Sunday, 1 December 2013

Mayura Restaurant : Such a delight!

First time I went to Mayura was with my brother-in-law, sister and their two little kids. Just going by the name, it doesn't sound really funky restaurent and doesn't make you feel hungry. Located on the East Coast Road where you would find at least another 20 restaurants if not less, adjacent to each other on the same lane. My brother-in-law parked his four wheeler and we were on our mission. Outside the restaurant, it read 'Mayura : Authentic Indian Chinese restaurent'. As we entered, we were greeted and offered a table.

The ambiance was rather average to good kind I would say. Plain, simple, minimal. Played Bollywood songs. On the menu, you would find host of dishes for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Actually it is a delight if you have such a variety in a typical Chinese speciality restaurant. I only felt that Menu Cards were old and tornout and need some fresh look. We clicked and laughed till the time we were served.

And boy! the food came quickly, in good quantity and hot. The aroma was perfect and we got busy. The dishes were really good. Whatever we tried, tasted awesome. In third bite, I decided I am coming back here again and that was surely a place I can recommend.

As decided, I did visit there again and this time with my better half. The experience was the same - Great! My wife thoroughly enjoyed the food and we had good time. Now, when we think of eating authentic Indian Chinese in Singapore, no other restaurant comes closer to Mayura!

Infact I recommended it to few of my office colleagues also. My colleges had non-vegetarian dishes and they liked it. They liked the food and I was happy that it worked well. I thought as if I was the chef and I won something big.

On Food: Tastes awesome. 
Quantity: Big. One dish for example Gobi Manchurian serves 3 easily. 
Quality: Preparation is fresh, served by heart. 
Price: Truly value for money, you will come out with a happy face.
Ambience: Average
Service: Quick, polite, well mannered.
Rating: 8.5 (It could easily become 9 if they work little bit on the ambience.)

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: The post is all about food and I am feeling hungry now! Hats off to the operator who has a courage enough to serve Indian Chinese speciality at a place where chinese food can be found in abundance!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Colgate: Now that is called an Aggressive Strategy!

I was reading the news and views of Corporate Industry to keep myself updated on the strategies and policies. I came across an article about the launch of Oral-B toothpaste by P&G in India. P&G already has Oral-B brand tooth brush in India and with this launch they are entering the toothpaste industry. Now what was surprising and caught my attention was the article talked more about Colgate revamping its marketing expenditures and less about launch by P&G.

Prabha Parameswaran, the MD of rival Colgate was the one watching it most closely. As soon as the launch was announced by P&G, Colgate was quick to respond in the market to ensure entry for Oral-B isn't as smooth as they expected. Colgate is market leader in Indian Oral care market. They could have waited to see the response Oral-B gets in the market. But Colgate doesn't believe in wait and watch philosophy. I also believe a lost ground is more painful to gain back than protecting and going aggressive especisally when we are talking about sensitive consumer industry like this one.

Madhuri Dixit is roped in as brand ambassador for Oral-B toothpaste.

Colgate has hiked its advertising and promotion spends considerably during the first half of this calendar year. Company is roping in more and more Bollywood stars to promote their product because they know that is one of the best way to capture Indian mind space and influence their buying. It has bought more shelf space in retail outlets and giving better margins to shopkeepers. For consumers, buy one-get one free or money saver packs are introduced. The company is truly going aggressive and sending out the message that it is not a sleeping elephant in this market. In short run, this may possibly hurt margins for a quarter or two but that should be alright in the long run till the time company doesn't loose market share and give space to competitors.

The company has done well when it faced competitions from Pepsodent and low cost Anchor brands. It faced similar situation in Brazil market where Colgate held around 80% of market share and Oral-B toothpaste was getting launched. The company adopted same policy and went aggressive to keep the new competitor at bay.

For Oral-B, I think they should not take Colgate head on to start with. Colgate has around 55% market share in India but there is a good 45% with other players. It should slowly edge out the second and the third players and win space in  large number of Indian bathrooms. It should then challenge the market leader having understood the market and people enough.

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: While P&G has all the resources, startegy and good brand in place - they are challenging the market leader. Colgate has been successful in maintaining its dominance in all the markets wherever it got challeneged by competitors but Indian market is always special and different to watch out for. This could an interseting contest.

Sources: Online News

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Will this Kolaveri guy change the way we look at Bollywood heroes?

