December 15, 2008

Ready? Jet... Go!

I flew Jet Airways to India when I came here this time. Of course that meant I was prepared for the sheer volume of our junta in the plane, outnumbering any other nationality by many-many to one. And it was a pleasant change to note that they carried more vegetarian meals than any other. Having flown other intercontinental flights in the past, I was used to being served the meal ahead of anyone else as it was earmarkedly special for me, being vegetarian. I noted in amused delight that on Jet, the 'non-vegetarian-non-Indian' meals were served first up while the vegetarians were the bulk of those being served. And since the flight was headed to Chennai, there was instant recognition in the Tamil chatter in the flight as soon as I entered panting and puffing from running at least 2km, I am sure from the previously delayed connecting flight (this warrants a post by itself). After making sure that my unceremoniously small carry-on (because of French regulations) wouldn't fit anywhere in the cabin space near my seat (big fat surprise considering a zillion Indians were travelling, more than half from the US with kids meaning they each had overstuffed bags splitting on the sides all dumped into the cabin without an inch space to spare), I went on to put it in the first class cabin someplace and settled into my economy class seat next to an Indian lady with 2 small children. While we started gabbing away in Tamil as to our whereabouts and origins in rapid Tamil, I heard the shrill cry of an attention-demanding toddler. It wasn't till then that I looked around. I visibly counted 12 kutti children in the seats around me, many of them probably born abroad and going to visit thatha-pattis (grandparents) in India for the first time. What a sight! As much as I like children, I did dread the prospect of incessant crying from one baby or the other, one of the common pet peeves among travellers till they have children of their own, I suppose. I wasn't wrong. For the 9 hours that the flight travelled from Brussels to Chennai there was one unhappy child after another, wailing about something or the other. The parents tried in vain to get their over-enthusiastic kids to sleep... some tried getting the older ones glued to a cartoon or two on the excellent in-flight personal entertainment system, some tried walking the bored toddlers up and down the narrow aisles, often running into the air hostesses who kept coming with one service or the other. Some others tried cooing softly, singing, yelling, threatening and what not. There was this little boy in the seat in front of me. He must've been a little less than 2 and I don't know his name, but he looked like a Rishi. He spoke in this delightful baby Tamil with broken sentences in a Junoon-like fashion (those who've seen Junoon in Tamil for sure understand what I mean). It was very cute.... but halfway I think he got pissed with being strapped to a single place and became highly cranky. But he would angle across his seat and sometimes catch my eye. For that one instant, through his tear-filled eyes, his crying would stop for half a second and a reluctant smile would spread across his tiny face. I guess it was the fact that someone was watching him that made him self-conscious at such a small age and briefly his babyness vanished. Kids!!

That apart, of course as soon as the flight landed practically everyone rose to grab their bags and rush out the exit... sure, we could all fly more than 9 hours but these last 9 minutes is where we 'gain' time. I've never understood people in this aspect. I had to wait till the flight had all but emptied to retrieve my bag from the first-class cabin.. And last out, I was the last on the bus that awaited to take us to the terminal and consequently first out of the bus and first on the immigration queue. :D. Simple LIFO (Last-In-First-Out). Not just that, considering that my bag had possibly just made it because of the excessively delayed Paris-Brussels leg, my checked-in bag was among the first out too.

Well, that proves it... where there's Murphy lurking, there's also Lady Luck around to show her pretty face. Go Jet!


krish said...

"Looked like a Rishi"? Lol. Nice post.

Jaya said...

Krish -> Thanks... Yes indeed... some people look some names... This one was a Rishi :D

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