Tonight, I had booked a flight from Cochin to Coimbatore. The flight was cancelled. Things happen. It happened two months back in France and now here … there were no further flight options for today. For getting more information and/or refunding people gathered at the Air India customer service. Indian style: From the right, the left- so many people. Chaos. And a lot of opinions and voices around. So, what to do? Finding a hotel? Trying to catch the night train?
There is just one thing that helps in this situation: patience.
I was just thinking whether to stay or go for some food first before getting the refunding confirmation, when a man behind me smiled and started to talk. His fourteen year old niece was with him, his wife and sister-in-law were waiting on some chairs. “I’ve seen you wanted to go to Coimbatore. My family and me, too. We come often to Cochi for two, three days and normally this short flight is ideal … I will organize a good taxi driver who will bring us back now to Coimbatore. I have ordered a big car. If you want you can join.” Why not? We talked a little bit and a few minutes later he introduced me to his family.
… We are still on the way.
While eating some Indish food, German “Gummibears” and listening to some hip hop Tamil songs, it feels quite good. We have some good talks together.
Definitely, it is much more boring sitting in an airplane. So, everything has always a good thing in it. We just have to embrace life.
The flat tyre
A few hours later we had a flat tyre on the road. In the middle of nowhere. The Indian driver did not have the right tools to change the flat tyre. All tried to make me stay at my comfort – although I was very relaxed sitting in the car. It seemed the most important thing to them was that I felt good. The family man arranged to call his brother and additionally he insisted to call also my local project manager in Coimbatore who organized immediately a pick up – in the middle of the night. That’s what I would call true “caring”.
With all the “bad” things that might happen in India and which are highlighted by the media, I have learned that people are caring much more for each other on a personal level than in many European countries.
In the last four years in India – whenever there was a problem – and I have spent a lot with traveling from the South to the North, through very poor and rich regions, by train, bus and with drivers, I had a lot of opportunities to talk to people, in the cities, in the rural areas …. I met always people who had a solution for things that did not work well. At least they tried to solve it and did not see the negative site only. They want to learn, solve, go ahead – and helped me a lot. Sometimes they came up with unusual solutions, but always at the right time and ready to share.
That’s India, that’s real Jugaad spirit!
For those of you who don’t know what it means: “Jugaad …could refer to an innovative fix or a simple work-around, a solution that bends the rules, or a resource that can be used in such a way. It is also often used to signify creativity—to make existing things work, or to create new things with meager resources.”
I think there is a lot the world can learn from it.