by Time Lapse (The biggest news channel in the whole world because it presented itself in literally every language). I wanted to become a journalist in the future and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to cover the story for my school newspaper.

I informed my parents and walked up to Almisha Saqab and said in a weird voice-
“Hey!”. She replied with a very awkward ‘Hi.’.
You’re Almisha Saqab right?
Yeah!And you are?
I am Diksha Verma. Actually, I am a reporter and I saw your interview last month about your escape from the Taliban and I want you to know that that was very brave of you.
It’s a lot easier to say this than experiencing this in real life.
Yes. So anyways, I was thinking of adding your personal experience and interview of everything that happened. It will be completely unbiased and honest. Trust me, I have seen this interview of yours and I couldn’t help but notice that some of your answers were completely scripted.Were they?Please tell me.
Yes they were.
So shall we start with the questions?
Of course.
What was life like in Afghanistan before all the terrorist attacks?
It was peaceful. I could go out whenever I wanted to. I didn’t have this fear in me that I was going to be killed every second when I was leaving for school. Afraid that my school bus is going to blast at any moment. And now it’s like everything’s a mess.
Will you ever regret escaping the Taliban or will this be just an example of bravery for everyone?
It was hard and I think that all this regretting is going to take a lot more time than I imagined. A lot more thinking and a lot of processing. Bravery-yes if you count just uprooting your whole life and just running away from your home.
And how exactly did you attempt this?
I actually took the help of a few people at the airport. Francine and Antoine were a French couple- our neighbours. They moved here because of an excellent job opportunity. They didn’t know how to speak English fluently and asked me to help them. They were going to leave after collecting enough money. I had become so close with them over the last five years that it occurred to me how much I wanted to get out. Get independent. Just move away from my family. That’s when I explained to Francine my whole plan. And I said that they owed me. They agreed because they cared about me.
Did you get any suspicious looks from the airport crew considering that there are many strict rules and checkups with your passport and everything?
No. I had my own passport in my bag with some money, clothes and a phone.
Can we please continue this later? I am actually on the verge of crying right now since it is getting quite traumatic remembering this again.
Oh sure! Absolutely. I’ll get back to you after one hour.

My mom called me back on my seat and asked me if everything was alright.
I replied with a disappointed yeah. I actually didn’t get as much information as I wanted. But I thought maybe this article was not worth it. This was just some stupid piece of crap that nobody will ever read. Anyways, I slept off because I was tired. We landed at Charles de Gaulle airport. I finally arrived in Paris. I had to get on a bus to get into the fabulous building of Charles de Gaulle Airport. The receptionist said Bonjour in a very thick accent which I found to be quite amusing. We had to collect our bags from the baggage claim and then head to our hotel. I was amazed by the view of Paris. It was modern. It was different.
I arrived at my hotel which went by the name- Le Beau Lac which meant ‘The Beautiful Lake’. When I entered the hotel there was a fresh smell of flowers and perfume which made me feel like heaven. There was a big fountain present in the center of the hotel.
Today, I had the whole day to explore the hotel and from tomorrow onwards the plan was to just visit the city.
First of all I was so tired from the flight that I just slept in my comfy pajamas for 2 hours. Then my father woke me up and told me that it was time to have lunch.
So, I went to the dining room to have an authentic French lunch. It had baguette, butter, some hors d’oeuvres, six cheeses (les fromages) and almost every chocolate dessert in the world. It was great. I took almost everything on my plate and rushed to the table where my mom was sitting to eat it as it looked so tempting.
After I was done, I just went to actually see the massive hotel. I saw a lake in front of the property. I smiled when I saw the lake and its beautiful white swans.

Next day, I visited the Eiffel tower and the local plant shops and patisseries.
Another two days went by in visiting the Louvre. I was stunned by how amazingly the Monalisa was painted.
Everyday, I visited a famous part of France with great history. Like the Chateau de Chenonceau- the oldest bridge in France.
My personal favourite was the Notre Dame Cathedral because I admired its architecture. I also rode the train to London from Paris. It was an underground train that went through the English Channel.
Another thing that shocked me was the fashion style of people in Paris. I mean they are dressed so well. I guess I finally understood why it was the fashion capital of the world.
But then, my week was over and I had to go back home…to India.

And then, I woke up flooded in my drool. I realised that all of it was a dream…the trip to Paris…the meeting with Almisha and my news article. I felt a race of sadness through my heart. It had all felt so real. Like my diary telling me all of my subconscious’s drama. I consoled myself and got out of bed. It was a sunday in the month of November. And tomorrow was no holiday. It was a normal school day with tons of assignments.
I brushed my teeth and came out of the bathroom. My mom gave me breakfast-Poha with sev. And my dad was reading the newspaper. Just a regular day in the Verma household.

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