Wednesday, December 20, 2006

An Account of Friday the 15th and Saturday the 16th of December, 2006

This is an account of what happened from Friday afternoon right up until Saturday evening when I finally touched down at the Bangalore International Airport... hope this amuses you guys. It ought to make a rather interesting story...

So, we (Hannah and I) left MUWCI on Friday, after a delay of about an hour, with Tom, Annabelle, Francis and Jerome for Pune. We were supposed to go with Zaen, but we were fortunate that we didn't as his jeep just didn't turn up, and then we'd have been completely screwed. By the time we got to Pune, it was about 5, and so we went and shopped Clover centre for Hannah's Golden Virginia (if you dont know what it is, it doesn't matter. Just know that we went to shop for it) and filters. Then, we decided that the time was right to catch a bus to Bombay. So we scuried off to the train station, where we found a busthat was supposed to leave in 5 minutes (it was 5:40 when we got there), and we promptly got onto it. The journey was scheduled to take 3 hours we were told, but after sleeping on the bus for an hour and waking up to an A/C dripping on me and blowing in my face, I was startled to realise that we were still in Pune city. By the time we got onto the highway, it was already 6:45, and so we decided to pull out my laptop and watch Madagascar on it. Soon, we paused at a local rest-stop along the expressway, and hurriedly had a cigarette and pav-bhaji, and we even managed to find a power-point to charge my laptop. Just as we finished eating, our bus decided that it wanted to leave, so we ran back to the bus. As we were heading to it, we found a Mia and a someone-else in a jeep, also presumably heading to Mumbai International Airport. We waved em off, and got back onto the bus, and continued watching the movie. As we were about 2/3rds through the movie, my laptop died a gruesome and unflattering death, and so we fell asleep (I did, at any rate...), and was awoken from my sleep just as it was getting good to the Dadar bus stop scenery. Looking at my watch, I found that it was already 11:15!
We took a cab straight from there to Colaba, as it would be pointless trying to catch a train at that hour, not to mention moderately dangerous knowing the Mumbai janta (Slang for people). We reached my place by about 11:30, greeted by Hannah's inhibitions about my cousins and relatives not liking her, as well as my cousin's dog's noisy uproar. When we arrived, only my mami (aunt)was there, and so we chilled out a bit, and washed and cleaned up. We sat around for a bit, and soon enough, my cousn Hrishikesh turned up. We sat and I talked to him for a bit, after which he decided he was going to retire for the night, and Hannah was going to smoke downstairs. So we went down for a stroll, she smoked one and we came back up, properly de-smelled. We decided that we wanted to finish watching Madagascar and so we did, after which we proceeded to watch as much South Park as our brains could possibly handle. Soon Yashodeep, my other cousin, turned up from his work, and sat down to talk with us. That got over in a bit, and we all decided to get some deserved rest.
The next morning, we got up at about 7:30 (fine, Hannah got up, and proceeded to nag me till I did too), and had a quick breakfast and proceeded to leave for the airport. We got onto a train by 8:40, and were destined to ehaed to Malad Station, in Andheri. However, by the time we got there, it was already 9:35, which meant that I could either take my baby to the airport and risk taking my flight home, or pack her into a rickshaw and head back myself. I chose the latter, much against my will, and packed her off.
Hannah: Babe, I hope that your rickshaw ride wasn't too eventful, and that things went smoothly. Hope that your not too pissed with me, and that you got home safely.
Then, I went bak to Dadar Station, and managed by some lucky chance to get a bus that left, again 5 minutes after I got there. So, I got onto this bus, and sat there. Now, the guysaid that the bus would leave at 10:05, and I got there at 10:00, so I was shitting bricks as I tried to find it amongst the vast set of Volvo's parked in the damned area. Anyways, I got there, and sat down, only to find that the whole thing was completely empty. By the time we left, I'd been grumbling about the bastards not sticking to time for over an hour. I did, however, ahve a jovial teacher that I really liked sitting next to me, so that kept me entertained throughout the journey. Looking at the time when I got into Pune, it was just 2:50. I figured that I ought to find Zaen and Co. at Mocha (DUH!!) so I headed there. I ended up there at about 3:05, and found to my horror that Zaen, Rico and Naina weren't there. However, it was all smooth sailing now - or so I thought. The stupid stoned genie (terminology couresy Zaen Alkazi 1989- ) couldn't help me out for shit, so I took a salt shaker from there as revenge. The salt shaker broke within two minutes on my left foot - a sure sign of bad luck. By the time I managed to actually get Naina to pick up - I was trying her number for 15 minutes - they were all already at MG Road, getting Nain's ear (or whatever else that it was) pierced. I also found out that my mega suitcase had been transferred to Misha, as she was on the same flight back home.So I got into a rickshaw and made my way to Mars-0-rin,where I found a content Zaen and Rico talknig about american stereotypes, and how they are actually everywhere. The time was 3:35 - a long way to cathing my 5:30 flight home. I was quite content with myself, albiet a little dissapointed knowing now that I might have had the time to take Hannah to the airport after all. We decided that a departure time of about 4:00 was good for us all, as Zaen needed to pick up some film from a place 20 minutes in the opposite direction.
