Thursday, September 9, 2010

My long flight home….

All of us staying away from home know the excitement of going home. The excitement to see those familiar faces, those familiar streets and shops, the joy of being home with loved ones. Aaahaaa!! All those feelings were going in my heart and head the morning of May 28th 2010 it was Memorial Day weekend. I reached the airport 3 hrs before my connecting flight to JFK checked in my luggage…. Got the boarding pass… hugged my husband goodbye! Security check was easy…. Now I was sitting at the gate of my flight waiting anxiously for my journey back home to start. I still had good couple of hours wait for my flight, so I pull out my book… phone… call a few people… read some pages… Just half an hour before scheduled departure of the flight, the ground staff announced the flight was delayed by 15 mins… grrr…. Well I still have lot of time between my connecting flights… so I didn’t care much.

With in next 20 mins the flight came, un-boarded the passengers, got cleaned and we quickly boarded in.. Haa! finally on my way HOME. I take my seat get comfortable and close my eyes in hope of sweet dreams about all the fun I will be having with friends and family. I could feel the flight taxing and after a while I felt asleep. I opened my eyes after good 30 mins hoping to be half way in air flying the skies of New Jersey. To my horror.. I realize we were still at the airport and no one seems to know why… I ask the flight attended the reason… she said she is checking with the Pilot on the same. After 15 mins we came to know that it was for all the flights flying to JFK through out USA. And my mind goes… what the hell happened at JFK??? So I call my husband to check on news if everything was fine. He couldn’t find anything thing on the internet. Another 30 mins go by news come in that there is going to be an air show at JFK so all the flights flying to JFK are put on hold. With the clock ticking and connecting time getting closer I try to call Air India at JFK. I call the 1800 number; I explain them the situation they said that can’t help in anyway and give me a number to reach the Duty Manager at the airport. Feeling helpless I call the number it rings and rings and rings and goes to voicemail. I must have tried that number for over 50 times. I ask around in the flight if anyone else was taking the same connecting flight to Delhi. There were 6 more passengers on board taking the same connecting flight. I give them the Air India Duty Managers number and ask them to try the same. And they all get the same voicemail. (FYI before booking my tickets with Air India I had some questions so tried to call Air India office in Washington DC all I got is voice mails which were all full, Mr. Goyal and Mr. Gupta they never call back or reply to emails. I remember another lady mentioning the same thing.)

Anxious of what was going to happen we all sat there hoping the Air India flight will not leave without us and praying that our connecting flight will soon take off. Finally after 2 hours in the flight and some rounds of refreshments; the pilot announced will were going to take off in 10 mins. The clock showed 1535 hrs and the scheduled departure for flight to Delhi was at 17:05 with the 45 mins flight time to JFK and change of terminals… we might still make it. At 1555hrs our flight take off it was longest 45 mins flight we were all on the edge of our seats. So we land at JFK terminal 2 I believe and had to go to terminal 4. We snatched our Check-In baggage and ran, I 5 months pregnant, couple with 10 month old baby, couple with 3 year old toddler, and the man travelling on Business class… we ran thru the airport, climbed up the stairs with our checking baggage (I am not allowed to climb up stairs as per my doctor, nor carry anything heavy) went to the shuttle stop… 3 mins to next shuttle, with every minute counting didn’t have any option but to wait… the shuttle came we all got in… 50 sec reached terminal 4. Took the elevator to the counter it was 1710hrs… and the flight was Gone… chole geche… gaya…. Ido… Air India staff (most unprofessional) didn’t even wanted to acknowledged our presence. They didn’t even look at us… they said it is not our mistake you all missed the flight (Well it was not our mistake either Ms Supervisor!). I said ok… let not point fingers… what are the options you can give, put me on the flight to Mumbai which departs at 2130.. so Ms Supervisor tells me is… the only option I have is to wait… I asked how long?? She I can’t say anything now. So we all start calling our loved ones… I call my husband angry, tiered, irritated, heart broken and give him all the story… he says… take it easy… try if nothing works out… he will come and pick me up. So I go back and sit on the floor with other couple with the baby and toddler.
Restless I talked to another AI representative:
Me: Are gonna give us water or any refreshment…
AI Rep: I do not have authority to take decisions like that
Me: IF don’t put us on flight tonight will they pay for our hotel…
AI Rep: again same… do not have authority to take decisions like that.
Me: Who has the authority…
AI Rep: Duty Manager
Me: Where is he???
AI Rep: Lunch
Me: (Don’t f*#@ with me DM is having lunch at 1730) So, you cannot help me at all…

