Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Great Indian Traveler:

Of the international type!
I had heard stories about them but somewhere I always thought it might be a myth. They can’t be that bad in this day and age. And then I saw, hordes of them on my flight. Initially I could not figure out which category they belonged to – the workers or the very middle class travelers who are traveling for the first time. Upon close scrutiny I noticed that most of them are actually seasoned travelers and knew the working of the processes. Apart from one stray family, all of them were males. Later a friend pointed out that most were small time traders and shopkeepers mainly from areas like Ghatkopar who go to Bangkok to buy stuff which they then sell here. Made sense. Second category were the males who went to Bangkok to just have ‘fun’. Looking at them, that also made sense.

Scene 1: Man behind me pulls and pushes my seat every time he gets up and sits down. No apologies given. And he must have gotten up some 20 times during the 4hrs journey.

Scene 2: Man clicking pictures of flight attendants. He is asked politely to refrain. He still keeps clicking pictures and then putting his leg out to obstruct the cabin crews’ way. He finally stops when the airhostess shouts and warns him in Hindi that she will lodge a formal complain with the captain.

Scene 3: Seat belt sign is on. Man gets up. The hostess tells him to sit down. Another man gets up. The hostess again tells him to sit down this time in Gujrati. Then a third man gets up. By now the air hostess is shouting in all languages to get the men to sit down and tie their seat belts.

Scene 4: A thud sounds. Quickly others get up to see a man sprawled out on the aisle, stone drunk. His co-traveler tells the airhostess that he isn’t used to drinking.

Scene 5: Man approaches my seat when boarding, “Madam, aapka seat number kya hain?”. He doesn’t know what seat is A, B or C. Same man has been given a non-veg dinner as per the request put by him when buying a ticket. He is aghast because he is a veg. He turns around to me and asks me “ Madam aapka kya hain?”. As if I would have given him my dish even if it were a veg dish.

By the end of the flight, I wanted to give the Air India flight attendants a bravery award for facing these people day in and day out.