lac mahon, la peche, qc.

lac mahon, la peche, qc.
photo by graham law.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

the best laid plans.

the young israeli couple in line ahead of me at the 'indian airlines' kiosk was arguing with the attendant. actually, they were berating her, adamant that they should not have to pay for the overweight luggage they were wanting to hoist onto the plane. their large knapsacks were bulging, but the amount being charged was relatively little. nevertheless, they were both gesticulating wildly, indignant at the very idea of being charged.

the year was 2003 and i was returning to my old himalayan mountain home for the first time in five years. i was simply delighted by the prospect of flying. flying was a two hour adventure. otherwise it would be, and often was, a two day adventure. my luggage was also heavier than allowed, but i knew that. the israelis were standing their ground. the attendant was flustered, frustrated. she looked as though she might break down at any moment. her moist eyes were searching our faces for support, understanding, perhaps a solution. in the end, the poor lady caved in, stamped their tickets and waved them through.  

she had bigger fish to fry. there was a group of mumbai tourists standing off to the side looking very upset. a small lady in orange and black sari, positively jumping up and down, was hollering something uncomplimentary about the airline. from what little i could understand, it seemed that they had been bumped off the flight. apparently, due to a previous flight cancellation, the plane was over-booked.

just as i was next in line, a few of that crowd stormed the counter. they had decided to protest by blocking any further check-ins. everyone raised their voices in unison, a chant about 'indian airlines' being a terrible company. the over-wrought attendant had actually given up. she was yelling into a phone while holding a finger over one ear. strangely, i found myself right in the middle of the protest. it looked like I was one of them. i began dancing around just like all the others, hollering, chanting. it was fun, until the police arrived. then i had to convince the guard, who grabbed my arm, that i was a simple canadian guy trying to fly up to the mountains. the group was hussled off to one side even while the yelling and arguing continued. the few remaining people in line checked in and we took our seats in the waiting room.

a mother was serving juice to her kid. there were back-packers and business people. the israeli couple looked pleased with themselves. i could see the mumbai tourists through the window still yelling, still arguing. and, just about five minutes before our departure time, the flight was cancelled due to heavy fog.  


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