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Bangalore Office Is Now Back To Life. All Set For Wheeling!

The Bangalore office, till the point this post was started to be written, was practically dead. Except for the occasional rising to life to perform something worthwhile – booking the train tickets for the India part of the wheeling and rickshaw-ing to the Jet Airways counter at the now closed HAL Airport in Bangalore to reschedule the Principal Wheelers’ tickets from Kolkata to Hong Kong, life here has always been dull and subdued. While the Chief Snake Charmer would like to conveniently blame the inclement weather in Azerbaijan and the reduction in the diameter of urban water supply pipes in Kosovo, he now has every reason to believe that there was no need for him to be that slothful. Be it the lethargy in booking the train tickets or the inordinate delay in sending the text in Hindi for the t-shirt and the business cards, the Chief Snake-charmer did not quite do justice to the august company he is in. The Chief Snake-charmer has every mind to kill himself, but is hoping to redeem himself by playing a good host to the Principal Wheelers’ while they are here in India. The train ticket booking happened just in time to get confirmed tickets. The Wheelers otherwise would have had tickets in RAC or in the Waiting List. That’d have made for a great adventure and a couple of interesting blog posts, but the India bureau would like the Wheelers to have better adventures and not the ones which would involve haggling with the Ticket Examiners on The Great Indian Railways. Neither does the Chief Snake-charmer, based on his previous experiences, looks forward to such adventures in the near future and nor does he want the Wheelers to go through those.

The India Bureau would like to thank the ever-so-dependable Mr. Srinivas of Venkateshwara Travels, Domlur, Bangalore for his kind help in booking the train tickets. Though like every honest Indian, he charged a commission slightly higher than what he is entitled to, his promptness in booking the tickets on being informed by just a phone call reposes our faith that if one knows the right people in India, things can be arranged and fixed without much worry. No doubt these services come at a slight premium, but there’s also a lot of relationship building that goes into cultivating such contacts. So be it any kind of tickets – bus tickets to travel back home to Dharwad, movies tickets to watch movies with Adi, train tickets for the North East Trip, help is just a phone call away in the form of Mr Srinivas.

Ladies, Gentlemen and the gentle ones among the ladies, here’s presenting to you Mr Srinivas and his modest office.

Mr. Srinivas

 

Mr. Srinivas majestically seated on his throne!

Mr. Srinivas

 

Only God and The Chief Snake-charmer know what earth-shattering work The Chief Snake-charmer had that made him sit over the e-mail from one of the the Principal Wheelers Mr. Norton for over a week. As Mr. Norton mentions here, it was regarding the re-scheduling of their flight tickets from Kolkata to Hong Kong by Jet Airways. Blessed was the earth that Saturday, the 12th of April, that the Chief Snake-charmer finally mustered enough energy to reach the Airport. Calls were made to the Jet Airways counters to confirm if such transactions could happen at the Airport counter, otherwise the Chief Snake-charmer would have to go the Jet Airways office for this. It was only after pressing the first eight combinations of the numbers on the key panel of the mobile phone that the Chief Snake-charmer was able to get through to a human on the other side. Such are the funny ways of these IVRS systems. On being explained of the transaction to be done, it took ten minutes and eight seconds for the Customer Care Executive to get back after confirming from her officials. Get back she did, and also confirmed that the Chief Snake-charmer could get the re-scheduling done at the Airport.

What followed next was eventful indeed but not as difficult as exaggerated by one of the Wheelers in this post.

Enter Nakil Kulkarni, head of the AsiaWheeling Bangalore office, and Chief Snakcharmer for AsiaWheeling global. As always, Nakil’s reputation precedes him, in the same way lightning precedes thunder. So you, dear readers will find it no great surprise that, against fantastic odds, Nakil traversed miles of treacherous terrain and plunged himself into intense negotiations on our behalf with officials at said airline. After some hours a deal was struck, and AsiaWheeling once again enjoyed the calm which precedes an upcoming storm.

