Tale of Two Airports.

We who are groomed at the Drone’s club do know a thing or two, though it  is not a commonly accepted fact, the transformation of information to knowledge to epiphany tends to happen at that “eureka moment” how it hurts that this Drone’s vocabulary has been copyrighted by the blighter called Archimedes if I am not wrong.

Any way sitting at the Hyderabad airport I sorely miss the entertainment provided by the airport staff of Bangalore or Goa. You don’t get to see those smartly dressed ground staff, clutching to the walkie talkie like it were the last life line of Kaun banega crorepati , calling out to people that would put the vision of an Indian Bazaar in a British Raj story to shame, the hustle of, ”passengers to Vijayawada or whatever wada ” is sorely missing.

That gentleman Nehru would be highly thrilled how his socialistic values have translated, think of this, the inherent vice of capitalism is unequal sharing of blessings, so we “Kingfisher airlines ”owned by Mallya so on and so forth,  never mind that the plane is constructed in a factory supported by ordinary taxpayer, never mind the road we take to the airport the Vayu-Vajra floated by the Karnataka govt. are all taxpayer sponsored, Mr.Mallya is the owner of Kingfisher..then the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries, so we have stinking toilets in the airport and messy floors. Not to mention hollering mothers and rolling kids.

Coming to think of it, we have not really evolved from a railroad station, its just that to reach airport we have to take a cab 20 miles out town no wonder literature guys do not say ,”as pretty as an airport”

Just so that I do not think that we have turned capitalistic, the announcer goes,

“flight 6Ewhatever from wherever will be arriving shortly”

“flight 6Ewhatever has arrived from wherever and we welcome the passengers.”

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Bangalore Airport

“passengers travelling to Goa on indigo flight-XYZ, please proceed to gate 23,”

Guess what we could follow the announcement, I mean we could hear it and understand it…. the secret was revealed to me through a quiet SMS that Hyderabad is a silent airport, so we have no loud announcements, the boarding announcements are made at the right time and closed 25mnts prior to the take-off.

Hopefully we are finally evolving.

Fret-Flight

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6.20 pm passengers hustling the airport staff, as they in turn hustle people for boarding the flight going the opposite direction.

Some blighter in his  lack of wisdom, said that our learning capacity decreases with age.

It really isn’t so, instead of Makemytrip.com and its infuriating customer care we opted to book through Yatra.com who actually do not care for customers.

The fly out trip was quite uneventful and just when I accepted that with age everything mellows the return trip happened. There are some things that do not change with advancing age and experience like if the departure time of a train is 7.20pm then one is at the railway station by 10 to 7, the airlines demand such etiquette too, they actually ask to check in 2hrs before.

So 7.20 departure, that would mean 5.20 check in that would translate to leave the house at 3pm, we have to make allowances for the rush-brigade. But this day the roads decided to open up and let us zoom through and we were at the airport precisely at 4.30.

As I entered by airport, I was knocked down, and it takes a lot knock me down, for if your were to fish my body from the Mandovi I would be called a woman of substance, anyway knocked down by what I thought was cannon in action, and before I could pick myself up I hear a loud tirade in Hindi for moment it was as if I was in someone’s living room where the  war of siblings was on, then I realized it was the Lucknow Gharanah on the move.

Its not so bad, a rather pleasant looking young man, was kind enough to tell me, that I should wait in the chairs that were in front of desk 12, for that is where TruJet check in took place, and that it would open at 5.20, when I do get there at 5.20 I had to disturb this young man on his mobile, and he was again kind enough to tell me that the counter has been transferred to 74-75.

Wadding through the ocean of unoccupied chairs, kids rolling on the floor and shooting around like miniature turbo’s I reach  counter 74, all formalities done by a nice little girl who looked like she was thrown to the wolves, and she tells me madam you had better rush the boarding is at 6.30.

Security clearance, done and I arrive at the terminal guess what the boarding was on, for Vijaywada. The pretty airline staff in smart Air Asia uniform, did the true type exercise that the passenger hustlers in the local bus terminus go, “passengers to Vijyawada, any passengers to Vijayawada,” sounded exactly like how achanna the travel agent called out at the Manipal bus-stand,”Udupi-Udupi-Mangaluru” delivered in classic airport English accent.

