Monday, January 28, 2008

Macho man on a plane…

This morning, I woke up at 0300 to catch a 0500 red-eye to Bombay again. The city of dreams, good for many, bad for me… Anyways, I was not in the best of cheer, and was standing in line to get my bag screened, when, out of the blue, a guy jumps the queue puts his bag on the belt. The poor attendant tried to tell him to go back in line and he said, “Do you not know me? I fly from here everyday! I am in a hurry… blah blah…” Now, this guy’s bag, for some odd reason got called and by the time I got through with the screening, he was stuffing his ‘daily flight gear’ of ‘Rupa’ briefs, ‘ganjis’ and a ‘gamcha’ back into his bag.

(Tip: always pack your ‘personal’ garments in a shopping bag and place it at the bottom of your travel bag. Anything that you think that may make the security curious, like computer hardware, battery operated devices, etc., should be on top.)

Anyways, I saw him again jumping the queue where I was waiting to check-in. The executive asked him to go back in the line, he created a fuss saying that he will bring the airline to its knees and out of business, and that no one had a problem. To save the poor executive I called out, “Sir, I have a problem.” The others in the queue joined in and he went to the next queue, but only after trying to fix me with a stare… He had his way there and he gave all of us ‘lesser’ ones a cocky smile and left.

The next thing I know is that he is sitting right in front of me – Seat 15F (Which incidentally on a Boeing 737-800 is at the emergency exit without a reclining seat). He tried to brush the flight purser away by telling him the now common “I travel daily and I usually sit here” reel. But rules are rules and he had to endure the 30-sec odd procedure. After sometime, he rings for assistance and complains loudly about his seat being spoilt and not reclining. The passengers almost applauded the purser when he told him, “Sir, this is your usual seat and it does not recline.” What happened next was unbelievable, he threatened to file a complaint with Air Traffic Control* (of all authorities) about the uncomfortable seats. He even went to the extent of asking the passengers to sign a complaint that he would draft. No response. So, he starts name-dropping on his cell-phone all through the safety announcements and the taxiing. The pursers tried more than once to persuade him to disconnect and switch off. They even told him that they would not take-off until his phone is switched off. Finally a gentleman sitting in my row on the aisle, got up, pulled Mr BigShot up from his seat, slapped him and threw his phone on the floor! (I thought that the gentleman could be an Air Warden.)

The pursers scuttled to pick up the pieces, and Mr BigShot was stunned. Then the Air Warden(I’m sure he was one since the pursers did not raise any objection when he) took the pieces and told him to collect it when the plane landed. Enough entertainment, I dozed off, through the take-off, cruise and landing. (I’ll talk about that gift another time.) I see a glimpse of Mr BigShot pushing through the aisle to get out. As luck would have it, he was on the same bus as I and again pushed through to exit… He rushed to the baggage claim fidgeting for about 10 minutes till the bags started coming in. Mine was probably the 4th bag; I walked out and had my first caffeine and nicotine fix for the day in leisure. Since I stay pretty close to the airport, I walk out to get a ride. It seems unfair to engage a guy standing there for hours for about 40 Rupees. As I walk past the pre-paid rickshaw stand, there’s our man fighting with the driver and the constable. I didn’t wait to find out why…

I often wonder why people make fools of themselves to get noticed or feel important. Well… outside of college groups and boy’s nights… but I fail to understand that otherwise. Or is it the influence of the likes of Sunny Deol that makes them believe that louder is manlier? I’m sure all of us have had enough and more of such experiences. Unfortunately, these kinds still walk among us.

* Air Traffic Control reminded me of the cabbie who dropped me to the airport this morning. He asked me how much I paid for the fare to Mumbai. I told him Rupees about 500 for the ticket and about 2000 for taxes. He was not surprised. He said in unadulterated Hyderabadi. “Compulsory lete saab. Humaare company ku aur mereku road pe chalaane ku itta dena padra… Flight waaley khaamush baithtey? Aajkal issi mei loot hain.” (Translation: They will definitely take (extra money). My company and I have to pay this much just to drive on the roads… Will the air authorities keep quiet? These days, this is what brings in the moolah.” Qaderbhai – kudos for summing up an issue we have all been wondering about all these years…

(BTW, did you guys notice the title kinda rhymed? Latent talent, I guess)

(And again… Latent Talent is an anagram… How much better am I going to get! Getting better with age? Hmmm…)

1 comment:

Morpheus said...

LOL...He Should've got his ass whooped some more. I wish I was there. I'd have a hard time keeping my laughter down.