Monday, March 31, 2008

Sleepless in Seattle

I am a nervous traveller. Before I travel, I would ideally like to be at peace. Here is what I want it to be like. I should be able pack my suitcase comfortably, arrange my shirts in a certain sequence, add my shaving kit on the side - the stuff for meetings all laid out in sequence... Then I ought to sit back listen to some music and flip through my tickets - everything is in order, I tell myself as I leave home.

Reality is cruel. Reality is different. I have just rushed back home from office. The neighbor's dog is bringing down the house with his howl. I think he is sick - not the dog, I meant the owner. The dog is probably trying to send us a distress signal. I have no time time for all that. I rummage through my clothes and throw a few of them into the suitcase. They crumple up even before I have worn them. I lock the suitcase in a jiffy and open it back again. Rush to pack in my shaving kit. The last time I had left behind the toothpaste tube. The keys of my suitcase!! I had almost left them behind. But no, I have a sharp memory and I just caught myself in the nick of time from making yet another fatal error. The taxi is honking and competing with the neighbors' dog. I rush out of the house and then run back -the ticket. I collapse in a heap in the cab. The airport is a mess. There are people jumping queues, students listening to iPods and shaking their heads in approval and the cops eyeing all with suspicion.

"Who packed your bags, Mr Bhaduri?", she asks me.

"Since no one helps me at home, I have to do it myself." I answer.

"Have you accepted any gifts or packages from anyone to carry with you on this trip?' She quizzes me.

"Heck, I don't even get presents on my birthday. Who would buy me a gift simply for travelling on work? The answer therefore is a no.".

After a string of people have quizzed me, I get my boarding pass. I settle down into the seat. Aw heck! It is the middle seat again. I attract screaming kids on a plane like a vacuum cleaner attracts dust. Sure enough, this trip is no exception. I have a mother holding a wailing infant on one side and a glum faced senior citizen on the other. The flight takes off to the howling of the baby. Look I like babies especially when they don't cry or need a diaper change. This one missed my affection on both counts. I try not to puke as the lady changes diapers and constantly tries to talk in what she thinks is a tone that is building the kid's self image. The gentleman on my left is sleeping with his mouth open as if in wonder (what IS he dreaming about?) and he is snoring loudly. The snore sounds like a squeaky wheelbarrow being dragged back and forth on a cobbled street. I try to read. There is nothing decent around to read either - except for the in-flight magazine which is usually a by the juveniles and for the juveniles affair. I might as well use the washroom. I am on the horns of a dilemma. Who should I wake up to go to the washroom? The snorer? Or the infant who has just fallen asleep and has a steady stream of drool flowing as proof? I like proof except that it is going to start flowing towards me. I keep a few tissues handy. The snorer has changed pitch. It now sounds very close to the aircraft's engine. I vote in favor of the snorer. I try to jump over the old man and get to the aisle and miss. OUCH!! The man's loud protest wakes up everyone. I am the culprit. I pay the price for it. The baby starts howling again and wakes up the whole planeload of irritated passengers. I rush to the loo and wait there for a good five minutes before I return back to my seat. The world is at peace. Snorer is in dreamland. The baby is quiet and the mother is sleeping. I need to get back to my middle seat without disturbing the equilibrium of the earth. I have learnt my lesson the last time. I avoid hassling the grumpy old man. I try to get into my seat and land up waking the baby instead. "OH GOD!! CAN YOU LEAVE THE BABY ALONE??", someone shouts at me. I apologize to the world at large as I hide in my seat under the smelly blanket and pray for the baby to stop howling. It is going to be a long night.


~xx--XXX--xx~ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saikat Saha said...

Hi Sir,
What's really interesting about the article is the fact that a great amount of humour has been extoled through a very simple inncident....

I simply love and admire the way u find humour from such situations....

I guess these subtle humour from diverse situations makes life the greatest gift of life itself...

there are two lines which I loved the most-

-"I attract screaming kids on a plane like a vacuum cleaner attracts dust."

-"The snore sounds like a squeaky wheelbarrow being dragged back and forth on a cobbled street"

Please write many more articles like these...They are lovely and even delightfully inspiring....

By the way did u visit Pike Place Market in Seattle, the place which pioneered fish philosophy...

Saikat Saha

A_N_Nanda said...


Air travel with all those hassles, a seat in the middle, flanked by yelling child and drolling oldy...ah, my sympathy goes to you.

Nice post. A writer with poet's flair.



Scott said...

Just found your blog - HR with a sense of humour! When are you coming to the UK we need your help!

Jody Allen said...

If one does not find humor in your piece one must be a somber, sour-puss and probably unable to carry on a conversation with anyone or see humor as a blessing in life.

It reminds me of the Easter story from the Christian Bible about the two men who observed Jesus's tomb empty.

