Now it is the time to answer my own question “Why am I telling you about my airplane high-jacking incident?”
Answer: I have arrived in life. I have booked a ticket in Spice Jet.
Living up to their expectation, Spice Jet handed me a print out with some haldi stain on it. When I asked what it was, they said: “True spice, sir.”
Before I take you along this article let me tell you why I am so excited at having bought an airplane ticket.
The Rajans have always been middle class people (though they are yet to protest seeking reservation).
When I board the Spice Jet airplane from Hyderabad on 9th of June 2006 (a watershed in my family!), I will become the first in our family of 1546 members to get a boarding pass. Or that`s what I thought until, the Spice Jet lady said they stopped issuing boarding passes in order to cut costs.
As far as modes of transport go, the Rajans have always been below average people. Apparently, my grandfather used to travel between villages on a donkey. The donkey`s name was ‘Tiger` and the whole village used to refer to my uncle as ‘the one that rides a tiger`.
My father decided on doing away with riding-the-tiger tradition of our family after he saw a train for the first time. I only remember the main aspects of the story and here is how it went: It was 1957…and my father, then ten years old, was studying in class three (Yes! The Rajans have a history of failures in elementary school). On a fine Monday morning his class teacher decided his class on an excursion.
They could go to the rice fields (where all students anyway worked on Saturdays and Sundays), or they could go to the dam nearby (but then there was no water), or they could visit the Zamindhar`s palatial bunglow (but half the class would have to remove their footwear half a kilometer away) or they could go see the steam engine train which arrived at the Mana Madurai railway station on all Mondays.
The intelligent teacher chose the last – a visit to see the steam engine train. The only hitch was…the station was 22 kilometers away.
The students packed their lunches and hiked a distance of 22 kilometers. They decided to stick to the railway track so that they could cut down on distance. After four hours, they reached the station tired but excited. Back then, the trains didn`t stick to a time table. If they said the train would arrive…it would arrive. Nobody asked the time. Not even the station master.
My father and seventy of his class-mates waited with their teacher at the only platform available – Platform No 1. They waited for what seemed like ages…and then…a black, long thing rolled into the station…billowing smoke from the top. My father and his classmates had never seen anything like this. Was this a train or was it some monster which was going to attack them? My father thought it was a black serpent and he closed his eyes. The train`s customary hoot scared him and his classmates further and they scattered into the town for their lives.
Three hours after the train had left the station, the teacher was still searching for his students. Even today, if you go to Mana Madurai station (which is now a Railway Junction) …you can see an old, frail man looking for his students.
Now, that you know my family….I am sure you understand my excitement in owning a Spice Jet ticket.
Coming soon an article on “Making full use of the bath tub”