Friday, October 19, 2012

From सफ़र-ing to Suffer-ing !

I have never been a good traveler. Among other things that I'm bad at, I suck exclusively in travelling. Flight travel in particular pisses me off. Allow me to explain (in a Manish Tiwari way):

Just too much of BS: I am yet to make peace with the fact that for a flight time of 1-2 hours (which by the way costs you a fortune in holiday season), there is at-least 1-2 hours of BullShit accompanying it. It starts from the travel to the airport which will be located almost in a different city which means two things: First, you never go to drop anybody off, which in a way is a good thing unless you are fresh in love. Second, if you do have to indeed go for a drop-off then the traveling party will reach their homes before you return to yours. Of-course in case of such drop-offs, the dropper has to call the droppee and inform that he has reached his home safely. Weird!
Then comes the first circle of class-Z security, right at the entrance of the airport. This is mostly presided over by policemen, half of whom would look like candidates who have been requesting VRS for at-least 10-15 years but denied and the rest would look so weak and helpless that even polio would spare them.
This is followed by you becoming a mouse (for the first time in the day) and running through the maze-like queue at the ticket counter. Of-course if you are tech-savvy unlike me, then  you can do a web check-in from home, not from that computer at the airport cos that is just a showpiece to tell the foreigners that 'we know what's going on in the west..'
Now it's the time for you to become the mouse-in-a-haze for the second time - proceeding towards the security check. In this most painful part your laptop/phone will be x-rayed inside and you will be humiliated on the outside. Unless your sexual orientation is 'aligned' with that of Karan Johar's, you are not going to enjoy redoing school PT moves and the security guy touching you at inappropriate places (not necessarily in the same order).
Let me point out to you, a couple of incidents that happened with me right at the security podium where you climb up to be examined. 
In the first one, I was ready at the podium, all prepared to be 'touched' (reluctantly of-course), having removed coins and sunglasses and placed at the side. The security guy begins to check me when he notices the sunglasses on the side.
Security Guy: "These are a very good pair of glasses. Which brand is it? "
Me (in the arms-stretched position): "Ray-Ban"
Security Guy: "How much do these cost?"
Me (still in the arms-stretched position): "4700 bucks"
Security Guy: "Put them on. Let me see how they look."
Me (still in the arms-stretched position): "What !!"
Security Guy: "Yes. Put them on just for a minute."
Me (still in the arms-stretched position): "Sir, what are you talking about? There are dozens of people looking, I won't make a fool of myself!"
Security Guy: "I don't care!"
Me (still in the arms-stretched position): "WTF! The nerve of you son of a bitch!"

Of-course, I didn't actually say out the last dialogue else two years after, I would still be standing there in the arms-stretched position with the glasses on. But I guess we all have learnt that being a citizen of a country (which by the way is also world's biggest democracy) whose name is often preceded by the adjective 'incredible', there are some limitations.

Anyway, without getting into the details of how the incident ended, let me tell you about the second incident. This was around the time when there was some hoax warning by the terrorists about blowing up the Delhi airport or something, thereby calling for extreme security at the airport. Unfortunately one of the parts of that extreme security package was a huge sniffer DOG! So there I'm, all-ready to get down from the podium after being reluctantly touched yet again, when suddenly I noticed that a sniffer dog of the size of a lion is standing right at the top of the outlet of the X-Ray machine, just next to the conveyer belt. If that was not disturbing enough, I noticed that the dog was not even chained. NOT EVEN CHAINED !! Would you believe it !
West's idea of protecting their people

I hadn't known till then that turning the passengers into dog-food was Delhi police's idea of safeguarding them. The very sight of that monster made me run clumsily in the opposite direction, away from the podium and towards the metal detector gate creating a scene. 
Delhi police's idea of protection.
 (Notice the arms-stretched position)

Definitely not the proudest moment of my life.
Add to all of the above, the recurring Final-Destination thoughts that I keep getting whenever I'm at the airport; I start staring at all the people in the airport as if I'm seeing them for the last time. During one of such weird ogling sessions, the security-men got suspicious and re-checked me.

