Thursday, November 16, 2006

Twenty Plenty

Everyone I know hates flying. If there’s anything more they hate, it’s the delays that are a part of daily life at airports today. (Ask me! I'm experiencing yet another of the infamous delays that Delhi airport is known for.)

Actually, on the other hand, I am skull over stilettos in love with flights. But what really turns me on is the inevitable delayed-flight announcement that gets my co-passengers groaning.

What’s wrong with me? Actually, what’s wrong with you, huh!

Don’t you just love the time you can spend with yourself alone without being lonely? The best place to let the weary mind wander is not on a mountain-top or a quiet beach. It’s the busy, plasticky, characterless airports. No one knows you (hopefully), no one’s gonna come up to you and ask for a light or directions to the loo. And no one’s gonna offer you a drink either – at least not in the security holds of India’s domestic airports yet.

Enjoy this time, my friend. Pull out that book you’ve been hiding inside the laptop bag over the last nine trips. Don’t touch the laptop though, that mistress you lug around Betaal-like. Can’t do without it, can’t get rid of it either. Plug in the i-Pod’s chatter-obliviating earphones into your aural orifices (where else!). Find yourself the cornermost seat you can get – or, buttocks-permitting, perch yourself on to the window-sill overlooking the runways and tell the world to go jump. Relish the next 45 minutes because you won’t get it again – till your boss wants you to fly again (bless him!).

Don’t get distracted by the mother trying hopelessly to curb her children from running up and down the terminal and messing up shiny new clothes bought especially for this their first flight to nana-ji’s home. Don’t let the cooing newly-copulated couple all dressed in bangles and a matching purse and salwar-kameez set (the bride’s, not the groom’s) steal your concentration. Immerse yourself in Neil Diamond or Gulzar or Rabbi Shergill or whatever it takes to get your nostalgia going. And rediscover the rewards of reading, of words that conjure up images long forgotten. Trust me, you need nothing and no one at this point; no guilt either – this time belongs to you. Not to your office, your spouse, son… no one.

At some point, your flight will be announced. Relieved passengers will scramble to board the bus, almost as though being the first ensures that the flight will take off. You should stay where you are, pretend it isn’t your flight they’ve called. But stop reading and take the earplugs off for a minute. If you have a God above, pray hard and ask Him for that one passenger who will invariably hold up an already-delayed flight either because he’s snoring off last night’s whisky in some corner or stuck in the restroom while his bowels evacuate his backside of the prawn masala curry his greed couldn’t refuse.

Hope like hell because the only thing that beats a delayed flight is another 20 minutes waiting on the aircraft. 20 minutes to pause before you dash off again in pursuit of you know not what.


anubha said...

lol... very nice.
keep writing!

Jyotirmoy said...

Do relate to the airport bit greatly
You have a great sytle, not fully utilized in current roles