STRANDED AT CHENNAI AIRPORT

It was on 30 Nov 2015, we were at Port Blair.   Our flight to Chennai was on 01 Dec 2015 morning. Previous night there was a heavy rain. The way it was pouring cats and dogs with thunder storm, I feared that it could upset our programme the next day morning. Fortunately, the rain stopped at 4 A.M and we started packing for the morning flight. Earlier at around 2.30 A.M I got an SMS from Air India intimating that our morning flight scheduled at 8 am has been delayed and will depart at 9.30 am. After seeing that SMS I felt happy over the ‘delay’ instead of cancellation considering the heavy rain on previous day. Breakfast was served immediately after take off and the journey was smooth and comfortable. At around 11 AM there was an announcement on board, the pilot informed that the flight reached Chennai and he is not getting clearance from ATC,Chennai  due to heavy rain. All passengers so far engaged in routine activities, suddenly become conscious of the situation and remain silent with anxiety.

After  15 minutes or so, there was an announcement informing that he got the clearance from ATC and we will be landing in few minutes. On hearing the announcement, everybody got a sigh of relief without knowing the harsh ground realities. When we landed at Airport, there was a heavy rain.  We immediately proceeded to pick up our baggage. At the time , I was getting lot of calls from relatives and everybody inquired about our arrival. Without knowing the seriousness of the situation, I was telling them that we landed safe and waiting for our baggage. After picking up our baggage we immediately proceeded to pre-paid taxi service counter. There were a long queue in almost all the  counters and  I observed that the queue was not moving.  When I looked at the counter I was puzzled to see that all the counters were empty. When I asked the fellow passengers nobody offered  any explanation for the missing men in the counters.

After  few minutes, I approached a airport staff and asked him the reason for the empty counters, he looked at me as if I have come from a different planet. He informed me that whole city is under water due to heavy rain. Now I understood the enormity of the situation and got really worried. In the mean time there was an announcement for the closure of the airport due to bad weather. The flight we landed perhaps the last flight for the day before closure of the airport. Again I was getting plenty of calls from my relatives and everybody tried to offer some solution,  even though  they knew that it was an uphill task to rescue us from the Airport.

It appeared to us that the passengers who were at the airport disappeared suddenly leaving us alone. We were completely puzzled and felt helpless. We could not find any solution even after two hours.  We thought that it would be advisable for us to go to the nearest place from the Airport. So we decided to go to our nephew’s residence at Chromepet.  It was still raining when we came out. Outside we spotted  few taxis,  we approached them but nobody prepared to take us due to water logging. We decided to take our chances on suburban train. But unfortunately the station was the other side of the airport and to go there we have to cross the big divider, may not be the much problem if you have no luggage, but with heavy luggage it appeared to be big task for us. Since no other option was left, with much difficulty carried our luggage and crossed the divider. After crossing we thought that all our hurdles are over as we are going to reach the suburban railway station. Unfortunately it was not as it was turned out to be only the first hurdle ! When we approached the subway to go to the railway station, we could not believe our eyes as the whole subway was turned into a mini swimming pool. If you dare to get down, you will be submerged fully and you will have to swim your way to the station provided if you are a good swimmer. Since we don’t know how to swim, our option to reaching the railway station also been closed.

Now no other option was left to us than going by road. We started looking for the three wheeler. But nobody interested to pick up us due to their apprehension of heavy water-logging enveloped the whole city. We approached a three wheeler driver who stopped after feeling sympathy over us as we were standing on the middle of the road, completely wet, with all our luggage while it was raining. When we told him where to go, he immediately retorted that he can not come there as he feared that once he comes there he may not able to return. I told him that my nephew is there in that area and he is saying that there is no water logging and vehicles are moving smoothly. But the driver still had suspicion and it appeared to me that he is not willing to believe my words. So to  satisfy him I told him to speak to my nephew to know himself about the situation. So I rang up my nephew and gave the mobile to the driver and he started speaking to him. After a long conversation he  seemed to be convinced and decided to take us and we were very happy over his decision and thanked my nephew  for  effectively convinced the driver.While driving, the driver started saying that you people are saying that no water logging, but no road is visible here! We kept a stony face in front of him and also pretended that we were not heard him what he said.  Finally we reached our destination after three hours of struggle at the airport and thanked the driver for getting us to our destination safe and paid the exorbitant fare charged by the auto driver without any murmur. Later through TV channels we came to know that not only the airport but the whole city was cut off from the rest of State !

 

Published by V Ramasamy

I like to write articles on diverse topics. I am also an voracious reader and like to comment on others opinion

10 thoughts on “STRANDED AT CHENNAI AIRPORT

  1. Despite of all your troubles, that was the luckiest day for you as you landed in Chennai which was the last flight of the day.

  2. I appreciate your narrating skills which is on par with any known author to me. I remember your experiences on that fateful day and the courage with which you too fought to manage your situation!

  3. Yes! No one will ever forget that horrendous period in entire lifetime. It must have been horrible for travellers like you. But those who stayed indoors also did not escape the floods of 2015.

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