Dateline Jakarta – Lastest Part

25 Jun

The airport was a mess. Looked like everyone wanted to leave. Long queues, desparate queries. Yet in all this there were no frayed tempers. Meanwhile we had been on the phones with our respective travel agents the previous evening trying to get seats out of Jakarta but without any success.

People were on their mobiles. Several of the fleeing locals were getting minute by minute updates about their houses. A woman close to me broke down on learning that their house had been set on fire. I left it to CB to bulldoze his way through the crowd to get information. I was content to guard the luggage.

To cut a long story short we managed to get onto a 6:30 AM flight to Bali and then a flight from Bali to Singapore. The Mobile that CB had given me was God sent and helped me keep in touch with the family and more importantly the travel agent..

( Oh ya.. talking of the travel agent… she kept looking for business class tickets till my wife called her up and told her to get me out even if it meant sitting in the baggage hold… so much for priorities.)

There was one problem though… none of the pilots could make it to the airport.. there were passengers, there were planes BUT NO ONE TO FLY THEM !!!

As one can imagine, food and water were at a premium as in there werent any. Our mini bar raids came in very handy. A combination of Vodka and Orange juice at 10 AM was quite interesting. We kept waiting…. and imbibing…

Out in the city, things were calming down. The army had bought things under control and things were limping back to normal. SBK called us and said the rioting had stopped.

Finally at 3:45 PM.. the 6:30 AM flight to Bali was ready to leave.. compared to the chaos of Jakarta, Bali was calm and quiet. Obviously the trouble was local to the capital city. Our luggage we were told would follow later… we really didnt care… we had no time to appreciate the beauty there as we were running to catch our connecting flight…

CB boarded a flight back to Germany and I made my way to Singapore. On reaching there, I stumbled into the Airline lounge, found myself a nice corner and slept. It was 10 PM and my flight back to India was at 8’ish the next evening…

In the meantime things at our offices in Dublin Ireland, and the USA were in a tizzy. “Employees Missing” was the general word. I would learn later from my wife that she was more worried when she got calls from the office (we had already moved to Bangalore by the way).

That couch in the corner became my refuge for the next 24 hours (though to call a Business Class Singapore Airline lounge a refuge is to demean it). I was well looked after… learnt from TV that Suharto had returned and Jakarta was back to normal… but it was the beginning of the end for him.


What happened to everyone? Nothing… life went on…

I ran into SBK a year later. He was none the worse for the wear. Family was doing well and kids were headed off to the states. Last time I saw him in 2004 he was semi-retired and enjoying his hard earned money.

CB left our company to pursue teaching full time at the University of Bremen. He still teaches there…and yes I returned his Mobile.

And me? Well…. I am here aren’t I?

I did go back to Jakarta several times afterwards… but never to Bali except for that hurried visit…

Oh ya and the luggage made it as well.


17 Responses to “Dateline Jakarta – Lastest Part”

  1. some body June 25, 2008 at 7:23 am #


    re: epilogue … do you still the same travel agent? 😉

    – s.b.

    ps: just got back from vacation at midnight (i.e., three hours ago)! more comments might (will?) follow….

  2. Nikhil June 25, 2008 at 7:39 am #

    HAHA!! The much expected sequel! Good to know CB got his phone back! 😀

  3. Vijay June 25, 2008 at 9:49 am #

    @sb: Yes I did though there were vehement calls for her firing… welcome back.. been wondering about the silence from you…

    @Nikhil: He reminded me to give it back 😀

  4. Kishore June 25, 2008 at 12:30 pm #

    All is well that ends well. Good to know that everyone was ok and also that the minibar was fully utilized 🙂

  5. Veena June 25, 2008 at 12:40 pm #

    Ha Ha Very funny.. Specially those lines which talks about your travel agent looking out for business class and your wife insisting on some better ones! I was imagining you sitting in baggage hold 🙂

    Vijay, you are a very good story teller. Do Nikhs and Madam hear all your stories and they make fun of you?

  6. Veena June 25, 2008 at 12:42 pm #

    and Employee missing and all those hush hush* sounded like another 09/11 episode! Hushaari.. anyway beeso doNNe tappiskondre saavira varsha aayassu.. so your 1000 years are already booked. so you will remain the oldest blogger here !!

  7. Xylene June 25, 2008 at 1:47 pm #

    //even if it meant sitting in the baggage hold//
    haha. that was hilarious. We are all Indians, always will be.

  8. Chirag June 25, 2008 at 4:12 pm #

    //even if it meant sitting in the baggage hold//

    haha. that was hilarious. We are all Indians, always will be.

    I don’t understand what this has to do with being Indian. Never mind Indians, even Martians will sit in baggage holds do this to get out of a riot torn country.

  9. Madhu Rao June 26, 2008 at 5:02 am #


    I’m disappointed ! I was hoping you would jump in, a la Bawllywood ishtyle and save the day 🙂 .

    Good to know it ended well and everyone was safe, including CB’s phone…

  10. Vijay June 26, 2008 at 6:45 am #

    @kishore: Nothing was left of the minibar… hic !!!
    @veena: Do they listen? Yes.. because they are forced to whether they like it or not
    @xylene: we are like that only
    @Chirag: lol… I think xylene was talking about the travel agent
    @Madhu: lol.. I was content guarding the luggage

  11. Xylene June 26, 2008 at 8:51 am #

    hey I guess you did not get the story clear. I think you shud read that part again. and u missed out the humor.

  12. Chirag June 26, 2008 at 12:25 pm #

    Xylene, The post was humorous, all right. I just thought your comment was inane.

    Please enlighten me. what were you referring to when you said “We are all Indians, we will always be”. No condescending “I think you shud read that part again. and u missed out the humor” (Btw, Is it so difficult to type full words??)

  13. Xylene June 26, 2008 at 3:05 pm #

    *carefully typing complete words* I assume that BTW = By the way.

  14. Chirag June 26, 2008 at 4:15 pm #

    Yes, btw is “by the way” and a well accepted acronym. Is “shud” one as well?

    And I see you have no answer to my question. Nice job.

  15. Xylene June 26, 2008 at 5:40 pm #

    If u have so much to talk about, why don’t u start a blog on ur own?
    and yes I will keep on using my own acronyms

    And if u WUD check, the writer got my point. I dont have to make things clear for u.

  16. Din June 27, 2008 at 9:09 am #

    We should really learn to laugh at ourselves..

  17. praneshachar June 30, 2008 at 7:56 am #

    It is good to hear everything was ok at they end. But I can imagine the nightmare your family would have gone so also thousands of families of the stranded so no wonder your wife asking somehow put him in some place baggage hold or somewhere so that you move out of that place. Now it looks funny but certainly it was not funny when you all faced a situation like that. gland all ended on good note except for loss or properties by many

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