Thursday, October 26, 2006

The flight one

They do it to fool you into complacency. Check-in is 15 steps away from security check and there is no customs and immigration after, just the bright glow of duty free beckoning the credit card. I buy Cognac for the father, whisky for the f-i-l and some chocolates for everyone else to fight over. And then I look at the boarding card. Of course I should have guessed. The Indian flight is from gate 206787387, which the board kindly suggests I allow a 10-15 minute walk for. Of course it’s only a 15 minute walk for the sprinters of the Chicago marathon. For the rest of the normal ambling public, laden with duty free goodies, it is a half hour walk - an aerobic and resistance workout, all in one. Good thing I did not go to the gym early this morning.

Even on a weekday morning the flight was full as could be. There was a heaving crowd near the departure gate. I was pleased to note that there was just one little boy sitting quietly by his mum. I mentally relaxed – after all what was the probability that they would be sitting next to me. And even if they were close by he was only just ONE little boy - far lower lung power than the last time I went to India and had lots of sticky children running up and down the aisles.

I was so wrong - on every count.

I do not know why I bother playing with probabilities. I am doomed by Murphy’s Law curse. I was in an aisle and the mother and son were in the aisle and adjacent seat of the centre back. Take off was quiet. And then it began. For two continuous hours there was an ever increasing decibel chant. I want my G I Joe. I want my G I Joe. I want my G I Joe. I want my G I Joe. I want my G I Joe. I WANT MY G I JOE. He did have the lung power of 20 children. His screams pierced the sound barrier, went around the world and came back to us. I swear - it went on for two hours with the sobbing soon giving way to hysteria soon half having a fit. And all the while his mother sat quietly and ignored him. She must have stolen ear plugs from Virgin Atlantic - bl**dy BA saves on money and doesn't give you any. I sat across the aisle with the headphones on trying unsuccessfully to block out the noise, wishing I would magically go deaf. I guess other passengers were reeling under the noise barrage as well because at the 2 hour 1 minute mark the woman in front of the loud child got up and pretty much yelled at the mother, “For god sake, give your child his damn G I Jow before we all go deaf”. A bit shocked by this outburst the mother got up, reached into a rug sack in the overhead locker and pulled out a small G I Joe. Instant silence. All this ruckus was for the worlds smallest toy – no bigger than a child’s palm. Unbelievable. Had it been any bigger I would have snatched it from the little boy’s hands and beaten the woman over the head with it.

The rest of the flight was standard. Watched ‘The Devil wears Prada’ and ‘The Break-up’. Neither was memorable but the quality of Meryl Streep’s acting versus Jenifer Aniston’s was like pitting a bull versus an ant. Picked at the standard lunch of cardboard, drank copious amounts of orange and tomato juice, completely ignored the cold cardboard snack distributed before landing, chatted with an old New Zealand-er couple of Netherlands origin and generally dagger eyed the incompetent mother across the aisle.

I was so glad to land at Delhi.


  1. Hi there,
    Welcome back!
    And I am sorry to have laughed at this description of what was undoubtedly a miserable flight, but I couldn't help it! :-)


  2. Wow! For once, I am totally not on the mom's side. If the child's tantrum was fixable, she should have bloody well fixed it instead of subjecting everyone to such a nightmare. Public places, especially closed confined ones like airplanes are probably not the right place to teach your kid discipline, if that is what she was doing...

  3. Kids on a plane? :-) Always trouble. If there's more than one, then they work in synchrony. One starts wailing and the other follows. I have never been on a long distance flight that has been peaceful.

  4. ha. laughter from misery. apologies.

    and delhi...sigh...

  5. Considering your previous flight tales... hhhmm, I think this was a bit more pleasant... except for the noise, I guess.

  6. Nice post
    Weirdly enough, I also saw The Devil wears Prada (for the second time) and The breakup on a flight a month ago. Thought The Breakup was ok. The ending was slightly surprising thoigh !

  7. Anonymous3:09 PM

    Sympathies! Babies crying on the plane is bad enough.. but can bear it since they can't help it .. but kid who can speak making a racket should be taped up. My flight luck .. I always.. always get kicking screaming kids around me.. or super fat men who need two seats.

  8. Nee and Shakester: that was the intention - to make something funny out of something pretty miserable - glad I have succeeded.

    Rohini: I am a very patient person especially where children and especially babies are concerned. But ill behaved parents I cannot stand!

    Parth: It's called the domino effect, on planes and in nursery schools everywhere, one child will cry and start of a chain of crying events!! I too hsve never been on a peaceful long distance flight - how I wish to be a candidate for 'beam me up scotty'....

    Shakester, again: Delhi....sigh....double sigh....

    John: You are so observant. Yes this was not as bad as the previous few I have endured. I could have done without the kid being right near me though...

    Ravi: Didn't much care for either movie I have to say and I certainly didn't expect a happy ever ending for 'The Break-up' so I was not surprised at all!

    Pea: why thank you. Yes, I have patience with babies - its the noisy kids and their parents that need taping up! I always get weird flight company - especially this one :

  9. loved this post. well written and very funny.

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