Air India has definitely progressed into the better in terms of service but the management is still the type that seems to ignore customers even when the customer service staff is ready to bend backwards to help the valued guests of the National Airline. Being the national airline it represents the country and ethics of all Indians as far as I view the national carrier. Flying from Amritsar to Surat via New Delhi was quite an experience that could be one of a life time.
Reached Amritsar Airport almost 30 mins before the flight and the staff was quite helpful to check me in and book my luggage all the way to Surat though no boarding card for the onward journey was issued due to a 15 hour lay over. On landing in Delhi the ground staff there was helpful to assist with the boarding pass of the onward journey to Surat almost 14 hours later. Crossing the security check at the domestic terminal I had some nice time looking around the shopping arcade and the food court at the Airport followed by a good night sleep. The flight was supposed to start boarding at 6.10 AM and I was up and ready. However on looking at the flight schedules I found out that the flight was on Final Call and it was 5.30 AM I rushed to the boarding gate where I reached at 5.40 AM and the lady over the counter was courteous enough to call the Bus service to drop me off at the plane. The Bus was called back as the Pilot had requested a pull back and I was told that my luggage was off loaded. The irony was that I had been at the Airport to catch a flight for 14 hours which took off 10 minutes earlier than the boarding time and 40 minutes prior to its schedule.
The bookings officers and staff were helpful but when it came to senior officers and management they started to blame me for missing the flight that apparently took off 40 minutes ahead of its scheduled departure and not having not about the change of timing even after being at the Airport for almost 14 hours. As per the senior management and even the Airport manager of Air India I was not entitled to any compensation whatsoever. Being kind to the people at the Airport seemed to make me look like an idiot who knew nothing about Air travel. A minute detail was that my luggage was already on its way to Surat.
After much agitation I had to loose my temper and let them know the laws they were violating with regards to Airport security, travel agreement with passengers, baggage handling rules and everything I could ever think of. Finally they put me on a flight to Mumbai at around 10 AM refusing to compensate for land travel to Surat, to which I agreed as time was precious for me. While waiting for the flight near the boarding gate the staff there already aware of my ordeal assured me that my baggage was safe in Surat. They went to the extent to get hold of the contact of the Airport Manager of Surat and talked to him, as well as let me have a conversation with him that he had personally taken custody of my baggage and would help me out with it.
Mumbai, the traffic took its toll and was not able to reach the Railway Station on time to get on a Train to Surat, a few hours later I boarded the Rajdhani but would never be able to reach the Airport to collect my checked in bag so I called the Airport Manager who was courteous enough to deliver my bag to my home.
The entire journey took almost 18 hours but the lesson learned was that if in India you are kind the officers they frighten you with all their might to get rid of your rights while the lower grade staff do everything they can to help you out if you are courteous enough. A true projection of “Power corrupts” probably is what I experienced.
The journey will always be remembered as a memory with beautiful glimpses of Ziyarat of al-Hayy al-Muqaddas Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA and Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA at Raudat Tahera. The trouble was all worth it, for the sake of the ziyarat itself and kissing the Qabr Mubarak made of Khaake Shifa just before arriving for Ashara Mubarakah, the days of remembering the sacrifice of Imam Husain AS.
The Tribune, a reputed media house paid attention to small group of Dawoodi Bohras residing in Lahore and reported an event that was supposed to be held behind closed doors. The Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community, having the highest literacy rates around the world and being tech savvy, agreed to meet the reporters about the event.
The news article by Rameez Khan http://tribune.com.pk/story/742285/celebrations-all-around-bohras-welcome-eid-behind-closed-doors/ is a nice piece of reporting other than a few things that need be clarified and thus this write-up which by no means is can be taken as an official statement of the community or its leadership. The article above and this one http://tribune.com.pk/story/742065/lahores-bohra-community-celebrates-eid-behind-closed-doors-today/ has mentioned that the Dawoodi Bohras celebrated the Eid al-Fitr behind closed doors fearing the backlash for following the Lunar calender cannot be considered true. The Dawoodi Bohras are a peace loving Muslim community that adheres to the very fundamental tenets of Islam in every aspect and being loyal to the faith, and nation and its laws as per the teachings of Islam we must respect our surroundings. Due to our respect and concern for the fasting of the Muslim fraternity and their observing of the holy month of Ramadan we had to offer Eid prayers behind closed doors rather than the fear of being held as outcasts. Our faith, according to the teachings of the Holy Quran and preachings of Rasulallah SAW, has always guided us towards religious tolerance and living in peace and harmony with all of human beings, especially our Muslim brothers and sisters around the globe. We pray for the safety and prosperity of the entire Muslim Ummah, our brothers and sisters in Islam.
The authorities in Lahore have always been very kind and helpful to provide security measures throughout the year in a very similar way that they would do for any other citizen of the country and we are thankful to them for doing their best without even us requesting it.
The spiritual leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community, the 53rd Dai al-Mutlaq His Holiness Syedna AaliQadr Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS visited Pakistan during the Holy month of Ramadan. He showered blessings and benedictions during his stay in Karachi over the entire Dawoodi Bohra community in Pakistan and prayed for the prosperity of the nation, its leaders and citizens.