Now, I am not as lucky as Reno, so despite warning from well wishers I decided to fly Indian (now known as Air India). If you travel often, you get used to flight delays which these days are as common as bird flu. You would be surprised if it wasn’t delayed. However, the shiny new airlines with their smiling young things inform and apologize for the delay. As customers, we have matured over the last decade and expect at least that much. No more are we ‘swalpa adjust maadi’ with the public sector’s apathy to service. So I wasn’t really prepared for the no-information policy of Air India. Customers shouldn’t be told of anything. It’s a favour we are doing by flying you dude…remember that. The wait was for over 90 minutes and this was after security check. While all other airlines announced the status of their flights, we were left to God’s mercy.
Then all of a sudden we were on the bus to be carted to the craft. But wait, the passengers need to be ‘sweated’ while the crew ambles about. A free sauna, anyone? So forty odd people were packed in a shabby bus and left at the tarmac sweltering in the hot sun. No information again. Some more time later we board the craft and see that the tyres were being changed. Fine, safety above all else. We are ok with that. People all around me got busy on the phone to re-schedule all previously arranged appointments. One young man kept spewing fs and bs, as if that’s going to help any. But I guess all the airline personnel were his dad’s age and he was probably reluctant to take up the service issues with them. See, how the older retirement age works in their favour. Anyway, finally we took off smoothly. Thank you.
Mid-air the pilot apologized for the delay blah blah. Caged in an aluminum tinbox, thirty thousand feet above ground, there’s nothing much one can do but ignore the apology. Along came the food. Of course you don’t have a choice, we have only vegetarian. No thank you. I usually avoid airline food. But the man sitting across the aisle quickly asked, can I have hers? From the look of him, he didn’t look hungry, but what do ya know. Fine, I relax in my seat happy that I was alone in the three-seater.
But it didn’t last long. A young lady, with a new born infant in her arms asked me to move to the window seat. Just asked. No reason. No request. I move to the window quickly sensing her impatience. She settled at my aisle seat and turned towards my window and started suckling her baby. I suppose I was gaping. Not at her mammary but at the sheer ease with which she did it. I am a mother and I support breast feeding. But this was such a smooth operation. Quite like a FBI agent pulling a gun out of the holster in a TV show. Impressive. I was left with little choice but to look out at the toneless azure outside the window while the baby chuckled with delight. I am convinced that is a boy and thus begins his life long fascination with this particular woman’s appendage. Oh I am such a boor!
Anyway, coming back to the flight, we reached safely only to wait out at the tarmac once again after deplaning for another aircraft to take off before we could walk to the terminal building. But for the first time in my life, my baggage was the first to arrive on the conveyor. Halleluiah!