Such a breather, some plane finally took off with me and Gill in it. Heavy rosed cheeks of singaporian girls gave a full blown smile showing our seats and served hot wet towels to scrub off the fag of the day. I cosily took refuge on the middle seat taking turns between watching movies and eloping with Andre in his Autobiography Open.
The book was a real fun read especially when Andre walked me through all his grand slam experiences and opponent mind reading strategies .He started off the game hitting tennis balls all day thrown at him at full speeds by the dragon machine designed by his father. He would get strong bashing whenever the ball hit the net. He hated it and would do anything to foreclose it returning each serve impeccably. That explains why he was one of the best returners of the millennium. Pete, in contrast, was the best server.Need to read him to explain that. He made his career through hard work in contrast with Andre being a prodigy.The most intriguing part of all was Andre doing so well in Tennis despite disliking it to his core.
His book has emphasized one biggie everywhere - The attitude is what governs winning or loosing.He was so inconsistent attributed to up downs of his life. When he was happy,inspired, motivated and had faith in himself, he achieved the infeasible. His love stories with Brooke Shields and Stefanie Graffe were very amusing and engaging. How he started with Brooke just through fax for weeks when she was in Africa for shoots,no crushes or interests whatsoever but ending up in commitment. This didn't prove to be happy and understanding relationship though.Being in different professions and unable to enter each other's comfort zones, their inter personal chemistry got pretty messed up ending in a divorce.
Andre's solid crush on Stefanie Graffe got a full blown revival after his break up with Brooke. It's just that Stefanie didnt give him a damn before and he didn't push it hard enough before. Experience with Brooke gave him lessons in handling girls and winning four grand slams & Olympics confidence. The words of his coach "Only you and Stefanie have been able to win all grand slams and Olympics, you both are meant to be together" got engraved in his heart and soul.
His coach persuaded Stefanie's in to making her play a few shots with Andre as a practice match. He then takes off his shirt to show off his body and seduce her. He starts cooling down exercises with her on the net although never done before to chit-chat and watch out for her fair slim legs. Initially hesitant in meeting Andre in public,being committed to a German racer guy, she slowly starts responding to bait once Andre gives her a personal surprise birthday card.
His one liner of "we are meant to be together" gave the final requisite blow for commitment. She and the chartiable school foundation gave him enough adrenaline to ward off his hatred for tennis. He started playing professionally as a kid and continued his career till 36 years of his life given the fact that most of the tennis players retire at the age of 30. His whole life was irony.
The book also talks about how his family and friends helped him survive all fatal blows of his life and most importantly his trainer Gill. Once you have love and support, you can come out of any emotional abyss. That explains his come back again and again.
When I finished my trip with Andre, the plane had already landed with no skidding to my surprise on the icy -10 C grounds of Moscow . I was supposed to hop on and off the plane passing through so called farzi security check. Moscow airport seemed like one of the most ancient of its kind portraying the look of a black and white movie of 1950's.I felt like taking a time travel machine with Andre and ending up in the wrong millennium.
The lousy baggage check machine at security check point looked like the first most advanced of its kin installed by Stalin and never changed since. Nobody even asked to take out our laptops or electronics from the bag. Everything looked just like the ritual to appease the old beast machine watching out for Moscow.The tattooed russian girl was just sitting by the side of it,not that she could do anything if a situation demands so except saying NO to camera clicks, fearing that the people would know their crummy lousy security.
Every native looked drunken with red puffed eyes and were walking like live zombies. No wonder that most of the shops were selling liquor and cigarettes. May be that's the only thing they do after Tennis and Math.
As everything else, even the check in seemed like a formality. Singaporian airlines announced for business class boarding, but checked in every class together, carpeting whatsoever for the business class people seemed too far fetched lest they reach safely without a knock out.There was no concept of a queue. The boarding gate looked like the tip of a triangle, everybody converging towards it. No body would even care to apologize if they stumped on you while rushing through. Welcome to Russia!!!
The next move was made from Russian federation to Singapore, the second part of my journey. Russians seemed like carnivores with an acute shortage of vegetarian food. The only food I got was boiled brocolli and some oiled boiled squash and Zucchini. I can definitely scrap Russia for my to be in places list.Going in the city and watch out for the living style of this species would be fun though.
We finally landed to Singapore airport finding such a stark difference. The airport was heavily carpeted anywhere and everywhere and gyms, swimming pools and massage chairs sitting everywhere. Go to the information center and get access for free internet,What more do you want from a airport. No long queues for the check in as every gate had its own security check. I was curious how much money did they shell out for springing up the giant. Even had a well planned guided cultural tour of the city for the people having stop overs.
The government has ensured housing and jobs to every citizen. I presume a lot comes from serving at the airport itself and serving at coast. They claim to have the busiest port in the whole world. Like US, this country also doesn't have natives and a old history to talk about. Chinese, Indians, Malaysians and the mixed breeds make majority of the population. Even the city is organized as China Town, India town and Malay town but thats more due to divide and rule policy of british again. Now that seems to have dissolved more or less.
I came back to the aiport after a 2 hour city/country trip and just lied down on the massage chair for a while and got off only at the boarding time to find myself upgraded for the business class to adjust some family. I seated myself on the cosy big chair with Zen and the art of motorscycle maintainence. When the damsel came to ask for the drink, I ordered my favourite spicy tomato juice which goes with bloody mary mix name in states not making myself clear about the mocktail. I received a concoction of vodka and tomato juice instead for obvious reasons.Sip by sip the lethargy swept over only to find myself woken up in Bangalore by the noise of people getting down. The long awaited moment finally arrived.
PS: This is my first photo blog. Thanks to Anush and Michelle for inspiration.