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07 October 2012

Be ready for opportunity...

The battery in my camera was down as I was leaving to airport en-route to Mumbai. In addition, the battery level in my Samsung Galaxy phone was also less than a quarter.

I had thought about charging both of them, two hours ago. But I didn't. I decided that I will charge them once I am in Mumbai. Nothing can happen in three hours, I reasoned. What is the urgency? I have sufficient battery in my mobile to take calls.

As it turned out, a lot could happen in three hours. And I missed almost all of them.

After reaching the airport, I found that the airline had decided to cancel the flight. There was chaos all around. I had mentioned about this in my previous posts here and here.

Once the airline announced the flight cancellation, there were sea of irate passengers, swirling around embattled airline employees. There were frantic passengers, there were irritated passengers. I also saw a worried old lady who did not have any idea of what to do and how to get help. 

People were shouting. Amidst the din, you could hardly hear what anyone was saying. It was the night of the loudest.

Among all these, I observed one person. He was middle aged, around 50 I think, dark with a lot of pimples on his face and with a ghoulish look on his face. I immediately identified him as dangerous. On and off I kept watching him.

Right from the beginning, he was behaving very boorishly. Initially he started talking to the airline employee like the employee was a kid. He started talking condescendingly at first. "Beta (son), don't worry, we are not going to hurt you. We know that this is not your fault that the flight has been cancelled. You see all these passengers? we all want to reach our destination. Just put us up in a flight belonging to another airline, that is all we ask."

The employee responded that he will not be able to commit that passengers will be put up in another airline, but he will try.

"Please try" responded this boor suavely. I observed a menacing look that said 'better get us in another plane or else'.

As this employee was leading the passengers to the counters of the competing airline, this guy moved into the second level of aggression. He put his arms around the employee as if they were two friends. This was a clear violation of personal space, but in the heat of the moment, the other passengers did not seem to mind.

As far as these passengers were concerned, he was just being friendly. 

At that time, I also thought that he was being friendly. In retrospect, I can see the violence and aggression behind all these acts.

Finally, after about an hour it became evident that other airlines are not going to extend credit to this airline and the Bangalore office did not have enough cash to ensure that the passengers can be accommodated in another airline.

By then many passengers had accepted the refund that the airline had provided, but still there were some who tailed the airline employee, among them was our friend, the boor.

When it finally became clear that nothing further could be done by the airline, the few passengers, including some ladies, surrounded the employee and  became very aggressive. Leading them was this guy.

He became very abusive. "What the xxx you think of yourself you motherxxx (in hindi, he said 'MC'), you think we are all gxxxxus? You BC, I will thrash you into smitherns. You Chxxxxxxas think that you can do anything......"

It went on and on and on. Here were all these uncouth passengers, most of them middle aged, shouting down at a solitary employee, who was young enough to be their son....

I tried to intervene and tell that it was not the employee's fault that the flight was cancelled. But I was shouted down by all those uncouth passengers led by this boor, who was determined to lower their self respect in front of all the other people around.

Soon I left the scene.

Later on, I felt that had I had my camera charged before I left the airport, I could have videotaped this scene. Remember this Video of a customer abusing a 'Chick-fil-a' lady for the personal views espoused by the owner of the restaurant chain?.(You can watch it here). That video went viral on Youtube and led to that opinionated customer losing his job. That abuse was a prayer hall meeting compared to the filth that was being displayed at the Bangalore Airport. 

I regretted not having the forethought to charge my camera battery. Had I had my camera, I could have videotaped this scene and put it up on Youtube. With the kind of aggression and filthy language on view, this video would have gone viral in a matter of minutes. And who knows, would have led to some punishment for this guy and shame for all the other passengers who passively and actively allowed this scene to carry on. 

I had the tools to capture this bad behaviour and had a chance to share it with the world and may be make the world better in my small way. But I could not do this because, I did not have battery in my camera and my mobile phones. 

Just because I was not prepared, because I was casual, I lost a major opportunity to capture a very uncouth behaviour and display it to the whole world.T he video could have changed this person for the better and could have led to positive better behaviour change in the universe.

I lost the opportunity because I was not prepared.

I was not ready for the opportunity. 

The world will provide you with many opportunities. You have to make sure that you are always prepared for the opportunity. And the preparation may not be perfect or time consuming. Be ready with all the tools and techniques (and the smart wit) needed to capture the opportunity that the world may provide you. 

As an example, check out this video, taken by an amateur videographer which capture a Wild Buffalo Calf was being torn around by lions and a croc. And later on the  the buffaloes charge on the lions and rescue the calf. National Geographic paid tonnes of money to this videographer for this video.

PS: I informed the police inspector of the aggression being inflicted on this employee and was gratified to see that they quickly moved in and brought the situation under control.

Also, I think that the airport camera would have captured this scene. It may be a good idea for the news channels to capture this scene and telecast it. At least this will make other people more edgy and careful.

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