Monday, March 24, 2008

My every instinct

Arrived in Kolkata on Friday night, a flight delay made unecessarily irritating by an airlines lack of organisation or compassion. It was a past 9 pm drive home on empty roads, emptier than normal because of a Good Friday/ Holi holiday. Saturday was the same. Excellent chinese lunch at Bar-b-Que on Park Street and our car was one of a very few on the street. It was such a pleasant drive, even in 30+ degree weather, few people and empty roads, a rarity in Kolkata. It was a good day of chatting and bonding and catching up. The holiday ended too soon and I, stuffed with homemade dal-baadaam halwa, rasagulla's from Chitteranjan and kaju barfi from Gangaur was not in any way, shape or form ready to get on that plane and come home.

The flight home took everything out of me. Like every long flight I can remember its as if some god of aviation is watching down over me and saying' Aaaah putz on the radar'. Before Bloody Airlines (BA) could get it's act messed up there was the inefficient Kolkata pairport to contend with. Checked-in with surprising ease, my 25 kg suitcase trundled along the conveyor belt to its secret hold. That ease was the false security that should have tipped me off. Because then it was a half hour wait in line before the one Immigration official comes to his desk and begins the laborious process of checking 300+ people's passport/ visa details. Then it's another forty minute wait till Security gets its act together and begins to let us through. Unecessary waits, in lines of irate and sleepy passengers, between things, where there seems to be no good reason to make people wait other than the fact that it's so much more part of your job to TEXT AND USE YOUR MOBILE WHILE A PLANE LOAD OF PEOPLE HANG ABOUT IN A LINE. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BLEEDING NIGHT. IDIOTS. Finally, we are sitting in the lounge, reading, listening to ipods, munching on biscuits (mainly the myriad Bengali's in the room, all of whom seem to bring out a packet of bis-coot from knapsack on the dot at 3.30am) and trying to stay awake at this unearthly hour.

Bloody Airline tries to board us in an orderly row number fashion. But at 4.30am we are having none of it. Oversized hand baggage stuffed into overhead lockers, we are settling down to slumber as we take off and they are soon pushing a breakfast of chicken sausage or vegetarian (nobody knows what) on us. It's just gone 5am, it's pitch dark and I cannot belive anyone wants to eat. Yet they do. I don't, so I slip off my shoes and step into sleep.

Ony to be woken about 10 minutes later with loud wailing. A small child 4 rows ahead of me has taken it upon himself to entertain us all by crying. Loudly. For 3 straight hours. I kid you not. 3 hours later his lungs give in and he whimpers into sobbing silence. The sigh of relief in this airborne prison is audible. Every passenger shifts slightly preparing for another try at the sleeping-in-uncomfortable-positions game. We needn't have bothered. In 5 minutes flat a child 6 rows behind has begun his protest. Again with wails loud enough to shatter eardrums. For nearly 3 hours. After this it all became a blur. Another kid a bit further back picked up on the crying and joined in the part-EY. Original kid didn't want to be left out and awoke from his slumber to lend his powerful voice. So for the entire remainder of the trip it was a chorus that my ears are still ringing from. With no break whatsoever. LOUD and I mean LOUD crying from 3 small children is the way to travel 11odd hours. NOT.

Bloody Airlines tried to tempt us with some soggy cold sanwich and then with a hot meal of dry rice and smelly curry. The sound on my personal entertainment unit did not work and they had no seat/ advice or help to give me so in desperation to get away from the noise I wore the headphones and watched Chak De by reading the subtitles.

Landed in a small snow flake dance show. Very very very glad to see my boy V at the barriers. Hushed conversation in the car on the way home gave my ears some recovery time.

Don't get me wrong, I love kids, more specifically other people's kids, who can be returned with poopy diapers and crocodile tears. But what with the incessent wailing and slightly older kids 5 hour running around the aisles parties that made this 10+ hour flight seem like 100+ hours I think I have confirmed that when push comes to shove I lack the deep down maternal instinct. All I could could think was how much I wanted to get up and smack those kids and their parents. Thank god for the restraint that a seat belt provides.


  1. Tch, tch, what is it with kids in flights/trains and cinema halls? And while I sympathise with parents who are trying to hush up the kids, I mostly find that usually they don't try too hard!Maybe a mean streak in them which says, if I have to suffer the shrieks, let the whole plane-load suffer!

  2. Oh.
    I wish airlines would carry those noise reduction bose headphones for their passengers. That way it doesn't matter who screams, you'd still be ok.

  3. Anonymous10:51 PM


    You certainly seem to have real rotten luck when it comes to airline rides !!
    The Bose headphone idea is brilliant, if only Bose would make them a tad bit more affordable.

  4. Tough flight, and its no surprise. Most international flight seem to go this way. The kids have their own symphony going :-)

  5. Awww man! WHat a nightmare!

  6. Anonymous5:49 PM

    :) Welcome back

  7. Uh oh. I am taking Bloody Airlines to London in May. Can see that I am going to accumulate a lot of bad karma from the fellow passengers!

  8. Anonymous6:36 PM

    Home sweet home :-)

  9. Sounds like a great trip home .. the last post was soo Delhi!

    Seems like the usual flight back .. pretty apt description which applies to any average long haul flight. I suppose parents are more aware and careful these days .. mine used to load me with enough cough syrup to correct jet lag and tantrums in one shot.

  10. Anonymous6:23 AM

    you seem to have horrible luck on flights!

    they should have a separate cabin for parents with young kids. will make life easier for everyone on the flight. though, i am sure the parents were horribly embarrassed because of the wailing child.

  11. Anonymous3:48 AM

    Bloody Airlines! That's a good one and they deserve it. Nearly missed my wedding thanks to them.

  12. Lak: All I want is something to put me to sleep..

    Me: Or your idea for soundproofing...

    SO: I do have rotten luck.

    Parth: It's not a symphony from any angle. Believe me.

    Iz: Always. Every single darn time.

    WA: Thanks.

    Rohini: I bet Ayaan will not be one of the shrieking children.

    PlanetHalder: Well its more like home silent home!

    Pea: I wish parents were as sensible as yours. Or that they could douse me with said cough syrpu. And why have you stopped blogging young lady?!

    Chakli: Nobody was embarrassed. Nobody really cares about anyone beyond themselves.

    MG: Glad you approve of Bloody Airlines as their deserving name. Seen whats happening at T5?.