Okay friends! This one comes late. Even more lately than the D.Y.Patil professor who’d missed the flight. Lol 🙂
So, here it comes, I’m at the airline desk totally baffled with the hostess’ reply. WTH? What have I done wrong to miss the flight? My siblings, for whom too this was a maiden flight experience, were as much surprisingly shocked as me.
“I can’t help it, sir! Apparently, your seat was booked with another person named JC. I’d asked him about you, while he was reporting. He had no clues about your coming! So, I had to reserve the seat for the next guy that came” I had no answer for such a dumb reply. Paying full 3000 bucks and reserving a seat much before time is all that was sufficient to assure me a seat, I’d thought. This was no bus or train journey, damn it.
What next? Call up Divya Ma’am, the summit in-charge. She was busy managing other people outside. On explaining the situation over the phone, she wasted no time and arrived at the desk. “What’s the matter?” She asked the hostess. I was busy talking with my siblings and discussing what to do if I missed the flight. We’d asked our car driver to wait outside for me, if I happened to miss the flight. I dunno what the exact conversation was, that followed later, between Divya and the hostess. “I’ve booked the tickets for the whole group. This shouldn’t have happened. He has to go.” “I understand, ma’am. I’ll see what I can do”. Period. Divya to me, “I’ll just come in 5 minutes. There are other people waiting outside. You just wait here. And don’t worry at all. You’re going in”. Her voice had a certain assurance. “And what are you both doing here?” Divya again to my siblings, “Do you wanna miss the flight too? You have your boarding passes, right? Go get in”. Both of them didn’t want to leave me behind. I’d to assure them that I’d be fine. They left. Divya left. “Patience, baby! You have nothing to lose if you don’t get to go”. Afterall, back in college, Firodiya play preparations were waiting for me. I wasn’t really keen on going to Bangalore first, skipping Firodiya. My Dad had convinced me a lot to go. And moreover, the whole list of guest lecturers and their topics for the summit were exciting enough for me to take a call and go. “But it’s okay if I don’t get to go now. Things that remain behind in your subconscious mind turn out to be true”, I thought.
There came in another person, must be 40-something (He was a mere 30, as I got to know later). He appeared to be a very high-profile person and had actually come to my rescue. I din’t know who he was. He had a small talk with the hostess and then another manager. The way he was talking to them, it seemed he knew them all. Maybe he was a regular at the airlines. “Don’t worry”, He said to me and left. I had no choice. It was, though still unsure whether I would go. 20 more minutes. There came in another family. A 35-something guy, with his wife, 2 children and a thick oily haired Amma. Must be, South Indian! It took me time to register that they had come together, till I heard the guy yelling at the hostess, “Bloody how can this happen? I’ve done my reservation on time! Is this how you treat your customers?” As I could understand, they all were stuck into the same problem as I was. The guy continued shouting at the hostess, “You bloody don’t talk to me. Call your manager. I’ll speak with him. I don’t want any money back. You have to get me and my family in the flight now!!!” He was reasonably rude and harsh. But he was talking rubbish too. As the argument went on, I could see the situation worsening. People were staring.
“Should I join the guy and start yelling at the hostess?“. No, I thought and quickly gave a call to Divya. “Are they not still allowing you in??? Wait I’ll come in”. Coming in, she directly approached the officer lady. With her, she quickly moved to another airline desk to find out whether there’s a seat in there. But, in vain. I could see Divya trying hard to get me in somehow. She wasn’t rude but firm and commanding while speaking. She managed the conversations like a charm. Communication skills matter a lot. But her endless efforts amidst all the chaos bore no fruits, it seemed. I’d already made up my mind. I didn’t mind going back.
Darshan, my cousin, meanwhile gave me a call from the flight. It was yet to take off. I assured him I was fine and wished him a nice journey. Divya again had disappeared from the scene. I was blank. And for a second, I felt like a dumb. The other guy was still arguing. He’d managed to create a huge scene out there. 5-7 minutes to go. I called up Darshan again to ask for the car driver’s number. His phone wasn’t reachable. I kept on trying. I called up my sis too. Feeling pathetic about myself, I left the desk and started walking towards the trolley where I’d kept my bag, when an officer lady, with a walkie-talkie in her hand, interrupted me. “Pratik, quick and quiet, pick up your bag and follow me”. I had no clues about what she was talking about. Maybe, she didn’t want the other guy to notice this. I chose to follow her. Hope at the horizon. Maybe I’m taking the flight; a sudden thought came as a flash of lightening. But, how? Maybe the other flight; I thought, as I could see her walking towards their desk. “No”, I said as we passed by the desk. We were going ahead. “Maybe they are arranging a taxi for me way back to home”, in wake of making up for their blunder. I couldn’t talk to the lady as she was busy on her walkie talkie. We arrived at a door. “Okay, now quickly take out your cellphone. Keep it in your bag and give the bag to me. You go rush to that door while I put your bag under scanner”. She was quick and yes, I figured out, I was taking the flight. The flight was actually delayed for me, for 5 minutes. It was 6.05 already. She asked me to skip all the security checks and gave my bag to me. She was working like a servant to me.
SRK would have called a press conference looking at me being asked to skip all other checks. And just when, I arrived at a door, that separated the runway and the inside of the airport, the lady showed me where my plane was and said, “There you go. There’s your captain. Now run!!! The flight is waiting for you.” And there I was, running with all the possible energy I’d gathered in my morning cup of milk, towards my plane, on a rather unmanned runway, in a business suit. I could sense my ears listening to the sound of “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gum”. Woooaaahhh!!! I’d cursed and abused KJo a 1000 times, everytime I saw SRK’s running towards his mom after getting off the plane, in K3G or in general, actors’ chasing a plane in a bollywood movie. But, it indeed, did happen to me. I never chased a bus or a train, thinking I would get another. And there I was, chasing an aeroplane in real, “Bollywood isshtyle”.