The Indian Airport Chronicles – Delhi Edition
Travelling in India is not for the faint-hearted. Yes it’s a beautiful country with lots of wonderful things. However, if you are not Indian you may well be holding a sign that reads ‘Take my money’. The same goes for Indians born overseas. Airports can be particularly challenging because corrupt officials know you don’t have time to spare.
In some countries you might see 1 person dropping off 20 people at the airport. In India, you see 20 people dropping off 1 person. Thus in order to enter an Indian airport you need to show the guard at the gate your ticket and passport. If you are lucky you will be spared from the kind of conversations I go through.
“This isn’t a real ticket. Anyone can print a ticket and say it’s theirs.”
“Do you really think I have nothing else to do besides create a fake ticket, pack a suitcase and try to enter an airport?”
“You don’t know what people from Delhi are like. They do these things.”
If you’ve lived in India (or any other nation with rampant corruption) you would have likely realised that this man was looking for a bribe. I didn’t clue in. I simply walked to the next entrance completely puzzled as to why the first guard was giving me dirty looks. Quite frankly, if someone wants a bribe from me they are going to have to outright ask. Or come back to me in 2 hours when I finally figure it out.
Corrupt officials are not all you need to watch out for. Be wary of misleading signs, passengers who don’t understand the concept of a queue, and staff who think they have a sense of humour. Particularly immigration officials.
“You’ve listed your profession as writer. Are you sure?”
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
“But your handwriting is untidy. Who would make you a writer?”
I might have replied if he wasn’t too busy laughing at his ‘joke’.
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i can identify very much! thank you this. i like how you told your story and how frustrating is it, but with a sense of humor 😉
I love her sense of humour.. and the choice of images that go with each post. Hilarious!
The security guard at Chennai airport didn’t accept the e-ticket on my phone and my passport as enough proof I’m the one flying to let me enter the airport. I was the only person there and no one else was accompanying me so not sure if he thought I was schlepping heavy luggage around the airport for kicks. Who knew a photo-id and a ticket with my name on my smartphone would not be sufficient to step foot inside the airport.
Weird I had to speak in Hindi to the security guard (not English.. not even Tamil… yay INTERNATIONAL airport with security guards who cannot speak English! Glad my limited Hindi came in handy. Thank you dad for forcing me to learn Hindi when I stopped wanting to because all my non-Indian friends were playing badminton and I was the only non-Indian “studying” when I didn’t have to)
Had to walk a bit to the other end of the airport entrance (with my heavy luggage) to go to their airline offices and have my ticket printed out (the airline didn’t do it for free.. charged me for 50 rupees) for a security guard who is clearly not in the 21st century. Yay India, let’s kill more trees.
Hmmm I never thought of the bribe factor but thanks for letting me know now. Let me dangle some rupees in his face next time.
As for passengers not understanding the concept of queue – I had to yell at adult men twice my age to stop crowding/shoving and trying to place their order for a coffee/snack before I even got mine or finished paying the cashier. Once I was done, left while telling the cashier & the men “This isn’t a zoo. Learn to line up”.
Yay Indian Airport Chronicles! 🙂
Hilarious ! I think that was a good joke by the immigration official 😛
Good thing I use a computer at work so you can’t make that same “joke” to my face.
I’m sure your hand-writing won’t be that bad . Show me a sample 😀
In the long run I guess I must have been blessed with only having to deal with the Captain Stuben brigade with their “new charge…just for today…how much is your dog worth?…” and getting by with an additional $120.00 US to get my darling into the country…I think they may have been on their best behavior when the whole Indian army was present…
I would love to visit India one day. Thanks for the heads up!
I love India (mainly because I’m great at not seeing stuff). Anyway, that sure makes me not a writer!
India can be a pretty amazing place too! Hope to go there again! 🙂
Ejoyed your story very much.
Somehow I managed to bump into the one official in all of India that wasn’t bribeable. I happened to have US$10 tucked into my passport (ya know, for safekeeping) when I checked in at the airport with a few too many kilos in my luggage. He looked in my passport, then handed the damned think back to me and tried to charge me money for my ‘state of overweightedness’. What was wrong with the man – did he not know baksheesh when he saw it??!!
Sadly for him, I had by now spent a fair bit of time there and rather than get upset, I stood there calmly repeating over and over how very sad I was that the Thai Airways officials had specifically told me in Bangkok that I had 10 kilo extra allowance and now he was telling me otherwise. He kept trying to charge me for the excess and I kept calmly explaining that I was entitled to have it and with each of the telling my heart was becoming more and more broken, complete with accompanying dramatic gestures, until finally another official noticed what was going on and waved me through. I was almost disappointed – I was having great fun and was working up to a fine set of crocodile tears that I didn’t get to use. For once I was actually ready with some baksheesh and prepared to use it, and, out of all of India I had to find this guy! Sheesh!
Yup. Sounds about right. Trust no one in Delhi. Same really.
I’m still smiling.
LOL I LOVE THIS. I have only arrived here and not yet left from an Indian airport recently. I had no problems getting through it. I probably will soon as I’ll be traveling through India in the near future (Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Goa)
that comment wer 20 ppl come to see off 1 person hits right home!! LOl.. 😛
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