Raanjhanaa starts with a frame where Kundan (Dhanush) is shown lying on stretcher being carried to hospital with face all wounded. He starts narrating his story and takes us back to Banaras ki galiyan. Child Kundan is too cute and the movie is full of smart dialogs. You may want to remember them to put it on Facebook as your status messages to showoff, that’s the running trend now-a-days.

“Namaaz mein who thi, par laga dua hamari manjoor ho gayi”

Between all this somewhere the thought of should a ‘better looking’ conventional Bollywood actor be casted instead of Dhanush?, creeps in.

You definitely don’t want to accept the school going Dhanush as shown in the movie, as your mainstream hero who would romance with beautiful lady in a movie. He is not well built in-terms of physic and is nowhere close to the likes of Hrithiks or Shaheed Kapoors of Bollywood industry. Neither he looks chocolaty like Aamir nor over personifying Shahrukh or Amitabh. We were also not expecting him to go Emraan Hashmi way to lure the heroine sensuously and create a niche identity. These are the set definitions for actors in Hindi film industry and if we look at the debutantes over last one year, they fall in either of the above categories.

While all this was going on in your head, you get lost in the plot of the movie. Hats-off to the way story is built. In that madness and clamors of Banaras, is a cute romantic love story. By the time Dhanush receives his 16th Thapaddin the movie, you start liking him for his simplicity.

“Humein apne gaal pe thappad se zyada uske gaal pe puppy ka sukh tha.”

As the plot unfolds and story starts building, you want to see more of him. There is a sincerity in every dialog, every action. Abhay Deol gives another dimension to the movie and brings some more freshness. By this time you are in love of the music, characters and characterization. You just pray to God that the movie doesn’t end up as another cliche Hindu guy-Muslim girl set formula.

“Tumhara pyaar na ho gaya..UPSC ka exam ho gaya.10 saal se paas hi nai ho raha!”

Everytime the story takes a turn, Dhanush surprises with his acting skills. There is see-saw of emotions. Heart is broken, love is lost, he is ignored, thrown out of his house, media chases, he is beaten, yet his selfless heart wants to see Zoya (Sonam) happy and get what she wanted. Clearly by now, you can guess why he is a superstar of South Indian movie industry. While Kolaveri di song might have made him a star overnight, Raanjhanaa movie sets him as an actor class apart in Bollywood.

The other angle to film industry is the ability to generate commercial success for a movie. I feel no matter how many good movies he gives, he would still remain a second rung actor for the audience in the Hindi film industry.

The first league of actor is dominated by Amitabh, Shahrukh, Salman and Aamir and who are now passing on the baton to next gen to the likes of Ranbir Kapoors, Ranveer Singhs and Arjun Kapoors. Actors like Irrfan Khan, Abhay Deol, Konkana Sen Sharma are not perceived as huge stars by the audience. They somehow don’t move to the first league. While there is no doubt in my mind about the versatility in acting of Konkana, she still cannot occupy place of the current Katrinas, Kareenas or Priyankas.

I think a lot has to do with how Bollywood has evolved and the way audience perceives their Hero and Heroines. We have audience who has always worshipped Dharmendra, Jitendra, Rajesh Khanna and the gorgeous Madhubala, Hema Malini or Madhuri Dixit, etc. It is always about the look, about the charisma. Larger than life portray of beauty to rule million hearts.

With passage of time and with more maturity in the views and perception, I think this trend may change in a decade or so. Box Office opening is one of the key parameters that movie pundits use to categorise a movie as Flop/ hit/ Super-hit. Good opening means movie will be screened for a longer duration of time and thus generate more revenue. A Salman Khan or a Ranbir Kapoor starer guarantees good opening and then movie may pull more crowd if the reviews are good. But for actors like Dhanush or Irrfan Khan it is the other way round, at-least in Bollywood. Box office opening depends on marketing and if the reviews are good, people may start going to theaters.

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: Can Dhanush change the way we look at Bollywood heroes? Can his star quotient rise enough to get houseful opening and super-hit box office collections in Hindi film industry too?

Mere seene ki ye aag ya to mujhe zinda kar sakti thi ya maar sakti thi...
Par saala ab uthe kaun... Kaun firse mehnat kare - dil lagane ko, dil tudwane ko...”

Friday, 5 July 2013

Helping is Inspiring!

I am very strong believer in ‘whatever you do, comes back to you in a bigger way!’ The earth is round and it constantly revolves around itself. If you do good, sooner than later something good will happen with you too. If you do bad same will come back to you in a bigger way. The return for doing good is limited but for bad, it can be anything.