There’s only one way of getting things done in India – that of getting them done. It doesn’t matter what the means is, but if something is to be done, it will be done. And a word given is a word given and will be kept at all costs. Unknown people turn up at unexpected times to offer help, and what use is it of being The Chief Snake-charmer if one cannot do something as simple as rescheduling airline tickets? The Chief Snake-charmer felt very humbled and slightly humiliated after coming across glowing praise of him and issued the following press release.

First things first, The Chief Snake-charmer’s name is Nikhil, and not Nakil! The Chief Snake-charmer is deeply disturbed at the blog post titled Our Bangalore office proves invaluable once again posted on the Asiawheeling blog on April 22, 2007. The blog mentions of how Chief Snake-charmer – against fantastic odds, … traversed miles of treacherous terrain. The Chief Snake-charmer would like to mention here that there were no odds set on this airport trip of his as the betting houses in Bangalore were closed that Saturday. Hence the mention of odds is misleading and readers are advised to take note of the same. Also, the terrain that the Chief Snake-charmer had to traverse was not treacherous, but was a smooth, well-laid road from 13th cross in Indiranagar to the HAL Airport, covering the Double Road, the 100 Feet Road and the Airport Road. Yes, it took some negotiations and a few hours for the deal to be struck at the Airport, but the tone of language in the blog posts suggests that a Herculean effort went into getting the re-scheduling done, while it was not so. It was difficult no doubt, but that’s the best part about getting things done here in India, of getting things done. Wheeler Mr. Norton would know of this best, having been a part of the team that pulled off the spectacular cultural performance at the Hebballi School, while it seemed totally impossible the previous day. The Wheelers are henceforth requested to refrain from using such humiliating language while writing about the Chief Snake-charmer. The Chief Snake-charmer wishes to remain as humble as ever and continue to quietly serve AsiaWheeling in his capacity as one of the members of the Board of Advisors.

Ok, that was a lot of crap. 276 words, 1346 characters with no spaces, 1621 characters with spaces, 2 paragraphs and 18 lines to be precise. To put it in a nutshell, the one who has completely gone nuts, The Chief Snake-charmer, is glad that he could be of some help.

 

Here is the photographic evidence of the preparations the Chief Snake-charmer made for the smooth(hopefully!) organisation of AsiaWheeling.

1. See the e-mail from the Principal Wheelers for the 234th time. Finally decide to move one’s arse.

Scott email

2. Move one’s hands also and make the Hindi text for Chief Snake-charmer

Snake Charmer

3. Dig out an old image for the business card -

Old Nikhil

4. Hire an auto-rickshaw, reach the HAL Airport

Airport

5. The Jet Airways counter at the airport

Jet Counter

6. Being the gentleman that the Chief Snake-charmer is(are any ladies listening?!), he writes a Thank You note to Laxin, the helpful lady at the counter.

Thank You Note

7. Tickets done!

Tickets

8. The auto-rickshaw ride back

Ride Back

This is news just in!

Looks like the Chief Snake-charmer won’t be able to travel to Agra with the Principal Wheelers, but there’s something about Agra he wants the Wheelers to know about and insists that they do this while they are in Agra. This comes from a book the Chief Snake-charmer is currently reading – India In Mind edited by Pankaj Mishra. It’s a collection of excerpts from works of mosly ‘foreigners’ who’ve written about India. It’s a piece by Pico Iyer from his novel Abandon.

The Taj

The Chief Snake-charmer hopes the Wheelers will see what others don’t see. Better still here’s a glimpse of what it might look like, at 1:44 in the following video from The Bucket List -

The Chief Snake-charmer wishes he could join the Wheelers on the trip to Agra and see the Taj for the first time, but commitments at work are holding him back. But he’s glad his good friends are doing it and looks forward to joining them in the later part of the Wheeling.

PS. Just so that we know, Wheeler’s, A H Wheeler & Co rather, is a book chain selling books across railway stations in India.

PPS. Don’t know what the problem is, but was not able to embed that video!


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