Sunday, April 30, 2006

Shallow superficial petulant bitching (such fun!)

I love weirdos. No, Jay, I do not know them in the Biblical sense, I just love looking at them. Even talking to them. (The latter for short periods, say about 53 seconds at a time with long gaps in between. Like seven years.) Given a choice, I’d rather check out a Weirdo than a Hot Chick.

Delhi airport at five o’clock on a sweltering April evening when the air-conditioning is barely holding its own ...

Item: a Dude who thinks he’s So Khoo. From the bottom up – dirty sneakers that were probably brown when he bought them. Cargoes that would be khaki if he washed them. So far so good. Then – a nice white cotton shirt. With purple batik down the button seams. Ohhh, Khoo! And a full-sleeved jersey of some dark colour, the sleeves protrude beyond the short sleeves of the shirt. Is he frickin’ insane? This is Delhi, it’s almost 40 Celsius outside, it must be above 30 even inside the airport, wtf is he dressed like he’s in Leicester Square handing out menus from a Chinese take-away?! And Bono shades, you know what I mean? The kind that belong on a hairy biker riding something fat and snarly with a tear-drop tank and swept-back handlebars, only this guy looks even more ridiculous in them than Bono does. To top it all off, a cap of the kind that was last seen on Dev Anand singing “Ruk jaana o jaana mujhse do baatein” in “Bullet” (or was it “Warrant”?) If he weren’t already in line for boarding the Bombay flight I’d seriously try to strike up a conversation with him. Could be such fun. (Just a tip, dude – lose the polythene shopping bag from some "Saree Emporium" in Lucknow)

Item: the Surd in front of Khoo Dude. Now every Sikh gent doesn’t have to be like N.S. “Stop-my-mouth-I-want-get-off” Sidhu, with matching tie and turban and pocket square, but this guy is wearing pants the colour of turds that have dried in the sun (don’t ask, when we lived in Chit Park back in the Year One, Alaknanda didn’t exist and the rocky waste was a Public Convenience), with black shoes, blue socks, a tan belt and a turban that is (a) the most hideous shade of maroon possible, rather like those ice-lollies Saleem used to sell at our school gate (b) so large it looks as if he’s carrying a head-load of watermelons to market. His gut balances it, pushing his (thankfully white) shirt-front out so far he looks at least seven months gone with a nice healthy puttar. Awright, I’m judgemental and he has a heart of gold, but unfortunately what I can see is his turban.

Item: a group of three Bongs sitting behind me. Older Boss-type takes fifteen minutes to tell his Younger Acolytes how he gave somebody a dressing-down. That’s his prerogative, they’re his acolytes and they’re making all the right awed noises, but wtf, they’re sitting one on either side of him and not half-way across the lounge! And I take the ribbing from my friends about how all Bongs talk loudly.

Item: overweight young lady dressed in a pant-suit of peach-coloured corduroy (pants fashionably pixie-flared) and matching shoes. Shades so dark they're meant for the beach, how can she see with those things on? Rings on all her fingers, even the thumbs. People really dress like that?! And ma’m, you should either go on a diet or get that waistline let out, muffin rolls are not sexy. In fact they're even less sexy than ruck-lines.

Item: a head of long curly streaked hair above a nice flowered shirt in the row ahead of us. My companion is inching around to take a peek at what looks like Hot Chick material. I encourage him to go for a walk around so he can lech a bit, knowing fully well that said streaked hair is on a person who is (a) at least 50 kilos overweight (b) male. Ninety seconds later, the expression on Companion’s face is priceless. At this point Streaked Hair gets up and waddles over to join the line boarding the flight to Aurangabad. Not only is his ass as big as an elephant’s, his jeans are so tight round his humongous derriere that he has ruck-lines! Ladies, all is forgiven, I am betrayed by my own sex! Oh wait. He also has a vapid expression (like Adnan Sami trying to remember what it was he was supposed to do with Ameesha Patel) and .. Such .. Twee .. RED .. sneakers. Strewth!

