Ok so I travel a lot. If I were to use a metaphor I would say that I travel in the manner that a pig who wakes up one day to find angel wings grown out of his back. And so, with little else to enlighten his day he gets out there and flaps away and soon enough, he is away.
This should not be a confusing metaphor as it is simple to see why a pig with wings would know no ends to his joy if he could fly and consequently, he would prefer to be air-borne extensively.
Sure a flying pig would throw another old idiom out of the window but at least we will have ‘a cold day in July to contend with’. As for the pig’s other endowment, well it’s something I am not allowed to discuss here.
But I do not wish a direct comparison to a pig, not at least without the pig’s consent. So I could say “As travelled as lost baggage which was loaded from Delhi for a flight bound to Japan but ended up in France and then it couldn’t be directly routed to its original destination because CDG was on strike.
And hence it was rerouted via Milan where it was first sent from Paris by train and then from there it had to fly on a code-share flight with two changes and one layover en route,” but then that wouldn’t be a metaphor, it would be a simile. It would also be a very stupid simile.
But coming back to the topic, there are things that happen on planes that could take your breath out and away. No, I am not referring to the thin atmospheric pressure at 40,000 feet and I am definitely not in to membership to the Mile High Club. I am talking about plane etiquettes, and the lack of which is best termed as Airplane Antics.
I am providing my explanations but needless to add, they are too Magan-esque, if that is a word. However, if someone can give me solid reasoning for all of these, or any of these, I will die a less confused man, or woman, or both.
The Great Cabin Bag Rush: Since the 18th century Gold Rush, little of such widespread interest and intrigue has happened to keep people’s competitive spirit on the front-row edge. In fact, if Clint Eastwood were any younger, he would possibly do a great Spaghetti Western on the whole jig; or should that be Sambar Western?
It is a time-centric sport, jump up too early and you will be hushed back to your confinement by the evil attendants who may then even belt you up (and no I ain’t talking leather, mister), too late and you will be caught in the Great Beijing Traffic Jam: So it’s actually much like a 100m dash.
The idea is to anticipate the seatbelt sign going off and before the first decibel is emitted from that ‘ping’ alarm the pilot’s sound, you should already have opened the overhead lockers, grabbed your bag and made it to the door.
Extra points if you can displace other stuff and a bonus if the same lands on another’s head. Such excitement, such thrill, such effort and such a sense of accomplishment…and all for the mere price of an economy ticket. Whoever coined the term ‘cheap thrills’ was definitely a frequent flyer.
Seat belt Rebel: I think people who do not wear seat belts are effectively contributing to eradicating disguised unemployment. I mean we all know how little-all there is to do for air service staff. (I know you can’t say hostess anymore but I am clueless as to what is the current politically correct reference.)
So people who do not wear a seat belt (or keep their seats reclined, tables unfastened, screens un-stowed, etc.) are just creating a sense of purpose for these otherwise wasting youngsters who now have the lovely occupying task of ensuring that people who couldn’t comprehend the instructions barked in nine languages don’t go flying like projectile should anything indicative come to pass.
I think removing a seat belt when the seat-belt sign is on is a sort of a high, the kind one gets from flouting the law, when no one’s looking. And nobody should ever give up a chance to sneak one past the legal system, after all, that’s what rules are for right?
But all this James Dean cult-like following escapes me. I had sooner live to tell and cling on to belt and bucket seat till they have to peel me off it and eject me from the craft. Ok, not that bad, but I love exaggeration for effect.
In the meantime, I can’t wait to see a plane come to an abrupt halt and have someone do a horizontal bungee jump, shoot out of his economy seat and be “upgraded” to business, first, or even cockpit, (unwillingly and involuntarily).
The Great Landing Ovation: We are a hardened lot. Little moves us to emotion nowadays. I have seen people walk past a carnage with the same coolness as when they shop for cucumbers. (See, that’s a hidden cross-referenced simile.)
In fact, the only act of trust we now give in to is to hand over our lives into the hands of a person (or two) we have never seen before, except when they overtook us during security check and to let them hurl our bodies trans-continentally at breakneck speeds in a craft that has pretty much worked on the same principle since it was invented almost a 100 years ago.
Now that is more trust than I have in God, or myself. Hence it is perfectly understandable that when a plane hits the tarmac and doesn’t break into an acrobatic spree of somersaults, it is reason enough to clap, sing, revel, praise prophet and pilot, and perhaps even kiss the stewardesses! People would easily give a standing ovation but the darned seat belt sign suggests otherwise.
Mobile phone asphyxiation: Asking a person to switch off his mobile phone is the new social equivalent of public euthanasia; you would sooner switch off the person’s pacemaker, dialysis bag, or life support systems.
Because when you make them switch of their mobiles, it would appear that you kill them not just clinically, but also socially, financially and most of all, excruciatingly.
Culturally, they are anyways dead. And as the plane comes in for a landing people reach out for their phones as if they were oxygen masks being deployed for emergency.
In India people like to check whether their driver has arrived with such a sense of urgency it would seem that their driver was going to bus the plane from the runway to the docking gate. In fact, in my frequent travels I had started imagining that that annoying tune which all Nokia phones play when you switch them on was actually on every aerial company’s soundtrack.
Someone recently spoke of allowing phone usage in-flight. Then someone suggested having a phone zone on the planes to alienate the noise. Dammit! To have a phone zone on a plane would be like having a smoking zone in a restaurant; which, as a good friend quipped, is the equivalent of having a peeing section in a swimming pool!
The Door Sprint: This last one is like a di-athlon. You grab bags and then make a rush for the door as if it were the last iPhone on sale on the planet. Mind you, you may all end up on the same bus to the terminal but the sense of achievement in being the first out off the plane is unparalleled.
To be able to breathe three cubic cm of more local/foreign air than the blokes behind who are still surviving in regenerated plane atmosphere, now that is a privilege that not even Amex Platinum can match. It is, as a rival company would put it, priceless.
So well, that was rather useless rant at airport antics. Yes, it was written while waiting for a flight, in-flight and post flight. Hence the edgy crisp feel. Or maybe it was the aircon. Either ways, I await your reverts.
In fact, on that almost related but cheerier note: Do keep writing in fellas. You are all the strength that will be my deliverance. And maybe, with some luck, they won’t send me back.
But meanwhile, the question for the day remains, how does one tell when the smelly type of cheeses go bad? Hmmm, deep..