We are off to London aboard Kingfisher Airlines - and no tour is complete without our (woeful) baggage check-in stories.
An international tour with Swarathma is a whole new animal. We’ve been abroad some four times before this, but every time there reigns chaos.
There are business travellers and there are business travellers like us. With eighteen pieces of checked in baggage, including but not limited to a horse torso bearing trunk, a horse head bearing carton, music CDs, masks, half a dozen guitars (or so it would seem) and a small sized percussion store that could power a small nation’s economy. Swarathma on tour is a frightening nightmare for airline check-in staff. They have been known to follow the band’s tour schedule on Facebook and calling in sick on the date of travel. On the day of our flight to Delhi, our stop over en route to London, the poor hapless lady who bore the brunt of the baggage barrage was a rather sever looking Kingfisher airlines girl upon whom we descended with six trolley loads of maal. I get the feeling she was just about to leave for the day when she was confronted the prospect of through-checking in six ugly boys to Heathrow airport via Delhi. We could see her synapses frying and a small wisp of smoke curled up from under her ears. We smelt despair. Our careful monitoring of weight ensured that we were not overweight, which caused her acute disappointment. Score: Swarathma 1, Kingfisher 0.
Witnessing the entire brouhaha were Mumbai boys Tough on Tobacco, our brothers on the road, returning from a series of gigs in Bangalore. If you have not checked them out yet, do so now. Goats, we are told are Happy.
Cocooned in the comfort of the cabin, most of us tuned into the onboard entertainment channels. The in-flight movie was Karthik Calling Karthik, something that movie buff Vasu Dixit was as deep into as a tantric yogi in his tapasya. But salvation was not to be for some glitch in the entertainment system made it all go haywire and before he knew it, the movie had begun all over again. It’s like eating your way into dessert and having to look at the menu again. Vasu was not amused, and summoned the stewardess, who was apologetic, but not without a ready explanation about why Vasu should think no more of the interruption. “The movie is very boring sir”, she drawled. “It is about this guy who imagines that he is calling himself, and later you realize he is a psycho who leaves himself voicemails.” There. No further need to watch a movie again. Ever. They should just print movie endings on the fancy menu cards.
When we got off the plane we realized to our shock and awe that our luggage which Wicked Witch had checked in through to London had somehow made its way to the baggage claim in the arrival lounge at Delhi. Inquiries revealed that since our London flight was ‘tomorrow’ they could not honour the through-checkin. Yes, there’s a classic airline WTF moment. Quite surprisingly Kingfisher ground crew at Delhi took matters into their own hands and before we knew it, we were walking out all smiles and gear-less. They took care of it. Swarathma 1, Kingfisher 1.
We trooped to the home of Satadru and Gauri, my classmates from XLRI who very graciously hosted us for the night. The real reason was that we didn’t want to miss the world cup finals, but don’t tell them. For those who might not know Satadru was also the vocalist for bodhiTree the XLRI band that I played bass for and the one which achieved some notoriety with the risqué songs you wouldn’t sing at bed-time.
Next Stop: London!
Text: Jishnu Dasgupta