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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Travails of Travel


I reached the gate of the PANAM terminal at the John F Kennedy airport and was sweating as I had rushed for boarding a flight to Washington DC. The next moment I froze in horror on realizing that my air ticket, the passport and other travel documents were missing. There were barely 45 minutes for the next flight to depart. My mind raced and then it struck me that on leaving the Air India terminal, I had probably left my documents on the desk of customs. I rushed back  to the terminal almost 100m away and then re -entered the concourse. The customs official smiled as he saw me come and next moment I sighted the papers and the documents lying on the table. I thanked my stars and collected the documents. I somehow managed to board the  flight for Washington DC in the nick of time.  It was my first trip abroad but even now my mind goes numb when the event plays in my head.

A few years back, I was scheduled to attend a conference in Heraklion, in Greece, where I had taken my wife and daughter too! The ticket was booked from Delhi via Vienna to Athens. On reaching the airport at Delhi, I was informed that the Austrian flight had developed a snag and was in lieu  given a ticket to fly with KLM via Amsterdam. The flight left 4 hours later. On reaching Amsterdam, I was informed that the flight for Athens had already left and the next one was late in the evening. So instead of cursing the luck, we decided to explore Amsterdam. The city of canals was beautiful and we arrived an hour before the flight to Athens was to depart. We reached Athens late in the evening, minus the baggage which was somehow not loaded on the flight. At midnight we headed to the  domestic airport in Athens driving through the deserted streets. The officials gave us seats on an early morning flight . By the time we reached the hotel in Heraklion, the lovely capital of Crete, we had been awake for more than 48 hours! Thankfully, the baggage was delivered by late evening.

Missing the baggage is no big deal but have you ever picked up a wrong bag? Last year , I achieved this feat when I did this at the airport in Singapore. On reaching our daughter’s place, the lock would not open. On breaking the lock we realized that the belongings were not ours! Initially my wife lamented that I had packed the wrong stuff! Even the baggage tag was consigned to the garbage chute, in a hurry. So with a torch, I rummaged through the muck to retrieve the baggage tag. Next morning an additional trip to Changi airport had to be made. The story was explained to the ‘lost baggage’ section who were kind to  help me in locating my bag and taking the wrong bag in their custody.

Right from the childhood, the dreams of Gulliver’s Travels, and Alice in Wonderland have set the imagination on fire. While , traveling one does land in fiascos from time time giving goosebumps and a momentary paralysis. In my many years of travel, the incidents of these kind abound , but has left me bolder than ever before. There is hardly a time when there is a perfect travel but god has been kind to salvage the situations. I am sure the readers too would have suffered at times due goof ups and would have had their own stories to share. Life could not be more interesting without such hiccups while traveling.

PS: 1.This is my 300th blog post and am grateful to all the readers who have undertaken this journey with me full of fun and surprises!

2. Image Kind courtesy Google

18 comments:

  1. Congrats on 300 blog posts! Part of the fun of travel are the stories you can tell afterwards... ;-)

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    1. Thanks Lady Fi!What you say is true.

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  2. Travelling fiascos can be quite scary? I have had a couple of them.

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    1. Ha ha... am sure everyone has enough stories to tell:)

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  3. During my trip to the US I was waiting for the connecting domestic flight from my port of entry and they changed the gate from what was printed on my boarding pass. I asked the lady at the gate when there were only fifteen mins left for take off. I ran like mad like those heroes in the climax scene of bollywood movies and managed to get inside my flight... Phew!!

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    1. BTW congrats on your 300 th post

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    2. I can so relate with your experience having been is a similar situation in UK once:) Thanks for reading and your kind wishes.

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  4. During my trip to the US I was waiting for the connecting domestic flight from my port of entry and they changed the gate from what was printed on my boarding pass. I asked the lady at the gate when there were only fifteen mins left for take off. I ran like mad like those heroes in the climax scene of bollywood movies and managed to get inside my flight... Phew!!

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  5. First let me congratulate for the 300th Post, Rahul! Great achievement. You write interestingly and urge people to read your posts! Keep writing!

    I think it is 5 years back....we, 4 of us were travelling to the UK from Chennai. We had to shift planes at Mumbai. We got down at Mumbai, had some snacks and wanted to check the tickets and opened the computer bag. Only magazines were there alongwith computer! It was not ours! Luckily it had the name of the owner. We complained at the reception. They made an announcement and the owner came running to us with our bag! He had come to Mumbai to give a presentation for his company. All the material was in the computer! Both the men were relieved, hugged each other happily. There was a chance for our trip to be cancelled!

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    1. A big thanks Sandhya for those kind words. The blog world has surely opened gates for never ending learning and making friends with people. As I said, everyone who travels has enough stories to tell about the fiascos:)

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  6. Some travel fiascos make for such wonderful memories, also giving us an opportunity to share and receive kindness by connecting with others. Many congrats on completing 300, so glad to have been a part of the journey; here's to many many more!

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    1. Thanks a lot Arti! Readers like you have kept this blog going:)wishing you many more travels.

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  7. Congratulations Sir for this long journey to 300.

    Now I can say I have travelled a lot too, but have been very fortunate enough to not experience any such issues. There was a small one on my flight to San Francisco last month, but since we had a lot of time, I didn't have to panic. Lucky I guess, for now ☺️

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    1. Thanks Alok! Hope you and Saru have many more glitch free journeys:)

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  8. Reminds me of the time when our flight to Brisbane got delayed by a day. While the so called mature adults were complaining loudly, a young girl beside me was hopping and skipping enjoying every bit of it.

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    1. Children with their innocence are more adept to handle such stressful situations, Purba:)

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  9. Wrong bag also?
    So glad everything ended up just fine at the end of these incidents. We learn a lot of lessons along the way, don't we? :)
    Great post on the travails of travel.

    Congratulations on the 300th post. I'm getting 'there' with a few more posts. ;)

    Have a great weekend, Mr. Bhatia.

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  10. Ha ha.... that is what happens in a hurry:(Thanks for liking and wish you attain the milestone soon too!

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