Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wishing on an udan khatola

Doesn’t make sense? Yeah that’s just about the idea. This is going to be a flowing tale of a strange travel encounter my brother had a couple of weeks ago. And I was so moved /devastated /overcome /whatever whatever, that I even resorted to writing a post out of it. (Ok well, it’s a holiday and I had nothing to do, so opened a blank Word document and this is the best I could come up with.)
You can be sure this is the beginning of a short story....so yawn and get your blanky....step into your pajama’s and feel cosy....will keep it as brief as possible though...

My brother travelled Air India to Saudi, and as is the Indian version of Murphy’s law, if you travel Air India, some (mis)adventure is bound to happen to you (FYI, my dad’s baggage has travelled to Colombo more times than our entire khandaan put together). Now we were only just guessing what might happen this time round, when the airline folks sensed our anticipation and decided on not letting us down.

-------------------At the baggage claim----------------------

Air India- Sir your bag hasn’t arrived. We are sorry for the inconvenience caused.

My brother- *Uhh yeah...as usual it will come right at the end when the entire hall is empty and there is enough time to span out and zoom into all the wonderful photographs of the kings (emm oh sorry they are all the same pictures), and colors of the tiles and the fire alarms on the roof and the...*

Air India- Emm your baggage seems to be in another country. Sir again, we are very sorry for the inconvenience caused.

My brother- Ahh no problem...happens all the time... I’ll get it tomorrow. *Been there, done that. You want some action, you need to try harder than that buddy!*

-----------One week later--------------

My brother- Has my bag arrived?

Air India- No Sir...kal pakka.

My brother- But you said that yesterday, and day before, and day-day before, and all the days before the day-day before, starting from the day after the first day!

Air India- Sir we are sorry for the inconvenience caused.

------------Same day---------------------

Sadiya- ROTFL!!! Still didn’t come? TOLD YOU, travel Emirates

My Brother- Bye dideee

------------Next day---------------------

Air India- Sir your bag has arrived

My brother- Great! I’ll come and get it.

------------A couple of hours, a never ending drive in the middle of the desert and whole lot of crappy songs on the FM later-------------------

Air India- Sir we have your bag with us but could you please provide the details first.... baggage tag, color, shape, size, weight, height

My Brother- *No I wasn’t planning to get it married*....Here it is.

AND THE LADY IN BLACK MAKES HER APPEARENCE (I mean the bag, you dodo)

Small problem. It wasn’t black anymore......it was brown....also the bag was a complete wreck...broken from every corner. In case I didn’t mention, the saving grace being, the Air India wala’s had so kindly and lovingly put freeeee masking tape all over the bag so everything wouldn’t just tumble out. Phew! How so very thoughtful!

My brother *shocked!!! *

And then he went into elaborate arguments that summed up to......... Call who’s in charge, call the manager, call the supervisor, call the blah and the blah, actually call everyone... even those who are locked up somewhere in some smelly closet.......and yielding to what outcome? Emm ..... ‘Sir, we are sorry for the inconvenience caused’ multiplied by a good twenty times. *aaarrrgghh*

-----------Later that day--------------

Sadiya- Chalo damaged hi sahi, tooti footi hi sahi..... finally madam has come! I think you should write a letter and claim damages.

My Brother- You write.

Sadiya- Arey but it happened to you na. Btw if you had travelled Emirates, this never would have happened in the first place.

My Brother- Bye didee.

-------One letter later--------------------

Air India - Sir we received your letter dated blah......first of all I’d like to say, sorry for the inconvenience caused....and we are willing to pay for the damages, provided you tell us the cost of the bag.

My Brother- *Hai sachi??? Great!* 150 Riyals I think.

Air India- Give it in writing and we will give you a check.

My Brother- *sapna hai ya sach!* Sure!

------------Later that day-----------------

Sadiya- But the bag was for 190 bucks na!!!! Dumbo!

My brother- Yeah? I think I will tell them

Sadiya- Fuhorrget it! This itself they are giving is a big deal. If you ask for more, jutti you will get.

My Brother- No I will tell na ki it was a mistake.

----------------THE SHOCKING PART!!! MANN MAIN LADDOO PHOOTA----------------------------------------

My Brother- Actually the bag was for 190 bucks.

Air India- No problem Sir. Just write another letter.

-----5 minutes later........SECOND SHOCK! MANN MAIN DOOSRA LADDOO PHOOTA-------

THEY CALLED BACK!!!

Air India- Sir, we will be charging depreciation on your bag.

My Brother - *Great I knew it...it was too good to be true* Ok!

Air India- So I would request you to fill in the amount as per the original cost plus the depreciation....as in 210 bucks.

My Brother- *HUHHHHHH!!! Delirious!*

---------------------------------------------------

For the record, one week down, my brother received the 190 bucks ka check.

Can’t quite believe it! I mean since when did they switch from Lousy-go-to-hell- service- wala’s to Oh-so-efficient-we-care-for-our-customers-wala’s??????? I remember once on the aircraft I asked for water and the air hostess turned me down saying the plane would soon take off and I must wait for another half hour, after which she conveniently forgot......*I had an exit row seat!!!! Right next to the damn pantry/kitchen or whatever else you call it man!!!!*

------------

Sadiya- Mubarka!! You actually got it!

My Brother- Yeahhh you know didee I just hated that bag.....good they broke it.....even you should travel Air India next time

Sadiya- Emm Bye!

............

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