Travel Made Difficult

If life is at stake, it is best to avoid risk. Therefore, when I got an SMS from IndiGo airlines (a private Indian airline) which informed me that my flight (6E – 3645) was delayed, I did not complain. But I would have been happy had they informed me the reason for the delay. Later, just out of curiosity, when I inquired about it, I got to know that fog was responsible for the delay. Fog affects the visibility of the pilot, so they would not fly in this condition. That was quite all right. It is better to save our lives than to put it at risk. No one wants to die. I was also told that as soon as the visibility was clear, the flight would depart. The otherwise sparsely crowded airport in Guwahati (namely Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport) was fully packed today, and people were still coming in. The flight was scheduled to depart from Guwahati at 3:10 PM and arrive in Delhi at 6:20 PM. The departure time was revised to 3:55 PM. Then it was further revised to 5:10 PM. Another revision: 5:55 PM. Yet another revision: 6:30 PM. The flight finally departed a few minutes after 6:30 PM.

While I was getting the SMSs of the revision of the departure time of my flight, there was another flight that was getting delayed. I was receiving SMSs for that as well. I had a connecting IndiGo flight from Delhi to Mumbai (6E 665). The actual departure time of my flight from Delhi was 9:30 PM and it was supposed to reach Mumbai at 11:35 PM. The revised departure time for the Mumbai bound flight was 11:30 PM. It was again revised to midnight. Further revision: 1 AM. One more revision: 1:30 AM. One final revision: 12:30 AM. But the flight actually departed at 2 AM and reached Mumbai at 4 AM.

I had booked my tickets two months back. It is with some considerations, some thoughts that I did so. I made some plans about the things I wanted to do. Now that I was not going to reach my place in time, all my plans were ruined. But, yet, I did not complain. I was only sad. However, other passengers in Delhi were furious. I saw a young girl, an old woman, a middle-aged man, complain about the inconvenience caused to them by the airline. Some wanted immediate compensation, refund, replacement, etc. Delhiites are vocal about their rights, it seemed. Some of the customers, to be properly heard and informed well, even entered the customer care representative’s cabin and shouted, which I thought was uncivil. No proper information was, however, given to the customers. I saw a customer service officer argue and disrespect few customers. I am not sure how true the logic that customers are always right is, but in the present situation the customers did have a right to protest and seek a reliable answer. I think the representative was new to work and needed more time to learn. There were other representatives who seemed to understand what the customers had to say and they tried their best to be good and be of service.

After reaching Mumbai, I was trying to get my bag at the baggage conveyor belt. My bag could not be seen. But still I hoped that my bag would come. Alas, it never did. I went to the Indigo baggage counter and told a lady there that my bag was missing. I was given a document to file my complaint. The document was called Property Irregularity Report. The lady asked me to provide the description of my bag. I told her it was a blue coloured duffle bag. “Which brand is it?” She asked. “Skybag,” I answered. The lady at the baggage counter kept the original copy of the report and handed me the xerox copy.

I was not the only person who had lost his bag, there were two others also. One was a girl and the other a man. The girl came from Delhi and had to write an exam in Mumbai. Her exam hall ticket and a few other important documents were in the bag she had lost. She said she had a medium size bag. The man, accompanied by his wife, on the other hand, had lost two bags (one large-sized and one small). The girl who was to write her exam a few hours from now was bewildered and angry. She kept asking the lady at the baggage counter to give her bag immediately. She was not easy to pacify, after all she had an important exam to write and only she could know what she was going through. The lady at the baggage counter said, “Give me some time, let me see if your bag is at the Delhi airport.” When the girl asked the lady how much time she needed. The lady answered that she needed two hours. “Two hours!” The girl said in disbelief. “You need two hours just to tell me if my bag is at the Delhi airport! I wonder how much time it will take for you to actually handover the bag to me.” The lady at the baggage counter ignored her and this infuriated the girl further. “Look,” the girl said, “I don’t have much time. I need my bag now!” This prompted the lady to immediately call the people at Delhi to find out the whereabouts of the girl’s and of mine and of the other person’s bags. The lady confirmed that my bag was still lying in foggy Delhi, but she could not say anything about the girl’s bag and that of the man’s (and this gave the girl more reason to foam at the mouth and wail, but the man still remained calm, perhaps he did not have an exam to write few hours from now).