This also does not mean that you should be doing things in order to get something better in return. You should not be expecting to get a thousand rupees automatically in your pocket from skies if you give 10 INR to a beggar. The intentions of doing good or helping others should be pure selfless. Somewhere it will benefit you or keep the evils away.

The other thought is if somebody is asking for a help, don’t deny. The one who is asking for help knows that you can do it and that is why you have been selected from his list of known people. Always try to help if the request comes to you. It may not be entire cent percentage of fulfillment of request but whatever fits in your principle, you should do that. I am careful to use word ‘fits in your principle’ here because I don’t intend to mean that if somebody asks your help to rob someone, you go ahead. It does not fit morally. A lot of times we get to hear that a friend has taken loan on his name to help somebody else. Well, I would say that there is no harm in doing that but you should always be ready to pay the liability if the need arises.

A numerous times when I board metro, I see people happily seated with their known ones getting up quickly when they see an old man or a pregnant lady entering train with no empty seat to occupy. That is a real act of kindness I must say. People are really generous in helping a pregnant lady. They will pounce on picking up any stuff that a pregger might have dropped on floor by mistake.

I think when somebody asks for a help you should feel lucky and fulfill the request. With my experience I can say you would soon be in a situation where you will need same help. If you are traveling by airplane and find elderly people struggling to find a way or dealing with any process, go ahead and extend a helping hand. Soon your parents or ill grandparents might be in their situation. They would definitely get helped. If you see an aunty with grey hairs standing in a public transport, offer her your seat with a smile, sooner or later you might be in a situation where your mom is with you and you would wish if somebody could get up and offer a seat to her.

In a way helping is contagious too. If a kid falls, two people will quickly response and move towards that kid to help. Few others may also then realise and look to provide help. Mostly people will wait for someone to begin the kind work first and then they would join. You be that first person. 

Try and help your juniors or cousins in making proper career choices. With your experience, guide them what is the trend in market, what options they can explore. Enlighten them as much as you can. Someday, when you are lost in the rat race and not sure where to head, you will get answers without putting much efforts. No help goes waste. And in any case no body has ever become poor by giving!

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: If you receive a request to look for job openings or put resume in company’s portal, do it. Be a facilitator and try to be as much accommodative as you can. Because God help those who help others!

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Ankho Hee Ankho Mein...A Love Story!

"I reached metro station and saw Train schedule board displaying '1 min'. Metro train which I was suppose to board was already on platform, ready to depart in a minute. I rushed to escalators, the door closing light started to flicker. I rushed into the train. Took a sigh of relief.

I turned back and through the windows of metro train I saw a beautiful lady sitting on the platform bench. I thought I knew her. In that split second she looked at me and we had eye contact with each other.

"Do I know you?", I enquired her through my eyes.

"Why are you looking at me?", she stared back.

"You are beautiful", I gave a gentle smile.

And the train accelerated to reach high speed in seconds. I kept on looking at her through the windows, till she was visible.

I couldn't get her reply back. I became restless. I tried to recollect. "That face is a known face...!", I told myself. In that restlessness I got down at the next station. I went to otherside of the platform and boarded metro train that would take me back to same place where I saw that lady. The thought of she might have gone by the time I could reach there, never came. Somewhere my heart knew she would be there.
I reached platform.
"Hi, do we know each other?", I asked her hesitantly moving slowly towards her thinking hard where I saw her earlier.

"Sorry, you are asking me?", she asked me with a puzzled face, grabbing handbag from her side and keeping it on her lap.

That question made me feel sad and I thought probably that eye contact conversation was my imagination and she never conversed with me.

"Are you Nishita?", I suddenly remembered her name stored somewhere in my subconscious.

"Yes....and....are you Jeev?", she asked. She was right.

Few moments passed in silence. Her face was filled with anger. She yelled at me, "How could you do this to Reema, my best friend? Why? It all looked so perfect! We never met yet I was so impressed with you by whatever she use to tell me about you!"

Commuters looked at us. I offered her if we could sit in Starbucks which was on the platform itself, 50 meters away.

After we sat in Starbucks, possibly her anger had cool down a little. She apologized for shouting but maintained that she was very angry.

"Why did you ditch her when all looked perfect?", she asked looking straight into my eyes.
I felt as if somebody has placed a revolver on my forehead and I need to spell out my bank account passwords.

