Five o’clock in the morning. Driving to Bangalore airport with colleagues. No traffic jam at this time, but the car is moving very slowly. I was sleepy, opening my eyes just anticipating my flight time. Suddenly, I blinked. Was I dreaming?
A three-wheeler autorickshaw in front of us was carrying a 40-ft-long pipe that was sticking out width-wise from both sides. He covered the whole road; no vehicle could overtake him from either side, nor could he speed with the heavy, unwieldy pipe.
Images of William Wyler’s 1959 blockbuster Ben-Hur entered my mind’s eye. In that most spectacular chariot race ever put on film, Prince Judah Ben-Hur’s devil-like friend Messala was using a saw on his chariot wheel and colliding time and again, while his four horses charged at high speed, trying to overturn Judah’s chariot. Nowhere was this autorickshaw, its destructive pipe weapon horizontally cutting the entire airspace. We were tailing it for over 30 minutes somehow trying to cross, when unexpectedly the auto-rickshaw took a sharp U-turn to the right. Just imagine how it could swerve! Two troubled-looking men on the backseat were hugging the colossal pipe for dear life.
Delayed at airport arrival. A kind airline customer service manager rushed me through a special security gate at Bangalore Airport’s newly opened wing. The stylish shops reminded me of New York’s Trump Tower ground-floor shopping area. Waiting in a lean queue, drops of liquid suddenly fell on me, startling me. As I ducked, I noticed a few buckets capturing driblets from the ceiling. It was not raining, so what was that contamination in this high-tech airport barely a month old?
On another occasion, landing at Delhi airport, I went into the toilet. As I was habitually sitting, checking mails in my mobile phone, water suddenly gushed into my cubicle, the bottom half of my trousers became wet. Here I was, about to go for a project review meeting with the board of directors of an American client of mine in the sophisticated Oberoi Hotel, Gurgaon. Fortunately, my dark trousers hid the wetness. I yelled at the neighbouring toilet occupant to control the health faucet water jet. He too rushed out apologising; then showed me his helplessness as the defective water jet was still overflowing. He said he obviously couldn’t have known this before he used it. We set out to look for the cleaner. We found him outside. He