The Vijayawada guys went away

Here we were awaiting our flight. Right from 6.30 to 8.30 till we eventually took off,

Never more did I miss the Indian railway and its announcer saying,”yatriyon kripaya dhyan de Gadi sankhya GI che-sat-che thodehi samay mein platform number teen par aane ka sambhavana hai.” It kind of keeps us aware, and we know how much of time we have to pick up that samosa, eat it, should we have that cup of tea and most the last minute rush to the loo to be taken care off…

From 6.30 to 8.30 the amazing excuses we were given in order that it was rendered,

  • The aircraft is here, the staff are yet to come… 6.30 to 7.15
  • The are having a small clearance issue and we are sorting it.
  • The craft is a small craft, so we are having landing issues, this at 7.40

The only thing seems to evoke a civil answer is a threat to tweet about their bad service.

Honestly courtesy basic civil behavior seems to be a vintage occurrence.

After this on the scout’s honor I promise never to fly to any destination where the trains can take me.

Pravasi Divas

To me Pravasi always meant traveler

So ideally Pravasi Divas should be about Tourists, or if we are talking Indian here, it should be about the travelling Indian, well close enough, Pravasi Divas is about the migrant Indian, who has either given up or on the verge of giving up his/her Indian Citizenship. Oh! he/she is still rooted enough to an Over Seas Indian card..

Jan 9th, is celebrated as the Pravasi Divas and it is supposed to acknowledge the contribution of NRI’s to India.

The skeptic in me, pops high up I wonder if we are talking only about the NRI’s shown in Hindi movies, or do we have the courage to own up to the vast population of the indentured labourers that we find in Guyana, South Africa, Mauratitius and other countries.

When my parents went to states, they were at the Nigara falls, when some one commented if they  were Indians, my cousin who accompanying  replied,

”Well, my guests are Indians, but I am American.”

We have gated communities at Hyderabad, and Bangalore, where Americanism so strong that the children celebrate Halloween, they so totally identify themselves with that.

I AM NOT  saying that it is a bad thing, after all  kids brought up in Delhi are most comfortable with that environment, like the 4th generation of Pandya’s in Udupi are more comfortable speaking Tulu and Kannada than Gujarati’s.

Coming back, to the indentured labourers, are we willing to accept that there were women who entered relationships with their white overseers as that meant a little more money, a more comfortable life for the their off springs. Many times, the men were left behind in Bihar or wherever they went from so the woman did get into other relationships.  Swamps and insect ridden habitat was their reality. Are we willing to acknowledge their sacrifice for the family they left behind in India?

Their traditions, rooted in the year of their migration, and nurtured in the land they migrated too, has its own unique flavour and identity, one cannot call them Indians any more. Maybe at best we call them of Indian origin.

The first generation that migrates, stays clinging to their roots, the second generation, begins with weaning. They compromise on the or rather turn symbiotic and the third generation does not belong to the roots, it is an independent new form that is conceived, nurtured and flourished in a new environment.

Honestly I think we should let the NRI’s be, what they choose to be No-way Returning Indian, it is time we acknowledged the people who are in the country striving to exist and more than that create growth.

This year Bangalore gears up to host the “Pravasi divas” the day MKGandhi returned from South Africa, the day we look at the productive export the country had achieved from indentured labourers, to the white collared or is it the blue collared soft guys.

 

Making My Trip

Welcome to muckmytrip.com… press 1 for current booking…press 2 for whatever,

Required number pressed…

“goomoningiyamRakeshfrommuckmaiytrip.comhowmayIhelpyoutoday”

Pause…deep breathe

“Good morning Rakesh, My name is Rastapopulous Mindyourbusinessova, and I have a booking for Timbuctoo on the 30th of February I need to make some changes”

“Mr.MIndyouhbisnissnowa…do aih h’av da permission to call yah Rastapopulous?”

“okay, but it is not Mister it is Doctor,

“Okay, Dr.Mrs.Rastapopulous madam, Let me tell you I am here to help you how may I do so?”

“like I told you, I have a booking for February 30th I would like to postpone it but my ticket is a combined ticket for eerie miniee and mynimo and me so I do we do it?”

“Let me tell you Rastapopulous, I will need your PNR number then I will connect you to the airlines you can tell them your problem and they will break your PNR”

“What about the costing.”

“Let me tell Rastapopulous, the airlines will have to break your PNR and then we can go forward, I will connect you to the airlines please stay on hold.”

