Vacation timePosted: January 5, 2005
Admittedly, my motivation to blog is way below anything else. I present, Santosh’s mind on vacation in Pune. I left the United States in a hurry hoping to get back home soon. However, luck deserted me midway. My domestic connection to Los Angeles was grounded in Chicago because the Pilots reported an anamoly.
I reached LA 2 hours later, rush to the international terminal – I told myself. I found my Air India flight had left, on time. In this instance, Air India seems to have pulled off a total blinder 🙂 what is the probability of an on-time departure for Air India? 10%? 1%? haha Merry Christmas.
Air India were kind enough to put me on the next flight out of LA, to Mumbai, this time over the Atlantic. The flight I missed was over the Pacific via Kuala Lampur. United pitched in with a Hotel and Meals while I waited for the flight. I was grateful, but I was bored, LA had nothing much to offer me for that one day. I spent most of my time on Venice Beach, reflecting, watching the waves roll in.
Later, that evening, I boarded the Air India flight out of LA, bound for Mumbai. I was happy to be well on time. My bags had been located, that definitely made my day. Lot’s of flirting with a pretty ticketing agent didn’t help me get an upgrade, but hey, I’m single so… that time spent is forgiveable.
A LONG wait at the gate – the flight was 2 hours late, I struck up a conversation with Barney, a law student from Michigan. His excitement was fuelled by the fact that he was flying Air India. He had heard stories that had mortified him, and so here he was, his maiden flight to India, on the national airline. This surprise perception, atitude melted away any cynicism and brought out the humour in the confusion of the Air India agents and other staff. They were trying their level best to pacify the waiting travelers and do their job. Kids were crying, youngsters were pacing, there was no doubt …. everyone were getting edgier by the minute.
The building tension was finally defused with the boarding call, buses moved the folks over to the boarding area where the Boeing 747 “Fatehpur Sikri” lied in wait. Strictly speaking, on any other day I would hate competing for cabin space :). But on this occasion, Barney and I got ahead by boarding when only passengers in the back row’s were asked to board. I might have issues with my conscience, but Barney didn’t and just decided, enough of waiting. The Captain of the crew kept announcing we were “moments away from takeoff”, I took those few minutes to email my friends a short goodbye.
My seat-mate could have been a charming, single 20-something, or just fun conversation, but they all deserted me. Instead, an overweight, oversized gentlemen jostled with me for elbow room in his economy class seat. I always knew I should have been religous at the Gym. If I had been, I would have pushed back with conviction.
At Frankfurt, the kind folks of the airport let us disembark (a first ever for me on an Air India flight). Thanks to T-Mobile deutschland I read the news and was stunned to read about the Sumatra Earthquake and the Tsunami that followed. It made me think, my troubles were so small now. More socializing followed, in German with the German airport staff, with some Gujrati gentlemen who deemed it right to warn me that I shouldn’t wear my Berry on my holster in Mumbai. Damn right, Mumbai is a nasty place alright. The restroom lines stretched across the isolated terminal. Have you ever seen so many Indians with their bladders full up :)?
Back on the flight, to counter-act the effect of the horrible hindi movies, petite Air India attendents dished out an awesome indian, vegetarian fare. Thats when I knew, I was headed for good Indian food :)… hehe I am a total foodie alright. Beers with Barney and my new Gujrati friends meant that time flew by quick.
At Mumbai airport, our bags just refused to come out for over an hour. They were probably engrossed in a conversation with the bag handling machine which had conveniently decided to throw a tantrum. I dreaded the green channel, I was carrying a load of stuff they could rail me for. Hehe, it took 10 mins to clear customs, no questions asked… shucks it must have been the dude on our flight who was smuggling in several cartons of ciggies and liquour that threw them off.
Now I’m here, in Pune, battling traffic, my loved ones’ deep and several problems. My parents repeatedly insist on intruding in on my private space which they haven’t done so for the past year. My mom almost admitted that its a power-trip for her (jokingly) hehe … Is it really a vacation? I don’t know yet, I’ll be in thousand oaks tonight.. I might find the answer there.