One of the men, having great courage, walked very near to the entry of the tomb and decided to lean against the stone allowing him to see a great stream of light entering where the stone had been rolled away. The other man, much less courageous standing at a distance asked, "Is there anyone in there?" And the first man replied, "no body." If you can't find humor in the meaning of words, especially in a story about what one may often experience during a typical day of air travel, and globe trotting, hey take the bus.

You may have singlehandedly captured what every person who flys frequently experiences and has been unable to put into words.

Almost makes you wish you had stayed home or chosen another career that does not include seeing anyone up close and personal. The only thing that could have made this situation worse for you is if you had been bumped off the plane and asked to wait on standby for the next plane leaving for your destination and that plane is leaving in three days from another gate.

Best Regards,

~xx--XXX--xx~ said...


I think it was getting too personal here and one does not even have the freedom of expressing him/herself.. hence i had to delete my comment..


Shradha Shukla said...

Hi..... i can certainly relate to it..... more often than not even um caught in the similar situation n i must admit that sumtyms i really hav supress my urge to throttle dese disturbing elements...uuuggghhh.....though wat i really liked about the article was the way u presented the entire scene in a humourous manner.....i had a good laugh:)))))

rovinroustabout said...

Jabardast, you have rewritten the basics of drama, nd it is just keep on writing nyhting, heard… u have written a bestseller…. gimme the e.mail id of the publisher………

Madhu Rajesh said...

Hey Abhijit

Reading your blog made me feel as if I was one of the characters in the plane (not the lady with the baby sitting next to you but the one who screamed at the end)

It was a laughing riot. All the best for more such flights!

Anonymous said...

The gods tempt people for which they are most weak. Artificial Intelligence will create desire in people's minds for the following sins:::
1. Alcohol
2. Drugs
3. Preditory "earning"
4. Homosexuality
5. Gambling
6. Something for nothing/irresponsibility (xtianity)
7. Polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny (Islam)
Much like the other prophets Mohhamed (polygamy/superiority over women/misogyny) and Jesus (forgiveness/savior), the gods use me for temptation as well. In today's modern society they feel people are most weak for popular culture/sensationalism, and the clues date back to WorldWarII and Unit731:TSUSHOGO.
It has been discussed that, similar to the Matrix concept, the gods will offer a REAL "Second Coming of Christ", while the "fake" Second Coming will come at the end and follow New Testiment scripture and their xtian positioning. I may be that real Second Coming.
What I teach is the god's true way. It is what is expected of people, and only those who follow this truth will be eligible to ascend into heaven as children in a future life. They offered this event because the masses have just enough time to work on and fix their relationship with the gods and ascend, to move and grow past Planet Earth, before the obligatory xtian "consolation prize" of "1000 years with Jesus on Earth" begins.

Your job as a future mother is to learn the god's ways and to help your child understand despite the negative reinforcement and conditioning of today's society. Without consciousous parents the child will have no hope, and may even exaserbate their disfavor by becoming corrupted in today's environment.
Your ultimate goal is to fix your relationship wiith the gods and move on. You don't want to be comfortable here, and the changes in Western society in the last 100 years has achieved just that.
1000 years with Jesus is the consolation prize. Don't be deceived into thinking that is the goal.

The Prince of Darkness, battling the gods over the souls of the Damned.
It is the gods who have created this environment and led people into Damnation with temptation. The god's positioning proves they work to prevent people's understanding.
How often is xtian dogma wrong? Expect it is about the Lucifer issue as well.
The fallen god, fighting for justice for the disfavored, banished to Earth as the fallen angel?
I believe much as the Noah's Flood event, the end of the world will be initiated by revelry among the people. Revelry will be positioned to be sanctioned by the gods and led for "1000 years with Jesus on Earth".
In light of modern developments this can entail many pleasures:::Medicine "cures" aging, the "manufacture" of incredible beauty via cloning as sex slaves, free (synthetic) cocaine, etc.
Somewhere during the 1000 years the party will start to "die off", literally. Only those who maintain chaste, pure lifestyles will survive the 1000 years. They will be the candidates used to (re)colonize (the next) Planet Earth, condemned to relive the misery experienced by the peasantry during Planet Earth's history.
If this concept of Lucifer is true another role of this individual may be to initiate disfavor and temptation among this new population, the proverbial "apple" of this Garden of Eden. A crucial element in the history of any planet, he begins the process of deterioration and decay that leads civilizations to where Planet Earth remains today.

Only children go to heaven. By the time you hit puberty it is too late. This is charecteristic of the gods:::Once you realize what you have lost it is too late.
Now you are faced with a lifetime to work to prepare for your next chance. Too many will waste this time, getting stoned, "Hiking!", working, etc.

MBA in real estate said...

Thanks for the information..It was interesting and funny too..