Saturday, January 30, 2010

Do you speak English?

Hi, all...There's a reason for the header. Keep reading.

So, there I was- all ready at 7 PM...the Hotel people dropped me off at the airport. Reached the check-in counter(Smooth walk with the well-oiled trolley- no baggage screening so far. Checked in the baggage, did a big of Duty Free shopping. Reached Gate 217, from where our flight was due to leave...and,, not for the boarding call, but for the fun to begin. And, begin it did.

"Excuse me, do you speak English?"- I turned and saw this 80 yrs+ Grandmom types, typically U.K. based. I was quite astonished-no-one's thought me to be looking so rustic that they'd wonder whether I know English, you know..anyway, so, I said'Yes'(After debating whether to say' Me no speake da English', a la Mind Your Language). And, she says 'Are they allowing passengers to board?'. Me:"No, the lady at the counter said' after 10 minutes'...Grandmom: 'Ah, thanks.' (Probably quite pleased to see that I spoke good English...LOL)

Later, after going into the waiting Hall where were waiting  for the Boarding call, I was feeling half asleep, when in walked Grandmom again(BTW, she was in trousers and shirt and cardigan, which is what made me think she's Brit), whistling a Hindi tune. And, then she began chatting with a co-passenger in, yes, Hindi. Then, realization dawned-she's probably one of those Indian settlers who went to the U.K. when they were 10...haha.

Just as I was about to doze again, in walked a group of 5-6 Gujarati guys of the 30-40 age group. All with a carrybag saying 'Tang'- I guess they got a discounted package and a bulk package discount as well. (Wonder why, though, since Tang's available easily even in Baroda), anyway, suddenly, the middle one says out loud so we could all hear' Muttarvun hoye to mutardi tyaan chhe' (Gujarati for 'if you want to pee, the peeppe house is over there') sounded so funny, I couldn't resist smiling away. (Reminded me of another experience- this colleague of ours in my first Co- we had gone to a 5-star hotel for a gathering(One of the rare occasions when I'd gone..I hate these seminars where people starve themselves for 2-3 days so that they can hog after the seminar)..and this colleague suddenly says ' Sandaas kahaan hai' (They call the toilet 'Sandaas' in crude language)..and, the Indians around looked at us, astonished.(Frankly, I loved that- stuffed shirt execs like the crowd there need such dialogues to loosen them up)).

They finally made the boarding announcement. Now, Emirates is very systematic. So, people are called Zonewise,after the business and first class. So, Zone F and G were called first- and, expectedly, everyone rushed forward and the guy had to see each one's boarding pass and tell them 'no, you're not in Zone F and G'...after that commotion, my Zone came and I walked in calmly...reached my seat and quickly put up the bags, ready for the next show.(They never fail me, it always happens).

In came a group of people, but, all holding boarding passes in different seats- and then began the bargaining(Not with me, though..thank heavens) with people seated next to their seats...'Uncle, could you shift to Row 6G', and so on...and, then, shouts- hey,.....(their friend's name)...Uncle's coming there, give him your seat and come here'. Finally, all friends were seated close to each other(At midnight, I have no idea why anyone would want to sit together, unless they were deviant where their preferences were concerned). One of them thought 'Let me check, is my bag still there'- so, he got up and walked to his original seat to check...and, 2-3 others followed suit. Yet another remembered that his pen was in his baggage above and would be required to fill the 'disembarkation card', and he pulled his bag down.Finally, the plane began moving, and I could see some of the 'friends' still walking here and there, till the air hostess told them to sit.

After a while, they suddenly served the juices first...reason? It turned out that one of the passengers had insisted on drinks beforehand(You know, we're from Gandhiji's land where liquor is forbidden, na? So, the guy wanted to make the most of it)-before the dinner. So, they were serving them first, and all of them were annoyed. As a result, they took their revenge by not serving tea after dinner.(Coffee is not usually asked, in a Gujju dominated plane)...could see the sad looks on the faces of some of the oldies. And, felt sorry for them...they must've skipped their 3 PM tea at home that day, to enjoy the midnight tea in 3-4 cups, I was sure).

Well, after 2 and a half hours(10 minutes early), we were about to land in Ahmedabad, and the chattering started. The Mommy telling Sonny' Guess what- Pappa is coming to pick us up', or' What will you eat when you reach Dada's house?'(After dinner, they still wanted to eat? At 4 AM? Whew)..we landed, and out came the businessmen's mobiles- chips had already been switched...and, they began talking(Maybe they didn't have any connection..just showing off- which employees work at 3 PM, except call centres and 1-2 others?) 'We've landed. I'll finish the formalities and be there'...or' Driver, have you reached?'.

