Hi from the ISB

Are we there yet? Not really. The airlines and travel industry have miles to go before arriving at systems that are not obviously deficient. The e-ticket I printed out last evening listed my Mumbai-Hyderabad flight 163 on Kingfisher airlines as departing at 10:40 AM today. At the check-in counter at 10 AM, I was told that the flight was closed. Why? Because the flight departs at 10:10 AM.

I showed my ticket that was printed less than 24 hours before. The agents simply said that the flight timings have been revised and that was that. Anyhow, they said that they will issue me a boarding pass as the flight was delayed and I should be able to make it on board. I was relieved and rushed through security and hoped that I was not holding up the flight.

Then I got to gate 6. Has the flight departed, I asked. No, the flight will be boarding shortly. In about 5 minutes, they said. It boarded in 25 minutes and the flight actually took off at 11:00 AM. Simply astonishing. At the counter they had made a big deal about my “late” check-in.

I had requested a window seat at check-in and was told that there weren’t any available. I was given aisle seat 24C. When I boarded, I found lots of empty window seats. So I asked the guy sitting in the aisle seat in row 5 if the window seat was open and got in there.

The well-dressed guy was busy on his Blackberry and a couple other phones. I settled down and was about to get my music player started when he turned to me and said, “Atanu?” I did not immediately recognize him. But in an instant he said, “Biren Ghosh.” Ah yes, of course!

Biren used to be in my school in Nagpur till the 3rd grade. Then he moved to some boarding school and that was that. Then a couple of years ago, I was in Nagpur and visiting a friend of mine, Phiroze Patel, one evening. Phiroze said that Biren was in town and that he will be joining us. So I got to see Biren after decades. And today we caught up once again, by the accident of my preference for a window seat.

Naturally, each of us had only a vague recollection of what the other did. He was into media and entertainment. Has a couple of companies with offices around the world. One of his companies is into animated movies and stuff like that. I told him that I work with Rajesh Jain at NetCore. It’s a small world. As it happens, he knows Rajesh well. But then Biren appears to know everybody well. He is close to Vijay Mallya, the owner of Kingfisher, and hangs out with Nandan Nilekani of Infosys. He was going to Hyderabad for some NASSCOM conference. I said that I have met the current president of NASSCOM. Naturally, Biren said that he knew Ganesh Natarajan well.

There are people like that. You mention a big name and they know the person. One of these people is my close friend Reuben Abraham. Reuben knows everyone. If Reuben does not know someone, you probably don’t need to bother with that person.

Anyway, the flight arrived a bit after noon at Hyderabad. I said bye to Biren. I had only carry on baggage and so breezed through the nice clean airport. A car from the ISB was there to pick me up and I reached the campus around 1:15 PM. Now I will go for the inaugural events for the TiE-ISB.

That’s it for now. Cheers.



Categories: Random Draws

3 replies

  1. That is really strange, Atanu… my belief was that Kingfisher had the best service and staff. But good to know that you made it.

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  2. Hi Atanu,

    I was at the Tie-ISB event yesterday (at the Jump Start session). Was hoping to find you.But as I have never seen you (or even a photo), asked one of the volunteers to help me find you.She could not 🙂

    Unfortunately, work prevents me from attending the event today and tomorrow. Have a nice time in Hyderabad !

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  3. Atanu,

    Thought you may be interested in this by Tarun Khanna: true prosperity starts in the countryside.

    http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Strategy/Globalization/Nurturing_entrepreneurship_in_Indias_villages_2237

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