I go to the AI booking counter to check if there were any seats available in the next 2 days on any flight to India… She said none… until someone misses the flight they were all sold out. I didn’t even want to imagine some else going thru the same I was going. I went back and sat on the floor… I asked for Duty Manager and Ms Supervisor did not even acknowledge me (again) I lost my head “ I am 5 months pregnant there is another lady here with a baby and another with a toddler… if any thing happens to me my unborn child or any of the people who missed the flight with me… I am gonna F*#@ing sue all of you.” The AI Rep whom I talked to earlier came rushing …
AI Rep: Maam please clam down…
Me: Why… what are you doing for clam me down. … my phone rings
I burst into tears on the phone… its my husband on the other side… he said… to stay clam ask’s me to drink water… tell me he is coming to pick me up… I told him give me an hour. If nothing works out… he can come and pick me up. I went to restroom pulled myself up… eat an energy bar… and go back to the AI Rep.
Me: Can you do anything to help me?
AI Rep: Who else is travelling with me
Me: I am traveling alone
AI Rep: I can put you on Kuwait airlines flight which leaves at 2230 tonight there is only one seat available…
Me: What time will it reach Delhi
AI Rep: I don’t know check with Kuwait airlines staff
Me: (I turned back… and looked over the other passengers waiting … feeling guilty) I will take it.
I got a change of travel paper… enquired about my luggage… he said… luggage has not yet reached I will have to board without it… took a deep breath and went to Kuwait Airlines counter. Got the boarding pass the flight was via Kuwait called my husband and gave him the flight #’s to check for arrival and departure info… He begged me to eat something and said please take care… I went thru the security got myself a big slice of chocolate pastry and a big cold moca… when to my gate and OMG!
I find a place to sit… decide not to react and enjoy my pastry. While I work on m pastry sipping my sweet moca.. they announce the boarding of my flight they invited First class, Business class, and passenger travelling with Infants …. All BOOM!!! Everyone just rushes to the board…. Everyone waiting with or without infants passenger travelling in all class.. the ground staff tries to control the crowd repeating the instructions… cops walk in…. and I have a sarcastic laugh… its gonna be a fun ride…. 90% of the people travelling in the flight were taking connecting flight from Kuwait to Dhaka… most them were elderly who did not understand much of English hence all the chaos. To avoid all the pushing and confusion I decide to board in the end… while walking to thru the gate ground staff stops me and says I have to let go my carry on baggage (on my dead body… I don’t have my luggage and I am not willing to let go my last 3 pair of clothes, my medicine, and jewelry, take a walk lady!) I briefly explain my situation… she says I was supposed to fill some paperwork coz I am pregnant I can’t board without it… about to kill her… I exchange some looks… she lets me go…. I rush inside the flight… It was mess…. People very were stepping on each other….. I look around for put my carry on bag… nope no place… seek help of an attendant I felt sorry for her… she was this tiny fragile girl… she call another of her colleague he was a snobbish guy… he said the place for my luggage was outside the cabin…. With no more energy to fight… the tiny airhostess said don’t worry… both of us found a place and pushed my baggage in. I took my seat it was the middle one… I was not very happy coz I had to visit bathroom often… I pushed that thought away for sometime. After I took my place I closed my eyes and cursed the moment I book the tickets and swore never to travel alone… I spoke the person sitting next to me and asked if he would like to switch place coz I would be visiting the restroom often… he agreed. It was already 30 mins we were inside the flight and we were still on ground, I was feeling very uneasy… my throat was dry… I felt dehydrated… my head was spinning… the final announcement was made for take off I buzzed for help… no one came… I knew I was gonna pass out… I un-buckled myself walked towards the flight attendant for water, all the attendants started yelling, sit down… I said I need water or I will passout…. One of the attended grabbed me gave me a bottle of water and put me on my seat… I sipped the water slowly my body came back to normal I could feel the blood running…. Rest of my flight was ok I slept for some time walked around drank lot of water and ate little bit.

We landed at Kuwait… it was very very hot outside I could tell by the look of it… at the airport I looked for restroom…. I was praying for a place were they will have a shower… the restroom sings pointed down stairs… living in US for 3 years my natural instincts were to look for an escalator or elevator… there was none… so just walked down the stairs… the restrooms were real clean and dry… and voalla! There was shower with hot water… I went in… thanks to my carry on luggage I was able to freshen up and had a fresh set of clothes… something good after such a long time… I went back up looking for phone to call my husband and let him know that I was fine. I noticed a lady who was in the same flight with me talking in hindi to her kids… immediately I asked her which connecting flight was she taking she said to Delhi… I told I was taking the same flight too… she said it was 4 hrs wait time she showed me the place were I could call from. I thanked her and went to make that call… my husband happy to hear my voice told me to take it easy and not to worry about my luggage.

