“Haan ji beta..Aapki seat hai.. aao baitth jaao. Myself Dr.Saahu… I was the Chief Medical Officer in Chattisgarh, but I am now retired. My brother is a minister there, and so I am still working at the age of 65. I keep coming to my daughter’s place here in New Jersey every alternate year.”
I was welcome with these words as I sat in an Air India flight back home to Mumbai. I just smiled and looked for another seat, but it wasn’t to be – the flight was full! An aged, bald, unshaven man sat next to me, with his demure wife on the aisle. They had supposedly traveled all around the world, with the man claiming to have been spending all his savings on tours. This got me a little interested, as I thought it was a cool thing to do. But, I wasn’t sure how much more of the constant chatter I could take 🙂 He finally seemed to settle down; by the way in the midst of all this, I didn’t get an opportunity to even introduce my self!
Soon after taking off, sleep found me and I enjoyed a few moments of silence.
Time for some food. The world infamous air hostesses of Air India began serving – food and some cranky expressions. May be they don’t get paid, or its just old age I suppose! Anyway, the food was good, and that’s all that matters on a long flight.
Back to sleep. Oh btw, Dr. Saahu had 3 pegs of whisky, which to my relief put him to deep sleep.
Next wake up call – London. We were supposed to disembark, run through Heathrow and get another round of security check done, and get back into the same plane. What a crappy system, I thought and hurled few abuses in my head. And what a racist country the UK is!!! People were being looked upon as terrorists, with bags being checked once though the scanner and twice manually. A lady was asked to drink some water from her baby’s bottle. Heights of paranoia!! Wonder why AI hasn’t been able to sort this issue.
So, we’re back on the plane after wasting 2 hours. I listen to some music before its time for food again. And Dr. Saahu doesn’t miss the free drinks – 3 pegs more. Well, this time it makes him talk! I get to listen to another round of his life’s achievements and his political contacts and what not. He tells me how great his sons-in-law, and how he advised them regarding their careers. And then finally, he asks me my name!
We reach Mumbai – I’m in a little discomfort as my ears ache(due to the air pressure, and possibly my neighbor!!). We say our good-byes and Dr. Saahu leaves. I get to doing the formalities at the airport, and get out – to get to the domestic airport to Bangalore.
Home sweet home after 18 months, its new year’s eve and I’m going to make the most of it!