Sunday, August 17, 2008

Silly-Con Valley of India

This is Bang bang bang Bangalore?

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I am forced to cancel my confirmed ticket on Brindavan express. So what do I do? Pick an alternative. It’s Thursday afternoon. And it’s the 14th of August. No hopes of a bus or train ticket falling into my lap, so I choose the expensive way out. A flight ticket to Chennai. Expensive, but worth it. All I need to do now is get myself to the airport. Easy. That’s what I think, but that’s when it starts to pour cats and dogs. No, actually it’s pouring elephants and hyenas.

The cab that was due to pick me up at 8.00 pm is far behind schedule. So I take matters into my own hands (or legs to be more appropriate) and brave the rains. It’s taken me a trek of 2.6 kms in a torrent to realize that I’ve made a mistake. This is Bangalore. Rickshaws don’t do your bidding, they do YOU.

Finally by 8.50 pm. I’ve managed to coax a cab to take me to the airport. By now the city is chaotic. The unforgiving rain (thank you god), and the unyielding gutters have decided to sink the city. I am soaked, I stink, and I am just an hour and half away from the flight that will deliver me from this trench.

The cab guy assures me that I will make it. Energized by his enthusiatic mumble, I give in. I stop glancing at my watch, I literally give up praying. I am convinced I will make it. I get there 2 minutes too late. Thanks to a suddenly duty conscious police department that decides to stall my cab for a routine check that costs me 10 minutes. And the drug buster at the check-in entrance who's whacky intrument insists i am carrying coke. After letting him go through all the contents in my bag, he let's me go. I rush to the check-in counter only to be told the flight is already set for take off, so no chance of me getting on. They are courteous enough to offer me a seat in the next flight. I succumb.

Now remember, this is Devanahalli, a place that’s 2 hours away (in decent traffic conditions) from where I stay. I’ve missed my 10.25 pm flight by 2 minutes and the next flight is at 9.50 am. I decide to go home. But wait. I am told I can’t leave the airport unless I fly out (what kind of a rule is that?). I spend the next 13 hours in the airport trying my best not to doze off. The only help I have is coffee. Courtesy Café Coffee Day. Oh! I almost forgot. The rain has laid my cell phone to rest. It got drenched and conked by the time I got into the cab, so by now I have absolutely no means of communication to the outside world. Like everyone else Iam completely dependent on my cell phone. I don't write down numbers anywhere. I don't even have my house number memorised. So what do i do? I manage to find an old gentleman, kind enough to let me insert my sim in his instrument for a few minutes. Thanks to him i retreived my home number from a message sent earlier. Now I can use the phone booths and inform home of the calamity that has struck. I spot 2 red PCO phones. But the trouble is they need to be fed 1 Rupee coins to work. I am shocked, in the age of web 2.0, the International airport has no means of communication other than a coin fed public phone? I mean, come on, who the hell carries 1 Rupee coins anymore? Anyways I try my luck with the Café for coins and thankfully they had a few. A very few mind you because their prices are all multiples of five. Armed with 5 coins, I make my way to the phone and make the call home. I have to rush through the details of my forced change in travel plans because the machine's gobbling a coin every 10 seconds. Well, atleast I am a bit relieved after the call. I settle into a chair and survey my surroundings. My home for the next 13 hours. I can't believe I am waiting 13 hours for a flight that lasts 40 minutes. I silently laugh at the irony of it.

So here I am, trapped in a glass enclosure with Arabs, Americans and I don’t know who else. No food, no entertainment, no escape. I am feeling a bit like Tom Hanks, but no Catherine Zeta Jones around though.

I am not the only one that’s being tortured by an undeniably ill functioning Bangalore city. I speak for all in my shoes. This city has gone to the dogs. What was the need to move the airport so far away from the city? Why do rains always leave the city in havoc? Why aren’t auto rickshaws being regulated by the transport department?

1 comment:

Animated Junk said...

seems like u have had one hellava day... India Search