“Since I have booked the ticket through you can’t you do it for me?”

“Let me tell you Rastapopulous…” the call gets disconnected.

Redial muckmytrip.com and this time after all the preliminaries “yellomynameyizaneeshahowmayihelpyoutoday?”

“I was in conversation with one Marrakesh we got disconnected,”

“yamsorryma’mbutRakeshisonanothercall,howmayIhelpyou?”

“I have a booking to Timbuctoo on February 30th; I would like to reschedule it.”

“Can you give me your PNR number”

“XYX1234ABC”

“Okay  itisatickettotimbuctooforthe30thoffebraurypassengersrastapopulousenniemeanieminiemow ifaiyamnotmistaken”(it is a ticket to timbuctoo, for the 30th of February for Rastapopulous,Eenie,Meanie, Minimow if I am not mistaken)

Well she was not mistaken.

“canaihafyowfonenumber?”

“9221465465”

“You are Rastapopulous Mindyourbusinessnova”

“Eureka”

“How may I help?”

By now it is already 45mnts. Out, I take a deep breathe

Kindly reschedule my ticket, the others fly as scheduled.”

“okahma’mai’llconnectyoutotheairlinesandtheywillbreakthePNRforyou”

“Hell they will I booked the ticket through you you damn well do it, I do not have the time for it.’

 “please hold on”

She is definitely more efficient than her colleague,

“Dear customer your call is important to us, please hold on while we connect you to concern airlines.”… Call drops,

I rush to the loo, before I embarrass myself, and the mobile rings.

“Hello my name is Winnie pooh and I am calling from muckmytrip.com, kyameinMr.Rastapopuloussebathkarsaktahoon?”

“You may not, unless you speak English or Kannada or Tamil, or any language that I can understand, ”

“’well Mr.Rastapopulous let me tell you once your trip is over please contact us for the reimbursement of the cancellation”

“No Mr. Customer care, Let me tell you cancel my booking and send me the modified ticket that’s it.”’

“But your booking Sir,”

“Mind your Butt; it is madam and not sir,”

Phew, that is a relief,

I dial 0820-2570100,”hello, Lambodhar here,”

“Lambodhar I have booked flight tickets and they are a mess”

“Do you have a previous booking?”

“Yes”

“Give me the PNR and I will get back to you in about an hour is that okay”

“Fine,”

Half an hour later, I get a message, “your PNR XYZ1234ABC has been cancelled and your new PNR number is NML1234ABC for the 30th of February by gone with the wind aircraft, and NML789WLC for the 15th of March”

Lambodhar never lets me down.

Though I have modified the names, this is an real experience, by the way Lambodhar and his contact number are real, the man is amazing.

Grade sheet 2016

#life lessons

  1. The year begins with the deafening sounds of crackers over Mandovi and we realize life is drudge when a normal 10-mnts zip down the drive turns into a 100-mnts stake out.
  2. Every channel goes berserk with proposals and projections and choose to call it hopeful prediction.
  3. Then comes Loveria the valentine’s madness the annual war between sanskari baccha and dil ka saccha.
  4. The exam fever.. CBSE vs. ICSE while all the government seats are hogged by forgotten state syllabus — thank God I am over it and its a long wait for my grandbabies to arrive.
  5.  It is a free universe, April showers need  not shower in April.
  6. May day… the domestic tourists on the move trains and planes are overflowing, so are the side walks with Garbage
  7. Heat wave hits Delhi in June,national media gets hysteric…the rest of the country does not matter.
  8. July we have not begun celebrating 4th of July as yet, it might be this year’s Trump Card.
  9. Blaring music heralds the advent  on Lalbaug Ka Raja,
  10. Burning of Ravana and Diwali sales are the high light. we have a new Sanskaar Halloween.
  11. Before I say “bless you” December is here and like all good intellectuals people post out prompts to take stock of the grades, the pluses and minuses, my report card vs. Yours, who has read the most book, gone on most holiday’s .. I rather gorge the Christmas cakes
  12. Epiphany Money is an illusion…I used to think it was delusion.

As for my growth, it lateral, changes from the girl with long braids and short skirt I have become the Auntie Acid with long skirts and short hair (read no hair) as for being better of course there is more of me to go around.

Hope I have qualified for the 13th lesson.

The Salesman

Hope Ira Hayes will excuse me for borrowing her title.