I asked the lady at the baggage counter when could I get my bag back. The lady said that my bag would come in the next flight from Delhi which departs at 6:30 AM and reaches Mumbai by 8:30 AM. It was 4:30 AM at that time. If I had to wait for the arrival of the next flight, I had to wait for another four hours. Already the flight was delayed by so many hours and the wait for another four hours seemed only to add insult to injury. I was exhausted. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to go home. I asked the lady at the baggage counter if it was necessary for me to stay back or was it possible if I go home and come back to the airport after sometime. But, as it turned out, I would not be allowed to get in the airport once I got out of it, unless, of course, I was travelling by an airplane from Mumbai. But the lady offered me an alternative: she said that I could go home and someone from IndiGo would bring my bag at my residence. I asked her how long will that process take. She said that the bag would be brought to me soon. I said how soon. She said very soon. I said how very soon. She emphasised, “very, very soon, sir!” I was, however, not sure how long that would take, for “very, very soon” may have a different connotation for her and a different connotation for me. I had a few stuff in the bag that were of immediate need. I could not make up my mind whether to go home or to wait. Seeing my confusion, the other man who had also lost his bag suggested that I should go home and take rest. I called up my girlfriend and she was also of the same opinion. I, therefore, decided to go home. I told the lady that I was going home and I asked her to send the bag to my residence. She said she would do so and she had given me a note where she had mentioned a number which I could dial to know the status of my bag.

I came home. Set the alarm of my phone for 8:30 AM (for that was the arrival time of the next IndiGo flight from Delhi to Mumbai) and went to sleep. My phone rang at 8:30 AM and gave me a start. I was drowsy and wanted to sleep more, but it was important for me to get up and get active. I dialled the number that the lady at the baggage counter of IndiGo gave me. This was the number: 7045591805. It was busy on another call. I tried again but it was still busy on another call. I tried after half an hour but it was still busy. I tried after another half an hour. This time it rang and immediately a smile came to my face, but as soon as the smile came to my face it also faded. The person whom I called disconnected the line after two rings. I was absolutely disappointed. I dialled the number again but now the number was not reachable. I tried to find the customer service number of IndiGo from the internet. I came across many numbers, tried one. After listening to an automated machine for a few minutes, the line finally got connected to a human voice. The person speaking to me on the other end announced that his name was Mukesh. He tried to listen to me however, perhaps from habit, could not help but interrupt me every time. Suddenly, without even telling me anything, he put my call on hold and vanished. I held on the phone for 15 minutes and finally gave up. All this only increased the already heightened level of anxiety in me.

I once again tried calling on 7045591805 many more times but it was either busy or, when it rang, someone disconnected the line, or, now a new problem, it was switched off. I tried the customer service number once again. I had to wait for five minutes before finally getting connected to a customer service representative. A female spoke. I told her what had happened and she offered to help me. She gave me two contact numbers and said that my queries would be answered to my satisfaction if I called on those numbers, but, as it turned out, those did not concern the department I had to get in touch with. They catered only to international flights. I only wasted my money and time by trying to get my queries solved. Then I tried finding more numbers on the internet, and got connected to a few. One department after the other said that it was a different department that was answerable to me. Their peculiar way of evading their responsibility irked me. I expected them to provide me solutions instead of excuses, and they miserably failed. I would have been better off if I had traveled by a train instead of an aeroplane. That way I could have saved my money and energy and would not have gone through all this unwanted problems and frustrations. Though I have travelled by plane many times, but the experience I had this time was the worst so far. Now I would think twice, gauge all other good possibilities, before travelling by a plane. The whole day I was restless, but the day was over, and the next day followed.

The next day was a Sunday and I had to go to the University of Mumbai where I am doing a part time course on Human Rights, and the airport of Mumbai is not very far from the university, so I decided to drop by the airport after attending my lectures to know the status of my bag (though, of course, I had to incur the cost of going there). But, I was lucky, a man called me up and informed me that he was looking for my flat in order to deliver my bag to me. I was relieved and very happy when I heard that. I told him that I was away from my flat but he could hand my bag over to my neighbour next door. He said he would do that.

After reaching my building, the first thing I did was visit my neighbour’s flat, get hold of my bag and examine it thoroughly for any damage or for anything that went missing. The strap was torn, but other than that there were no damages, the bag was still locked (as I did after packing all the staff), and the key of the lock was in the side packet of the bag (as I kept it, and only I knew it). Everything inside the bag was well intact. Happy though I am after getting my bag but my thoughts reach out to those who miss a great opportunity in their lives (like the girl I mentioned above who might have missed appearing at an important exam she had prepared for) and those whose valuable is damaged/pilfered due to the flippant attitude and irresponsibility of some authority (like that of IndiGo).

