I used to sit on the 21st floor. Now I am retired

Monday, September 11, 2006

Et tu, martin-pĂȘcheur

Now, I don't know whether this is just an exception to the rule or not, but I faced my first non-Kf moment today.

Till today, my Kingfisher Airlines experiences have been top of the line. I have never had a moment of complaint, inspite of being quite a fastidious passenger when it comes to airlines in general. In fact, I have felt largely taken care of, well-fed and entertained. For more Kf moments, see M/s Uncut and Ziggy going gaga.

I was also gaga till today. Then I came to Kolkata. I hadn't taken a printout of my e-ticket as I was rushing from a meeting. However, I had my PNR and my e-ticket number. I have got a printout at the airport at both Bombay and Bangalore airports and thus, did not think twice about this. Unfortunately, the red and black liveried men at the airport had no clue.

The red one looked at me with incredulity. Then, said "Ekhaane to paaben na." (You won't find it here)
"Printout to dorkaar", piped in the black one. (Printout's needed)
"Okay, let me know where the counter is", said I.
"There, behind the second security."

I reached there. Obviously, neither the red one or the black one accompanied me.

"I want a printout of my e-ticket", I said to S, the girl behind the glass window.
A minute passed. S was trying to figure something out on her computer screen. I hoped it was my ticket that she was trying to extract. I knew it wasn't as my face doesn't reveal the PNR number or my name.
"My PNR number is XXXXXX"

A minute passed again. Another one of the black men came in and a conversation ensued between the him and S.

"How long will it take?", said I.
"I am working on it"

In any other city, I would be in the security check line by this time. Here, I still didn't have my ticket. Another minute passed.

"How long will it take?" said I.
"What's your PNR number?"

I can take you through the rest of this Alice in Wonderland conversation. However, that will bore you as much as it pained you. In about seven minutes, I got an e-ticket printout. Seven minutes!! Incidentally, the encounter outside the airport wasn't the only non-kf experience yesterday. The check-in, being done by an AAI/ IC person (wonder why Kingfisher can't hire more of the red or black men), took three questions on check-in baggage, two on seat preference (inspite of tele-check in) and two on my name before I got my boarding pass. Finally, the bus which carried me to the plane, developed a hole just over me. It was raining outside and my left sleeve got drenched.

I guess it's because of Kolkata. Or maybe, it just wasn't my day.


Blogger Sarin said...

dude.. its kolkatta....

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 3:14:00 AM

Blogger Rahul Ghosh said...


Just a few thoughts on your post...

I thought you were making a point on the inconsistency of service of KA. The location of your experience just happens to be Kolkata (not Kolkatta!). Now that cannot be an indictment of the city.

Hypothetically, you might have faced a similar situation in Delhi, Goa or any other place that KA flies.

While it is au courant to criticise Kolkata for every bandh, every militant trade union and every example of the go-slow attitude (even perhaps a seven-minute blemish) that the city is known for, I think one is being a bit unfair.

You are used to certain level of service from an airline. In your last trip (albeit from Kolkata, not Kolkatta!) and you have failed to experience it. I would say that it is a failing of KA, for it has failed to instill the same service parameters across all the sectors it operates in!

As for Kolkata, she is used to being chided for some faults of hers as well as no fault of hers. She will live with it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 7:14:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Sarin, no, Kolkata.

Rahul, yes, Kolkata. And I stand by you when you say the indictment has to be of KA. Hypothetically, it could have been Delhi, Goa etc. However, it ended up being Kolkata. There might be a point there which we might miss if we decide not to be critical. I love the city as well, but that doesn't prevent me from pointing out a few warts.

Though, yes, I hope it doesn't detract from the indictment of Kingfisher.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 7:25:00 AM

Blogger Rahul Ghosh said...

Buy your point, DK2. As a person who has lived in the city for about 28 years, I know its failings. So sometimes posts like the one we are discussing, hit close to the heart.

So you were completely justified in pointing out a few warts.

Now I implore you consider a hypothetical situation. Imagine the same situation in Delhi. You come to a counter where a strapping 25-year old Punjabi (just like the one at the Alitalia counter, or was it the Air France counter?) tells you that you cannot get a print-out of the ticket at that counter and are directed to the one behind the second security. Where, to your despair, you encounter a Jat security guard who refuses to understand or believe a word of what you say and stops short of accusing of being a terrorist! Too hard to imagine? Come on, DK2, you are from Delhi. I have spent a few years in the city and I have been in similar situations.

But your reactions? Typical Jat shit and all that. And you move on.

We move the action to Goa. You walk in once again, asking for a printout of the ticket which you forgot to print 'coz you were probably zonked out on feni or pigging out on sorpotel. The guy at the counter tells you to go to the one behind the security. And the girl at the counter is probably figuring out the software and takes seven and a half minutes to get you the printout.

Buy hey, you are in Goa. So you take this rambling-ambling attitude in good humor. 'Coz? Hey, this is Goa!

But these situations would probably not warrant a post. Or even a rant about the unprofessionalism of Delhi or the time-wasting, easy-going attitude of Goa.

Hey DK2. I really like your blog and visit it everyday. I think you have fine flair for observing human behaviour and writing about it. You are insightful, humorous and most importantly, a fellow quizzer. And I seriously hope that you will take this interaction, to use a cliche, in the right spirit.

Kolkata is far from what it can be. But I think it has started a journey from what it is to what it wants to be. It's not an easy one. Let's give her a fair shot.

Keep blogging!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 8:03:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Rahul, thanks. I agree that Kolkata is taking a few steps. I do have some rather uninformed hypothesis on the direction in which it is taking those steps. But I need data before sharing them.

As far as Delhi/ Goa is concerned, no, I won't let them be. I haven't till now, nor do I intend to.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 8:47:00 AM

Blogger corporate whore said...

Just to piss off our friend rahul, the reason for the KA fuckup's is Kolkata, i think.

somehow, its always more fun irritating a believer.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 9:22:00 AM

Blogger dhoomketu said...

Corp Whore, try indignation, if you really want to piss someone off. Currently, it's just a poke at me. Which I decline!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 9:25:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seven minutes. Not bad for Calcutta (or however Rahul wants to spell "her").


Tuesday, September 12, 2006 10:42:00 AM

Blogger Rahul Ghosh said...

DK2, "uninformed hypothesis" sounds intriguing. Let's talk about it. As for indignation, Calcuttans (even the displaced ones) are used to it. So no dice.

Corporate Whore, play the ball, not the man!

Anon, I like your optimism. And don't worry, Kolkata (or Calcutta) is working on the seven minutes...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 10:07:00 PM

Anonymous Bored Sub said...

Nope. Just wasn't your day.

Friday, September 15, 2006 2:03:00 PM

Blogger Monica said...

Friends just returned from a conference at Kolkata have penned a song, Hobe Na , invoking the spirit and ethos of its people.

Sunday, September 17, 2006 1:40:00 AM


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