Departing From Flock To Fedora 2023 - Part V

After landing in Mumbai, our attempts to swiftly get to the departure gates were thwarted by my getting held twice by the security checks for the luggage inspection. I was barely able to make it to the departure gates in time, thanks to the supportive ground officials and my cardiovascular training.

Departing From Flock To Fedora 2023 - Part V

Soon enough, the flight touched down at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (BOM) and we began heading towards the baggage claim area. Sumantro Mukherjee and I were lucky enough to be able to find our luggage quickly and we used this advantage to get through the immigration desk early. To our surprise, the immigration officer we met came from our native place and he asked us in Bengali where we belonged from in West Bengal. It felt good to experience familiarity during the journey for the second time, with the first time being meeting with Clement Verna at the Cork Airport (ORK). Once we were through our immigration process, we checked our luggage in at the Vistara Airlines desk and got ourselves a fresh set of boarding passes with seat numbers, applicable for the final leg of the journey to Kolkata.

Getting a lay of the land using the in-flight entertainment system on the British Airways flight from London to Mumbai

It was me who was held back in the security checking area this time around with the abundance of souvenirs made with or enclosed in metal being carried in the backpack. Sumantro waited for me after making it through to the other side while I was sent back to the queue for rechecking. Thankfully the authorities were supportive enough to allow me to skip the queue to have my backpack inspected and with that, we were off to Gate 87A where our next flight to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU) was supposed to depart from. We were already down to the last thirty minutes before the closure of the departure gates when I received a call from a person named Yash. I was informed that some parts of my checked luggage were blocked by security and I was asked to wait at the airport's food court for further security inquiry.

When we touched down, I realized that the Mumbai sky was just as filled with clouds and looked just as moody as that of London

I decided to have Sumantro head towards the departure gate separately as we were rapidly running out of time - while I backtracked my way to the food court. Yash arrived soon and he escorted me to the Passenger Reconciliation Room for the security inquiry. After reaching a rather dull-looking grey room, I was told that the luggage scanner detected some lighters, which I had purchased from Carroll's Irish Gift store back in Cork. I mentioned that as I intended to travel with those, I took extra care to ensure that the lighters were not filled with butane. To that extent, I told them the password of my suitcase and asked them to attempt turning on the lighters to help alleviate their worries and avoid any unwarranted suspicions there might be. They praised my transparency and proceeded to confirm if indeed the lighters were turning on or not.

Weirdly enough, I was able to secure myself the Premium Economy class tickets for around the same price as Sumantro got himself the Economy class tickets

The luggage was allowed through right after they were sure that these lighters did not pose any threat and they did take a liking to the fancy look those had. After a friendly banter on how easily one could find something similar in Mumbai for a much cheaper price, I was accompanied back to the same place by Yash. I checked my wristwatch to realize that I barely had less than ten minutes to make it to the flight before the flight would depart. Sumantro called me to check on the situation around my baggage being held and he mentioned that he had held off the flight from departing for a while. I began sprinting across the terminal with the slim chance that I had of making it to the other side of the terminal hauling at least around twenty kilos on my strapped backpack.

Finally breathing a sigh of relief after successfully finishing a frenzied rush from the food court area to Gate 87A before the flight departed

The arrangements of the gates as well as the informative displays did me no help in finding my gate and by the time I made it to Gate 64, I got to know that Gate 87A was on the other side of the fork. I barely had around five minutes to backtrack my way to the intersection and make my way to the correct place. My cardiovascular training helped me keep sprinting across for a prolonged period and soon, I came across three Vistara Airlines employees placed at equal distances of around a hundred meters from each other. Thankfully, Yash had informed them about me due to which they kept departure gates open long after the designated closure time. With around one minute left from the departure at around 0145 pm Indian Standard Time, I made it into the flight.