At 4:35, we were still on the road, however, being driven by a sleeping (literally, Zaen and Rico can suport this statement) driver. We decided that if I didn't change direction and destination of travel that instant, I would definitely not make it home that day. So I got out, stumbled across the middle of the road, almost got runover by a bus that decided to swerve dangerously close to the sidewalk, and got into a rickshaw driver on speed. I mean it - this guy had pupils the size of the bloody moon man!! And he talked in fast-forward, in a dialect that only the french could understand. Anyways, by the time we figured out that I neede to get to the airport, it was 4:40, and things were looking very foreboding indeed. The guy finally reasied that I needed to catch a 5:30 flight (who needs to give him 10 extra minutes to relax, eh?) and he started to zip through the streets, taking smart ways around signals, buffalows, pedestrians and the like. At 5:00 we were still well within city limits, after having asked the guy how long left and how far away it was for the umpteenth time, I finally gave up all hope of getting there. I consoled myself thinking that it would be a character-biulding experience missing a flight and figuring out what to do next.
I did, magically, however, reach the airpost at 5:15, and ran in to find a very sour Misha teling me to check my bag in and get a boarding ticket for the flight. So, in a rush, I got my bag checked in, and then the lady at the counter informs me that the flight was delayed by 30 minutes. OK, so it was all smooth sailing again. Good news. So I stand in line with my oversize bag and hoody, waiting to hit security check. When I finally got there, all my stuff went through security check, but for some reason, my jacket kept beeping insanely. So did my shirt. So did my pants. So did my shoes. So did my friggin' navel. So, they strip-searched me. I was in the middle oif security getting myself stripped to my boxers, with the damned metal-detector still beeping like nobody's business. They also found a lighter and my swiss knife in my hoody - they were now convinced that I was there to blow the plane outta the skies. Anyways, after quarantining my knife and lighter, they finally let me go. Went to collect my bag and wallet and stuff, and found that my bag was in the middle of 6 security-surds. Was definitely in trouble. One of them came by and asked me if the bag was mine. When I told them it was and that my flight was in 20 minutes, they told me that they needed to scan it again. So there was another hold up. Upon scanning it, I was told that I had another lighter, another knife, 2 forks, a camera, and a bottle of water in it. So i decided that I didnt need any of them, and I started to unpack. That was when I unpacked a bottle of Vodka that I had completely forgotten about. I asked them what to do now. So they cancelled my boarding ticket, and asked me to get another one issued after checking my bag in to check-in baggage. OK. So, I go out, and the helpful geeky guy asks me what I need, so I tell him. It is now 5:45, and I am starting to get edgy again. The guy unnecessarily puts it through the big X-ray machine again, and checks it in for me, and issues me a boarding ticket. That is when another guy runs from the X-ray machine, and demands my bag. They run it in again, and then they ask my to remove the entire contents of my bag. So, here I am, with 15 minutes to go, unpacking a bag filled with all the sins of MUWCI, wondering whether today is the day that I will get busted or not, and whether I will catch that damned flight or not. Finally, the guy searches my bag, and takes a few assorted things out and hands them to me, like my laptop. Rather confused, and not sure whether to be relieved or not, I grab the laptop, and head for security check again. It is now 5:50, and my flight has started to board, says the nasal woman over the intercom. As I go through security again, I am faced with another checker guy who doesn't believe that I got checked before. So, I go though the strip search again, while the guards are going " Zabardast, puttar!!!" . Bastards. By the time I get out, I am informed that my flight has a minute left to go, and so some random dude comes and offers toescort me to my flight. He takes me running on the tarmac to a Boeng 747-600 and before I know it, I'm getting onto the aircraft home - or so I think. As I climb into the aircraft, I notice that the entire thing is empty, and looking at the card in the side-seat, it shows a flight serial different from mine. Going through this whole proscess in real time took about 10 minutes, and as I looked back despairingly at the guy I told him what had happened. Fortunately, he did have a walkie-talkie, and so before the aircraft had a chance to move - it had been sealed and ready to leave, but yeah - he radioed in and told them to wait up.
All said and done, I did finally manage to make my flight, though it was an absolutly on-the-edge weekend - one that I would not like to experience again anytime soon, but one that I am not likely to forget. Thank you two for being a part of it all. Cheers!!

(Oh, yeah, in case you want to know what happened when I came to Bangalore, I fell asleep in the car, and now it's Monday evening, and I just woke up. It's been a very tiring weekend, after-all....)

Guess this kinda stuff isn't just made for the movies, eh?

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