How many of us remember our first experience travelling in a plane? For most of us, we were kids not more than 5 or 8 years of age. Very recently, I had the fortunate encounter of seeing someone live the experience for the very first time.
The incident happened when I was travelling from Ahmedabad to Mumbai via a low cost airlines. The airlines was scheduled at 23:55 hours. Now the person in question was a girl in her early twenties accompanied by her husband who seemed to have had a bit of experience in flight travel. They were seated one row ahead of me. For the convenience of reading let us name them ‘Geeta’ and ‘Rohit’.
As Geeta occupied her seat, she immediately caught my attention because her gestures and expressions show her enthralled with excitement but her behaviour was timid enough to keep her excitement low for the fear of being judged. Rohit on the other hand had his chest puffed up with pride and a slight tinge of arrogance of being in possession of eternal knowledge.
When the aircraft began taxing towards the runway, Rohit takes a slight recline in seat, puts his hand up and behind his head. Geeta on the other hand has one hand gripping the armrest and the other grip a smartphone ready for any status updates or pictures.
Rohit: “Just wait until it’s high up in the air, your ears will go absolutely numb.”
Geeta: “Yeah I know, Radha told me to carry cotton.”
When the flight engines picked up the vigor for takeoff, Rohit leaned forward slightly, his elbow now brought front to lay on the armrest, using his index finger, pointing at the nearest window.
Rohit (slightly unsure): “see now, I think, we are going to fly.”
Geeta (feeling the thunderous engines roar) just tightens her grip and looks outside with deep enthusiasm
When the aircraft picked up speed, Rohit (now pretty sure): “see I told you. I know it all.”
The moment the flight pulled off the ground Geeta shrieked with excitement as she felt the momemtary weightlessness.
Rohit goes back in his reclining mode and boringly suggested clicking a photo to send home.
Geeta: “It’s too dark, I can’t see anything. I’ll turn on flash.”
Before he could intervene, she had already clicked a picture disturbing the entire line of passengers sitting adjacent to them.
Feeling slight embarrassment, Rohit chided her for being so naive in flight, but not wanting to curb her excitement, he quickly directed her attention to the retreating lights of the city of Ahmedabad. She could no longer hide her awe. She now had thrill written all over her.
When the flight reached a stable height and seatbelt sign went off, Rohit took no time to show off his bravery by pulling off the seatbelt but gestured her to keep it on for her safety.
Rohit probably had planned Geeta’s experience very well because, just when the novelty of the thrill was wearing off, He directed her attention to the panel of buttons overhead. He pressed the attendant button and immediately the stewardess came around.
Rohit: “Some water for me and her.” (In an undertone to the stewardess) “It’s free right.”
Stewardess: “Yes, Sir.”
Rohit impressed her yet again by showing how the airline staff was the slave to his command.
When the other stewards began rolling the merchandise tray for the aisles nearest the cockpit, Geeta quite naturally began eyeing the tray curiously from afar. She tried loosening her seat belt enough to allow her to raise herself slightly to see the all the delightful stuff.
When the steward came in closer, she immediately started pointing and asking if she could keep a few things. Rohit nervously looked at the steward in the hope that he would refuse. To his disappointment, he said “It will cost Rs. 3250/-, Ma’am.”
Now my curiosity was piqued. Rohit is cornered. Will he now spend the amount to keep up his esteem high?
Very smartly he told the steward that he will think and let him know. And once the steward moved forwarsd, Rohit turned to the Geeta and said “You shouldn’t buy stuff here. It’s too over priced and inferior in quality. Our sharmajee can get us a good deal. He has lot many contacts.” Amazing is the word I will use to describe the way he got around the situation.
When the pilot announced we would be landing in sometime, Rohit began his stylised commentary once again, “Mumbai is actually a group of islands joined together. Atleast twenty to thirty of them. Virar, Nalasopara, Gateway, Borivali, all islands. They are joined by putting all the cement and sands in water. Mumbai was very different when I had first come to work here. You are lucky you will be landing from air directly.
Geeta: “It’s all because of you. You have no idea how much I ve wanted to see Mumbai.”
As the plane began taking slight dips in height in order to land, Rohit wasted no time in directing her attention to the window, not wanting her to miss the mumbai lights as the flight flew closer and closer.
Rohit: “Hold my arm properly. Landing doesn’t always happen safely. So many times the wheels come off or get punctured or one of the wings breaks due to wrong landing angle.”
Geeta ( terrified) grasps his arm with both her arms and sits tight.
Upon disembarkation, Rohit puffs up his chest even more with pride at having got his wife safely through a thrilling experience called ‘Aeroplane