City-based documentary filmmaker Anuradha Tandon had a smooth two-hour flight from Delhi to Mumbai last week. But her baggage travelled for three days through several cities on the same air ticket before reaching her Khar residence on September 29.
And miraculously, not a single item was missing.
The bizarre journey that she calls “weirdly wonderful” started on September 26 in the thick of the recent Air India executive pilots’ stir.
Standing in the check-in queue at the Delhi airport her baggage trolley carrying three bags suddenly “disappeared”.
“Those bags had my clothes and expensive filmmaking equipment,” said the filmmaker in her 40s.
But a team of airport staff with walkie-talkies and closed- circuit television cameras found it lying in one corner of the terminal. “I was impressed with the prompt recovery,” she said.
Little did she know that the drama had just begun.
Her Air India flight to Mumbai was cancelled due to the pilots going on mass sick leave. She was put in the next city-bound flight, which landed on schedule but she was the last person waiting at the conveyor belt at Mumbai’s domestic terminal.
For the second time in the same journey the baggage went missing.
“The airline staff told me that the baggage was not moved from the previous aircraft and it would arrive in the next flight,” she said.
Tandon started her next day with the barrage of phone calls to the Air India staff in Mumbai and Delhi. By noon, the airline informed her that the baggage had mistakenly reached Chennai. “My heart sunk, at the same time it was extremely funny,” she said.
They , however, promised to have her bags delivered soon.
A day later all the bags safely reached Mumbai. “I was ecstatic and waiting for the courier boy.”
Then came another twist to the tale. A railway policeman called her saying that a 14-year-old has been caught at Khar station with three bags. Police detained him suspecting foul play. The bags had many airport tags stuck on it when she collected the bags from Khar station.
Tandon sent a packet of dark chocolate cakes to the airline staff to return the favour.