I found the lady and the kids and sat with them at the waiting area talked to them played with the kids, her name was Dr. Monica Sharma next 4 hrs went quick we grabbed dinner and then we went towards our boarding gate. It was full… AGAIN… no place to sit… I walked up to ground staff asked for the form I was supposed to fill as I was pregnant and requested if they will let me board in the beginning coz I did not want to be pushed or fall… they agreed… with in 10 mins they announced boarding and let me go first… there was this other guy who had huge ego problem of why I was allowed to go I snapped back at him and said… well if you want to go first try having a baby… he backed off.

I went to my seat next to the window the flight was hot as oven, it was long upward climb by the way with the carryon baggage… Finally my last leap home I didn’t even want to thing who would be sitting next to me… definitely not the guy I snapped on.. just 10 mins before take off this man walks towards the seat… and realized he was sitting next to me… I noticed a happy grin! (OMG!! Not again) I closed my eyes pretended to be asleep to avoid any conversation… luckily the flight took off quickly and it was just 3.5 hrs flight. The flight attendant came to serve dinner.. asked the passenger next to me… Chicken or veg… the Passenger said Mutton (what in world is he talking) the flight attendant goes again Sir, would you like to have Chicken or Veg?? Passenger goes Mutton (lol) the flight attendant said.. Sir mutton nahi hai… Passenger say Chicken… Holding my laugh… I say Veg… I finished my dinner… we were handed over customs documents I filled mine… the passenger next to me handed me his paper and passport saying peleaze! () I filled it for him; suddenly I had 5 more passports with similar peleaze! (Oh… what the heck!! I will do it)I filled it for all of them they were tailor, driver, construction worker etc…

I looked outside the window it dark I told myself it is another 45 mins and I will be on my mother land the land I was born, the country we love to hate, but still love and would fight with the world for it, the place I call home… so we land… the flight reached the gate… and then… we wait for the doors to open… 10 mins… 15 mins… (really god!! You have to do this too??) 20 mins… there is something wrong with the door… 25 mins… (if no one opens the door… I will start to tear off the seats in the flight) Dr. Monica come to me… we hug each other, I thanked her.. said good bye to her kids, and finally the door opens :D yay! I rushed outside… walked thru immigration, the Immigration officer joked with me looking at my passport picture. He said I will let this young girl on the passport go… I told if you don’t let me go I will cry… he had a hearty laugh but I meant every word of it. I went to Kuwait airlines counter filled paper work for my luggage. They said they had not been able to locate any of my luggage till now but will keep me posted. I didn’t care much about it then just wanted to feel the fresh air outside. Finally… not home but still home sweet home!

PS: I got my luggage after 2 weeks… one of my bag was damaged and eaten by I figured rat… there was lot of chocolate in the bag… :D

Thursday, April 9, 2009


It has been a long time since I blogged… I attempted few times but failed either to take out time or gather enthusiasm to type thoughts in my mind. There were lots of incidences that I wanted to blog about. I haven’t blogged since August 08, that’s the time I started to work. Yeah! in August a new chapter of my life began (living the big American Dream) … I stepped into the shoes of Super Woman of 21 century…. and since then I have trying to keep pace with it. Man its not easy to be there…. Working and taking care of the house…. Hats off to the Woman who do it… and do it so effortlessly.

In the month of November I wanted to write so desperately… this is something I wrote but could not finish it…

“It was a busy Wednesday; all I could think was the thanks giving gathering and delicious food which will be served…3 days of fun and fabulous food… Until my boss informed me about the blast in Mumbai… confused and worried I picked up my cell phone and noticed several missed calls from my best friend and before I could call my husband called to say about the blast at CST and firing at Taj Mahal hotel. Shocked and horrified I called my parents middle of the night just to check if they were all safe.. and the next I texted my ex boss GM of one of the leading Five Star hotel in Mumbai. And from that moment on I could not think of anything else… than if the same would have happened couple of years back I could have been one of the witness of terror or worst victim of it. Living in Mumbai for 10yrs I have had many narrow escapes from terror attacks and have seen how soon Mumbai bounces back to normal and the way Mumbaikars pick up bits and pieces and move ahead.

It is the spirit of Mumbai that it goes back to normal, with un answered and un solved questions. There is no effort by the Central or State government to answer any questions of Mumbaikars

Three days all of us were glued to the Television watching Fox news and CNN to get the latest update, we argued, discussed and debated on the situation in India and the possible things that our dear Politicians can do if they have time from cutting ribbons, creating more complexities and dividing people on the basis of religion, region, language, caste, creed, sex and any other possible source. And all we could feel was helpless, anguish, frustration and agitation. How many more incidences or innocent lives will it take to our politicians to understand that they have a duty to do.”

We (my husband and our close friends) debated on this for several weeks… of what India should do our how can India protect itself from our not so friendly neighbors. 

1. The most important thing is… secure our borders… not only the north west regions but also the areas where we share border with countries like Bangla Desh, Nepal, China & Maynmar.
2. Discontinue any diplomatic relationship with Pakistan.
3. Have a ARMY SWAT team in every big city. 

