Since fewer people than earlier are going in for plastic surgeries after defaulting on their credit card and loan payments, one can safely assume that the Indian Economy is booming. Indians now have money in their hands…and thus can try out what has for long been the privilege of the rich – traveling by aeroplanes.
Before I stepped into an Airbus way back in 1997 on my way to Canada as part of the Indo-Canada Youth Exchange Program…nobody in my family had traveled by air. That is, if I discount my grandpa who once went up because he held too many helium balloons bought in a local fair. It was an innocent gesture – buying balloons for his children – which turned nasty because he had 11 of them.
Given below are my first thoughts when I saw an aeroplane – a typical guide for the first time flyer.
Aeroplanes don`t have engines
Unlike trains which we are so used to, aeroplanes don`t have engines. Rumor has it that they have two engines (sometimes four) which are hidden from the public eye. I would believe it was a decision taken to differentiate an aeroplane from a train. If aeroplanes also had engines in the front…would people still pay such huge fares to travel in them?
No unreserved compartments …in fact no compartments
You can`t buy unreserved tickets in aeroplanes because there are no unreserved compartments. In fact, there are no compartments at all. This also means, you can`t take those long walks of discovery (of pretty girls) under the pretext of going to the pantry. In fact, most aeroplanes are one hollow tube (something like a 200 ml toothpaste tube) with chairs arranged inside.
No Traveling Ticket Examiner
There are no Traveling Ticket Examiners in aeroplanes. So, if you can enter an aeroplane without a ticket…the travel is free. Call it coincidence, or hard luck ….but in spite of no TTEs, most ticket-less travelers in aeroplanes have been found dead inside huge suitcases.
You can`t open the windows
Aeroplanes have windows but you can`t open them. Thus, you can`t throw out the plantain leaf in which you had wrapped your lunch. To wash your hands, you can`t extend your hands between the grille and give them water. Instead, you will have to go the washroom. The silver lining is…the aisle is generally narrow and if you are lucky you would get a chance to brush against a pretty air hostess. If you are traveling by Indian Airlines…such an action would be called incest – all Indian Airlines air hostess are motherly.
You can`t see the gravel thro` the toilet hole
If like me, you enjoy watching the gravel thro` the train`s toilet hole…you would be disappointed to know that it is not possible in an aeroplane. Aeroplanes travel in the air and at a considerable height…besides their toilet hole is closed till you press the flush button…which when done sucks the ingredients and destines them to hell.
There is no side upper berth
Unfortunately, there is no side upper berth in an aeroplane. So, silent watching (read ogling) is impossible. Pity because the density of good looking girls is definitely higher in an aeroplane. The closest you can get to a side upper berth…is the Emergency Exit Doors of the aeroplane (there are anywhere between 2-6 such doors in an aeroplane). Travellers who are made to sit in such critical seats are generally well built, able bodied men…in short men who have caught the fancy of the pretty girl who hands the boarding pass at the counter. If you are 165 cms tall (like me) forget it…you will never be considered able-bodied.
There is no garam chai and/or vada wala
Unlike in a train, there are no stations. Only the long distance aeroplanes travel via other cities and stop for a brief while…but even then, you won`t hear the well appreciated garam chai…chai…garam chai chant. Neither will the parrupu vada or vada-pav guy approach you with his wares.
In short, aeroplane travel is more money and less excitement. If you love life (and money)…save yourself some money…travel by train.