Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Travel Blues

One has heard a lot about the Monday blues but am certain no one is familiar as yet with the Travel blues!This has nothing to do with any phobia associated with travel, but just an uneasy feeling each time one travels! For some it is the anxiety of reaching the terminal in time, for others the questionable contents in their bags that may come up for scrutiny or just any other. In my long years of travel the list keeps getting longer as I associate with more fellow travelers and hear their stories. I too have had my share of unusual travel blues which I would like to share.
I roll back a little in time. I landed at Changi Airport in Singapore and after a quick clearance picked up my baggage and hailed a taxi to reach my destination. Some pleasantries were exchanged after reaching home and I started getting ready for the night. I tore off the baggage tags and the maid promptly cleared them and dumped them down the chute.I struggled with the locks as the key refused to budge and in desperation I gave a harsh tug and the lock opened. It was a horrendous sight to see cakes of Rin and Neem soaps, Colgate toothpaste, unfamiliar looking night suits and more. My wife exclaimed ‘When did you pack these, mistaking them for the monthly provisions ‘.She continued ‘ I had told you not to pack, this ridiculous redshirt ‘and the barrage continued. Suddenly it dawned that the contents were not ours. Had the bag got exchanged at the airport? The bag appeared to be a Siamese twin of my own bag. No wonder the lock was so reluctant.To salvage the situation we hunted for the tags which for once had got rid off in a record hurry. The tags were no where to be found. It then dawned on me that the maid had just thrown the garbage down the chute. It was dark and gloomy so the search required a light. With a torch, the hunt started and fortunately did not have to go far to recover the garbage bag containing the baggage tags. I took them back home and realised that a wrong bag had been picked. I am sure the owner of the bag must have gone bonkers in search of his bag. Since it was getting late I decided to visit the airport the next day,
In the early morning hours I left with the bag for the airport and after narrating the sob story to the Security and the Customs team, I entered the airport and went to the lost baggage counter.After a brief discussion and declaration, I was allowed to look for my bag in the reclaim section. There, it stood mocking at my foolishness . An hour later, I returned victorious with my bag firmly in my possession.
I also vividly recall that when I had started to travel to foreign destinations, I was transiting through Amman, the capital of Jordan on way to Tel Aviv. The baggage had to be collected from the belt for screening. I saw that my suitcase looked as if it had been hit by a truck and it was bandaged by securing tapes. I collected it and, complained to the staff. They asked me to examine the contents and check if anything was amiss. I opened and found all belongings were there except an ordinary camera that was missing! I filled in the claim and also for a bag that would eventually have to be replaced. Almost two months later I received a pleasant surprise in form of a bank draft from the airlines as a compensation.
I am sure most readers would have had their own share of such Travel blues! One gets stronger with every such incident and learns to be more cautious. There is however no guarantee that some new surprises do not come 

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