Mumbai woke up to continuous rain July 31, evoking fears of a deluge similar to the one which had paralysed the city for three days from Tuesday July 26.

Nevertheless, at 9 am the Indian Airlines automated answering system said Flight 167 from Mumbai to Thiruvananthapuram would take off as scheduled at 1140 hours.

At 10 am I got into a cab and was airport-bound. Some parts of the road in Andheri were already under water. But the ride was comparively easier once we reached the Western Express highway.

At the airport, chaos reigned. All flights had been recheduled.

The airport manager was dismissive when informed about the optimism expressed by automated service, "That is Indian Airlines' problem, not mine," he said.

The much harried Indian Airlines duty manager did not even have the time to stop and listen. When he was finally apprised of the problem, he promised to do something, but obviously his mind was elsewhere.

The customer service people seemed equally clueless. All they were willing to say was that the weather bureau had indicated that the skies might clear by noon. If it did, the flights would take off.