"The difference between an obstacle and an opportunity is our attitude towards it. Every opportunity has a difficulty,and every difficulty has an opportunity." -- J. Sidlo
Hi,all…whew- day 5 of my holidays already. Here’s a quick update of the memorable happenings from the day of departure.
As I always say, watch out for the signs…and, watch out is what I should have done, last Friday. We’d decided to do an early check-in, and, on reaching the airport in the morning, I found the guy there asking me why I’d come alone, for the check-in…however, after a bit of cajoling and seeing the sincere look on my face, he agreed to take in the luggage. That should have been a signal to me to watch out for what was to come in the hours to come.
Anyway, unmindful of the signal to be careful, I just went home, finished off the packing for the cabin baggage and waited for the hours to drag by, till 8 PM, which is when we were going to leave for the airport. Reached there at 0900, 2 hours ahead of time, and, coolly spent some time, in the Duty Free, browsing around. At 1005, we thought that there’s enough time to walk towards the departure gate, and, on going to the first floor, we realized that it was at the end of the road, nee, end of the terminal, at gate 37,(we were near gate 12) must have been two kilometres away at least.
And, whammo, suddenly, they announced ‘ final boarding call for EK 538’….disaster…images of missing the flight, returning home, desperately trying to book the next flight, rejoining work till then, et al, came to my mind, as they always do….all that pre-planning which grips me, always.. …still, we decided to rush as fast as we could, to the Gate, pushing our trolleys ahead of us and found another six people running behind us, so, we got a bit of relief, knowing that the plane wouldn’t leave without so many passengers, rather, without off-loading their baggage, at least.
I think that took care of the evening walk I had missed that day!!
Reached the gate, and the ushers, well, just rushingly ushered us to the bus. The terminal where the plane was, was so far away, that the bus took 25 minutes to reach there, making someone comment that perhaps the driver was taking us to Sharjah instead of the airplane hanger.
Had a pleasant flight, as all Emirates flights usually are. Landed at Ahmedabad airport at 0300 hours. (I was wondering whether we came via a shortcut, since it took less time than we expected)….
Now, nothing could have prepared us for what was to come. As always, everyone thought that the plane would take off again for Dubai, with them still in it, so, even as it was taxi-ing to the designated spot, they all got up, began opening up the luggage racks, and removing their baggage, some of it falling off in the bargain, while others were trying to overtake the people ahead, in their march towards the exit.
Still not losing our cool and feeling quite amused, in fact, we walked down and, waited for the bus. The sight which greeted us when we saw the first bus, reminded me of the Mumbai locals- people crammed inside, hanging on for dear life, but, insisting on catching the first bus only, probably afraid that they wouldn't be taken into the next bus…I’m sure it was an overload of 100%. It made me wonder- were these people really in the elite Emirates flight? Anyway, we got into the second bus, which was a bit less loaded, still with some standees. It took such a long round that someone wondered whether he was taking us direct to Baroda.
There was this kid, learning the ropes of the US way, who kept coughing, and, his Mom explained why he was coughing- all the gulaab jaamuns and pedas and three ‘ Kocks’ he had the previous day. And, his Dad(presumably), another USA- enamoured guy, proudly said’ Ene Lozenges aap ne’ (give him some lozenges, na), probably expecting us to be awestruck to hear the word 'lozenges'. However, his wifey pricked his ego-balloon, when she looked at him and said’ fine, you tell me where they are and I’ll give them’.
We finally got off, and, voila- we see a huge queue of people….apparently, the people at immigration had just gotten up and taken their seats or something like that. Hence, there were 250 plus people ahead of us, and, the queue snaked it’s way right from swirling inside the place, to outside, where we were standing, at least fifty people away from the door.
In the meantime, a near Hindu-Muslim riot took place, when the guy in front of me, tried to put his bag a bit further ahead than his location, and the guy in front angrily told him that he seemed to be in too much of a hurry, and, he’d better not try to be smart. The bag guy then told him ‘ kya kar lega?’, and, got the reply’ Daant tod doonga’ (I’ll break your teeth’)- finally, two of us intervened and peace was restored. Right above our heads, there was an ad for a 'Peace Ashram', in the heart of Ahmedabad, btw...quite ironical.
Even as we entered the building, finally, we found that another two flights had landed, one from Sharjah and another from USA. So, the queues became even more chaotic, with people trying to line-crash where they could, and, others screaming at them. Anyway, we finally got to the counter, got our passports stamped, and heaved a wrong sigh of relief. Nothing could have prepared us for the route to the baggage section. Firstly, there were no trolleys, and, when we did get them, there was no way we could reach the baggage section. After waiting hopelessly for an hour or so, we reached our destination. The baggage was just coming out, probably for the umpteenth time, and, we quickly took it off and adjusted the trolleys.
You think our troubles were over? Surely you jest, my friends. This is not Dubai, this is not even Mumbai. So, anyway, wifey took one trolley and was at a different line/location headed towards the solitary green channel Xray machine, while I was far behind, trying to poke someone enough with the trolley so that they’d feel ashamed and let me pass. But, it was no go.
Suddenly, I saw a new line being formed, and, some one said’ those are the Chief Minister’s guests, so, they have to be ushered in first. I coolly pushed my trolley into that queue, and, reached quite close to the exit, before someone noticed that the guests of the CM seemed to be more than the pass mentioned.
Before they could say something, I gave a shout to wifey, so, that people could see that we were together, and coolly reached just behind her trolley. And, well, that was an hour saved. i silently thanked God (We landed at 0300 and it was already 0500, and would have been 0600, but for the CMs guests). I was quite sure that the taxi guy whom we’d booked, must’ve left by now. But, luckily, I needn’t have worried. The bad day had ended , and it was the dawn of a new era, I mean, a new morning.
So, we walked out, and, there he was with a placard. And, the rest, as they say, is history. We had a pleasant journey to Baroda, on the new expressway. I was thrilled to see what I’d expected- a conference of cows, even as we were just leaving the airport road. Naturally, we had to navigate around them, even at this hour.
Believe me, this expressway has to be seen to be believed. My last memory of travelling between Ahmedabad and Baroda is of the bumpiest of rides, with lots of diversions, and accidents on the way. We reached Baroda in the record time of just under an hour.
Anyway, so, we entered good ole Baroda, and, went past my favourite place, good ole EME Temple, and, finally reached good ole home. And, we found……well, that’s a story for the next post…believe me, there’s lots to share, but, I must do it without letting it become boring, right?
Off now, to check out on some of my favourite blogs. Hope I can post tomorrow.
PS: I’m not complaining about our experience at A’bad, believe me. I love such challenges. I just can’t bear life to be as easy as it is in a place like Dubai- makes one become complacent, sooner or later. Hehe.
Till next time, keep smiling!!