Ladakh Airlift Moment

Here we are on the penultimate day of the trip with plans to catch flights from Srinagar to respective hometown on 10th July.

July 9, curfew in Srinagar

17 people were on their way from Leh to Sonamarg. 30mins of the ride and we had a punctured tyre.

In the meanwhile we fix it, we learned that we can no longer head towards Sonamarg. Courtesy the drivers, who gave us an overview of the dramatic situation in Srinagar. The road was jammed till Kargil and people were returning from that point.

Now that we know the situation in Srinagar can’t take us to our destination airport, only 2 options left with us were either to take the road via Manali to Delhi, or struggle to find flight seats from Leh-Delhi or Leh-Srinagar for the next morning.

6 of us left for Manali and the rest 11 decided to take the 2nd option. 11 people were trying hard to get the tickets booked to Srinagar over phone call. We got to know that 4 tickets are available. By the time we could decide who all are going only 1 was left. So our “paise ki kami nahi hai” guy, booked it for himself.

So this ends the stressful day and everyone decides to take some sleep and see how things go next morning at the airport.

Oops!! I left out mentioning the long list of the worst things that someone can imagine to happen, which did happen with us.

  • 9 July, 6AM in the morning we were to leave for Sonamarg, which got delayed till 5PM in the evening.
  • Traffic jam on the slim figure curvy road of Leh Market, took 15 mins to get out of it.
  • Tyre puncture after almost 10 kms ride (which never happened in the past 10 days of the road trip)
  • Lost 4 flight tickets for Leh to Srinagar, in the confusion and discussion of “what to do now?”
  • Next when we head towards the Leh airport we come to know that the airport closes at 5PM. Sad ain’t it?

Bad day ends with this, cause then another bad day is just about to begin.

July 10, 5AM we left for the Leh airport. 2 of the crew got the flight tickets and flew by the 7.40 flight. Left were the 8 people waiting in the queue for booking for the 8.20AM flight to Delhi.

Well!! Getting the tickets booked was no easy job too. Here I list down the struggle we faced before a single person could get the tickets booked.

Early morning when we reach airport, the airline-ticket-booking-person tells us that they accept only cash for booking the ticket. Crazy ain’t it? I say crazy cause never in my life I would think of carrying 20k cash to book some flight and even worse considering 8 people it reaches to 1.8 lakhs. My my!! Carrying 1.8 lakhs to book tickets which we were not even sure were available! Anyways so left with no choice we head towards the ATM.

Here comes more. The ATM machine at the airport is out of order.

Next, we head towards ATM in the Leh market area, around 5 kms away and which is out of cash.

Next we do find another ATM, which also got out of cash after a series of withdrawals.

We headed back to the airport, stood in the queue, gave the details for booking 8 seats, details entered, PNR generated but ticket not issued, why? Jet Airways system went down, all over India. woahh!! what a perfect timing!

Now, what else can go worse?

That  8.20AM flight was supposed to be last flight from Jet Airways to Delhi. We still kept our hopes up and tried talking to Jet Airways to somehow get us boarded on the flight by giving us some manually written ticket or anything that would be enough to get us through to the flight as the PNR was already generated. We even spoke to the Jet Airways manager but nothing worked out. All they said is tickets are not being ISSUED even though PNR is generated.

All down and out but there was this girl, Samiksha, in our crew who got inside the airport, spoke to the terminal head over there, narrated the whole story and requested some help. And to our rescue there was one  go Air flight to Delhi, which was our last hope as it was actually the last flight from Leh to Delhi, only if some 8 people flying on the airline don’t show up, that will create space for us.

This seemed be to very tough to happen as we already had a bitter taste of all the previous things which had gone worse. Rains in the desert! Come’on is that easy? (I mean we were deserted, and now expecting rains)

While half of the mind was planning to book next day’s flight tickets and hunt for a guesthouse to stay for the night, the other half was praying for a miracle. I really didn’t have any strength to stay in Leh for 1 more day.

The tik-tok was till 9.50AM. We were toiling at the entrance of the airport. Waiting for a call for an escape from Leh.

And, to our surprise we did get a call!! We entered the airport with all the luggage. We all were delighted. But I didn’t wanted to say anything until “we sit in the flight, and the flight takes off”.

We all had semi glitters lit in eyes. Waiting for the tickets, the final confirmation. The wait went on for around 10 mins.Then what happens is! we get the tickets, and that too for a price damn low then expected.

We didn’t waste any more time, except for hugs and cheers and yes one selfie with the GoAir manager.Then we were all set, boarding pass, baggage check in, and then the get set go.

 

     

 

We got into the flight, occupied the seats. PS I was lucky enough to get the window seat, that was a must to watch over how beautiful the city of Leh is.

IMG_20160710_103228    IMG_20160710_104346

The flight took off and I really wanted to say “Ganapati Bappa Morya” but then I controlled and said that in my mind. Believe me, I never felt so happy with the flight take off ever before. I can even write 1 exclusive blog post on how I felt in those few minutes.

LOL anyways jokes apart.

We finally left from Leh to Delhi. The 8 of us, after lunch, headed back to our respective destinations, with a freedom wali feeling in our hearts. And of course finally restoring the peace we had earned in the 10 days Ladakh trip.

Oops! But I realize 1 thing now, this was supposed to be a post about the 10 days Ladakh trip and I haven’t mentioned anything about it. OK, I will need a separate post for that. And I promise to come up with that very soon. Till then keep watching this space. Chao.