I haven’t been travelling for a while. I was planning to avoid it for a few more weeks, but then this important meeting came up. I had to go. Little did I know that the trip will turn out to be interesting (it is not over yet).
I deliberately took an afternoon flight. The Delhi airport has never been so empty. No rush at the airline counters. Security was a breeze. Waiting areas were vacant. It was like never before. I looked around and then tried to catch-up with news on my mobile to ensure everything is fine. It seemed fine indeed! Anyways, that’s not the point here. I went up to the gate as printed on my boarding pass. Reached the aircraft. Boarded and went straight to my seat. I was on the aisle side. On the window seat, I saw someone sitting and talking over the phone. Someone with a good sense of fashion (unlike me!!). It flashed that I have seen this guy somewhere. But then, I couldn’t recall. Tried to think, and then gave up.
I settled down and started reading something. I couldn’t concentrate. The guy was talking some really big numbers. Was definitely tensed. It was about some contract. But it was not usual business stuff. It sounded like a modelling contract. He didn’t put the phone down until the plane took off. Surprisingly, no one reminded him to switch off.
I looked at him. Exchanged smiles. I again tried to recall if and where I have seen him. And suddenly it came like a flash. This guy was a supermodel tuned actor. I could easily relate now. I couldn’t have missed him a few years ago. But then, he hasn’t featured a lot recently.
This could have easily happened to anyone. It doesn’t really deserve a post. What followed does deserve one.
After a brief exchange of words and whereabouts, I went back to reading. I deliberately didn’t talk a lot as I am really bad at watching movies. I would have easily screwed. We had lunch.
After a while, I heard as if he was having some trouble breathing. I looked at him. He seemed normal. I went back to reading. And then all of a sudden he started crying! This is weird. Isn’t it? You do not see men crying like this often. I was surprised. It seemed as if no one noticed. He was really crying like a kid. It was awkward for me. I didn’t really know what to do. A few minutes, and he was still crying. I just put my hands on his shoulders and checked if needs something. That made him cry more. He didn’t say anything and kept crying. After sometime, he gathered himself. Went off to the washroom and came back after quite some time. We spoke for a while. And the conversation that followed allowed me to understand his state of mind.
To respect his privacy, I will not mention his name. Not even the conversation. Life is full of twists. For some time, all my worries vanished. It was moving to see him in that situation.
The plane landed. He was normal by then. I went off to take my luggage. He moved on. I waited for my luggage (somehow, it always arrives towards the end). Someone tapped me from behind. He came back to say thanks. And went away.
I recently traveled to Hong Kong with my wife and intended to write something ASAP. Thanks to the piled-up work, I finally get an opportunity to post something. Hong Kong is just amazing! It is one of those places where you can experience everything. A great modern city, mountains, beaches, the up markets and the street shopping for the bargain hunters. Great food (well only if you are a non-vegetarian unlike me!). Theme parks, fishing villages, exciting hiking trails, high-speed ferry rides, the open top bus rides…..the list goes on!
We just had 6 days with us, so we could only cover the major attractions – The Peak, the Victoria Harbor, the unique light and sound show- ‘The Symphony of lights’, the Lantau Islands, the Ocean Park, TST, Avenue of Stars. 3 long nights of street shopping. And a day trip to Macau, of course.
The strangest thing I noticed there was the fact that a random average person you speak to, will most likely not understand English! I know it is China. But it is strange because the British have been there for over hundred years and Hong Kong has been handed over to China just a decade ago. And the fact that it is still a Special Administrative Region (SAR) which enjoys being one of Asia’s prominent business centers. And that it is a tourist place. Why is this then? And then you travel to Macau. The situation is even worse.
The other strange thing was that a few tourists requested to click photographs with us!!!!! I suspect they were from mainland China and were tourists like us. But come-on. I thought Indians were everywhere……..they why were we so special? Whatever the reason was, I wouldn’t complain on this one . It made us feel special.
It was a great experience overall. While we were leaving, Hong Kong felt so familiar. Travels through the MTR, the TST area. We thought we could guide anyone, anywhere! There’s a lot much to do than we could cover. But there’s definitely, the next time!
Date: 30 June 2011
Time: 10:00 AM.
I have to fly back to Delhi from Mysore. I am taking the 1:15 PM Kingfisher Red flight (that’s the only one which flies out of Mysore I guess). I come to know of an urgent meeting and I decide to cancel my Mysore-Bangalore ticket. I quickly logon to Cleartrip where I had booked my tickets. It says that I can’t cancel it online within four hours of departure (I think it was 4 hours) and I should visit the airline website. That is acceptable. Though I am not sure what the limitation is. Technology or something else.
I immediately logon to the Kingfisher Red website and look for cancellations. They’ve managed to hide the link brilliantly. And then I find it! Relieved. But then, life’s not so easy. I come to know that I can only cancel the ticket online if I have booked it through the Kingfisher website. So I must contact the Kingfisher customer care. Now that is disgusting.
Nevertheless, I call up the customer care. My brain is popping out now. I have to hurry to the office to attend the meeting. After pressing some 1/2/5/3 and what not, I reach the cancellations section. And then the stupid music starts. Occasionally, the lady talks about some new sectors and some enhanced Kingfisher Red experience. I think she is mentioning about the enhanced cancellation experience I am having. 10 minutes have gone by, and my brain is completely out. I cut-it there and quickly move out of the guest house to take the taxi to the office which was supposed to take me to the airport. I always have time to call-up on my way to the office.
So I am in the taxi now and I dial-in the number again. After pressing some 1/2/5/3 and what not, I reach the cancellations section. The same lady speaks the same shit. I can’t hear it properly which is good, else my brain will again pop out. I think I fall asleep. The driver says that the office has come. The call is still on and the lady is still spitting crap. It is 11:00 AM and I rush-in for the meeting. There’s no point calling again as cancellation requests are not entertained within two hours from the scheduled departure.
Date: 1 July 2011
Time: 12:45 P.M.
As I am writing this, I am waiting for the same Kingfisher Red flight to take to me Bangalore! I can’t even say I will never fly Kingfisher Red again. That is the only flight which operates out of Mysore for now. I don’t know what to say.