How we came back home final part
We are checking if there is truth in the statement that universe can conspire for or against a specific person or not. This, due to a tight flight itinerary I booked on MakeMyTrip( indian travel portal) for a return trip to Bangalore from Bhilai. Those portal folks made the plan look good and cheap( cost optimized ) so I grabbed it at that time. Then realized that a family that has odd stuff to check-in ,a hop between airlines and between airport terminals, gets tested severely by reality. We had an eventful and tense check in at the Raipur airport, a more tense flight to Bombay via Vizag. Against my calculations the flight that started 45 minutes late , landed with just 10 minute delay, keeping our hopes up. Barely.
We had deplaned from (AI-651) some 10-13 minutes before 5:00 and we had the next connection on Spicejet (SG-415). And there was a busy road separating the arrival and departure terminals. For that reason I took great pleasure in pushing through the crown in front of us with vigorous urgency. “We got a flight to catch”. That phrase can part a sea of people even at the airport. You need to mean it, really really mean it and then from the depth of the bellows say it with a pin point urgency . The humanity understands and gives way. So I marched ahead with a wheeled trolley a teen-aged dotty , a harried wify and a panicked lady we just met on the flight close on my heals. Score +8:+5 due to understanding humanity.
The march of the Bangalore brigade halted at the baggage belt. On the flight I and wify had cooked a plan that I will wait to get the bags and she and dotty will dash to the terminal 1B ,hold the spiceject SG-415, for me to follow and board. Exactly like we used to do long ago with the state transport buses. Then we remembered that the tickets and boarding passes were stored only in my mobile. A mile high in air we were wifi and 4g challenged. Our well laid plans were unraveling. Smartly wify decided to use the camera on her phone and take a picture of the boarding passes from my phone’s screen. Neat. We did. But. Our self-congratulations were dimmed by the low battery warning on her phone. Dotty saved the day by using iPad as a backup.
All that planning and plotting and on nick of the moment wify says let’s see if the bags come out and we go together. It seemed to make sense. Now I know why drills are good.
One needs to practice a lot for a plan to be executed with precision and efficiency. Human mind is fickle and optimism can come unannounced. If you need to follow a well thought out plan then do not give brain chance to spring options on you. If not you will wait with your wife and kid for checked in bag and a rip-stick to come off the baggage belt and chew on your finger nails.
Agonizing minutes passed and slowly we realized it is best wify goes now, as she started Ankita’s ( stranger who share our plight and flight ) bag came, So now three of them could go. As we loaded her bad on push cart our bag came too. With the bags loaded on 2 trolleys the three ladies moved. There is a pre-paid taxi stand before the exit, down the ramp. Ankita bought the ticket to domestic airport terminal, 1B. Meanwhile our rip-stick too come out. I picked it up and ran, caught up with the advance party. And that is how we all could get to go together, ultimately.
It took a bit of hunting to spot our pre-paid taxi but in a pinch 4 pairs of feet and eyes can manage it in 33 seconds. I spotted it and we all ran towards it, loaded our bags, squeezed in and asked the driver with the same vigor as I used to part the crowd to take us to our destined or not so destined flight. The oldish man said we will try but this is a car then there will be traffic. As the tires moved an inch someone knocked on a window and stopped the car. We had left our iPad in the trolley. Bless the kind soul. The power beyond was in a helping mood.
It is surprising how we think that folks on the streets are crooks and educated ones are honest. Here was a porter who could have taken the iPad but he knew what we would miss so reminded us to take it. A while back I lost a mobile in the airport and never found it. So judge the humans by their deeds not by circumstances.
25 minutes to Estimated Time of Departure of SG-451 ,we jumped from taxi, dumped the bags in fresh trolley and stared at an anaconda of a queue. Two of them actually. Each headed by a security guard. At the entrance of domestic airport, Mumbai. In India they check the tickets and your identity before letting you into the airport. Again we flashed our urgency license, broke a rule and dashed to the check-in counters. We had a bigger anaconda to deal with here. I scanned around and saw the counters for business class, barged into it and said we got a Bangalore plane to catch. She looked at me from behind the desk with disbelief. You are not only late, you are past the point of redemption late, she so politely implied. It was then I was so thankful of the check in person at Raipur. On his advice we had web checked-in. With that additional knowledge, the lady defected to our side. With rapid efficiency and spitfire orders she checked in our stuff, including the wave board(Rip-stick) with a fragile label.
One more hurdle was remaining but having cleared all the previous ones I was sure we will board the plane. At the proper security scan,basketball got marked for re check. Ankita, gave us a terse smile, waved a nervous bye. I gave an understanding nod and she left for the departure gate. 10 minutes left. Dotty spotted the bag with ball and started bouncing and talking. “Uncle, that is my ball. I need to for my practice and we have a flight to catch right now”, she plead-commanded in a quick, relentless loop. She went on and on and on. The in charge sent one of the security guards to check out the fuss. He opened the bag, poked the basket ball. It yielded 5%. He looked at Dotty. She gave him the innocent puppy looks, expectantly. One needs a determined kid who can swing an act or two and an understanding guard (may be with a stubborn daughter of his own) to work things like this out. He told his superior, it is just a kids ball, already deflated. The Super was kind too, he agreed and we were on the way to boarding 2-3 mins left to closing. As we crossed Ankita on the aisle in the plane on our way to our seats we said a silent good bye.
And that is how with few moments to spare at each stage we managed to come home. I asked Dotty how she felt and why was she cool about it. She said, daaad it was Mumbai and I was with you and mom. So I thought, “if you manage it, I will have a nice experience and a story to tell in the school. And if we missed, we would shop and see Mumbai get into a nice hotel and get to Bangalore the next day. Either way it would be awesome”.
Yup, that is the way to look at life. Enjoy the ride and if you miss a connection create an opportunity to have fun. En-route meet a stranger, share misery , hope, plans, burdens. My granny would say that is what I told you. It is all ordained. Accept your past Karma and ensure you be good for a better future rest of your life and then in subsequent lives. And that’s what the power/celestial beings would want us to do. If you notice I stooped scoring on – and + points. Life is not measured. Good deeds and bad deeds may not balance out, good fortune and misfortune are two sides of the same. One choice or event can have more say than a thousand before. Do not try to do future gazing it does not help much, so why keep a tab just eat, work, play, pray, love.. Que sera sera.