Copyright © 2016 RAMU DAS

The Importance of Money

Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness (and that money is not everything) should have added, be that as it may, money can surely reduce sadness, money can help make friends, money can keep all kinds of relationships strong, can help buy you those delicious food that you desire, will make people look upon you with reverence, make you a role model (no matter you deserve to be one or not), can give you confidence, can make you feel secure, and money can do so much more. Now, then, would you say money is not important?

It is strange how people give lame excuses when they can’t directly deny you the moment you want to borrow some money. But the strangest of all is when your very near and dear ones (the ones you thought you could depend on), for whom you sacrifice everything, to whom you give your all, seem to maintain a distance from you when you are in need. On the one hand human kind is the embodiment of hope, love and care, but on the other hand we are selfish, ruthless, vainglorious.

To save embarrassments in life, to prevent depression from ruling your life (thereby ruining your life), you should – no, not just should, but you must – make yourself so strong, so capable that you need not ever depend on any one. But what happens when you have too much money? Should you cling on to your money for ever? It is indeed very difficult to part with one’s hard earned money. Not everyone would understand, but the earner of money knows that very well.

The main question that should concern you, however, is when someone’s whole world is crumbling down and they can’t do anything about it, will it be worthy of you to be like those heartless materialist who turn away from helping others? Would you also let others feel what you once felt the moment someone said no to you when you were in need? From your experience you know how much it breaks your heart to find none helping you, therefore, can the knowledge of that prompt you to help the needy as much as you can? You know you have two square meals a day, but there are people who can’t afford a single meal a day; they eat something light once in two days or maybe three days. You might ask ‘Why don’t they work?’ Well, you know, if a skilled person is out of job most of the times, how is an uneducated, unskilled (some disabled) person supposed to get a job.

So, here comes your money. Money can help you help others. Money can open new avenues and empower people to do their best, to see the brighter side of life. Money is, therefore, important. And whoever say money can’t give you happiness, that money is not important, ask them very gently to just go to hell!

Copyright © 2016 RAMU DAS

Making Sense by Rambling

Does it ever happen to you that while writing one particular thing you start writing something that is altogether different from what you intended it to be, and that, surprisingly, makes all the more sense and seems interesting?

When I begin writing, I have one idea, but this one idea becomes useless compared to what, in the process of writing, I discover. Nevertheless the first idea is crucial for anything of value to emerge, for that is what urges us to write in the first place. If I don’t elaborate on the first idea, the idea stays in my mind for a few minutes and then it vanishes and I don’t get going with my writing.

When I have an empty page in front of me and a few words (the original ones), I start elaborating on the first idea, twisting and turning, writing and rewriting every words, sentences and paragraphs, and then, in this meaningless voyage that I undertake, finally I find meaning. The first idea loses its importance and ultimately I write something that even I could not think I could.

When a few people say “Wow, that’s a great stuff you have written” I smile and think, “Had I known I could write that, I would have written that a long time ago.”

Therefore, I suppose I won’t be wrong to believe that it is not in our thinking whether we can do a particular thing, but it is in our doing that we know what we are capable of.

Copyright © 2016 RAMU DAS

I Won’t Back Down

When I have the blues, I often turn to songs or to Google (where I search and read poems or quotes). But not all songs/poems/quotes can help in dispelling the gloom. When you are sad and listen to sad songs, you will only be sadder. You would be positively pessimistic if, while trying to be positively positive, you come across a quote likes this: “Life will always go on as it has always gone one – that is, badly.” Just as not all situations are alike, so for different situations I turn to different songs/poems/quotes which reinstate my positivity, that makes me believe life is worth living (and to sing “and I think to myself what a wonderful world”).

Moliere said “It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I’m right” and I am of the same opinion now more than ever, such is my situation. During times like this the poem Invictus (an overused poem for such situations, I should say) comes to my mind. Though I often forgot most of the lines of the poem but I remember this: “My head is bloody, but unbowed”. This line does me good, bolsters my morale and gives me immense satisfaction.

