No, this writer did not bet his shirt and his last Rupaiya on not being in Bali for this 2017 edition of AdAsia, the biennial event, organised by the (Asian Federation of Advertising Associations) AFAA.
But there was more shock and less surprise, when I finally landed on the shores of the scenic location. Malaysian Airlines dutifully misplaced my baggage along with some dozens of passengers.
The queue to register the complaint of missing baggage was some three hours long.
Surprisingly, that too for us Indians, there was not as much as a hint of commotion. A gentleman from New Zealand was joking about how his wife has lost her luggage in the past, but got her bags intact today. "It was only fair that I lost mine today" was his sentiment.
Another co-passenger, an American lady returning from a 10-day meditation retreat in Rishikesh, India, was talking about how it was time to put all that practice into use.
But I could not see the humour in any of this. As the chocolate brand Snickers says, if hunger adds to anger -- the same flight had denied me any food this morning saying there was no vegetarian cuisine -- and this delay was only further adding to my irritation.
And, there was no Malaysian Airlines executive available to reassure its passengers. They
had dutifully outsourced the burden to a private handler. I instantly started comparing it to what rival Air Asia offered its passengers.
However, the American lady, inspired by Rishikesh and her guru, made a statement that had me pause and take a deep breath. "We are not the prosecutors," she said in a forgiving manner.
That sentiment of "acceptance" seemed to carry on at the gates of the airport as well. When we finally reached the AdAsia help desk, this was the T-shirt worn by an AdAsia 2017 crew member. I'm not sure if the forces were working to a plan, but I was getting more than a hint.
Another AdAsia delegate, P G Aditiya, senior creative director at Dentsu Webchutney, Bangalore also had to go through the process. As there was no indication on when or whether we would get our bags, Aditiya asked the driver to take us to buy clothes before we reached our hotel. As we passed by many shops that had clothes displayed by the dozen, the driver refused to halt, citing concerns of a traffic jam.
Finally, he stopped at a shop named Force. It did not look like a shop selling clothes to any of us. The driver insisted that this was the right place. Aditiya came back as quickly as he had entered the shop. "No man, they sell cigarettes," he said much to our amusement.
We again told the driver that we wanted to buy a pair of clothes and he said in all innocence, "Oh! You wanted a shirt?"
I then realise that all along the driver had been thinking that we wanted to buy cloves. (Indonesia is famous for its clove cigarettes). We were laughing along, as if everything was in control.
Probably it was. The luggage reached our hotel late in the evening. Hopefully, the man from New Zealand and the US lady practicing yoga and meditation also received their good karma.
(We shall bring you snippets and sidelights along with an in-depth coverage of key sessions at AdAsia 2017 over the next three days. Stay tuned!)
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Former partner with Finsbury Glover Hering tasked with establishing a new global unit for this function.