Yesterday..... A day of Surprises !!! (shocks too)
Day before yesterday... ie., Friday (02.06.06) my friend vivek fled back to India from singapore to attend his father, who met with an accident in an industry where he is working. I received him in the Chennai International airport and he left for Trichy the same day evening in another flight.
yesterday (03.06.06) his sister from singapore and a relative from bombay are supposed to come to chennai. So i again have to go to Airport to receive them. To transport them from chennai to trichy, i have booked a taxi and it was waiting at the airport parking lot.
::2100 hrs IST: :
I started from home, thinking of taking dinner enroute to airport in my Hero Honda Passion plus. I took the helmet, for safety and to avoid the chennai's traffic pollution. You know something, chennai traffic becomes worst in the peak hours. I took my dinner in the Saravana tiffin center, near our IIT's velachey gate. Suddenly it started drizzling and the speed of rain increases, when i was taking dinner. I thought, "okay... let me wait for some time till the rain stops".
Powersupply becomes powerless atleast once a day in the velachery area. Now also power has gone. It is full dark in the road outside and i heard a "ddhhhaaat..." sound. One poor fellow slipped off from his TVS victor, because of rain and had lot of bruises in his face and arm, legs etc. Hearing the sound i turned that side to see the person skidding in the road with his vehicle, he just goes as if he is going in a ice skating. Horrible to see. Fortunately, the bus driver coming in the opposite side applied his brakes in time to avoid this person to get into his wheels. I and some people rushed to him to get to his feet and the bruises are not that worse luckily, and we moved him and his vehicle off road. He said he can manage himself to meet a doctor. This is the first shock.
Since its time for me to go, and since the rain has calmed a bit, i started towards airport. If i start now, i can reach airport at least by 2230. I drove slowly, at average of 35-40 kmph. A small fear of slippery roads in mind cautioned me. Otherwise i used to kick off at 50-60 kmph within 10 secs of ignition.
I took the road to guindy bridge, near the Aadambakkam bus terminal, via Guindy Race course, as this route will take me to guindy 10 minutes earlier than the main route, which reaches a traffic signal near St. Thomas mount and then comes to guindy. Traffice will also be medium in this route. I climbed the bridge and headed towards guindy Kathipara junction. It is steadily drizzling since i started and i was almost wet. I replaced my mobile and the pocket diary from my shirt pocket to the petrol tank cover. Removed my wrist watch and secured it to my white jeans front pocket. Traffic was heavy and due to rain everyone was in a rush to reach home as early as possible. lots of blow horns and frequent brake shoe 'screeches'.
I crossed guindy circle and heading towards airport, as i took the highway. now the rain started more heavily and the blowing air worsened the situation. The rain drops were impinging on my bare hands with such velocity that i feel the spots of pain(i was wearing a half slack cotton shirt) . I thought i must stop for some time and then proceed. I was nearing a bus stop and already lot of people were standing there for shelter parking their two wheelers nearby. I joined them for a while and as the rain seems to continue for another one hour or so, and as i cannot afford that much time, the flights from singapore and bombay are expected to land my 2230, i again decided 'i must go'.
Kicking off from that shelter, i drove further and i was nearing nanganallur. now the rain was too much and i was fully drenched except my helmet covered head. I stopped again in a petrol bunk.. thanks for the modern petrol bunks, which has a huge roof at a good height. here also lot of two wheelers were already parked inside and people waiting for the rain to stop. After some time rain seems to lose its speed. by that time , the bunk person asked us to go towards the end of the bunk where some stalls were operating as we are blocking the way for his customers. some of us moved. I parked my vehicle in the corner and turned to see the shops. there was an array of shops, a juice stall, a Pizza hut, a shopping stall and few others. I saw a person standing with his wife near the pizza stall and suddenly thought i knew this person already. slowly i walked to him and after talking to him, i found he is Mr. Srikanth, my senior in my undergraduation at IRTT, Erode. I dint even thought of this person for quite a long period. It was a pleasant surprise to both of us and we had a crispy chat. then again i started heading to airport. Meenambakkam airport is just 5 minutes drive from here. mean while i checked with vivek and came to knw that both the flights are late by an hour. Thank god.. i can be in time when they arrive. I got a call from the Cab driver that he has reached airport and waiting in the inernational terminal parking lot as instructed by me. Good .. everything is going well, i thought.
I parked the vehicle in the parkign lot in front of the international terminal and cheked with the driver and one Mr. Jayakumar who has also came to receive vivek's sister. Iam meeting him for the first time and we waited for the flights to land. the ETA for the singapore flight was 2320 and bombay flight is 2240. so we have quite a time.
We took a tea. Cab driver joined us to wait for the guests to come.
the Indian Airlines flight from singapore landed in the ETA (after a 1 hr delay of the shceduled time of landing). We started looking for vivek's sister. I have seen her for few times, and iam not sure whether i can recon her at first sight. now i was seeing people coming out of the exit door as ants coming out of its place. One person, a heavy set, tall person was coming out of the exit door pulling his travel mate. Hey man.... this is KRP as we call. (K R Prabhu, my colleague at Trichy). I knew from vivek that he is also in singapore with him and he is expected to come back to india the week end. Actually i forgot that and dint have a hint that he will be coming in this flight. It was a real surprise and i waved him.
:: 2348 IST ::
Prabhu also was happy that i was there to receive him, even though it is accidental. We talked for a while and vivek's sister came to us. I asked Jayakumar to accompany them to escort them to the cab. Aksing KRP to wait, i went in search of the person Mr. Ramesh, coming from Bombay. I rushed to the domestic terminal. Lot of renovation work is going on in the airport and heavy dumps of construction material is spred across the walkways... of course with a 1' X 1.5' boards displaying "Inconvineance Regretted".
I was crossing the battery of domestic flight operators offices. Nowadays, flight operators are more in numeber. we have Air Sahara, Spicejet, Kingfisher, Go Air, Air deccan, Air india, Jet airways and what not. with lot of operators instead of having a passenger convineance, we are facing a problem in the delayed flight timings (even the delay goes to hours together.. pathetic). In the Spicejet office there are around 5-6 persons, ofcourse a girl too. Among them i can again recognize one familiar face. Hurray... This s Suresh anna, from my native place trichy. Immediately i remembered that his father once told when i was in trichy that suress is in SpiceJet. I went straight to his cabin and asked "can i have some 10 Tickets?" . He blinked, looked blankly at my face for few moments and recollects me. He greeted me and i talked to hime for 5 minutes. As i have to go to receive Ramesh from bombay, i took a bye from suresh and went to the domestic terminal. After a long search, as i dont knw who is ramesh, and i dint had a placard to display, i found Ramesh and took him to the cab.
::0015 IST, 04.06.06::
The cab started towards trichy and KRP is going to erode. We dispersed to our destinations. At the end of the day, i was happy that i saw few people entirely unexpected. I thought for a while when i was driving back to IIT in the deserted NH and velachery road. see how it works. If i dint had a wish to park in the petrol bunk, or if the bunk person dint asked me to go the corner of the bunk, i must have missed Mr. Srikanth. If i missed few minutes when i was going towards the domestic terminal, Mr. Suresh could have left for a tea which he told that he was about to go.
Real surprise, indeed.
I remember a sentence from the Kamal Hassan's movie "Anbe Sivam" in the end of the movie.
I would like to put it in my mother tongue Tamil as it will be more rhyming, than a translated English version. ("Inconvineance Regretted" :) )