When I board a flight my first concern is who seats next to me because if someone is bulkly or a stink bomb or is too fidgety who sits next to you.. pati gayu..finish the journey becomes a task…
Some years back I was travelling from london to Newark. Next to my seat came an African man. I think he must have not taken a bath for atleast a week. His dirty poyerster shirt was stinking with perspiration. He was on the aisle seat and my bad luck I had got the middle seat. I could not request a seat change as the flight was full.
I think he was definitely on drugs. Immediately he slept. Now while sleeping he starts to fall on me. So I poked him with my pen, he wouldn’t get up, I poked him harder. He jerked and got up, looked blankly towards me and looked around as if he has no recollection where he woke up. I strongly told him to stay on his side..he could not even keep his eyes open. Stamerring he asks me..”hi.. hahi..I would like to be you friend.”
When he opened his mouth, it stinked so badly I think he was unaware of the invention called toothbrush . I looked in the other direction and assured him that ” that was not going to happen “with a very adamant “NO”
Again he falls asleep. After some time I wanted to use the washroom. Again I poked him. No reaction. He was sleeping with his mouth open like a dead person. I called the air hostess. She too kept on tapping him and shouting at him in her american accent, ” sir, sir sir, could you please get up?”, after few seconds again he got up with a jerk.. finally I could go and pee..the flight felt very long and thanks to my co passenger it smelled like a 2 nd class indian train compartment I use to travel in camp.
Finally the flight landed, again the plane staff had to wake him up. As they were waking him up they were giving me pity looks as in poor girl. With this crazy man sitting next to me I had no time to put on make up and do my hair..so the American immigration officer refused to belive that I was 30 years old. He kept on chewing gum in an intimidating fashion insisting that was was 13 years old and that I had a fake passport. So after asking me many questions I got angry I asked him, “are you telling me your country is so stupid to give me Visa on a fake passport?” like a cow he is still chewing the gum.. “fine” he says “you convince me.. ” just before leaving again he asks me “are you sure you are not 13?” I give a bad look.. he busts out laughing winking at me “just kidding enjoy your stay..” I say nothing, do not even look at him as I enter America.
As I was collecting my baggage that man who was sitting next to me was lotering around asking people for a lift. I was wondering how on earth he managed to get into the country in such an eccentric drugged state.?
After a great break of travelling, shopping and catching up with family..I was headed back. This time I was flying from New Wark to Dubai and then armaru Ahmedabad.
This time I get the first aisle seat. No problem, window would be better but the leg room was great, as I seated myself I could not spot smerking. All my smerking stopped when a lady with two children (one girl 2 and half years old and a boy 7 months old ) came and sat next to me. Oh daam! oh I forgot that the first seats are the ones with the bassinet and are given to people travelling with small children…pati gayu..
This was the time when maternal instincts were suppressed in some deeper part of me. It was a long flight. One child would stop crying another would get up and start crying, I think they were playing tag game. I did feel sorry for the mother travelling alone to Hyderabad but after some time irritation took over emphathy and I was feeling more sorry for myself as the crying was so loud, I could not even watch a movie at peace without the background effects of crying.
The lady was sitting on the window seat, her son was in her lap, she put her daughter to sleep with her head on half of her lap and her feet towards me. God knows what was happening with her daughter, she was continuously having nightmares. So the girl would start howling and kicking in her sleep. Invariably she would kick me. Her mother would try to save me but it was impossible for her to react with the baby in her hand. The little girl’s kicks were really hard ones and I was literally seating in a way that half of my self was hanging in the aisle to save my self from being bruised.
I hate plane food but by now I was exhausted and hungry so I was glad that I got the first plate. Quickly I unwrap the shrink wrap on the plate, take the fork and knife in my hand. With the fork I pick up a bit of salad and dhaam.. with one kick of that girl sleeping next to me the whole plate and everything edible falls down on the plane floor. With a fork and knife and that salad on it I look in disbelief thinking, Haath ko ayya mooh na lagaya!” the poor mother was embarrassed but what could she have done? I got my second plate after sometime as the trolley had gone in the back rows.
After a while that little girl gets up telling her mother she wants to use the washroom, the confused mother looks around and asks me if I could hold her baby. I said “aa..well..yes ofcourse.”
A confession before my son was born I did not even know how to hold a baby. So that baby suddenly figured out I was not his mother. He started howling and it burped some curd on my jeans.. well if its not your own baby you don’t like it.. so the rest of the flight I was stinking of baby puke.
Again after some minutes the girl wanted to go for the long visit to the bathroom. her mother looked at me, I think I must have rolled my eyes but kya karo,I volunteered and again I am holding the baby.
This time the baby’s nose is running so I hold him a bit away from me with his face facing the other side. The baby sees his mother waiting for the bathroom so again he starts howling and jumping out loud. I am totally confused as in what to do? I try to jump the baby with my hands.. nothing.. that time I did not know any other tricks so I hold the baby and let him cry. The noise brought all the flight attendant’s attention. One man came to me and told me, “I think his ears are paining.” I told him, ” even I was guessing that.” He gives me a funny look and the child is still screaming. So he tells me, “do you have some medicine for his ears.” I am confused now. I tell him why would I carry any baby’s medicine? He gives me another funny look. I am still trying to hold the baby very awkwardly like a football making sure he doesn’t fall.
All the flight attendants gather around and they keep staring at me and talk among themselves. They can obviously see I cannot manage the baby so a lady flight attendant walks towards me. I thought she was coming to offer help..
She tells me, “ma’am you should hold the baby towards you closer then he will stop crying..”
The baby’s nose is dripping, his mouth is drooling, he is not smelling of Johnson’s baby powder and I am praying the mother comes soon..
The air hostess, “ma’am if you try putting your baby’s head on you chest then he would calm down plus his screams are disturbing everyone..”
Before she could finish her sentence I told her, ” he is not my baby..could you please call his mother.”
She felt a sense of relief hearing this information she started laughing adding, “we all were wondering why is this mother not able to hold her own baby..”
The mother of the child came back to the seat and took the baby back.. crying took some time to stop but atleast the screaming stopped.
The next time the mother wanted to go the barthroom I pretended to sleep, She looked at me, I was facing the other side, I shut my eyes tight with no intention to open and help. This time the lady asked the air hostess to help her hold her baby..yes even this time he screamed loudly and woke half the plane..
Finally we land, rest of the passengers must be excited to do some duty free shopping I was just wanted to run out of my seat..
At Dubai airport I saw that lady struggling with the children I felt bad for her but decided to walk in the opposite direction as I too was exhausted with those two extremely loud kicking and crying children.
Sometimes I wonder all these funny incidents happen around me only..and yet in all my travels I never come across any person who I look forward to meet again, well once I did happen to meet Narayan Murthy and could not belive it for weeks..
Then I read this:
“And nothing happens in the cosmic play
But at its time and its foreseen place.”
Well I had to encounter such co-passengers or else how would I able to pen down this post?
Tomorrow again I am flying.. I am guessing another funny incident is awaiting..