I sipped coffee. I took one more sip and tried to rearrange my thoughts. It all came as a surprise because I had never thought that I would ever have a hand shake with my past in my future. Nishita, the girl whom I met on platform was best friend of Reema, my ex-girlfreind. I had never met Nishita in person because she went abroad for studies. But I always saw her photos with Reema and heard lot of stories about her.

I was looking at the paper napkin kept on our table. That Starbucks lady in green looked more beautiful that the story I was about to share. Nishita was still looking at me waiting for an answer.

"I loved Reema. No one knew me better than she did. We were madly in love and our stories were famous amongst our friend circle. Two years ago, on December 15th, I got a call from Reema at midnight. She told me that her parents got to know about their relationship and wanted to meet me. I was little surprised because it was early according to our plans.

I couldn't sleep that night. I was nervous but confident. Even IIM A college admission interviews did not make me so nervous. It was about my life. I went to Reema's mansion the next day. I was expecting some tough question-answer rounds with her grandparents and parents based on what Reema use to tell me.

We talked about cricket, about movies. We had a good lunch. I was happy that it was all going smooth. It was 2 hrs and I was about to leave. Her grandfather told me to accompany him for a walk in their garden.

"What do you expect?", he asked.

"Only Reema. We like each other and I will keep her happy." I talked to the point because Reema always told me that her grandfather liked that way. To the point and no arguments.

"You are not rich. You dont look as smart as anybody else in my family. It would be a misfit."

I got hurt after listening to those comments. I smiled and said, 'I might not have a bungalow but have bought a house on loan. I am IIM A college pass-out and have a growing career. As far as looks are concerned, they are gifted. I cannot change it and I am happy the way I look."

"We have atleat two dozens of IIM A graduates working for us in various companies."

I knew that their was no point of argument. Logically I could have defeated him but I wanted to win hearts emotionally.

"Gentleman, you may leave now. I hope this remains between us."

I never looked back at Reema again. I knew she loved her grandfather most. They were bigshots and I never wanted to create any scene involving her family. I moved to Singapore for a new assignment without informing anyone. It has been more than 2 years now and I know among the friend circle, the talk is that I ditched her, to which I don't care. I have moved on."

"You are exactly the same as Reema use to narrate me.", Nishita said with a lump in her throat.

"I know you will have many questions. Why you did not do this...that? I do not have answers to them. I just told the truth and did what my heart told me to do at that time. I am above those circumstances now and do not wish to recollect or justify."

Nishita was very much impressed by my nature and personality since the time she came to know about me. She liked my simplicity and maturity. We kept on meeting on weekends and sometimes after work. The frequency increased and we discovered that we were in love with each other. We got married following year and are living happily since then. That's it. That is my story!"

That was Jeev's story. He was sharing his story at one of his book launch event. He has quit his job and has become a full time writer with relationships as his genre. This was his second book launch after a very successful first one!

fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: Looks and money does not matter. In the end it is the person's heart that matters. You should try to find a soul who could love you more than you love yourself. Life is beautiful. Be open and receptive. Keep it simple and enjoyable.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

People going (Haze-ul) nuts in Singapore!

Haze is a new 'weather' introduced to me, a week back. First time when I saw it, it appeared like a dense layer similar to fog and air smelt like something was burning nearby. I ignored that day. It persisted in varying density for next two days and started hitting headlines. I heard people discussing about humidifier to which my first reaction was, 'What is that?'

Welcome to South East Asia phenomenon of 'Haze'. Though it happens in other parts of the world also, I was experiencing it for the first time. I could feel it inside home and office, and wondered if that was my imagination or others too felt the same. This feeling led me to do some research on Haze.

Reasons - Haze: There are various reasons for a thick layer of smog getting created in air called Haze. One of the main source for this is the use of old and cheap farming technique of slash and burn by farmers in Indonesia. In this technique, farmers clear piece of land by setting trees and grass (peatland) on fire. After clearing the woody part by burning, land is made ready for re-plantation of rice, vegetables and fruits. After few cycles, fertile quality of land goes down and new area is selected. Other reason of setting land on fire could be to establish control over disputed land and grab it from previous owner. This activity is on rampant as there aren't enough checks, believed to be done mostly by big and multinational players. The area put on fire is called hotspots. Sumantra Island is major area where deforestation with this technique is done on a large scale by Palm oil companies. Winds blowing towards east carries smoke and causes thick layer of haze over the skies of Malaysia and Singapore.

