Saturday, December 26, 2009

Starting Troubles

18th December, 2009

I was getting impatient. Patients pouring in an endless stream not a least bit concerned that I had a flight to catch. 1.00 PM and I wound up telling my receptionist to inform anyone who came that I'd already left. As always there were those few things that had to be thrown into the bag at the eleventh hour. My son, utterly unconcerned, continue playing with his friend.

Finally, we were off to Coimbatore to catch the 8.20 PM flight to Chennai. Airline inflight meals have always been unpalatable and this time was no exception.

9.30 PM - Kamaraj domestic terminal, Chennai.

10.00 PM - in my sister's flat. Bags strewn on the floor. Last minute packing and eleventh hour checks.

The horror started at 10.30 PM, and would last the next three days.

The air ticket from Chennai to Port Blair was missing. Frayed tempers, raised voices and panic in the air. The worst part of all that, no printer at home! Come to think of it; how do two individuals in journalism survive without a printer at home?

Of course, 11.30 PM was not the time to run around trying to buy a printer. So the next best option was to find a place to get a print out. The obvious choice was the cyber cafe around the corner. Bro-in-law and me got in the car with some apprehension. If the intelligent cop patrolling the roads on a weekend were to sniff our breaths, we would have another load of trouble to handle.

The usually reliable Reliance browsing center was closed, and the next one was too far away for two slightly inebriated individuals who were not too keen to test the police department's efficiency. Hotel's have business centers. That seemed the only option for us and we went searching for one. The first stop was a failure so we went further cautiously, to Raintree. I liked the name.

The chap at Raintree was more than helpful. He logged us in, helped print ten sheets of air tickets, pocketed his tip and charged us Rs.250/- for the trouble!

We crawled into bed well past midnight. We had a flight to catch next morning.

19th December, 2009

8.30 AM, Kamaraj Domestic Terminal again.

Baggage checked in and waiting for the security check. Our troubles seemed over. In an hour we would be off to Andamans.

Waiting in the departure lounge for boarding to be announced, the next bomb exploded. Bro-in-law saunters over and nonchalantly announces that our accommodation in Port Blair had not been confirmed! Panic again. Apparently someone else had more influence than a newspaperwallah! We relapsed into silence. We had no choice but board the flight. Something would happen by the time we landed.

The inflight snack was as unpalatable as ever and suspiciously tasted exactly like the meal I had the previous night.

12.30 PM. Veer Savarkar International Airport, Port Blair.

The airport manager was waiting with an appropriately apologetic expression on his face.
"Sorry Sir. The Circut House is not available but I have made arrangement here", he told us.
He escorted us to the airports guest rooms, checked us in and disappeared after issuing us a security pass that mentioned that we were Airport Guests!!

The rooms were spartan. Sheets on bed but none to cover ourselves. Single towels and no running hot water. Drinking water from the cooler in the lounge downstairs.

If you wanted to eat there was no choice after the 12.45 PM flight left. The restaurant closes at 1.30 PM and the airport goes to sleep. It wakes up only at 4.30 AM the next morning! A couple of bored security personnel at the gate whiling away their time watching the cricket match on the TV in the lounge were the only visible sign of life in the slumbering airport.

What a way to start a holiday!!

1 comment:

  1. We flew from IGIAP, Delhi to Kamraj ap @10:30 pm hoping to get acco @ Airport for transit passengers. No rooms were available one bed each was available in the male and female dormitories, bt the ap manager wouldn't allow more than one person ber bed. But, we were H/W+ 2Chld, so we preferred to check in and use the ap benches for a quick nap before our early morning @ 5 am IA flt to PB.