“Don’t give me shit %&*^%$” shouted this lady in heavy Punjabi accent with fake Americanese overlaid in a grammar that was totally devoid of prepositions, transitive verbs and the like. If you have lived enough in US, you will find this strange cocktail very easily. The underlying accent could be Punjabi, Telugu, or Gujarati – but the rest of the components are pretty much the same.
The night had been enveloped by heavy fog and we were at the newly done Indira Gandhi International airport. We all were waiting for our flights, which had either been cancelled or delayed. Like that of this lady. She was flying KLM and she wasn’t happy with the delay and lack of information. So, she – and dozens of other passengers with their carefully acquired “Amreekan” self-importance – had closeted two hapless ground staff and were pouring their minds out. The two pretty ladies were embarrassed, didn’t know what to do.. yet were full of grace in face of such an onslaught. It was quite obvious that they weren’t in this circle of hostile Indian crowd (no foreigners, btw) for the first time.
After a while as I walked past that crowd, another guy, in perfect American English was shouting how these guys were “quietly” updating the information board and not announcing the new time. One wasn’t sure if this guy’s only medium of interaction with the outside world was the spoken word. Was he blind? Or illiterate? Or both? He needed the information of the flight delay, which the information board gave very clearly. But he wanted personal attention from the pretty ladies, one supposes!
Now, I can understand the frustration of these passengers, because I was in another flight of another airline leaving from adjoining gate. But there is this faculty called discretion and grace. It helps one to know that he/she does not need to ABUSE others when one is not feeling well. And what was happening to the ground staff of KLM was nothing but ABUSE!!
I challenge and dare these self-important NRIs to do this act in New York or Amsterdam. They will be summarily put behind the bars for several days or hours and given the treatment of their lives. And even more importantly, the ENTIRE management of the airlines will back their ground staff to the end! Remember, when the flight attendant threw a lady with short skirts and publicly visible panties off the plane and Southwest management didn’t apologize for it?
This is what needs to be done in India. The flight attendants and the ground staff should be given powers to have any one going beyond the “line” to be handed over to the police.
I have traveled extensively in US. To most cities and used almost all airlines at some point or another. When you flight gets delayed, its updated on the information board and one announcement is made. And after that you are to fend for yourself. Nowhere in the world do the airlines do something for the passengers if the delay is due to WEATHER. No food coupons (which these guys were being handed out) and no hotel accommodations (which some airlines were giving as well). If its the weather God, then buddy, you are on your own!
And yes, no one comes to tell you that your flight is delayed or your flight is about to depart. If one has been at the Indian airports, one would have noticed ground staff running all over the terminal shouting “Malaysian Airlines passengers??” or which ever flight is about to depart. Such a personal hand-holding by any airlines is unheard of!
Somehow the NRIs who are no more than murmuring chickens in their country of adoption, suddenly start roaring like lions when in India. Maybe its their wealth, or status or achievements (from rags to riches) or big houses. Whatever maybe the cause, no one gives a damn in India. And no one should! You have millions in your bank? Well, stuff it up your backside! For you don’t know how to properly use your mouth anyways!
Honestly, the Indian system should be more strict and caring for the kids on the ground. If the system is not working, its the failure of the top and middle management and not the ground staff. Sue them! Go after them! Go shout at the Vijay Mallyas of the world. But leave those kids going over and above their call of duty just to earn their honest month’s work salary alone!
As for NRIs, they needn’t be targeted with vengeance but proper process, procedures and instructions should be in place. You go beyond the line, then you better say your prayers! For, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!