Friday, February 22, 2013

sg diary: p2 -- starting problems

on the day of travel( the flight was at midnight), i went to work at usual where a colleague strongly discouraged me from taking the bus and lectured me on taking a taxi instead. hell-bent on travelling like a lesser mortal, i arrived at the kuvempunagar(BTM) bus-stop for the 7:40pm shuttle to the airport.. at 8:15 pm, the bus had still not arrived. the next bus scheduled to leave at 8:10pm was nowhere to be seen either. the traffic from silkboard towards btm had come to a standstill, and was visible for almost 2kms backwards. there was no sign of any BIAL buses and the colleague's words were ringing in my ear. a hurried crossing-the-road and catching a rick to reach the staples stop. the bus that leaves electronic city at 7:50pm did not turn up. panic-stricken, called up the helpline at 8:45pm and got cab numbers, called up meru cabs to transport me at 9:15pm for an additional charge. i had begun to relax as i waited when the cab-driver called me up at 9:15pm to inform there was a problem and that he wouldn't be making it and that i should call back the helpline for another cab. the helpline promised to send one urgently and then two cabs arrived at 9:30pm! randomly chose one and it turned out to be the one whose driver earlier cancelled... apologising profusely for the delay, he drove like a maniac -  jumping the traffic signals, honking needlessly, and keeping me engaged in small talk the entire way. he said it was his day's mission to drop me at the airport at 10:30pm, for which he later received a huge tip. oh! we reached the airport at 10:25pm! and intact... one amazing driver! the flipside - it cost me 1k instead of rs.250 i would have spent on the bus.

with the biggest worry out of my way, i only had to get my boarding pass, wait for my flight and board it when it arrived. easy-peasy, right? wrong! at the tiger airways counter, the over-dressed guy waved his right hand and said something like "please go right"... atleast that's what i thought he told me. turns out he meant, 'go to your right'. i went in the direction of his wave and landed into the domestic terminal, security check and all. there was a connecting door that was getting closed just as i reached it. so i told the airport personnel at the door that my gate was on the other side of the door and that i needed to go through. the all-knowing-smartypants told me that the flights-and-their-gates were being re-arranged and re-flashed on the screens, and that i needed to stay-put and keep watching the display. smartypants didn't bother to check my ticket, or ask which flight i was boarding.

so i waited at the domestic terminal for an international flight right upto 1am!

and knew deep in my heart that something was very wrong. talked to another important looking airport guy and got the same 'please keep watching the display'...something was still very wrong irrespective of how keenly i kept watching the display. i took a good walk around, found a may-i-help-you counter and this time instead of asking my question flashed my tickets and boarding pass to the guy who sat there. turns out the security-check had been erroneous. they were supposed to spot that i was not welcome at their gates and i was to go to the other gates.

there was a mad rush with the security folks to fix me... one of 'em accompanied me to the right gates and to the immigration counter.. where i was sent packing again to get a fresh boarding pass since the existing one had been stamped for domestic travel. it was 1:15am by then. another person accompanied me to the airways' counter and everybody was in a frenzy fixing things... with the new boarding pass, i was asked to skip the queue at the immigration counter, my forms cleared in record time, breeze through the security check and at the designated gate in under 5 mins. impressive!

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