Saturday, June 02, 2007

Jolted back from Inactivity

The inactivity was partly due to a sudden transition on a personal front (moving from a professional to a student) and partly due to my uncanny knack of getting things done in a complicated way... Gimme something that can be easily done and be rest assured that I can easily complicate it by introducing hajar variables... Sad story of my life but true...
A trip to Singapore had been planned since April first week... It was May last week that I finally made it there... But, this trip was wrought with hajar complications...

First - Tickets!!! My agent (ticketing one) suddenly got very busy and could help me out only by Monday (which was 21st May) I strongly believed that this is very late considering a 30th flight I wanted to take and the visa wasnt stamped... couldnt possibly book before that (as you all must ve wondered) coz my last date was not getting finalised... So, till those formalities were done, I could not go ahead with the booking... So, I asked Vraj to get it done for me on a Friday!!! (since monday seemed too close to the departure date) Smart, you wud think! But, the stupid Malaysian Airlines have no E-ticket and they courier tickets only to US addresses forced Vraj to order to his addr and then courier it to me (which reached only by Friday).. However, the itenary was sufficient enough to get a visa and it served my purpose...
Second - Visa... By now you would have thought 21st I shud ve started the Visa process right.. But, my agent (yup this is not the same person...) had to go on a 2 day leave the same week :( Net Net - no visa process till 24th and tickets were in USA... Finally Visa process was about to start (meaning docs were all given) and my agent says it would be better if Sudha sends a signed invitation... She sends... But her affinity for June (her bday) and July month (my bday) came into picture... Instead of saying 30 May to 6th June, she writes, 30 June to 6 July... So, poor thing had to fax the copy again... Many such docs made Sudha run in Singapore and me run from bldg. 14 to bldg. 1 a lot on the 24th... Finally, everything came thru and Visa was supposed to be with me Tuesday (29th May)

Third - Perhantian trip (highlight of the trip - one of the top 10 most beautiful places to visit as per TIME magazine) - This required me to start a Malaysia visa process.. Docs should be same except for ticket difference n that invitation letter... Everything was in place but one issue... Passport in SGP consulate and we cannot start Mal visa till we get it... It takes 7 dys to get Mal visa so in no way could I start visa process for Mal... But good news... I can get on entry since I am going for only 2 days!! Great luck I thought... Told Sudha and waited for passport to come through...

Fourth - ECNR - Chat with GS... on 28th May

Me - "YEEE! I am coming to Perhantian... Cool na"
GS - "what about visa???"
Me - "on arrival"
GS - "Cool, so have an ECNR right..."
Me - "excuse me - ECNR?????"
GS - "arre, its a stamp - blah blah blah - you need it to get Mal visa.. Should take around an hours time"
Me (slighltly panicky but firmly) - ok! can do it on Wednesday.. (confirmed with agent - personal presence not reqd)

Fifth - Forex - Cannot get till you get a Visa... So, cannot happen before Tuesday! But, got everything arranged so that it wont be a fight on the last day...

Finally the events that followed were -

1. got the SGP visa on tuesday but in Mumbai...
2. ECNR process was supposed to be started by Girish with an authority letter from me.. But, Mal e-ticket was not allowed, train tickets were not correct, personal presence wasnt there, TIME wasnt there... SO, after a fight (in SGP, Pune and Mumbai) we realised we cannot get it done :((((((( As depressing as it sounds but the Perhantian trip got cancelled... All the snorkelling dreams went into drain... And to add to my variable list, passport was with Girish in his office in mumbai...
3. Forex did not come thru to Pune in time before I left... So, had to collect it from Mumbai house...supporting docs copy (passport, Visa and itenary was with me in Pune...)
4. Last day at work was incidentally the same day of my flight... So, major running around happened and finally finished all formalities by 3:00 pm only... which made it impossible to reach my house by 6:00 when forex came to my house...

So, the vairables involved in this trip -
- Me in pune... had to make it to airport by 9:00 pm sharp as that was checking time (despite leaving 1.5 hour after the planned time)... On my way, volvo bus broke down, AC stopped functioning in the claustrophobic bus, landslide happened at the ghats on the way - leading to a major traffic jam...
- Girish in his office with my passport... I think its somewhere in South Mumbai...
- Dad with forex and bag - Coming from Borivli.. Now, getting forex also was a herculean task for my father and stud that he is - he could get it done... No docs were present at Borivli... So, finally after some phone calls he got it done.. Btw, my phone battery drained out - so during this time I (who had all the information) was out of reach...
- Namu coming with my clothes that I had to change (was in office formals since came directly from office) from Borivli... Clothes needed some altering and were at the tailors place till 4:00 pm...

I am sure by now who survied this account of terrible planning have concluded that I havent made it to SGP... And even if the optimistic folk believed that I made it, they must have thot - with the highlight trip out of the plan, the trip wouldnt have been too much fun... And all must have agreed the dire need for me to do some management course... C'mon - I must have got atleast one right ;))))))

But, here is the reality...
All variables converged @ airport at 8:40 (before time - in my case - is a big deal)... Me changed into jhakas clothes and got all the things in place... Came to SGP in one piece (despite this my first flying experience, despite having connecting flights - not direct ones and despite the fact that had Sudha not come @ airport I would have been completely lost... But nothing that my pessimistic brain suggested happened and I reached safely... Today is the third day (this was when I was supposed to be back from the ful-filled Perhantian trip) and the fun hasnt still stopped... Is it because of the place, the people, the excitement or just a change - I do not know... But, fact remains - that I am having fun and am all geared up to learn management lessons after a refreshing, badly-managed break :))))))

8 comments:

Viraj said...

heyy.. glad that after all the trouble, u r having fun... have a great time.

Nutan said...

hi sharmili, your account of the whole pre-trip days wasn't very encouraging for someone who plans a similar trip...:).... but now that u r having fun and spending time with sudha, seems like worth all the chakkar...

unpredictable said...

Hey kid! The trip is sooo worth it !! :D All the shopping and the talking and the roaming literally leaves me giddy each evening, but every morning i wanna go out and do it all over again :D Now get ur ass outta bed! Its 10.30 am!!! :PP

Hey nuts, woman, just let me come there, u can be the host, and we'll have fun without u going thru the chakkar, now really feels like ive seen and done all there is to do here in SG!

Vyankatesh said...

Good One Sharmili..

Have a nice stay...

Sharmili said...

Never commented myself on my blog... but following Sudha's lead... here goes...

vraj - having a great time... wud ve loved if perhantian had worked out but i managed to have fun in SGP alone..

Nutan - Thanks a lot for commenting... But dont worry... the pre-trip plans are dependant on the person's managerial skills... i am sure u r hajar times better :)

Jaan - well, u have no clue how much i loved being here... everything was just very niiiiceeeeee

Vyankatesh - coming to india tomo... will be in blore by 23rd.. hopefully u r there till then...

Viraj said...

yeah, i kinda got that...

Aniket said...

Huuhh...that was some account of the pre-trip excitement!!! Loved reading it mam..

BTW, not heard abt the actual trip details yet .. sorry cudnt open the snaps from here !!

Harish said...

Hi Shamu..breathtaking account of an even more breathtaking experience...kudos for makin it to sgp and back...look at this way...u can "plan" on goin back for the perhantian trip after u have got some mgmt lessons(cant help it the eternal optimist that i am;-)
saw the snaps too...they are quite beautiful...the ones with the sceneries too:)