I was about to write a shortened version, knowing that no one would read an article 4 pages long, but I was convinced by a reader to do so anyway.
So the date is 9th July, the day after my birthday, and as usual, I have had a little too much to drink the previous night; as I needed to wake up early for my flight to New Delhi. I wake up with a hangover, and I haven't packed. The pessimism that is a constant companion of mine is killing my spirits. It is like that little stray dog that you fed a little bread out of pity and now it keeps following you around wherever you go. Thoughts such as: What if I don't get the freaking Visa? Would it not be an utter waste of time and money? And then there is the probability that my plane will crash. What if my original documents get stolen? What if terrorists attack the consulate just when I enter? and so on...
That I am now afraid to fly is funny because I have been flying since I was five. That first time, I traveled alone. And I must have traveled on not less than a few hundred flights till now, and at this age; I develop a fear of flying? Too much time spent on wikipedia is the cause for this nuisance. I basically know every possible way by which a plane can plummet to a fiery, meat ginding doom.
You know what would be even worse? me getting the Visa and THEN my return flight crashing, now that would be unfortunate, no?
Anyway, I have to fly to Delhi for the freaking interview. DELHI!!!? It's like flying to another country man, different people, different geography, even the air smells a bit different there! This is what I keep telling the people that I meet. I disguise it as a joke, but in my mind, I really believe so.
I haven't pressed my cloths and I forget to take my toothbrush and my belt. I try pressing my shirt with the iron at home. But my sister has burnt something on it, and now the plastic-y substance is melting off and staining my shirt, my sister! she can spoil a diamond and render it worthless. Yep, it's a talent, alright. Okay, no time, got to go. I will have to find some dhobi in Delhi. I buy a pack of 20 Classic Milds on the way, and finish all but four by the time I am ready to board my flight. Hyderabad airport, luckily, has a smoking lounge. Here they have an ad in cyrillic, strangely. Why? I do not know.
I get onto my flight SG-234 which has arrived from Coimbatore, and there is a man sitting in my seat. I hate it when this happens and I am hoping that they haven't issued the same seat to the both of us. I need the window seat you see, being able to see the flaps, the engine, the ailerons, etc., alleviates my fear a little, and although it usually means that going to the loo is a cumbersome task, I don't mind the trouble. I ask him what his seat number is? Hurray! it is not the same as mine, he is on the wrong seat, the fool doesn't know how to understand the simple graphic that is drawn on the overhead compartment which helps you locate your seat number. You know what I am talking about, that little pictogram of three seats with numbers and a small window that allows you to know which is the aisle seat and which is the window seat. I use my index finger to point to the picture and the guy sitting in the middle swiftly agrees with me, and tells the guy to shift.
He refuses to budge, he doesn't understand English and this is obvious to me only now. I pretend to not know Hindi, it has helped me many times before and it works, he moves away, most probably not wanting to do anything with this weird bloody-Indian who doesn't know Hindi. I mean, seriously, what kind of an Indian does not know Hindi, right?
Now that he is gone, I open the overhead cabin to put my only piece of luggage in it, and it is full, it is the second last compartment, and the one NEXT to the compartment where they store the medical supplies and extra life vests. I tell the pretty Air-hostess that there is no space in there. She rudely answers saying that that is where the first aid kit is and that I cant keep any thing there. I want to ask her if that is why there is a huge sticker that says "First Aid Kit" in large Helvetica staring me in the face. But then I realize that I don't care enough to try and tell her. So I sit. And start praying to a god that I don't believe in. The ancient Aztec god of Air Disasters: Ahyahuancnuatl, I promise him that I will stop fapping if I reach safely, a promise soon broken. Okay, so I lie, there is no such Aztec god, but hey, if they can invent them out of smoke and water, so can I! The plane starts its takeoff, well the worst of my 'human' problems are over I think. Naively.
The Aztec god Ahyahuancnuatl, or his brother-in-law, I am not sure. And yep, I see his problem, his wing's fallen off!
My Spicejet flight uses a Boeing 737-900, not my favorite aircraft, I prefer the rival Airbus A-320. And to make things worse, my pilot is not very good. He uses the airbrake excessively and doesn't even land it well. And all the time I am thinking that its just about to go down any moment now. To be continued...