It was only couple of months back that I was on an International travel of my Maiden Non-stop Flight to Singapore from Amritsar and immediately after occupying my seat in the plane, I happened to check my stay and accommodation details in my mail, just as a matter of routine. The aeroplane had already taken-off by then, when I found to my utter shock and surprise that mistakingly, I had booked the dates of stay at Singapore in a hostel for a week falling exactly ahead of this week of my actual days of travel. I checked and re-checked the mails plus booking data again but it confirmed to my dismay that it was a total mismatch (travel vs stay) and then, I was really taken aback. The only question what ‘what next’ after landing in Singapore after few hours fo air travel.
As a consequence, lots of butterflies started ticking my stomach and few jitters started disturbing my mind. Even I started thinking that Singapore Immigration Authorities may ask me the address and proof of my stay at Singapore and if I won’t be able to reply same due to this dates debacle, what would be their reaction or even the worst thing of deporting me back to India. To add to it, the landing was also to take place almost around midnight when little or negligible options could be explored regarding the place of stay. Lots kept making me constantly disturbed, due to this unexpected pressure which came because of this silly mistake of making accommodation bookings for wrong dates.
In this phase, although, nervousness was hitting me time and again, but I tried to keep my cool and apply my mind with patience towards exploring all positive future possibilities and solutions. In this process, I just happened to go through my Airlines (Scoot) brochure wherein it was mentioned about ” Live On-board Internet packages” while being on-board and air-borne. Although, I knew about these technological Innovations and read about it in the past but I was not too sure about their success, as I had never tried same earlier or heard a success story from any of my friends or aquintances in this behalf. But it just gave me a food for thought and a ray of positive hope.
At this moment, we were almost one hour into the flight and aeroplane was moving at the highest levels towards its destination (Singapore) so as to touch down in few hours there. But I thought, this was the best and rare opportunity to take a little pack of Internet on-board and accordingly, I requested flight crew to provide me with a mini-pack of 20 mb at almost $7 (if I am correct). After activating same, I felt excited that a slow Internet Connection got activated (slow beacuse in this era of 4G & BB, Internet at slow speed seems obsolete). In order to test check same, I sent a WhatsApp message to few of my close friends who also felt shocked to see my online status and after further receiving my ‘Hi’ that simply starting cursing me that I had missed my flight without realising that it could also happen from the flight air-borne as well. Rather than responding smoothly, almost all of them kept showing the dismay for missing this Singapore flight.
It was at this moment of excitement and elation, I first of all, got fully confirmed that I was online at almost 30,000 feet above the ground for the first time in life, Thanks to Technological Advancement and then, it took me lot of time to convince my friends about same but not before exhausting a major portion of my little 20 mb Internet data pack by even sending them live selfies clicked from Scoot aeroplane itself so to assure them that I had not kissed my flight and I was really on-way to Singapore and it was all happening live from the Aeroplane itself.
Anyways, parallely, I had started the exercise of writing a request mail to the hostel (accommodation) managers for a request to modify my dates of stay in Singapore matching exactly with my schedule of travel. But since it was a very short notice to provide accommodation from tonight itself (as I had to land at Singapore in couple of hours) for a week, that too culminating at a weekend, it was almost impossible to get the confirmation on same. Accordingly, in a short while, I got a similar reply mail from them with a message of regret to provide me with accommodation culminating in a tourist-season weekend.
My anxieties were still not settling down and I happened to share same concern with my friends while chatting with them online. But as God’s blessings would happen, one of the wisest minds amongst them suggested me to explore the option of providing accommodation request to them initially for first four days of stay rather than full week so that at least, I can get a smooth entry into the Singapore city after landing almost at midnight and this way, I would be able to answer all stay-related queries in this behalf to Singapore Immigration Authorities. Accordingly, I tried same immediately with a modified request mail to hostel managers for a four-day stay beginning tonight itself.
But another minor challenge hit me this time that my internet pack got exhausted by now, as it was only 20 mb and I had no choice but to spend another $7 to get another pack of 20 mb to see the final outcome. In this process, almost couple of hours had gone past and we had flown almost over lot of cities or countries to touch down our final destination Singapore soon. However, after re-activating the Internet pack on-board, when I checked my mail, I had got the confirmation mail message from the Hostel managers that they had booked four days accommodation for me which brought a big smile and sigh of relief to me. Seriously, after tasting success and ensuring my bookings while being air-borne like this, all my anxieties turned into happiness and nothing pinched me especially even spending few extra dollars on this nearly impossible mission otherwise, as for me, this Maiden experience of using latest technology air-borne was a great revelation and mantra of success.
At this moment, few things, I concluded and summed-up that we must keep cool in any adverse situation we come across in life and automatically, we will see light if the day and a solution or near-solution even in total darkness, provided we happen to handle it with maturity. Next lesson, today technology has gone far ahead than even our wildest imaginations and we can use it to the fullest, provided we are aware about it and it’s righteous usage. Third, good and exceptional friends are very rare to find who would wonderfully guide you even at 30,000 feet above sea level even when they are far away and far below (ground level) from you if can magically establish a connect with them (like I did through WhatsApp and didn’t do any trash chat but utilised it for their wisest & apt winning advice). Fourth, please take all care and caution while making travel, stay and other bookings especially when on international tours as luck won’t favour us everytime if we keep making silly mistakes of mismatches like I did. And lastly, I decided and resolved to share same unique experience with all of you so that in future, if anyone amongst us, falls I such a trap or crisis, this experience and knowledge sharing can become you basis as well, to act calmly and reach a solution, rather than panicking and missing the opportunity to do it with a ‘difference’!
(The writer is a senior Government Officer)