A Dramedy Of Errors!

A Dramedy Of Errors!

©️ Dr. Aparna Govil Bhasker  

This morning, I had to fly to Ahmedabad for a conference (#YoungHSICON). Last night, the Prince of Wales intrigued me so much that I couldn’t stop bingeing on the period drama that I was watching on Netflix. Even after 75 years of independence, the crown still succeeds in evoking that uncomparable feeling of awe and has the potential to lead to a sleepless night.

Finally, when I slept, it was way beyond my usual sleeping time. I was having an elaborate dream about Buckingham palace when the alarm started blaring in the wee hours of the morning, and I woke up with a start! As expected, waking up so early was a terrible ordeal. I cursed myself for not having enough discipline and plodded myself out of bed at half my usual pace and then in a painstaking effort to stay awake, I spent double the time sipping on my tea (English Breakfast, ofcourse!).

My husband, who is an epitome of self-discipline, kept chiding me for staying up late and then dragging my feet through the morning. He was worried that I was going to miss the flight. To be honest, I was running quite late but somehow managed to get into a cab and crossed my fingers, hoping to reach the airport on time. Fortunately, early mornings in Mumbai on a Saturday are quite forgiving when it comes to traffic. The roads were empty, and I made it to the airport on time. I wasted no time in sending a message to my husband that I was “on time”! (A very loving wifely gesture, trying to prove a point!)

I finally relaxed and stood in the queue to enter the airport. The queue moved ahead quite fast, and in no time, I was at the gate with my ID proof and boarding pass ready. I smiled at the security guard, and she smiled back at me. Then, she looked at my boarding pass and looked up. The smile had disappeared from her face, and suddenly, my heart skipped a beat. In my absent-mindedness, I am perfectly capable of carrying my husband’s ID proof instead of mine! I was sure she thought of me as an imposter.

“You are at the wrong terminal!”

I looked at her, then I looked again at my boarding pass and finally looked at my watch! In my Netflix stupor, I had come to the wrong terminal. The other terminal was 5 km away. Panic rose up in my throat. Not because I could potentially miss my flight, but how would I go back home and face my husband!

I came out running with my bag in tow. Luckily for me, a couple of cabs were waiting outside. The cabby quoted an insanely high fare, which I readily agreed to, as I had no time or energy to negotiate.

Just then, two airport supervisors appeared out of nowhere. Apparently, I was not the first person in the city of Mumbai to land up in the wrong terminal. They reprimanded the cabby for trying to take advantage of my predicament and suggested that I take another cab who would charge more reasonably. For me, money didn’t matter, but I was grateful for their concern at a time of distress. I took the cab they suggested and tried to hand out a tip to them as a gesture of thankfulness. They graciously refused to accept any money from me and saw me off.

En route to the other terminal, I kept thinking. Nowadays, it is rare for someone to show concern for others. It is also hard for us to accept the selfless concern of a stranger. There is an implied expectation of a reward for any good deed. I found it difficult to accept that they helped me just out of concern, without any expectations for a reward. It was just a good deed, human to human. As plain as that.

While I was lost in my thoughts, the cabby almost flew the car, and it took us exactly 10 minutes to reach the other terminal. Much to my displeasure, he demanded 1.5 times the money that we had agreed upon. I had no choice but to pay, as I had no time to indulge in a squabble.

In a single morning, within a span of ten minutes, on one hand, I experienced selfless human concern, and on the other hand, there were people who without an iota of doubt were ready to take undue advantage of a vulnerable situation.

There are all kinds of people in this world. Sometimes, we receive support from unknown quarters. It pleasantly surprises us and reinforces our faith in people. At other times, we feel cheated by others, and it can lead to varying degrees of dejection. We can not avoid the cycle of good and bad, but we can always choose to care more for the good over the bad. Every person has an impact on our life. It can be big or small. I could have spoiled my morning, fretting over the behavior of the cabbies. But today, I chose to focus on the kindness of airport supervisors over the cunningness of the cabbies. It made me feel better in an already rushed morning.

Yes, the cabby did succeed in making a little more money, but at the end of the day, it was the airport supervisors who made an impression on me and earned my respect. Also, I do believe that every time a good deed is done, it sets the foundation for the next one somewhere in the universe and helps to keep the balance intact.

PS: This time, I messaged my husband after completing the check-in process. I need to start paying more heed to his advice. But then, if husbands and wives always lived in tandem and heeded to each other, what would become of the drama in life! 😉

And yes, I did make it to the conference.