Monday, October 01, 2007

Travel Travails - 1

Being a 6 foot plus-ser might have a 1001 advantages to it, perhaps, but one place you wish you were of normal dimensions is in the economy class seats of all those passenger airlines. I don't know if that was the case, but Boeing seems to have designed seats with either 10 year olds or pygmies in their mind when they designed the seat arrangement in the economy class. Being one grad student doesn't allow me the luxury of the business class and so there I'm, doubled over and having to be in a posish resembling a tiger which has been beaten to death by a mad elephant. And bless the sweet heavens if you get the window seat. If you sit there and with a German 40 something paati in the next seat, you will definitely get an idea about how those 23 hours a day solitary confinement (awarded to the deadly criminals) will be like. These paatis most often than not will have some hand baggage which will fit only under the seat (thereby making your the range of foot movement to approximately 1.2mm) and after the 45 seconds after they have sat down, they will go into a kind of stupor/slumber/coma, from which they will come back alive only when they hear the stewardess asking for their choice of food or when the Pilot calls for landing. So stuck between a comatose senior citizen and a dumb double glassed, tempered glass window, you get so much to think about everything from what you wore on the day next to your 7th b'day to what you should get your wife for your 40th wedding anniversary!

And what's with the magazines in-flight? Why do those dumb people managing airlines think that anybody would be tempted to buy an overpriced cologne, 30000 feet over the ocean? Is there a mile high club for shoppers too? And not stopping with irritating you with sticking up this piece of dumb literature, the airline adds further insult for good measure by having the flight safety information in a gizillion languages apart from a cartoon only version and an enactment of the procedures by its on-board staff. And talking about entertainment, the films they show you - either some inane chick flick or some kids movie and that too, the audio quality is so pathetic, especially because of snoring matriarch by your side that you might as well try listening to Tendulkar talking in the midst of a Death Metal concert.

Then comes to the food - well, being a vegetarian, I strictly have no likes/dislikes when it comes to food and I don't mind living on cow food for the 26 hour travel, but I'm at a loss to understand since when turkey breast sandwich and salad with fish became vegetarian. The first time I was coming to US in August 2005, I was already disoriented (lack of sleep and of course, missing home kinda senti reasons) and added to that, the stewardess gives asks me whether I was an asian vegetarian and handed me a tray of food not quite unlike the way how you give yesterday's leftovers to a raapichakaran (night beggar). And when I open the wrapping I stare at 2 pieces of bun with something red in the middle which I surely know is not what a cow might eat even if starved for 21 days. I call the stewardess and ask her what it was and she coolly says "Oh! There must have been a mistake" - some mistake it would have been - all 21 years of rigidly practiced vegetarianism would have been down the drain due to some vellakari! But one good thing is that they keep stuffing you with something or the other that you never feel hungry and for those of the makkal who aren't practising abstinence, you get a wide variety to choose from too!

And the award for the most irritating co-passenger would go to any desi family consisting of M,F and one infant kid. The kid will start to blare its life out right from the moment the plane starts taxiing and your patience wears thin after half an hour. And the parents being what are, they do everything other than walk - its common sense that you walk a crying child unless its crying for food. And so the baby cries till it realizes that before its parents understand what they gotta do, it may kick the bucket - so the baby shuts up and then finally peace descends and you try to catch a few winks when the pilot calls for you to wear your seat belts for landing!

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NIRMAL said...

I hvnt faced the excitement of flying yet.
But i do hear from ppl who travelled onsite that some flights dont have VEG FOOD and serve only non veg food.A friend of mine had to adjust with fruit juice just to keep off from non veg food.

Very descriptive post.
I think when you have a family there will be some guy who will complain about your son/daughter in a blog post :)
What gift are u going to gift your wife? :P

SurSreeSriNarRahDhoAnnaMalSikkart said...

Karthik Sriram,

With such kinda posts, all the yummy mummy bloggers who write "my baby smiled now / my kid slept yesterday / My toddler used 5 diapers today " kinda posts are gonna kann kuttufy you.. paathuppa

Sudhakar said...

First thing as Nirmal has said it is a very descriptive post.I was reading it word by word and felt the experience as i have not travelled by plane.The fact that veg food is not given is something unpleasant for veg like me.

Pandi said...

Being a parent(and doing all the things that "SurSreeSriNarRahDhoAnnaMalSikkart" said..)I wont "kann kuthify you"..but do let you know that we usually give a little Benadryl or Tylenol(never both) before we start on the india yatra..
Defending all desi-parents..yea!!

ambi said...

ROTFL :)))

apdiye entha airlinesla air hostess superra iruppaanga?nu oru survey result kuduthu irukalaam. :p

LOL on nirmal's comment.
//What gift are u going to gift your wife?//

am i reading rite..? is it wife or G-friend(s)..? :p

Blogeswari said...

Asusual Ambi avanoda buddhi kaamchings. enna ambi, mallu air hostesses azhaga iruppanga-nu oru comment podave illaye

LKS.. best-u, anda emergency exit seat-a eduthuko.. no kezhavi / kezhavans/ kozhandais allowed next to you. If you are lucky, you just might get seated next to a lady executive(Media baron?)

Yep.your post is indeed very descriptive.. The kozhandai azhugais during take-off landings gives me the creeps. ya, but they are babies after all.. (yabba ippadi oru last line-a pottu, am saving myself from kaach mooch katthal reply comments )

umm oviya said...

you know how awful it is to sit next to a six-footer daddy long legs? Especially since their hands match the length of their legs. you will get elbowed and kneed through the flight. and if you happen to be just a wee bit healthy, and spill over a bit on either side of the seat, it gets worse. see so it's not only you tall types who have probs, but also the ones around you!

Karthik Sriram said...

@ umm oviya,

LOL - yeah I agree to that - but luckily through years of experience, I have perfected the art of folding myself to fit within limits of physical decency. And personally I myself don't like those kinds who repeatedly fall over sleeping or who keep nudging people with their elbows.....

Deepa said...

Romba nondhu poitta pola irukku. If the kids dont get benadryl, maybe you should take some. That way you can get some sleep.

Karthik Sriram said...

@ Deepa

Naan toongi poita, apram stewardess ellam kochupaanga, yaarume kadalai poda illai nu! :)