Mumbai Calling – December 2011

I look forward to Christmas every single year. It’s the time of cheer and happiness with the place all lit up and decorated. I usually spend Christmas in Mumbai with an exception being last year, when I was stuck in London waiting for my visa.

This year, I booked my tickets in early August to take advantage of prices when booking early. I must admit that I am sceptical of this so called price advantage! Come December, as expected the pressures at work go through the roof as everyone tries to complete 31 days work in 15 before Europe and the UK starts to slow down for the holiday period. In my line of work, the word slow down is a mirage and this year was no exception.

Anyway, I flew BA to Mumbai on 15 December. The flight was rather uneventful, though severely delayed due to strong winds at London Heathrow. We reached around 40 minutes late at Mumbai airport. Ever since the privatisation of Mumbai airport, we have seen drastic improvements in the infrastructure and going through immigrations is usually a breeze. This time I had to wait a while since quite a few flights seemed to have landed at the same time.

One major issue at Mumbai airport is the terrible state of the baggage handling facilities. I have had to wait for at least 15-20 minutes for my baggage and this time it was a lot worse. After a rather long wait, that seemed like eternity in a terminal that seemed like a furnace my lone yellow bag rambled down the conveyor belt towards me. I managed to fish out the bag and slowly made my way through a sea of people all waiting for their luggage. With no trolleys available on a seemingly busy night, the wheels of my bags were put in motion as I spent another 20 minutes for the pre-paid taxis. By now, you would have expected that somebody would have realised that the biggest delays at the airport are the baggage handling facilities and the pre-paid taxis!

My stay in Mumbai was a lot more pleasant, which saw me visit several restaurants, few shops, a mall and a hospital. And, of course try to get some work done during my supposed “core leave”. Though, this time it was very limited since I wasn’t at home most of the time.

I made my way back to London on 2 Jan, taking advantage of the long weekend. It was back to work after I landed and back to grind for little over a month.

My next trip to Mumbai is in another 45 days!

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  1. Nice story, Ajay. I love Christmas. For me it’s all about the children. I would usually spend Christmas day with my children. The whole Santa Claus thing – I just love it – the excitement!

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