Item: Khoo Dude #2, this one in tight black trousers, flowered red shirt, shiny patent-leather shoes (slightly scuffed), fake designer watch (with those shoes, it must be a fake) and long curly mane. Would have been excusable if he had been 35 years younger, now he looks like a pimp and a lousy one at that. Excuse me, sir? The only species that can dress like that at age 55 doesn’t fly Economy, you know what I mean? You should have your private island before you dare to look so gross in public, then you have somewhere to run when I try to step on you. [1]

Item: Tough babe opposite me. Nice eyes, but a jaw that belongs on a Soviet ice-breaker sailing from Odessa in November. She was on the same flight out in the morning too. Through some inexplicable subconscious process, I’m sure she works for a market research agency. But lady, you’re not exactly going door-to-door, why are you wearing sneakers with your FabIndia type salwar-kameez? That’s just fine on dumpy aunties (as in ladies whom even I address as "Auntie") doing the rounds of Victoria Memorial at six in the morning, why must you inflict it on us in a public place at 5 in the evening? AND she’s reading a Robin Cook. Gah.

**** ****

Delhi airport is good in one respect. In the check-in hall, there are kiosks where you can get decent grub. Even a CafĂ© Coffee Day outlet, so while I’m fuming in the check-in queue behind some moron who thinks the airline is dying to carry, free of charge, his 27 cartons bound with rope, I have some succour and consolation. Cal airport only has a couple of tired Lipton tea booths. Masala chai is good, but not in the same league as a large Ethiopian, extra strong, with double shots of chocolate and cream.

In just about any major Indian airport, there’s precious little food or drink that you can buy once you’re through security. Delhi is an exception. There's this (supposedly) swank outlet (right next to the drinking water and the loos) where you can buy fossilised samosas, petrified sandwiches and kathi rolls personally prepared by the bawarchis of Bahadur Shah Zafar. In 1854. They might break your teeth and poison you but by God, they have antique value! While I appreciate the Airports’ Authority’s attempt to provide “heritage cuisine”, I still haven’t figured out the pricing.

Sandwiches are uniformly priced at 50 rupees each, but why 37 bucks for a samosa? Forget the fact that I could get better – sorry, more edible though with less historical value – samosas for 3 bucks outside, why that particular figure? Why price “Veg. Kathi rolls” (what an abomination!) at Rs. 62? And “Non-veg. Kathi rolls” (the only kind, actually. AAAI, wake up) at Rs. 73? Do they want to make it so difficult to get the right change that they drive customers away? What stops them from rounding off the prices? And if they must pretend to price by exact value, why not go the whole hog and charge Rs. 37 and 64 paise for their prehistoric samosas?

Morons. They are everywhere.

Why does everybody rush to stand in line as soon as boarding is announced? It’s not as if Indian (no longer “Indian Airlines”, now wait for them to learn from “British” who went back to being “British Airways”) has free seating and they’ll get better seats if they board first. Stupid herd mentality. On the other hand, if everybody were like me and waited for the others to queue out before they even stood up, the flight would never take off. Or there would be a melee at the boarding gate. It does take all kinds.

Why does the lady behind me ask, of no-one in particular, “IC 264?” No ma'm, they just put that sign on the boarding gate to fool you, this is actually the flight to Azerbaijan.

**** ****

I’m just so full of the milk of human kindness because it’s hot and I have a headache and I had a bad meeting. Venting helps.

Oh all right, I’m a shallow petulant trivial person. (But I don’t wear Bono shades or peach-coloured shoes, HA!)

**** ****

[1] – I landed up next to him on the flight and he’s actually quite a nice guy. Apart from the character traits that go with pimp pants and fake gold Patek Philippes.

**** ****


MinCat said...

oh THANK YOU for that! Please vent more, everyday if possible.

MinCat said...

hehehe i wldnt call em *mine* per se, seeing as how that might lead to confusion over my species, just to clarify i am a *CAT*. :) i shall convey appreciation. widdle and puke was very tempting, for a while they were widdle and whine, but mum put foot down. still spend their lives widdling.

yes i likes em too :)

scout said...

