Of weather and God

Humour

Of weather and God

She had lived in England for a few years and had first hand experience with what a  spoilsport weather could inflict upon unsuspecting mortals.

She herself had often been at the mercy of the weather there so knew better than to expect anything else in India.

I recalled this quaint weather wisdom when I was caught in the zero visibility fog in Delhi. Before this episode, I had not taken her wary attitude towards the weather Gods seriously though before leaving for the airport, I had asked the airlines office if my flight had  delayed.

“No, no, it isn’t. It’s departing as scheduled,”  was the answer and it had been reassuring.

So I had merrily stuffed a packet of biscuits and a bottle of water into my capacious hand bag and left for the airport. Delhi seemed to be  shrouded in a thick fog and this didn’t bode well. Nagged by doubts, I repeated the question at the check-in counter.

The young man at the counter told me there would be a 20 minute delay, which, by airlines standards, is as good as being on time. 20 minutes is not a long wait. So I checked in my baggage, went through security, dropped into a vacant seat and took out my book (Always carry reading material when travelling is a maxim I follow faithfully), and was soon absorbed in it. It was a cold day. A cup of coffee would ward off the chill, I thought.

I meandered towards a coffee shop and ordered coffee. While waiting for it to arrive, I glanced casually at my watch. I got a start. To my dismay, I realised, an hour had elapsed! I had lost track of time, engrossed as I was in reading. Had I missed my flight? It wouldn’t be easy to get a ticket on another flight, given the circumstances with growing dread and despair, I scanned the Departures board for flight status. There was no information about my flight.

Could it have taken off? Had I been deaf to the boarding announcements? I called myself all kinds of a fool—not that it helped. Timidly, I approached an airlines official. The harried man was about to say something curt when I enquired about my flight. My worried expression made him soften his tone. “The flight has just arrived but will not take off for at least another hour. Please wait for the boarding call.” So relieved was I that I smiled. The man shot me a strange look. “Happy at the delay?” he asked, puzzled. I nodded.  He shook his head as if he thought, “It takes all sorts to make this world.” The fact was that I was early and not too late was a matter of big relief so I heaved a big sigh and decided to wait for my elusive flight. Thinking I could do with some exercise, I walked all round the airport.

When I had had enough physical activity. I wandered into a book shop. I began to browse, keeping an eye on the time and an ear on the announcements. After another enquiry, I came to know that there was a further delay. “Is the flight cancelled?” I asked, fearing the worst. “It’s not  cancelled. It will definitely operate, though I can’t say when.”  Airlines staff are certainly helpful. “Why don’t I look around?” I  thought. I glanced at the same old souvenirs  in the gift shops with the  same old inflated prices. I admired the crystal display in the Swarovski show room. I gazed at the leather craft in a high scale outlet. Being assailed by hunger (the biscuits had been eaten earlier), I went in search of nourishment. Getting there took awhile as most passengers had hit upon the same idea. Fortified by the food, I gravitated towards the help desk and was told that the expected time of departure was 2 pm. Another hour of waiting. Actually, that hour proved to be unexpectedly fruitful. I headed for an ethnic snack shop where a group of foreign tourists sought my help in choosing snacks to carry home. The hour sped past as I chatted with them and guided them.

They were appreciative of my advice and I began to feel productive. Now, boarding announcements were being made. This time, my flight too was included. “Finally!” I muttered, as I flopped into my seat. There was yet another half-hour delay before we were airborne. It was 2.30pm, only six and a half hours behind schedule.  I felt a fleeting regret for the end of what hadn’t been an unpleasant interlude! And it had been a learning experience, if rather unorthodox!!

And ofcourse, I remembered once again what my friend had told me. That we cannot get anywhere unless  weather and god are willing and in congruence!

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