I lost a few days to travel - a flight from Bombay to Kolkata was so badly delayed that the event I was going to attend and report on (the Indian Football Player's Association annual dinner) was over by the time I got there. All was not lost, because I got to hang out a little with the country's player of the year, Subrata Paul. He was remarkably zen as the hours ticked by at the airport and it became increasingly clear that both of our trips to Kolkata were going to be somewhat pointless (well, he has family & friends there). Fresh from training camp in Goa, the Pune FC keeper confessed he was actually "very angry" but honestly, I could not tell this at all from his affect. Turns out he's been studying Yoga & philosophy for two years, in support of his football.
He kept me from stressing out. We sat there pretty chilled out, while nearly fifty passengers threatened to riot. I wish I'd had him with me on the trip back to Bombay. That plane was diverted to Pune, for no clear reason, and we were left to sit on the runway for nearly four hours.
I'll write more about my trip later, but for now I just wanted to share this: I had joked to someone that my trip to Kolkata was all about learning what away games must be like in India. I was kidding, because, well, flight delays happen everywhere.
But the morning after I got back, I saw this story: India sent their U23 team to the SAFF cup tournament in Bangladesh. They won. Great news! Their flight home was cancelled, they got stuck there overnight and then the airline lost the team's luggage.