Saturday, September 02, 2006

Boston Trip - Eventful but Pleasant

The original title for this blog entry was "Will missed baggage and crashed laptop spoil what-was supposed-to-be-a pleasant R&R trip?" Prudence prevailed and I changed the title. But to the original question posed, the answer is, "a resounding NO!, if you are surrounded by good company, good food and a kid whose energy is highly contagious." That is our Boston trip - in a nutshell.

We took a week off and visited families (plural) in the last week of August. Priya's 2nd nephew (Sujatha/Uday's 2nd son) was born in July and a trip to Boston was in the offing. We waited for my Summer quarter exams to end and we started the Friday following the exams. Since there was a carry-on restriction for liquids and Gels, we had to check in a luggage (Read: Priya's cosmetics;)). We had a layover in Dallas and I had the hunch that for the first time in my flight travel history, the checkins are going to be messed up. That hunch turned out to be true. The 'Meet the Parents' debacle was precluded because Priya had the thoughtfulness to pack our carry on with all the unmentionables and the works. We did not receive our checkins on the next day as well and the American Airlines 'up-to-the-minute' status on baggage situtation kept repeating the same status - "Your baggage was scheduled to be picked up at 3:00PM on Saturday", endlessly.

I also had carried some work with me to be completed over the weekend. My laptop started behaving funnily and crashed in a moment. No blue screen - nothing. Just black screen. Priya helped me out with setting up a web-ex conference with my colleague's machine. That worked but was painfully slow. Thankfully the assignment got transferred to one of my teammates with the help of my managers. I had a feeling that this vacation is not starting very well. I wanted to have a good rest and relaxation trip with my nephews and instead I am spending countless minutes brooding infront of this screen which is mocking at me. I took an oath that I will never ever count on finishing tasks by logging in remotely. It seemed to me that Murphy's law was more powerful than all the technological accomplishments of 21st Century. But once my manager helped me to reassign the task, I got a relief and put the bitter experience with my ugly black laptop behind me.

On Sunday morning, the same message was replayed on the American Airlines baggage system.We decided to take things into our hand instead of waiting for the baggage to arrive and Uday drove me to the airport. The missed baggages alley was not unlike a refugee camp minus the refugees. The chaos that prevailed there would have beaten hands down, the situation in Indian Railway Stations. There was one guy with one trolley who was doing the unenviable task of clearing out these baggages. Looking for our baggage, I annoyed him with my impudence of disturbing his carefully arranged trolley. There was a baggage which looked exactly like ours and I took it out of the trolley only to notice that it was not ours. He vented out all his frustrations on me (Red Sox just got creamed last night by the Yankees, he had to clear all the baggages in a non-conducive weather and a Brown guy is messing with all his bags this morning - that was his last straw).

At the end of whatt seemed to me an endless barrage of expletives, he screamed, "Where the f*** are your baggages destined?". I tamely answered, "Boylston, MA". Those magical words put a smile on his stern countenance. "That changes everything", he said. "I think I have only one baggage in my office destined to Boylston; if you can follow me to my office, I will verify if it is yours". I wanted to seal the deal. "So if I understand it correctly, my picking up the baggage from your office will obviate a 50 miles trip for you", I slipped in a reflexive question his way (Thanks, Prof. Corio). He demurred but eventually conceded. "Man, Don't get me wrong; This f***ing airlines guys are morons and they cannot handle the increase in check-in volume and I am the one who gets punished because of their incompetence. I was delivering lost baggages non-stop for the past 2 days", he explained his churlish attitude. I seconded his opinion that the airlines guys were morons. With congeniality established, I followed him to his office - a thatched broken brick building to be precise. The baggages were strewn all over the place. Some baggages were kept outside in the rain. Inside the building, in a corner, my bag was patiently waiting for its salvation. Had we left the delivery to be done by the pick up service, we would have lived out of our carry-on for the entire duration of our trip. "Normally we pick up 50-75 badly routed baggages per day. Yesterday alone I delivered 500 baggages", mentioned the weary pick-up guy. We thanked him and drove back to Boylston.

After these very eventful 2 days, the trip took a very pleasant turn. On Sunday evening and Tuesday Uday, Priya, Arvind -the elder one, and I took long walks in the nearby park. We talked about all and sundry in these walks. Priya was on a roll and I have never seen her talk so much! We reminisced about our school days, good old friends, not so good old peer pressures, bad old sibling pressures and the pranks we used to pull on fellow students. It was pure fun from Sunday afternoon. Arvind was full of energy. Watching him move like a tornado from hither to thither made me feel tired.

Taran - the younger one, was very silent. He was sleeping most of the time and gets cranky in the night when his tone pops out. Otherwise, he minded his own business (eating, burping, farting and sleeping). Priya had good fun with the 2nd one. Being a male, my bias was more towards things that move, jump, fly and make noise. So, I had fun watching Arvind in action. Uday's parents were there and we had authentic Tambrahm food - Conjeevarom Idli, Aavakka oorugaai, arisi appalam and what not. The very thought of these would make my mouth water at any time.

What started as a disaster evolved in to a very delectable trip and closed with a lot of heavy hearts as all good things have to come to an end. Uday drove one last time to the BOS airport to see us off. We bid everyone farewell and headed towards my brothers' in Chicago. Bye bye "Walking City".. Hello "Windy City".



Post a Comment

<< Home