Friday, February 20, 2009
"A man's errors are his portals of discovery."
Two hundred and seventy miserable travellers filed into the airport, through the Immigration checkpoint and over to a line of representatives that found themselves dealing with an unexpected boatload of work.
To their credit they worked with precision and politeness to appease disgruntled natures.
It was morning by then. Another day was beginning and, as sometimes happens with adventures and journeys, we were all quite far from where we wished to be.
There was high tension, and rumours that British Airways had kept us on the plane overnight in order to save the expense of a night's lodging, which, in truth, nobody was wholly able to contradict.
Spouse and I and our new friend A had been assigned rooms in Novotel Hyderabad, although we greatly hoped and expected to depart for Calcutta after breakfast and a chance to freshen up.
We stood with a growing group of men and women who would go to the same hotel; a series of buses had been organised to dispatch us to our respective places.
I watched as one little old man was given a piece of paper and told that he must get on the bus when it arrived and proceed to Novotel with- she pointed to our group.
All he heard, poor fellow, was the bad news, and his remaining spirit and supply of patience seemed to crumble there and then.
After hours of trauma he was unable to withstand any more grief.
"Novotel," the confused assistant repeated, but she pronounced it "no hotel," and set the old man into brief hysterics of anguish.
He looked around at the rest of us and threw his hands up. I suspect a tear or two might have been caught in his eye.
Cruel visions streamed through his head of being marched back to the plane to await the captain's next word, or being forced to curl up on the floor of the bus.
Relief and laughter flooded his tired face when at last it was understood: Novotel was a four-star accommodation where he would find a comfortable bed and some food.
After the matter was thus clarified, he shook his head in bafflement once again at the absurdity of the scene in which we found ourselves.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 1:09 PM