According to Achmad Taufik, South Sumatra Forestry Office,
"They only have to be sparked by cigarette butts and they (peatlands) will go up in flames." 
(Peat by definition is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation.)

Preventive measures: During this season the weather is hot and dry. Fire catches easily and controlling it becomes a humongous task. Following checks and balances can help in controlling such activities.
- Imposing heavy fines on large corporations for the use or encouragement of Slash and burn technique. Fines heavy enough that the use becomes non-profitable.
- Educating farmers about the adverse effects of such activities to human and nature.
- Providing incentives to farmers for using alternative ways of farming.
- Extending all kind of help, training and subsidy for poor farmers for whom alternative farming techniques may sound expensive.

Corrective measures: Till such time it is prevented, we have to rely on rains to extingush this fire and give some relief. Indonesian government is believed to be taking measures by using technology to create artificial rains over hotspot areas. It has sent airplanes for water bombing over hotspot areas. It has also sent some 100 firefighters at the sight to extinguish fire.

In Singapore, the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) broke 16 year old record of 226 (very unhealthy) to 321 (Hazardous) on 19th June. Since then it is on rise with fluctuations and has even crossed 400 levels.
Singapore government is aggressively pushing Indonesian government to act quickly with some allegations and counter allegations putting relations in strain between the two. 

Number of out door activities are restricted. Activities at numerous tourist places like Flyer, Wild Wild Wet, parts of Sentosa are suspended. N95 masks are re-stocked to ensure everyone gets it. Responding to the situation corporates have suggested to work from home if required and be cautious. McDonlad's in Singapore has stopped delivery services.

What can you do? Safety measures:
Wear masks (N95) when traveling outside. Stay Indoor as mush as possible. Drink water at regular intervals. Monitor PSI index and take a call on out door activities. Visit doctor as required. 

You can Pray for heavy rains too!
fOoD fOr ThOuGhT: There should be a strong check on playing with nature. Rampant urbanization, alarming level of increase in pollution, oil spills in sea water, deforestation to name a few, is causing major bearing on the health of humans and nature. The temperature is going up and newer diseases are getting introduced each day. Lets work together to make this World greener and a happy playground!

Sources: Internet and first hand experience. Photo courtesy: huffingtonpost

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Sarfaroshi ki tamanna… Pathetic experience with Air India!

My parents were supposed to visit us at Singapore. My brother in law told me to book Singapore Airlines tickets. Every time I thought over his suggestion, the song

Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna Ab Hamare Dil Mein Hai
Dehkna Hai Zor Kitna Baajuen Qaatil Mein Hai…

rang in my head. I got charged up every time with the patriotic feeling. As Steve Jobs once said, “…There is no reason not to follow your heart…”

After evaluating all the permutations and combinations with flight schedules, cost, stoppage and waiting time for journey from Nagpur to Singapore, I narrowed down on Jet airways for their onward journey and Air India for the return journey. Onward journey with Jet airways was smooth and it ended with an appreciation and feedback mail in my inbox from the company. As for the return journey, AI gave me a tough time. Below narration is the series of events as they unfolded.

Original Plan: My parents were supposed to travel from Singapore to Mumbai on 18th June 2013 by AI343 at 10:45 AM Singapore time. And then from Mumbai to Nagpur at 6PM by AI flight.

I got a call, a day before, on 17thJune 2013 from a local landline number. Generally I tend to avoid unknown numbers and if I am in a meeting I don’t take even the known ones. I picked up the call and below is the conversation I had with Air India (AI) lady on the phone.

AI staff: “Hello Sir, you are travelling to Mumbai via AI343 tomorrow, right?”

Me: “Yes, I have booked tickets, my parents are travelling.”

AI Staff: “The flight is delayed for operational reasons. Please reach at Row 8 between 5 AM - 5:30 AM. We have made some arrangements with Singapore Airlines.”

Me: “What?”

AI Staff: “Ok sir, Bye. “ (The lady did not even bother to listen to me and was about to hang up.)

I got little annoyed.

Me: “Hold on! Wait! SQ Airlines? 5:30 AM, a pre-pone? What if I don’t want to pre-pone my trip?”

(I was not inclined to trouble my parents by making them get up at a weird time.)

AI Staff: “AI343 is rescheduled and will be late by 1 hr…”

Sensing that I was fine with 1 hr. delay she carried on, “…or it might get delay even further. We do not know.”

“Do not know” is always scary.

Me: “What are other alternatives?”