Hehe... I do that too, though I used to feel guilty afterwards. Now I know some big T S Eliot fan in some corner of the world is doing the same and I feel better about myself.

Thank you :P

Aunty Marianne said...

Suddenly the horrors, horrors of taking the metro into Brussels' Gare du Midi pale by comparison.

Especially on the food front. The wierdos are, ethnicities aside, pretty much the same. Oh, and we have mutterers too. I hate mutterers, especially as they seem to want to mutter at ME.

So you have my deepest sympathy.

babelfish said...

We love shallow petulant trivial person and we wish we could take his headache away *huze happy smile*

Tabula Rasa said...

don't tell me you were taking notes :-D

MockTurtle said...

In defence of my Bengali brethren - we always talk loudly because we have so many smart things to say. We would not have to raise our voices if those pesky non-Bongs would just learn to stf up and listen when we spout our pearls of wisdom. (I hope my wife never reads this or its back to the sofa for me)

Anonymous said...

hee hee hee. that was a strong dose of medicine !!


J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Make it New – thanks, but I hope I don’t have REASON to vent every day

Scout – glad to be of help, but what makes you think TSE enthusiasts can’t bitch?

Auntie M – nutters do mutters, but perhaps more on the metro than in airports

Babel – quite overwhelmed, but why would you smile at the thought of my headache?

Tabula R – actually I was ranting on my laptop while at the airport

Mock – as a Bong m’self, how can I not agree? (But ALL three behind me were Bongs)

Trivial Monk – the best medicine is Old Monk


Teleute said...

Bechara. I will tell you tales of violent violet bedecked woman at Kolkata Information Centre and make you feel better. :)

thalassa_mikra said...

JAPda I guess these specimens are more profuse in the domestic airport, because I haven't seen too many of them at the international one.

And no fair, I have red Puma sneakers that I adore. They are so cool!

doclet said...

jus curious , wat inconspicously drab attire were u wearing? neat write up, merry venting!

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Toots, violet-bedecked?! Do tell.

Swati, when you turn male with seven chins and an elephant ass and streaked hair, I shall sneer at your red sneakers.

Doclet, light blue full-sleeved shirt, black trousers, black belt, blue socks, black shoes. Watch - black dial, steel strap. Next!


the thing inside me said...

Ah, but "khoo dude" and "pimp pants" make an appearance on your blog!
I'd probably wear a maroon turban for that ;-)

the thing inside me said...

Except, females don't wear turbans, I mean the conventional sikh turbans... uh-m.

The Marauder's Map said...

1. Why so many flowered shirts? Where was the flight headed to? Hawaii or Goa?

2. Remind me to do a post on lack of food at Indian airports. One can starve more easily than on a deserted island.

3. When you make these observations, don't you just die to share them with someone and look around crazily for someone looking halfway intelligent? Consider calling somebody across the country just so you can tell them how completely weird people can be?

4. Great post. Here's to more shallow bitching! Down with the morons!

km said...

You better watch your back, JAP. Aggarwalji, the owner of the Saree Emporium in Lucknow is known to speak loudly with paan in his mouth and he carries a big stick.

37 rupees for a samosa? That'd be Indian rupees, right?

Keep it khoo, yo.

Twilight Fairy said...

It is so satisfying - to be able to crib :)

BTW am thankful, it isnt me you ran into at Delhi airport :)

the thing inside me said...

Rs.37 for a samosa?

I like Mysore. Here we get samosas for 5 bucks. And good ones. And *sigh* dad bargains with that. *sigh*

IndianArchie said...

Nice post..and timely too, seeing as i have just returned from an airport :)

Musings that Amuse

Cyberswami said...

interesting blog. its funny how, when everything is true, some things can be truer than others. that bit about loud bongs, certainly...
we have more than our fair share of them where i study. being in delhi university, we have our quota of 'khoo dudes' too. fun!