Hop-Stop-Jump @ Mumbai International Airport:
This mega-structure, by local standards, under major development for quite sometime, is named after one of the most famous, admired rulers of recent Indian history – Chatrapathi Shivaji. He was a master-strategist, and exemplary executor. The pace of development process will not make the great warrior proud, for sure.
Last week, a colleague/friend asked, ‘how is your jet airways?’ This British of Arab origin (has worked with one of top-notch consultancy firms), was a man of taste. I was quick to respond, with a thumbs up, ‘one of the best Indian brands….one of my favourites’, to reinforce. (he knew how choosy I am about brands). For a moment I thought he was planning to check out ‘Incredible India’, after all my previous discrete sales-talks! (can sales talks be discrete at all?). But he said, ‘no, travelling to Maldives, looking for various route-options ’. I felt, Maldives deserved urgent attention of such responsible tourists, as the island nation was threatened to go under water, in not so distant future. The discussion was on the sidelines of our 2012 planning exercise with a bigger group, so the interaction did not go beyond the basic enquiry.
End of the week, I landed at amchi mumbai’s ‘international’ airport, early in the morning. No aerobridge, but a cramped bus, meant delays. If immigration counters were friendly, courteous & quick, the number of counters were just insufficient. Then, a long wait for luggage ( Need to travel lighter!). A queue awaited us for customs, though they were very efficient too. Many passengers were not mumbaikars, but onward passengers. As such the Mumbaikar’s discipline of standing in a queue was visibly absent.
The experience thereafter to catch the next flight was just painful – one more security check, check in, flight re-allocated due to the delay ( though we landed on time!), wait for bus (an old, antic Volvo). As I sat waiting for a mosquito attack, I felt guilty of not warning my (Maldives-bound) friend about this part of the ordeal…!
If he actually did a ‘hop-stop-jump’, he would have beeen surprised to find he was among the influential politicians of this region, meeting at Maldives. He would have bumped in to the soft -spoken Indian leader (Dr. Singh) and Pak PM with a green tie!
Like Bertie Wooster of PG Wodehouse, this Arab-British would not like Pak PM’s tie-selection. But, Suzlon-sponsored, green ‘P - A – L Initiative’ would have approved !! What a pal to have, you may add!! But you don’t know, who may be a friend-in-need, even for a green initiative.
When I am back at work, next week, I will surely make efforts to catch up with him in the privacy of his cabin, so that he does not make any depressing comment about my city, Amchi Mumbai, though he was just ‘hop-stop-jumping’ ! ( watch out this space for update J)
But Jet Airways was great, as usual… except some delays, which may be largely beyond their control. While Kingfisher was in news for cancellation, I was glad I remained a loyal Jet customer, for their business like service and without unnecessary glamour !