I see that maintenance vehicles of all kinds now surround the aircraft. After number of anxious enquiries, I find out that there is a technical snag and one engine of the aircraft is refusing to start properly. After further wait of an hour, the maintenance people somehow manage to correct the fault, I board the plane and flight leaves after a delay of two and half hours. I reach Bangalore without any further mishap with same time delay. After clearing emigration and customs, I find to my horror that Air India have simply cancelled the Bangalore- Pune flight on which I have a confirmed seat. The ground staff tells me that they would have been glad to accommodate me on another flight of some other airline but unfortunately all the flights have left except one operated by Kingfisher Airlines. However, they cannot accommodate me on that flight. Off course, I am entitled to a full refund, which I can get only in Singapore. Desperate by now, I try to get a seat on Kingfisher airlines but I will have to shell out full journey fare. I find that my credit cards just would not work. By now, I have given up all hopes and see that I would have to spend entire day and night on the hard moulded seats of the airport. Meanwhile one helpful staff member suggests that I could try my cards and luck on the ATM machine. Bingo! one of my card works and doles out cash to me. Rest of the journey is uneventful. I reach Pune in the evening instead of noon.
The airport at Pune is crowded to the capacity as usual.. I find that no one has come to receive me. I come out and stand near the exit. To add further to my woes, it starts raining. I have to move and stand in a cramped style very near the airport wall hoping that my baggage would remain dry. After another wait, my mobile phone rings. I find that due to very heavy traffic, the car that was supposed to pick me up is stuck in the traffic. Further delay but eventually I start my car ride in the heavy evening traffic of Pune. It is almost dusk time when I reach home and unlock my house.
A rancid and moldy smell greets me. By now, I am familiar to this putrid closed room smell, which has welcomed me every time I have returned home after a long absence. This time, there is more welcome news for me. Each day, there is an electric power outage that stretches up to six hours. The water in the tap, flows only for three or four hours, that too in the morning.
I lock the house again and start walking to the next grocery shop to buy some bottled water.
What a home coming this has been!