A couple of weeks ago, I was scheduled to take a trip from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles on JetBlue. Every year, my family goes on a one-week pilgrimage, where we put our work on hold and spend time visiting temples, praying, and spending time with family and friends. To my Jewish friends, I often explain this trip as vaguely similar to theSabbath
, except we take one week of rest per year, rather than one day per week.
Our family is not Muslim, but by coincidence, this year, our trip happened to be during the last week of Ramadan
By further coincidence, this was also
the same week that I was moving out of my employer-provided temporary housing (at NYU) and moving into my new apartment. The night before my trip, I enlisted the help of two friends and we took most of my belongings, in a couple of suitcases, to my new apartment. The apartment was almost completely unfurnished - I planned on getting new furniture upon my return - so I dropped my few bags (one containing an air mattress) in the corner. Even though I hadn't decorated the apartment yet, in accordance with Hindu custom, I taped a single photograph to the wall in my bedroom-a long-haired saint with his hands outstretched inpronam
(a sign of reverence and respect).
The next morning, I packed the rest of my clothes into a suitcase and took a cab to the airport. I didn't bother to eat breakfast, figuring I would grab some yogurt in the terminal while waiting to board.
I got in line for security at the airport and handed the agent my ID. Another agent came over and handed me a paper slip, which he said was being used to track the length of the security lines. He said, "just hand this to someone when your stuff goes through the x-ray machines, and we'll know how long you were in line.' I looked at the timestamp on the paper: 10:40.