19th August, 1am. The hour had come. I was sitting near the departure gate admiring the 5-star ambience, a far cry from all the grimy and smelly railway stations I had been to so far. I wondered what was in store for me in the flight. I was all set even though I hadn’t used Set Wet.
The door was opened and I walked through the tunnel to the flight. This was the first time I stepped into a plane. It was awesome. Good air hostesses –check. I found my seat by the aisle and stowed my baggage. So who was the lucky person to get a seat next to mine? All of us dream of sitting next to a ‘hot chick’ on a flight. I waited with bated breath and began flipping through a magazine.
Then a girl’s voice, “Excuse me.” I look up, “yes..” “ That’s my seat.” Yay a blonde! My mind began the evaluation. Face 3/5, figure 3/5. Not bad for beginners luck. Now for the personality marks on 10. She seemed to be in a grumpy mood and was mumbling something and jabbing the buttons of the entertainment system. I waited. When to break the ice? She seemed cold like an Antarctic ice sheet. I waited a while. Then I tried to make some conversation. “Hi, I am Daniel and you are?” She mumbles something and continued jabbing buttons. Huh! I gave her 0/10 and also reduced her other scores! The grapes are sour.
I decided not to let that episode dampen my enthusiasm. I was flying for the first time and I was going to the US! I was so excited! Hell, I might have even danced in the aisle. But the pilot asked the passengers to fasten their seat belts. Loser! The dancing would have to wait. The engines revved up and the plane began taxiing down the run way. And take off. Mumbai and India were left far below. I thought of what an awesome machine an air plane was! Something so heavy and bulky took off and flew so smoothly. Mech rules and so does all engineering and technology.
Once the steep ascent was over I looked at the entertainment system in front of me. A screen, something like a stereo and two nobs. The passengers in front had switched on their screens and were watching movies. I also followed suit and found a set of head phones. But where do I plug them in? I looked around at the others but couldn’t figure out. I fervently hoped the female next to me would plug her headphones. But she just sat in her seat, muttering. Hmm, now even though a 10 feet concrete mental and communication wall existed between us, I didn’t want to appear dumb to her. So I decided to act intellectual and began reading a book. But I couldn’t concentrate. How could it be so difficult to find the head phones’ socket? Should I ask the air hostess discretely? Nah, leave it.
Then food was served. Ah, some diversion. Food was great. And it was cool to realise that I was having my dinner at an altitude of 36k feet. I had a little trouble with the cutlery and I yearned for a sleeper class railway compartment where anything would go. Here everything was so formal. I managed to get the food from the tray into mouth without any accident.
Time for a nap. I wanted to recline my seat. Oh dear, how do I do that? The only reclining seats I had used were those Volvo bus seats which had a lever at the side. Where was the damn lever? After fidgeting for a while I gave up. Maybe I could ask the air hostess discreetly. So I acted as if the seat was jammed and asked her to help me. She deftly pressed a button on the arm rest and it was done. How the hell I didn’t see that? And there I found the socket for the head phones too! Talk about killing two birds with one stone. Finally I was settled.
It was past 4 am and I wasn’t sleepy. Jet lag before flying itself? I guess it was all the adrenaline from the excitement. I checked the movies and decided to watch Ghajini. By the time Aamir finished off all the villains, my tummy was growling. What now? The plane was quiet and dark. Everyone was asleep. How do I call an air hostess? I walked up and down the aisle but couldn’t spot them. Suddenly someone switched on a yellow light and from nowhere an airhostess turned up. I rushed back to my seat and used the same light. When she arrived, I politely apologized for disturbing her and asked for some food. After a second dinner it was time to sleep.
It was good to wake up to the sweet voice and smiling face of a pretty lady (the air hostess and not the lousy dame next to me!). I should change my alarm tone to something similar! After breakfast it was time to land. Meanwhile ice queen next to me had melted a bit. We made some light conversation and then the bombshell. I had asked her the purpose of her visit. And she said she was visiting family in Baroda! An Indian putting on airs just because she had dyed her hair!
The PA announced that the Brussels airport had low visibility and had the flight would be diverted to the nearby Liege airport as the fuel was running out. The first hitch of my trip. I thought to myself if everything goes smoothly, that trip is not remembered. Little did I know what lay ahead for me. A rapid descent and my ears popped in celebration. The green Belgian countryside came into view. A slight jerk and the plane taxied to a halt. The pilot announced that we would have to wait on the tarmac till we got a green signal from Brussels. So I opened my book and wrote my blog! :D