Writing this one from the airport.
Had a 2035 Sahara flight to Delhi. Reached a whole hour before, like a good boy (also knowing the kind of lengths the security check queues can reach in the evenings…). So I am pleasantly surprised to see no queue at all at the baggage screening as well at the check-in counters. I breeze happily through to the PYT (not really – but I was in a good mood) sitting at the counter. “Sahara Namaskar” she goes. I grin – what a silly thing to say. I say “Hullo…window seat if possible…” I like looking at Mumbai from above…be it day or night.
“Sure sir…” She types away… flicks a strand of hair from her face… and says “I am sorry to inform you sir that the flight is now leaving at 2130.
My pleasant demeanour vanished like fried chicken… “…then why didn’t you intimate me before? Even Air Deccan does that!”
The hair flick again. “I am sorry sir…”
Yeah…sorry my ass. Now I have to spend a boring couple of hours at the airport and intimate the taxi guys at Delhi to send the car later. (They don’t wait…they feel hurt if you don’t tell them and leave…)
So…I decide to answer some e-mails… so I take a coffee, sit on one of those new leather seats at Mumbai airport and get to work. 45 minutes and 13 emails later, I hear an announcement “this is the last and final boarding call for all passengers travelling by Sahara flight…blah blah”.
I rushed back to the check-in counter – “you told me the flight was at 2130!”
“I am sorry sir…it was a mistake…”. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing – and even less what I was seeing. She was giving me a dazzling smile added with an extra flicking of her damned hair. I am quite articulate even at the worst of times – but this rendered me speechless. I just managed to wag an angry finger at her as if letting her know that she will pay for it if I miss the flight – and rushed to the security check. Oh freak…I realized i had to now tell the taxi in Delhi to pick me up earlier… all said and done, I reached the gate 10 minutes before departure. To find it closed.
And no Sahara person in sight. I panicked. (I am not used to missing flights!) After some excruciating minutes of searching through the crowd for an airline person – I saw one. I rushed to him and asked him how the hell could he take off without even calling my name!
He smiled. (One more smile and I would have broken some teeth!) And he said…”Don’t worry sir, it was a mistake…” That was the proverbial straw and I stood there stunned. “What?” is all I could mumble.
“The announcement that the flight is leaving was a mistake…it is still leaving at 2130…” It took me some time before i understood what was happening. I suddenly felt like a practical joke had been played on me and immediately looked around for hidden cameras. MTV Bakra of the year…
The Sahara man put a sympathetic hand on my trembling shoulders – and spoke like a middle-class Buddha, “It happens.”
He was right. It happens. Only to me!