From time to time I listen to a few songs on my cell phone and I feel good when I come across a song like I Won’t Back Down. I have heard the song many times and had always thought that it was Johnny Cash’s. But, only today, while I put the title of the song on Google so as to confirm the lyrics of the song (yes, for almost everything I consult Google, thanks Larry and Sergey) I came to know that this song actually belongs to someone called Tom Petty. I enjoy listening to this song, and I thought you might also do. So I have I Won’t Back Down for you!

 

Well I won’t back down, no I won’t back down
You could stand me up at the gates of hell
But I won’t back down

Gonna stand my ground, won’t be turned around
And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down
Gonna stand my ground and I won’t back down

Hey baby, there ain’t no easy way out
Hey I will stand my ground
And I won’t back down

Well I know what’s right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around
But I’ll stand my ground and I won’t back down

Hey baby there ain’t no easy way out
Hey I will stand my ground
And I won’t back down
No, I won’t back down.

 

Hello Folks!

It’s been a while since I wrote something here (the longest gap so far). But writing something here has had always been at the back of my mind. For not writing a new blog post, for not reading something from the blogs I follow and like, I rebuffed myself every day. Alas, my excitement level of doing something new, something different, has subsided to a considerable extent.

With time I thought I would be a better writer. But then better writing demands constant writing. Again constant writing does not mean writing the same thing, or writing, time and again, what is incorrect without knowing that it is incorrect.

I write for my livelihood. So, to please the people I write for and to keep the auditors from marking me down, I end up writing what my fellow bloggers would call the mediocre kind of writing. That kind of writing does not come from my heart and I derive no joy by doing that. My organization and its small minded people have killed the creative spirit in me. I can’t give up my job either unless I get a better job at a better organization. However, times are hard. The market is down. Every organization is trying to cut down cost.

Now I am trying to recuperate my losses. From time to time I look back at what I had written earlier (two-three years ago), and I think to myself I was a better writer then than I am now. I once again want to be an active blogger and connect to my ole folks.

I earnestly hope that the next post I write does not say the same thing I said in this post.

Copyright © 2016 RAMU DAS

A Letter To The Love Of My Life

My darling Mishti,

I thought of penning down – I mean, typing down – a poem for you but, though I am not underrating your ability to understand a poem, but, I, for my part, want to be absolutely plain and sincere in telling you what I am going to tell you now (and I am not saying that a poem cannot do that job, only that I am quite a lazy person, lazy to compose a poem, but lazy or not, I am yours and I know you will understand me as you always do).

You know how this is: I just can’t live without you. There is no denying the fact – yes, it is a fact – that you were born to be united with me. I came into the world before you did and had been waiting for you (however, I was not aware that I was waiting for you, yet there was a void in me and I knew someone must find me and quench my thirst for love) and, then, what was supposed to happen, in so unique a manner (oh, what a way of knowing each other it was!), had happened: I found you and we felt an equal throbbing in our hearts and minds!

There are times when we sail rough weather and how uneasy and bizarre everything seems, and during such times I marvel at the way you always find a way out. Many a times I resolve, when we have some arguments, to not talk to you for a few days, to give it a break as they say, but when an hour passes since our arguments, then another, and… and…“and, oh, the difference to me!” Right then I realize that there is no one, none at all, who is more important to me than you are.

I want to know what troubles you, I want to know what pleases you, I want to hear the movements you make; I want to understand all that and more. I sometimes wonder, in an unreasonable manner no doubt, if you are as fond of me as I am of you. Then I rebuke myself for having such thoughts.

I want to write so many things to you but now my thoughts fail me, nevertheless, what you must know is that I love you and, as long as I breathe, I will love you with every ounce of my being. I maintain what I once said: if you are with me, I will find hell heavenly.

An assurance of stupendous happiness is in store for me because you are mine, and I am

Ever Yours,

Puchu

Copyright © 2016 RAMU DAS

Without you, I can’t cope

You have branded my heart,
It will not err elsewhere.
Without others, I can cope;
Without you, I cannot.

You are my wine, my joy,
My garden, my springtime,
My slumber, my repose,
Without you, I can’t cope

You try to be faithful
And sometimes you’re cruel.
You are mine. Then, you leave.
Without you, I can’t cope.

And when you take the lead,
I become your footstep.
Your absence leaves a void.
Without you, I can’t cope.

You have disturbed my sleep,
You have wrecked my image.
You have set me apart.
Without you, I can’t cope.

By Rumi