Pretentious Air Hostesses and Phony Pilots: First things first, have you ever heard of an air hostess with a name like Madhumati or Chandramukhi or Sita or Phoolwanti? No, you must not have (or maybe in Air-India you would have). But how is it possible that all the air hostesses get hot names like Tanya, Rita, Maya, Sheila, Ghazal? Add to that their phony accents: "Sir, would you like to have some watherr ..?" Besides the fact that they don't show any interest in people who decline to buy their 178 rupees panheer-parawtha just makes me hate them more.
All that attitude and what do they end up announcing? 'Save your data before shutting down the laptop'  Wow! How would the human civilization have survived without this precious of advice. If ever there was a contest of framing a sentence in which no thought has been put whatsoever, this one would go the distance. Or maybe this highly debatable one would pip the earlier to the post: 'In case of emergency, help yourself before helping others'.  
And while we are talking about bogus, pilots can't be left behind. I bet while at the flying school, each of the to-be pilots would be having just one dream: One day, I would be speaking on the microphone from the cockpit! You got to be deaf to not have noticed how coarse and heavy voices these pilots have, all of them! How is it possible? Do these people practice that? Or is it a part of their flying school curriculum? Or is it after all, the monkey business of covering the mic with a handkerchief? Whatever it may be, but do tell me if you hear a Tendulkar-like voice from the cockpit fellow. Even the pilots will have all fancy names. Ever heard:"Good evening ladies and gentlemen, this is your pilot Chiraunji Lal accompanied by co-pilot Ghanshyam Prasad...". Ever? Besides what are these announcements good for anyway; bombarding the illiterate passengers like you and me with fancy cum scary jargon like nautical miles, altitude above sea-level, wind-speed etc.

Travelling with a Gujarati family: If your Shani and Mangal have decided to hump you on your day of travel, then you will find yourself sitting in the plane next to a Gujarati family. For the uninitiated, Gujaratis never travel alone. Yes, never, ever! You see them, you think as if the entire city is shifting. I had the misfortune of experiencing this the last time I was flying from Ahmedabad: Even before the flight took off, dhoklas started flying in the air across the aisle, fafdas started rolling on the floor, people started giggling hysterically, teasing each other, singing songs, even clapping. Clapping! Have you seen such a circus? It was as if the entire cast and crew of Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chasma has landed there.    

Shopping with the airline magazine: I see a lot of ridiculous things being sold in the airline magazines at even a more ridiculous price. One such item is a T-shirt with the airline name and tagline. What kind of a person would buy such a t-shirt? Do you ever go down the Vodafone store and ask for their sponsored t-shirts? If yes, then do let me know, because I have been thinking for a while to test the 'Filter Readers' facility available with this blog.

Tenacious Cabwallahs: How can one talk about the misery of a flight travel without making a mention of these hounds waiting for your blood on the outside of an airport. Of-course they would only appear hounds to you if you are  travelling on your own expense, because if you are traveling on your company's expense then you start behaving like SRK and Saif of Seagreams Royal Stag ad: 'Abhi aur kharcha karna baaki hai..'
Nevertheless, there is no doubt in my mind that Cabwallahs are the most connected people in our country. Haven't you noticed them blabbering the long list of things that they can get you. The more you avoid them, the longer the list gets and it mostly ends with you saying "What ! Get lost !" But there is no questioning their perseverance. Once a cabwallah almost convinced cum pushed me into a cab even though I was on my way to board the flight !

In case you are still reading, it's over <cue celebration music>.By the way what exactly was Deepak Tijori thinking in the movie Anjaam, when SRK informed him that he has started a new airline exclusively for him. 'Oh, I fly the plane soooo well ..' Dumbass!


  1. Very Nice Bhai.. good One.. Well Said And Well Written ....Worth reading

  2. Brother Hilarious !!! U r getting better.

  3. sir sir sir.. sab aapka aashirwaad hai :)

  4. Since your blogger stat thingy is gonna tell you that I visited the site, I thought I might as well leave a comment... A decent piece of writing, your english seems to have gotten a lot better since college ;)

    1. Didn't have the best of companies back then :P by the way, my 'blogger stat thingy' wudnt hv told me tht 'u' visited the site.. all it wud hv told me tht somebody frm Maharashtra, using Win XP arrived .. ill remember this combination for future reference :D