It was the morning of a festival that Indians celebrate as Makar Sankranti/ Lohri/ Pongal/ Bihu; a thanksgiving for the solar energy that makes life on our planet possible. Driving through the dense fog in the wee hours to Bengaluru International Airport did not however signal this warming presence. The young traveller’s father hoped it would dissipate before take-off.
The flights scheduled to land in the Bengaluru airport were diverted elsewhere. Our daughter’s flight for London which should have taken off at 7 am was delayed and was scheduled to depart at noon. Because of this, she would miss her connecting flight to Los Angeles. She could only be accommodated on the next day’s schedule. Since it was a weather-related delay, the airline’s call centre declined to confirm a transit accommodation.
The young lady howled at the prospect of spending an entire day holed up at the Heathrow airport. Her parents could only counsel patience and the wisdom that hardship strengthens one’s spirit. We voiced the possibility that things would “work out,” though we didn’t have a clue about how precisely this might happen.
The airline fortunately took up its obligations. Passengers who missed the day’s connections were granted a visa on arrival for the day (minus the rigorous screening) and given hotel accommodation.
It could only get better for the weary traveller from there. Earlier she found it frustrating that just an airport touchdown in London would not let her meet her brother. The strange turn of events that gifted her a temporary visa and a day’s time in the city would indeed make it possible for the siblings to meet. Luckily, it was a weekend and the busy young man had a spot of time for his younger sister. They dined together and time permitted the visitor a peek into his home and a stroll by the river Thames in the picturesque neighbourhood.
Back on her college campus after an untroubled onward journey, the previously peevish young lady seemed delighted with how inconvenience yielded to the unexpectedly pleasant. Things hadn’t just worked out; the surprise element in the situation was a blissful bonanza. Equally, her parents were vindicated in their wisdom, not just in that instance but as a larger lesson on going forward with patience and hope through life’s tricky situations. All personal journeys undertaken with courage and confidence enjoy their own illuminations. And I think to myself, the sun smiles behind the fog.