There is a newly-wed couple sitting right behind me doing what they think is ‘whispering’ about what they want to do to each other on their first night of honeymoon.
There is a group of ladies who detest a certain Saraswati who won’t move her kitty-party date.
A man punching onto his keyboard so hard I feel bad for technology.
An airhostess who has conveniently forgotten to get my water for the fourth time.
A kid who cries every time there is turbulence and then again when there isn’t.
A certain hairy-nosed man who is snoring so loud, the hair is giving his already annoying snores a complimentary whistle.
A middle-aged woman right in front of me who cannot decide whether to keep the window shades up or down.
An alarm that keeps going off every 20 mins somewhere in the aircraft. Low-key praying it’s an alarm, by the way.
And a man next to me loudly chewing peanuts and staring into my laptop screen as I type this.
Can’t wait to get off this plane only so someone can ask me how my flight was.
It’s surprising how my answer will always be – ‘It was great!’
You’ll be surprised at how similar men and airplanes can be in so many ways. (hmm.)
The night before every plane journey is a mix of excitement, fear, paranoia, prayers and last-minute packing.
Excitement because travel makes me oh so happy in my heart.
Fear because what if the plane crashes and the last thought I had was – ‘Why is the food cold?’
Paranoia because what if someone steals my belongings from my bag which is locked with a 12 digit safe code and securely tucked in the overhead bin.
Prayers because nobody wants a screaming kid next to them on an airplane. And since nobody wants it, chances are that kid is in seat 17B while I gloat over my window-view from seat 17A.
And last-minute packing because I am one of those people who trust themselves enough to know, no matter how many days in advance I start packing for my trips, I am going to forget to pack something or the other. So why pretend?
I prefer early morning flights. Mainly to avoid the city traffic. Also, I like the idea of having the entire day to myself.
A lot of how my flying experience goes has to do with the on-ground staff of the airline.
Especially on morning flights, I am one rude check-in exec away from gulping 3 shots of espresso to get through the day.
Also, I am still waiting for the golden day when I can use the little fame I have to get a free upgrade on my seat. Apparently, airline company employees are not that big a fan of YouTube yet. Or maybe just MostlySane.
After yet another failed attempt at trying to get a smile out of the security officer who scans your butt in a curtained area, tackling queue-defying aunties with razor-sharp elbows is the next thing on my agenda. All those years of taking the Mumbai local to college had to pay off some day. All for getting my bag off the security conveyor belt.
Queues are a great place to judge character, by the way.
You know exactly whether certain people are worth a smile when you pass them in the aisle on your way to the washroom.
And then of course there is all the extra time you miscalculated before leaving home. If you are from a middle class Indian family like me, your father is going to insist on leaving an eternity before your reporting time. Hence when check-in and security is breezy especially when you don’t expect it to be, you end up spending too much time before boarding convincing yourself why you shouldn’t buy any food as meals are included in your ticket. Ahh!
Unlike common opinion, on most days I love airplane food. Call me crazy but yummy or not, the idea of feasting (or nibbling, when it comes to some airlines) thousands of feet above the ground is kind of revolutionary to me.
The food on today’s flight though is better than most others. Keema Pav? Hard to hate on that.
If only all the peanut chewing noises coming out of my co-passenger hadn’t made me nauseous to the idea of chewing all together.
But the one good thing about being stuffed in a tin box with people who might or might not be fond of each other is just how considerate everyone gets on an airplane.
I have held enough unknown shivering hands every time there was turbulence.
I have seen a doctor perform CPR on a baby choking on food.
I have seen an elderly couple talk to a young man during takeoff only so they could take his mind off his fear of flying alone.
I have seen my parents hold hands in June of 2016 when our plane couldn’t land for an hour and the turbulence convinced us we weren’t going to make it.
I have seen an airhostess hug a man who kept getting sick.
I have seen a bunch of strangers stand in unison against a man who kept touching the airhostess inappropriately.
I have seen newly married couples getting congratulated.
I have seen expectant mothers getting safe-flying advice.
I have seen smiles.
I have seen frowns.
I have seen fights.
I have seen kisses.
I have seen life.
And as much as everyone complains about bad food and rude stewards and annoying co-passengers, we still make do. And we would do it again. And again.
I wish we were more like us on earth like we are above.