I called up Kanhaiya to tell him that I wanted him to come over to Choki Dhani for dropping me to the Jaipur airport. Kanhaiya was a cab driver. Two days ago, I had taken his cab via the pre-paid counter at the airport. That’s when I had first met him. I had arrived in Jaipur to shoot a wedding in the Chokhi Dhani resort.
After landing, I was waiting for my luggage to arrive. I had flown down from Goa (to Mumbai) to Jaipur on a single Air India ticket. I had a aircraft change in Mumbai. My luggage was to arrive directly to Jaipur. But it did not. It had my clothes and a monopod (to be used for shooting video). Few co-passengers and I kept staring at the luggage belt even after everyone else had collected their stuff and left. It was hard to believe that our luggage hadn’t shown up. An Air India lady staff came over to us and in the most matter of fact tone, said, ‘you guys have come from Goa, right? Your luggage will arrive at 5 pm’. She didn’t look worried. She didn’t say sorry. The way she broke the news to us, was almost the same way a secretary of a senior IAS officer would tell you how sahib is busy and that you have to wait for 5 hours minimum before he gets free, even when you arrived at a time allotted by the same fucking secretary. But then this was Air India. What was she supposed to say, huh? ‘We screwed up and your luggage went to Delhi. We would have it here in Jaipur by the evening flight. So sorry for the inconvenience caused sir’? Really? What do you think Air India staff is, Arvind Kejrival? Air India guys have an attitude that they need to live upto. I am sure this staff would be promoted soon for her ability to make a screw-up sound like a daily routine.
It was 11 AM then and I was not going to have my clothes or monopod till five in the evening. Hmm. The evening function was to start at about the same time. It would be a pain in the ass to shoot without the monopod. I did have another stabiliser but it was still going to be a pain. I had no idea how much time Air India was going to take to get my stuff to me after this Delhi flight landed. There was nothing much that I could do, except letting the kind lady know the address where my luggage was to be delivered, whenever it arrived. All’s well that ends well. The Air India staff did end up delivering my stuff by 6 pm, in my hotel and though I could not find time to change to fresh clothes, I could definitely use my monopod while shooting the sangeet ceremony.
Next day was the wedding. After few small functions during the day, the wedding started at around 6 in the evening and went on till almost 6 in the morning. That is when I finally got to hit the bed. I had my return flight to Goa in less than four hours, so of course I couldn’t seep much. I got up still sleepy and called Kanhaiya. While driving me to the resort two days ago, he had remarked that it would be cheaper for me if I called him for the airport drop, instead of asking the resort guys to arrange for the same. This, I later found out to be true. Choki Dhani’s charge for airport drop was 700 bucks, while the pre-paid rate that Kanhaiya offered was 400. As I was confirming the time with him, Kanhaiya proposed to me an even better offer – if I was willing to share his cab with another guest staying in the same resort (who too wanted an airport drop at the same time), he would charge me 100 bucks less. ‘Yeah sure, whatever’, he made 600 from the same trip and I paid less than 50% of what the resort would have otherwise charged me – pretty much win-win for both.
An uncleji was already seated in Kanhaiya’s cab when I arrived with my luggage. Kanhaiya helped me load my stuff in his car and I took a seat next to uncleji. I asked the uncleji if he was also a wedding guest. Yes, he nodded. He asked me what I did and where I lived and I told him I was a photographer and a film-maker and that I lived in Goa. By this time, we had reached the airport and said our goodbyes to Kanhaiiya. While at the boarding counter, uncleji told me he wanted to talk to me, once we had cleared security. ‘There is so much time to kill’, he remarked. The flight had been delayed by 45 minutes – the second time since morning.
I had almost assumed the like most people, uncleji would have the standard set of questions for me (how I left my job, life in Goa etc.). But I could’ve never imagined, what he finally did ask me.
‘Next week, a friend of mine and I are visiting Goa. I visit Goa often you see, but this friend of mine, it will be his first visit. Can you tell us few places that we should check out? I have been to Titos once. And one of those casinos on the river. Any other place that you can recommend?’, he started off. I told him about LPK. But before I could come up with more options, he quickly came down to the point. ‘And also, which is the best beach for finding Russians?’. Tharki uncle.
Our flight to Delhi kept on getting delayed over the course of next few hours and to my delight, once I had given a vague answer to Tharki uncle’s question, he did not have more insider info to get out from me. It was a tiring full day of travel, flying from Jaipur to Delhi and then back to Goa. I had gallons of coffee to keep me going. But as always, it felt wonderful to be back. With funny memories from the Jaipur trip.