The other time wanted to blog was…. 14th Feb 2009… time spent with two of my school friends. Last time I met one of them was in 1998. 11years ago… so much time has passed since, things didn’t change that much for us.
It took me back to those fun school days… were there ample sunshine (guys u learn to appreciate sunshine after stay in this country for 2 years), lots of known faces, big green playgrounds and a siren (or what we called as bhonga! lol…) to say its time to go home and study. Guy’s thanks for stopping by and for that quick journey back in time which brought those wonderful feelings back. 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A mere pyare vatan...

With my eyes closed and the hindi songs playing... i could feel i was there in the play ground (bada garden located in the center of our colony) running with the tricolour, dressed in white everyone else dressed in different shades of safforn, white or green... Everyone's eyes set on the folded flag waiting to spread its wings.... all kids anxious to see the CISF troop marching past the flag host. The school NCC cadets getting ready to follow and the last minute mic checks for the band. A long wait followed by occasional look at the sky and hope it doesn't rain, rain in August is not uncommon...there... the chief guest arrives ah...the flag gets hoisted and it catches breeze and spreads magistically followed by three gun shot's the in memory of those who fought for a better future of the country.... the amazing parade and the distribution of sweets.... kids running to collect them... yes i could feel it all.....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I grew up watching....

Its morning and the alarm didn't go off today.... aaaahhhh feels like today is Sunday. Start of the day with a Big cup of hot tea...the first sip... takes all the laziness away and u ease on yr chair admiring the beautiful bright day which u can spend as you wish to do. Yeah!! Sundays are special...and as a child i use to love it for many no school on this day was the primary reason :).

Sunday use to be much awaited day for the specail TV shows they use to telecaste my earliest memory goes to the time when they use to show Fairlytale Theatre, Disney Hour and Fraggle Rock. I can still picture myself watching Fairlytale Theatre with my mouth open surprised by the magical world of Fairlytale. After a few years mythology concept was brought into television and in very shortime everyone knew Raja Dasharath and Rama. The Shops would shut, life would come to stand still to watch this mythological serial, for hours we would be watching arrows flying in the air multiplying and changing forms. Mahabharata was even bigger...with so many different characters, events and technology it was even better. To be honest i have watched Mahabharata as many times as it was shown on TV be it DD or Zee. And who can forget Mogli... Jungle book everybody would sing the title song... Chaddi pehen ke phool khila hai...

Not to forget the wonderful shows telecasted during the week, Ados Pados, Nukkad, Buniyaad, Hum Log these were the favorite of my parents they till date talk about these serials i dont much remember about the first two but Badki, majli and chukti of Hum Log... i remember and also Dada moni ( Ashok Kumar) giving the intro for each episode. That was first time i understood that partition equally bad for Indians and Pakisthanis. Watching shows like Spiderman, Gaint Robot, Heman gave room to an imganinery world.. i remember playing episodes of Gaint Robot with my friends and everybody would fight to be Gaint Robot... ha ha..Byomkesh Bakshi, Gopichand Jasoos, Tenali Raman and Akbar Birbal were other favorites and who can forget Swami of Malguri days. Simple story of a young boy from village touched our hearts. Shows like Paramvir Chakra and Udaan made me determined to join Defense.The show i loved to hate was Kile Ka Rahasya i would hide behind my mom and watch that serial at every climax... i would swear... i will never watch this again :D :D Zigma... does anyone remember that show... desi version of Star Trek in school we would make paper gloves/watch which were worn in the show and we would say "OVER" after each dialogue. I wonder why didnt they telecast that show again. If anyone has any link about this serial please send it to me.

My other favourites were Indradhanus, Stone Boy, Surabhi, PC aur Mausi, Dekh bhai Dekh. Chunauti, Neev, Campus were story of student in hostel... it was the first time ragging and drugs on college campus was paid attention to. For once i was scared to be in college. And not to forget KING KHAN...Sharukh.. Fauji, Dusra Keval and Circus... i remember Fauji use to be telecasted during my Balvihar class... and i would try to convince my mom to let me skip Balvihar (which never succeeded) so that i could watch King Khan. Dusra Keval was a very touching story of sikh parents who had lost there son to Terrorism.

There are many more like Vikram aur Betal, Bharat ek Khoj, The Sword of Tipu Sultan ( i loved the title song music), Jeevan Rekha, Kitty of Karamchand, Talaash these were the show which i grew up watching...there were only few channels still we never got bored of watching them...and yes... we didn't have to go through the torcher of watching saas bahu jhagada, lead actors/actresses dying and reincarnations...Wish could watch these shows again and go back to those wonderful Sundays and other weekdays..


Thanks Swaptalk... for giving me the link of all DD shows

Another similar blog