AI Staff: “There is another flight in the evening…” I interrupted: “As you can see in the ticket (I assumed it was open on her screen because she asked for PNR#), we have connecting flight from Mumbai to Nagpur in the evening!...”

She checked in the system.

AI Staff: “Ok sir, then you can send them after two day to Mumbai.”

For a moment, I was speechless. I was pissed off with that statement.

Me: “Did you really mean that? Should you be saying like that?”

AI Staff: “Sir I cannot say anything. Due to operational reasons the flight is rescheduled. Reach by 530 AM at Airport.”

Sensing that I had limited options, I enquired, “What time will SQ land in Mumbai?”

AI Staff: In a very rough tone, “Sir you can calculate that.”

I asked politely again, “Can you tell me what time flight will land?”

AI Staff: “Sir you can calculate that. AI flight will reach around 1:30 PM. Subtract few hrs. and you will get it!”

Me: “What about Veg meal that I booked with AI tickets?”

AI Staff: “That you will get Sir.”

Me: “And I have 40 Kgs baggage booked in AI.”

AI Staff: “Yes sir you will get it. No…no sir, it will be 20 Kg.”

Me: “I am your customer. If you are rescheduling flight, you should match the options availed or provide some flexibility!”

AI Staff: “Let me check.”

After 5 minutes.

AI Staff: “Yes Sir, SQ will provide 20 Kgs, reach at 5:30 AM at airport, bye!”

Me: “What is the Flight number of SQ? I can see three morning flights to Mumbai! Give me PNR number.”

AI Staff: “That we will manage Sir. Reach at 5:30 AM at airport, bye!”

And the line got disconnected.

I calmed myself down. I told myself:
No Air India airlines anymore, even if it meant shelling out more money. And the thought got firmer as the event unfolded. Patriotism is good but still no Air India.

“Reach at 5:30 AM at airport!” Real worry was that if there were more surprises to this itinerary, I had no back up plan.


I called up Delhi office in India just to reconfirm the status of flight. On second ring somebody picked up phone. I felt blessed.

Me: “Hi, I am calling from Singapore, can you please check the status of flight AI 343 for tomorrow, to Mumbai.”

AI staff, India: (In Punjabi accent) “Sirjee, meri system mein toh sahi dikh raha hai. It is as per the schedule.”

I narrated the whole story and told him that I was getting calls about rescheduling of flight.

AI Staff, India: “Achcha ji essi baat hai? Mein apne manager ke system se bhi check karwa leta hoo, just for confirmation.”

After holding for sometime… “Sirjee hamare yaha toh sab sahi dikh raha hai.”

Before I could acknowledge that,

“Achcha sirjee ye batao, Singapore mein mobile saste milte hai kya?”

I kind of laughed at the question. “Han, 1 se 1.5 hazaar ka farak padta hai. Oncha model loge toh jyada farak padega.”

“Achchaji. Mera ek colleague 11000 rupaye ka Nokia ka phone 5000 rupaye mein laya hai.”

“Pata nahi deal mein liya hoga. TV lelo bohat saste milte hai.”

“Kitna farak pad jata hai? Ye LED wagra mil jata hai sasta?”

“Han, Samsung ka 28000 rupaye ka 18000 rupaye mein mil jayega.”

He gave me Singapore senior authority’s office number. I thanked him for the help and hang up.

I called up Air India Singapore office. They confirmed the change, rather politely,after I told them my complete account.

I made my parents wake at 3:30 AM. Left home by 4:30 and reached by 5:10AM. (I assumed that that was enough buffer in case of more surprises.)

At the airport, there was a long queue at AI check-in counter. Only one lady was handling all the requests. I could see at other counters of smaller airlines with good number of staff helping with check-ins. People standing in the queue were annoyed. She was slow and taking her own time in confirming tickets in the system. Then manually noting some numbers on a piece of paper, stamping it and directing towards Singapore Airlines counter.

I had early morning meeting at office but looking at the situation, there was no way I could instruct my parents and leave the business half done. We collected boarding passes from SQ counter. I instructed my parents of the next steps and what they had to do at Mumbai Airport. They went for immigration and I rushed towards taxi.

Moral: In the whole event, I lost my piece of mind. My parents lost sleep for that night. 60 dollars in taxi. Disturbed body clock. But what I gain is a huge lesson. No more Air India flights whatsoever.

“…Sarfaroshi ki tamanna…”

PS: This was not the first time AI disappointed me!


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