Airport Encounters

We used to handle Dr. Kurien’s domestic air bookings from Vadodara in coordination with the Chairman’s Office during the days when I was with Sugam Dairy. My colleagues and i often went to the airport to hand over Boarding Passes to Dr V Kurien which the Indian Airlines staff gave to us on special request.

Cricket commentary

Dr. Kurien and Miss Patel were once flying to Delhi from Vadodara and I had gone to the airport to hand over their Boarding Passes.

Some cricket match was on, and Dr. Kurien was carrying a transistor radio, listening to the commentary. He got out of the car and asked me to wait because said he would be returning the radio to his driver to carry back to Anand. In those days before 9/11 happened, we could also go to the departure area in the airport!

The flight arrived and boarding was announced. Dr. Kurien was still glued to the radio. Miss Patel reminded him that it was time to board. He asked her to proceed, adding that he would join her later. Meanwhile, a safai karmachari of the airport walked by and asked him, “Kitna score hua?” And Dr. Kurien updated him while still intently listening to the commentary! When it was obvious he would have to proceed for boarding, he gave me the radio and told me to return the transistor radio to his driver!

Thank you Vaishnav, you can go !

It was the day Dr. & Mrs. Kurien were returning after receiving the World Food Prize, if I remember correctly . I received a message from Dr Kurien’s office that an additional car would be required to accommodate the extra luggage that he was carrying. This request for additional car was made because the regular car normally used was sent for servicing.

Since all the drivers in Sugam Dairy were away on distribution duty in Vadodara, that day, I decided to drive down in our office vehicle to help out. I reached the airport in time and was waiting outside the arrivals gate. As soon as Dr. Kurien came out, he saw me and said, “Oh, you are here! Wait till the luggage arrives.” The porter shortly came with their luggage trolley and I reached in my pocket to pay the charges. Dr. Kurien said “No. You are not paying.” He turned to Mrs. Kurien and said, “Molly, pay the man.”

Then he asked me where the additional car was and about the driver. I explained to him that since all the drivers were away on distribution duty, I had volunteered to help out and had come with the car. He asked me to wait and then asked the NDDB driver what happened to the regular car. The driver clarified about the servicing issue. He then told me that his daughter Nirmala was to travel with them, but was not coming so they would try and fit all luggage in the NDDB vehicle. I assured him I would drive down to Anand in the Sugam vehicle and return after dropping the extra luggage. He said, “No. You are not going to drive for me.” A big suitcase and a small one were put in the front passenger seat; in fact he guided the driver to do so. 

After ensuring that the luggage was loaded in the NDDB car, Dr Kurien turned to me and said, “Thank you, Vaishnav. You can go back.”

Contributed by Captain Janmejaya Vaishnav, NDDB/ Sugam Dairy