“After savouring Delhi, I taste its cuisine too before embarking on a roller coaster ride to the airport with very high chances of missing the return flight. My third and final day in the charming captial”
Day 3 was again a mad rush through the Auto Expo! In fact I managed time badly and ended up doing nothing apart from the expo. I had vacated my stay at Okhla and having to carry an extra baggage made the proceedings worse. I had my return flight booked for 8.30pm from IGI airport and little did I know about the roller coaster ride that was awaiting me!
Before boarding the Airport express metro from New Delhi metro terminal around 5.30pm, I decided to take a final dig. How could I not taste something authentic before departing from the capital city? I ordered for a chola-batura platted, because it looked tasty! It is a north Indian dish, probably from the state of Punjab, with deep fried and puffed up wheat breads called batura and spicy, tangy Chola or chickpeas curry! It is relished better with onion rings and mango pickle. I got my plate of this exotic dish and crammed into a seat in the busy hotel. Mouth-watering and flavorsome was this typical north Indian dish. Perfectly cooked wheat bread, savory curry and the pickle needs more than a special mention. Sour, succulent and incredibly tasty pickle got my taste buds crazy when eaten with onion rings! Appetizing, truly!
I reached the Aerocity metro terminal, the closest metro station to IGI airport (domestic) as of Jan 2011, around 6pm. I hoped to get into a Volvo bus to the domestic airport like I had arrived two days back. But to my dismay, one person outside the metro station told me that no buses were available to the domestic airport now and I would better walk until the nearest bus stand from where I could catch a taxi or bus. To make it worse, the metro station premises looked deserted. Not a single taxi or auto around and most of them walking towards the nearest bus stand. I had to move towards the same place. With my heavy baggage I walked out of that dark, deserted place. After sometime I was at the nearest bus stand, around a kilometer away, waiting for bus or waving at taxis which sped away. I was running out of time and had to check-in at the airport at least an hour before the departure.
Finally some nobleman from the crowd around enquired about my trouble and pointed at a local bus that idled nearby, that one goes almost near the airport, you can go by that! I was relieved and went towards the bus. It looked like waiting for me. Yes, there was space exactly enough for one person on the footboard, needless to it was overcrowded. I had no other choice, got in and occupied the space made for me. Screaming people, pushing and wriggling in the over crowded bus! Phew! Time seemed to fly away quickly. I was not worried, if not relaxed at least until I looked at my watch, 7pm and If I’m not in the airport by 8 then I better make arrangements for the next flight. The bus still did not seem to move. I was getting more & more impatient by every passing minute. Suddenly one of the conductors or someone of this stuffed bus started to set up the wheel changing kit under the bus! What the? The bus is punctured?? I sprang out of the crammed door before anybody could say yes! Visibly worried now, I started waving at all possible taxis and finally one kind auto rickshaw guy stopped! Domestic airport, I jumped in before him agreeing, still breathing heavily!
If you did not know, Delhi has two different terminals, domestic and international. The domestic one is commonly called T3 and international as T1. Now was the fun, the auto was contributing to the already snarling traffic and along with that, the driver asks me if the airport is somewhere near a particular place? What? Didn’t he know where the airport was? I tried to explain him it’s the domestic and not international. The confused looking chap nodded as he understood and drove further. I was in a dilemma thinking if the guy knew the roads well and was looking outside the auto to find a signboard saying IGI domestic terminal. Not one! Not a single board that said airport or anything closer to that! Traffic was fading away! Isn’t the airport road supposed to be crowded? Is he driving me around to get some extra bucks or No, Is he kidnapping me? Dude, stop panicking! Relax! I got into a seemingly angry conversation with him, impatient and worried. The guy still claimed that he would not want to make me get delayed and blah blah! Delayed? Oh cuff, my flight!! My watch showed 7.40. Then suddenly the driver stopped the rickshaw by the road and asked a passerby, which way to the airport? What the?? I got out of the rick and punched the driver in his face! Well, I at least wished I did! But I was helpless! Started arguing with him as the person said that we had over driven past the airport road! The auto took a U turn and drove again.
Around 7.50, the auto was waiting in a signal and I desperately looked out to find airport anywhere in the vicinity! There! A signboard saying IGI airport and where is it pointing? In the opposite direction? I asked him to turn the auto the other way, despite being a one way and the signal red, the driver pierced through the traffic. 4 minutes to 8 and I was paying my auto driver for the ride of a life time, in the Indira Gandhi International Airport parking lot. I was late but still last in the queue to check in for the Spicejet flight to Bangalore. Checked in and settled in the lobby before I could heave a real huge sigh of relief!!!
To be honest and without a bit of attitude or arrogance, on my second flight itself I realized how boring air travel is! Especially if you are alone and don’t have any funky gadgets. I have read this quote somewhere; there are only two emotions in a plane: boredom and terror! I was going through the first one! Spicejet wasn’t as spicy as its name nor as colorful as Indigo!). I happened to experience how exactly turbulence feels within the flight on the flight back. The grumpy looking flight landed at Bangalore after a delay of 40 minutes. I was back after the journey of many firsts!