Sunday, June 14, 2009


(My first foray into "guest-blogging". Here.)

Four little levers all in a row. One to stop, one to park, maybe one to go? I suppressed a faintly hysterical yelp and concentrated. OK, if we pull on THIS one …The lower part of the seat back suddenly thrust itself into my sacral region with a malevolent hiss. Rattled, I pulled at all the other levers in turn. With the result that when the stewardess came round with the cold towels, her plastic smile dissolved into a giggle at the sight of me. Sprawled in one corner of the seat in a most undignified manner, legs kicking in the air as the evil foot-rest moved up independent of the leg rest and the “recline” lever plotted my downfall.

I don’t think I’m particularly tech-challenged. Not a geek, no, but certainly not one of the lost-tribes-of-the-Amazon-forest types. Then why should I be so helpless in the grasp of a SEAT, darn it? Only it’s not just the seat. EVERYthing seems to conspire against me. You know how business class offers you “the widest variety of entertainment in the sky”? Riiigghhht. Now, where do the headphones go? I spent nearly 10 minutes on a flight to Dubai trying to conceal my utter perplexity, all but whistling nonchalantly while I felt around the armrests, bent over to peer at the middle upright, ran my fingers over the padded sides, looking for That. Damn. Socket. All to no avail. In the process I plugged my headphones into an ashtray. Or a fuelling port. Or the autopilot, even. I must have looked like Mr. Bean. Eventually the lady next to me heaved a deep sigh, gently removed my hand from the vicinity of her Dior-sheathed knee and pointed out the socket nestled under the armrest. Evil, I tell you. Whatever happened to standardization?

It’s all about upgrades, of course. I’m just not mentally equipped to fly business class. Last time, between Chennai and Delhi, the damn engineering even managed to ruin my “chiefest, sole delight”. Well, not sole, really. Salmon steak. In a lovely herb reduction. It was just about the best meal one could have hoped for, considering how grotty in-flight food usually is. I was smart. I did NOT try to open all the little packs of condiments, because I KNOW the vinaigrette is implanted with an evil computer chip that will make it splash all over my trousers. Or worse, on my neighbour’s trousers. I didn’t even try to figure out all the superfluous cutlery that cascaded out of the folded napkin. (THREE identical spoons for ONE meal? What is this, the St. James’ Court?!) Then I had to go and ruin it by deciding to watch some TV while I ate at my leisure.
You know how the nifty little TV screen folds out of the armrest? Yes, but why is it equipped to swivel in 27 different planes? Try working it round to face you when there’s already a large napkin-draped tray occupying the same space. In 3 minutes I managed about 29 different positions for the TV screen, none of them facing me. Rather like a Rubik’s cube. Then I gave in to destiny. And my temper. The stewardess ran out of her little curtained alcove at the sound that ensued.

Trying ineffectually to bend over the dinner tray to pick up (a) one soup bowl, empty (b) 236 pieces of fruit salad, all sticky (c) enough cutlery to fit out another French Revolution while at the same time avoiding (d) the baleful look of a neighbor with a sticky chocolate brownie in his lap and (e) a TV screen that seemed to be doubled over in laughter, I accepted that I do not BELONG in business class. Next time, no Rosa Parks song for me. Come on over to the back of the ‘Bus, I’ll be waiting right there. Given that I’m the large or economy size, it’s economy class for me from now on.


Milo Minderbinder said...

Now i know what types travel bijnis kelas !

Tabula Rasa said...

When I checked, the response was "1 votes, average 1 star (out of 5)".

Hmm, stick to home turf, I say.

Gamesmaster G9 said...

Looking for the headphone socket? Is that your excuse for placing your hand in the vicinity of Dior-sheathed knees?

km said...

TR: JAP's batting a pretty solid 3.67/5 right now. So I am going to say "buy". I also have no idea what that means.

//Airline vinaigrette is evil.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Milo, you didn't know already?

TR, up to 4 now. I'm a slow starter.

G9, that's a 15-yr-old thing to do. And I wasn't that young even when I was 15.

KM, almost all vinaigrette is evil.


Phantasmagoria said...

Hshaha @ Gamesmaster

Prufrock say what you will now. But we are SHOCKED.

Tsk. Tsk.

Tai Chi said...

Me Like. Thanks for this post.

Bengali Guy said...

Note to PM Singh: we need a takiya and gutkha for our babus :-) in business class.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Ph, I can still shock you? Good!

Tai Chi, me like your comment. Thanks for the comment.

Bangali Boy, takiya always welcome (jury's still out on the Ayesha variety, though). Gutkha - NO!


neha said...

TR - He's at 4.33 and he's got more votes than my own posts get. AND he bailed me out when I was sick. I dare you to say another mean word.

Plumpernickel said...

How did you know she was wearing Dior?
BTW, they have a manual normally where all mysteries are explained. Thing is, one has to find that manual first!

dipali said...

I thought I was the only retard who couldn't find the head phone socket! Glad to know I have exalted company:)

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Neha, thanks a ton, child!

Plump, those manuals are for transcontinental flights.

Dipali, I'm sure we're not the only two.