It all began at 1:45 AM in the morning when the taxi man pulled in half an hour earlier than he was expected to. Rushing and brushing and barking on the phone and a full thirty minutes later I found myself beside the taxi driver in his taxi.
Not knowing what to expect from the Indigo Airlines flight from Singapore, kept my fingers crossed. Previous experiences of insane to extremely annoying to the extent of making-me-mad experiences with Tiger Airways, Air India and Kingfisher ( now defunct ), made the wait to board IndiGo prolong and at the same time bring in a sense of equanimity in me – all airlines are the same except for the air hostesses.
But Indigo proved to be different. Yes, the hostesses were covered and neat. And there was not this look of “what-lah?” that one expects from Tiger’s and “Kya Beta ” from Air India’s . The girls were quick and the counter staff were more than alert at 3:00 AM in the morning.
A cool two hour sojourn of the park ( read Changi airport. It is more a park, museum, mall and art gallery combined than an airport. It is a park where winged birds come in and go out but only that they are made of steel and carbon composites and oh yes, they carry people along with them ) and a couple of visits to the washroom ( they have this feeback panel on the walls where you could touch and leave your feedback. Of course the touchscreen panels are sanitized regularly – Singapore you see, cleanliness and other things lah ) later, I entered the aircraft.
The demography of the passengers was – Chennai bound Tamil Labourers 70%, Pune bound tourists 10 %, Chennai bound Tamil White Collar types 15 %, bound to some whwere Singaporean Chinese business men and women 2 % and the rest children of the white collars and Pune-wallahs.
And therefore IndiGo declared that they have stewardesses who could speak English, Hindi and Punjabi. Yes, Punjabi. For the 80% Tamil passengers, one needs to have Punjabi speaking stewardesses.
And then the announcements came that were as good as the Koran Channel soap where the female protagonist screams / laughs / shouts / cooes / cries all of a sudden for no particular reason. And there you have English subtitles. But in a low cost carrier that has descended upon the scene to serve the Tamil Labourer populace with Punjabi stewardesses, you should not expect sub-titles.
Oh yes, they announced in English as well. I found that out when they ended with “Thank You” and of-course in Hindi as they ended with “Dhanyawad”.
Then the flight cruised at various altitudes with different attitudes like “Seat Belt Sign” when no turbulence and no such sign when there was indeed turbulence.
But the hospitality is one that needs to be really appreciated. I was flabbergasted.
Upon take-off the girls offered water, followed by a thirty minute break that was interrupted with more water. I must mention here that there was a great deal of punctuality. Every thirty minutes, they served water. I mean water – the H2O stuff that we know of. People travelling from 1:45 AM until 7:20 AM need water at equal intervals of time – thus spake some anonymous airline philosopher probably in Punjabi.
Suddenly there descended upon the scene the grand old city of Chennai with its water ways and neat allies and planned townships ( that are still being planned ), and then the Kaththippaara Flyover that resembled the ancient Indian sweet ‘jalebi’.
The famous “Fire Station – ISO 2001-2008” insignia welcomed me from the ground. Oh yes the station has ISO certification. Does it have water is a question that I should not have thought about at that time.
And I descended into the frying pan.
My Gods did not abandon me. The flex-board demi-gods that cover the entire human pantheon starting from the “Ammas” and “Aiiyaas” of the world to the “Captains” and “Commanders” of the eternal Tamil army stood guard all along my way from the airport to home.
I know that the City is in safe hands under the protection of these deities as they were when I left the City some years ago.