Back to the future
By Etan Doronne
11 Apr 2010
Many of you may remember, as kids riding an escalator, the challenge to sync your step as it reaches the solid floor at the end of its course.
Somewhat like that was my experience when I was about to leave india.
It all started about when I had to catch the train from Nasik, Maharashtra to Mumbai, in the same state. Practically a short ride, only 3 hours. Nothing really when speaking about traveling India by rail.
However the train didn't arrive on time. That is typical. India's definition for 'on time' is much looser and it is backed up by compassion and tolerance for the consequences of being late anywhere.
But when it comes in touch with the western hemisphere this touch is more like a collision.
While on the train I had relaxed in the company of Yassin Khodadeen, a tourist of Indian origin that grew up in Mauritius and came as a representative of a British joint venture to seek for potential green startups.
Being both at the end of our travel and with common interests, we shared ideas and experiences, while sitting on our suitcases in the passage between two cars.
As we approached Mumbai the time was tight until my El Al flight departure.
Once at the last stop, I jumped out with my luggage and my friend joined me on the local densed metro train to the airport's nearest stop.
Jumping off the metro I ran for a public phone while my friend was watching the bags on the platform.
I wanted to note the airline's ground staff that I am late and maybe they could swap my seat with another stand-by passanger. Nothing came out of that.
I ran back and we carried the suitcases across a few platforms and stair cases, down to the road. I quickly jumped from one cab to another like a bee searching for a sweet flower, and bargained a right fare to the airport. We threw the luggage on the roof rack and jumped in. That was when we realized that we are the only ones in a hurry. The road was jammed and slow.
We arrived at the gate to the ariport departure hall as the clock showed 20 minutes to take off. I jumped out of the cab hit the ground running into the check in desk. My friend stayed behind with the cab driver to wait for me in case I missed the flight.
The check in desk was obviously empty (despite all passengers being traveling Indian time as well). A crew lady told me it is too late. I insisted. Then another passanger showed up, a lady in her 60's. We both insisted to board the plain. They referred us to a back room. The guy sitting there called the cockpit in his intercom phone. The pilot said it is too late. 15 minutes to take off. The lady passanger said she is a nurse at an Israeli hospital and must be there for her next day shift. The guy seemed hesitant to nudge the pilot again, but we both were persistant. 10 minutes to take off. The guy calls the pilot again an the pilot says no. Energy drop... a couple of minutes pass. The phone rings. The pilot on the other end gave his OK for boarding. Energy boost. We are told to leave our names and luggage and run for the boarding gate. A hostess leads us as we breathless make the whole way running. As we board the plain the door shuts behind us and the plain starts moving.
A footage I captured on an Indian street:.
P.S: Sorry, through storming our way we snapped only one photo, of Yassin sitting in the passage between cars while letting the train do the footwork. The other photos tell about this type of experience from different angles.