11 December 2023

That was interesting… and a bit embarrassing!

If everything goes to plan, this should be my last trip this year.

We were still standing at the gate. Most passengers were on board. I had settled down in my window seat with my laptop in my lap shooting off some last minute emails. Thru the corner of my eye, I could see two more passengers walking down the aisle.

“Mr. Roy?”, I heard somebody ask.

I looked up. It was those two passengers. Except they were not passengers. They seemed like security folks. White shirt, all sorts of badges, formal headcaps etc. etc.

“Uh! Oh! What now?,” I muttered to myself. Got a bit worried.

“Yes, sir!” I replied.

Too many things happened. First, in my mind, I was racing fast. These could not be security folks. They wore short sleeve shirts that did not look exactly like law enforcement uniform. And were smiling too broadly for this to be a security situation. Maybe they wanted to move my seat?

It took me 30 seconds to sort it out.

It was actually the captain and the first officer of the plane. They had come out of the cockpit to congratulate me on being a 360 member.

That was a moment rich with embarrassment. Every passenger around was looking at me. I just kept profusely thanking them. Really, I was so confused and relieved at the same time that if one of them had asked “So, where are you going?”, I would have said “Thank You!” instead of some smart Alec “What? You do not know where you are taking us?” or something like that.

That episode ended soon with smiles all around.

The contrails, however, lingered on.

The gentleman next to me asked “Are you a corporate big shot who comes on MSNBC?” I was not sure how to feel about he being so precise and yet being so off. I assured him nothing could be further from the truth.

Another gentleman across the aisle asked “So, how do you become a 360?”

“I really do not know.” I told truthfully. “I have asked a few Delta staff – nobody seems to know.”

I now suspect there is a cabal of Delta executives who pick every year a few hapless passengers like me to embarrass!! You remember that incident when they had the balloons and certificates? Or when we were traveling with our friends and early in the morning, a whole bottle of champagne was delivered?

As embarrassing as it was, I give more than full points to Delta for creating some of these special moments for me in what would have been otherwise a litany of tiring journeys in a small aluminium tube six and a half miles above ground!

Gotta thank Delta for that!

2
14 October 2023

Scare of my life

How irritating is it when the phone rings while you are in the middle of an important meeting?

I had just landed in London after a near sleepless night and was in the middle of some serious discussions with the Board when the table vibrated slightly. Everybody glanced at their phones or fished them out of their pockets. I noticed that it was my phone and it said “No Caller Id”. Well, one more of those scam calls, I concluded. Pressed the power button to cancel the call, looked at the beautiful River Thames in front and proceeded with my spiel.

Within 5 seconds, the phone rang again. With “No Caller Id”. Fairly persistent fraudster. Canceled it yet again.

And sure enough, they called up yet again. For a moment, I had a doubt that Sharmila or the daughters might be trying to get hold of me. Excused myself and picked up the phone.

“This is Alpharetta Police Department. Am I talking to Rajib Roy?”

This was TROUBLE.

“Let me take this. It is urgent”, I told the Board members as I ran out of the room, fearing some real bad news. Visions of one of the three in an accident is what kept flashing in my mind.

“This is Rajib Roy speaking. What is going on?”

“Your car is parked in an illegal spot. You need to move it now or we will have it towed.”

That was confusing. My car is at the airport. It is in a reserved parking spot. There is no way my car is anywhere near Alpharetta.

“Where is the car?”

“On Highway 9. In front of Smokejack. We have signs all over not to park anywhere on the road due to downtown events”.

“Officer, I am in London right now. I suspect that is my wife’s doing. Let me call her”

So, I called Sharmila and sure enough she and Nikita were out and about and had the car parked where it should not have been.

I went back to the room and within a minute there was a message from Nikita that they had moved the car to a proper place.

Late in the evening after all meetings, I called up Sharmila to find out what had happened.

She explained that there indeed was a sign not to park. They saw it. It said Oct 15.

“Well, why were they disallowing cars to be parked there today? It is Oct 13th today.”

She explained herself.

Unfortunately, my phone had said “No Caller Id”. If I knew the number, I was so going to call back Alpharetta Police Department and let them know that somebody thinks it is all their fault. The “From” date should not have been written in smaller font than the “To” date!