One of the most irritating issues for me, is the telecaller of illegal status, mumbling in Hindi!

The absolute height was the oriflame office from Bangalore, the customer care person talks to me in hindi and demands that I reply since it is rajyabhasha, of course me being me, I fired him in kannada, and told him to find someone who can speak to me in either English or kannada.

Since that day I am reluctant to interact with oriflame.

Now that I am calm  I introspect what makes a leader,?

Small experiences like the one I had with Flipkart, along ago when they were just hatching, I ordered a book called Angelology, there was a call from the customer care, asking me if I was sure that I wanted the book, have I read the review, I was taken aback I had not read the review. The executive told me she was concerned as it was not the kind of book I normally bought. Guess what she was right it was the wrong buy for me, but flipkart has a loyal customer despite Homeshop18 having discounts I bought Flipkart!

the only conclusion that I can come to is the understanding, listening and communication skills.

  • My flipkart customer care person, made me feel she was on my team.
  • She was listening to my story through the orders that I placed.

During my conversation with her, I  found it a little amusing that she had no first person singular. It was We, us all the way but I appreciated the sense of involvement her pronouns threw.

But now Flipkart has taken on Amazon proportions, so they no more care about their customers, while Amazon does the flipping, that is being concerned about their customer

In a personal or social interaction, we figured, simpler the language healthier the communication,  there is no reason to go

Sparkle, sparkle ,Oh! Celestial being

When twinkle,twinkle little star suits fine enough.

Another interesting interaction between my mother-in-law and me, she was narrating the pest salesman woe’s I replied”don’t tell me” to me it was saying I agree with you, but to my MIL it was “don’t tell me~I don’t  care” this simply meant slangs go right out of the window they mean something totally different.

Imagine saying

..and the child thats born on the Sabbath day

Is fair and wise and good and gay

It would mean something totally different in today’s environment. It was then I realized the importance of learning the vocabulary of the environment.

We take our relationships also pretty casually  I learnt this from Asma D’souza there is no lets meet us sometime, there is always lets me up on so and so time at so and so place. This is a way of honouring ourselves and our commitment   to the interaction. This kind of commitment makes people takes us seriously.

Integrity of words if you promise something then carry it through no matter what the cost it. This would mean in every walk of our life. Unless we honour our words why on earth would the next person do it?

This event happened at a restaurant, where were dining, the next table was very noisy and boisterous, I was all set to tell them that their conversation was boring us, at that moment, a kid all of maybe five years walked upto them hands on her waist she looked at them, they started the usual talk to the kid –

She looked them square in the eye and retorted

“How rude you are, didn’t you learn manners you are not suppose to disturb others in a public place.” She stomped right back to her lunch.

The crowd was quiet after that.

OK-ate Dé-bacles

The Dé-ly story

http://www.indiatimes.com/entertainment/celebs/shobhaa-de-disapproves-of-kate-middleton-s-style-says-she-has-no-curves-to-pull-off-a-saree-253439.html

this bit made a lot of stink. Well when I first read it, my response what does it matter what Kate Middleton wore or did not wear, its her wardrobe and her image. Actually I do applaud her for not trying on the Himachali cap at Simla routine our politicians dole out. While Shobha Dé is neither Kate Middleton’ reflection in the mirror, nor relevant in personal or family space.

It was equally impressive to read a response from a nineteen year old http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/this-19-year-old-has-a-befitting-response-for-shobhaa-des-sexist-remark-against-kate-middleton/1/652111.html the kid has her fundas right and she is pretty articulate. I loved her and have applauded her. Something which I didn’t for Shoba Dé

The child had dignity, and did not get mean. She let it go at the right point.

Yet we are now over doing this whole thing, we are giving too much of importance to Shobha Dé who is senior individual she is entitled to her opinion and our constitution allows her to voice it. we have the choice to read it and give just as much as attention we think it deserves. Of course I like reading Shobha Dé acidic writing and I do wish I could do the same.

As far as Kate Middleton, goes she is the daughter-in-law of a dying monarchy that has plundered us, and we really need to bother with her too much.

After all this is a country where more than half the population is underdressed,because they cannot afford it, and a miniscule fraction, dorns miniscule clothes because they can more than afford it, whoever we are we do not let the half naked fakir rest in peace, so why are we debating over overdressed debacles?