We touched down and the plane began taxiing. Some excited people jumped up and began opening the overhead lockers(As usual) and the air hostess had to shout(she was still seat-belted)' Sit down, please'...the excited ones sat down, ready to jump again. And they did, as soon as the plane slowed....and, again they had to sit since it was just making a turn towards it's final stop.

Then- mayhem. 60% of people got up and began pulling down their luggage. And, the friends who were together ran around (Imagine running in that aisle) trying to think where they kept their baggage originally. Those who couldn't, were shouting to others 4 rows away' Hey, pick up my bag too when you move, em(Em as in the Gujju exclamation)!' And, the friend grumbled as to how many kgs were in the bag...LOL...suddenly, another 80 years+ aunty got up and began prodding around with her walking stick..then, finding no way to move, she sat down again, exhausted...this one probably wanted to tell her grandchildren all about the great time she had in Dubai and maybe U.K., if she was coming from there).

Wonder when someone will tell these people that the flight won't take off again with them so soon. LOL..Anyway, I finally got up when the queue began to move. One or two of the buses had gone towards the main building when our turn came. We reached immigration, the same long queue as always(No S Flu check this time, thank goodness) with people who rushed ahead, ahead of us. I still grinned away, coz I knew' justice will be done'...and, done it was.. I reached the baggage area, and counted at least 7 of the eager beavers still waiting for their baggage.

And, waiting they still were, even after I got my baggage and walked, smiling, towards the Green Channel. The pick-up taxi guy from Baroda(We know him since I was in BSL) was waiting, as need to call him from the aircraft to check whether he had arrived, you see..:))

And, thus endeth another great journey from one airport to another. :):)

Next post coming up soon!! Till then, ponder over this:

' We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are'....and, let me know whether you agree-all those annoying moments, anger, bitterness....did those negative emotions resemble your own self, somehow? As I say ' Don't worry, be happy'..and leave the rest to the One Above.


Lazy Pineapple said...

Amit : This was Hilarious as usual....

This plane journey sounds like a train journey in India...where people just queue in front of the door waiting to jump on the platform the moment the train stops.....

And the 'Sandass' story hehehhe...

~Lopa said...

Aaah that reminds me of our flight to Ahmedabad, this August...hehehe

I was almost laughing whole way observing people and when we are boarding from other country and even we know where we are going, still it amuses when we hear people talking in Gujarati or Hindi :D

And i always feel fascinated by the pure Gujarati used by them at ... I was born and brought up in Gujarat and still i never came across so much of "mutardi" and "Sandas" there as much as at Airports in other countries from where they have flights to Gujarat... lol

~Lopa said...

An award awaitd for you, go grab it :)

Arunima said...

nice post Amit. Infact, I was talking about this to the hubby when we were in Ooty and waiting to board the bus. All of us had reserved seats. Yet, many people rushed when the bus came and would stop for about 45 minutes there. I think we are used to fighting for everything because of the huge population.

I was stunned to see a lady in her saree with mehendi (newly married) jumping into a jeep from behind (not from the doors. imagine the sight of a woman in a bright saree, and also with mehendi doing that stunt) in Bangalore airport bacause the buses were full. Dad and I waited patiently for a vehicle to come to take us. She almost pushed my dad out as he was climbing (from the door) and sat on the jeep.

Cynic in Wonderland said...

its always a free for all eh? ive been on one of these flights from dubai where the airhostess in her quest to mantain discipline terrorized he poor passengers.

austere said...

What chaos. What a riot.
bet if it weren't this way, you wouldn't enjoy it as much.

paisa vasool che ne!

AmitL said...

Hi, LP- doesn't it? The only thing missing,which is there in train journeys, were the hawkers..thought the air hostesses did come around with the duty free trolleys:)
Hi, Lopa-you too witnessed this usage of language? time, think of this post, and observe more almost makes the three hours mandatory advance trip to the airport, worthwhile.
And,tks for the award..much appreciated..will take it further..:)
Arunima-haha..yes, same situation,I see, even in bus travel-when you have reserved tickets, why rush?What conductor would run off leaving you standing outside?Would love to read this account from you on your write!
Hi, Cyn-that must've been Air India..we feel quite terrified of the air hostesses there-my sole experience on AI was when I asked one for an extra cuppa tea and it didn't come for 1/2 hr..on reminding,she snapped'I have to make it first, na??'..that's customer relations of the AI type for you.
Hi, Austy-you said it-paisa vasool chhe...anything less than such chaos would be boring..hahaha.Almost tempted to try Mumbai airport next time,but too scared of the shove and push at the baggage section and of the ever-open mouths of the customs people there.