Friday, February 20, 2015

At Doha Airport ...



It takes only 4 hours of flight delay to turn ordinary people into krantikari crowd! It’s quite entertaining out here at Doha airport. Thanks to Qatar Airlines. It was supposed to be 2.5 hours stop-over before changing the flight to London. It’s been 10 hours already. And I am still hoping that I would finally get to board the flight in another couple of hours.

Blame it on Injustice – Gods Among Us – that I was still waiting at a gate from where the boarding  was supposed to start at scheduled time. And never realized when they announced the change in departure gate and everyone around me already vanished long ago. I ran to another gate, burning the free breakfast they had offered in the morning when they announced the delay of 2 hours for the first time. This one was second round of announcing the delay. I reached the other gate. I could see huge crowd standing in the lobby from distance. As I walked closer, it got more entertaining.

Mostly it was British crowd. First time I heard British accent so loudly! All British sarcasm, anger, humor, mess, impatience and what not … it was all at peak!

Try imagining this…

The crowd was so close to the desk that the crew had to make efforts to come out if they had to. Nobody would still nudge even a centimeter anyway. People had started shouting from the crowd already. Some babies were crying too. I could hear random voices from the crowd showing the restlessness. The crew sent out the tallest man they had, in to the crowd to appeal for cooperation!

He made efforts to walk in to the center and said,
PLEASE … STEP BACK. PLEASE STEP BACK. YOU ALL ARE GOING TO GET A PLACE ON THE PLANE. PLEASE STEP BACK”

Needless to say, the crowd didn't quite move. Someone from the crowd shouted instead.
“Let us step forward. That’s where the plane is. That’s exactly what you guys are doing wrong!!”

Some random lady whose voice was barely audible and who was hardly visible, also attempted to shout. “What’s the problem with you guys? Why are you not doing your job!”
Not sure if anyone heard her or not. But I found her advice very genuine! Wish if everyone did the same. :)

So many impromptu obvious innovative suggestions were coming from all parts of the crowd. A few also were attempting to ask what has exactly caused the delay. But nobody seemed to be interested in answering that question.

I found my way to one corner from where I could get a good view of the drama. There was some coffee spilled over too on the way. People were cautious of it for some time but then they didn't care anyway.

I saw a Happy Man there. Despite all this chaos, this guy was literally sleeping on the ground, playing some game on the phone! Absolutely not bothered by this delay and the drama! He just knew, whenever they figure out some way, they would call him! I stood near him and continued to watch the crowd.

One guy came at random, pointed his finger at the plane standing outside and screamed, “THAT PLANE CAN NOT FLY!! IT’S IMPOSSIBLE” and he disappeared. It was getting too difficult to figure out who was serious  and who was not! But this guy made a few people quite nervous for sure! They started murmuring, “I am not taking this flight!” The other was more systematic. He found his way through the crowd past The Tall Man and reached the desk. He asked the crew at the desk, “We want to know if the plain is alright!”. The crew had absolutely no idea where this question is coming from! I couldn't stop laughing but the guy asking the question there was still genuinely concerned! Not sure how the crew handled.

The Happy Man was still not bothered at all. He was in peace with his game on the phone. Damn, I was missing my game too! I walked away from the crowd to look for some food and met a couple who was also watching all this from a distance. Suddenly I got to know from them that all these people who were there had a revised boarding pass and I was supposed to get one too. Apparently we were not boarding the same flight we were supposed to get on. We were being “adjusted” on other flights. Looking at the crowd, it was impossible for me to reach the desk to get another boarding pass. I walked to other desks nearby instead, made a chicken like face and they helped me with revised boarding pass.

Very politely the fellow said,
“Sir, This flight is full, the next one is  full too. I can put you on evening flight. Is it okay?” Like I had any option! He reminded me that the boarding starts at 4:20 pm. My body knew Indian timing, my phone knew British timing, I was only prepared to count 2.5 hours in Doha before boarding next flight. I had no clue what is this 4:20 pm!

It’s 4 pm here now. Boarding starts in another 20 minutes. Flight departure time at moment is 5:20 pm Qatar time. 
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