Hey , don't get me wrong , I love Dilli , unconditionally and unreservedly . I grew up here and every time I come here the city simply wraps itself around me . And everytime I come back to Bombay I want to bring back with me its lovely flyovers and trees and roads and maybe some time the Lodhi Gardens too but oh spare me the airport and its pitfalls especially if you have to change flights oh oh now you know where the Tchah and why the Tchah comes in ...
So last week I get off an Indian Airlines ( calling it Air India I find very vague for to me AI is not IA ) flight from Patna and need to get another IA flight to Bombay. Even though my ticket says it's the same terminal I am told by a helpful , meticulous - both in appearance and manner- IA personnel that I need to get to Terminal 1A and that just outside this terminal bus # 2010 , parked outside the Balaji eating place will take me there. I am totally impressed by the IA personnel, both on and off the aircraft and seriously feel the other airlines need to relax a bit with their over made up and umm well...you know what I mean.
But I digress; to get back to the terminal hunt - with the airport and its surround area in total shambles with all the construction work going on - some day it should be worth all the trouble I hope , trying to wheel your overnighter over all that rubble ... so I get to the hopefully designated spot to wait for bus # 2010 ( it's still 2009 my stupid mind says - just one year's wait ) and looking around notice only one of those huge ungainly tourist buses proudly proclaiming to be Panicker's and tell myself don't panic the bus coming for you is one of those sleek beauties whizzing past you ; just wait for 2010.
Soon other travelers join me and we excahnge tentative hopeful glances feeling comforted we are not the only ones waiting but WHERE IS 2010? We do have a connecting flight and there is no sign of the bus . As one little travel weary girl clutching on to a very fresh as a daisy Barbie doll wails " But Mamma our other plane is goin to go now ". I echo that thought too and now we are at least a dozen or more of motely passengers getting a bit irritated. By now we hear first and then notice Panicker's slowly revving up and spewing exhaust all over the place lumbering up and away and I wonder where he is off to - all empty . Maybe we can hitch a ride?? By now the grumblings in our group gets audible and attracts the attention of a young airprot attendant who is wheeling a winding trolley serpent past us . He looks at us languidly , waves a careless hand towards Panicker's and says " woh bus hai ji aapki 1A tak chalegi" and wow do we Panic ..er all helter skelter running towards it waving arms and laptop bags and Barbies ...phew !!
So what hapenned to 2010 ? This is the bus to 1A ?? Hullo Driver ji? Driver ji points to a handkerchief sized muddy paper stuck to the corner of his windshield which does say albeit faintly To Terminal 1A Come Ye Come One Come All ...ok ok I added that last bit ..anyway all of us suitably chastised pile into the bus and Bingo the bus takes a long u - turn and brings us right back to where we were at least so it seems ; or all this construction / renovation simply makes it all look the same .
Now I am sure , to complete my misery I will be told to go back to the same terminal but thankfully no, it is Terminal 1A I need to be at. Great , I still do have some time to catch up with some work before checking in and maybe even a coffee and hey there's cricket too and India is batting chalo chalo .....
Think again ; I hunt high and low for a plug point to charge the dying laptop but no go so I say ok God meant me to watch Dhoni go for it and can you beleive it not one of the 15 odd TV screens have the match showing ?
Oh the unkindest cut of all ...yeh Dilli hai mere yaar !!!