Thursday, January 20, 2005

I'm Rick James, beee-yaatch!

I'm Rick James, beee-yaatch!, originally uploaded by shashankr.

Finally, it is here... a million thanks to Ditch for giving me this shirt as a gift.

The Flight to Goa

I went to Goa for a vacation when I was in India. A huge family, probably Assamese (I heard one of them call another Talukdar), also got on the Indian airlines flight. I immediately sensed this family would create a spectacle. It was probably their first time on a plane, and they intended to make an event out of it. Their assigned seats were scattered around the plane, and in an effort to rectify that, the head of the family (whom I will call Chief,) started asking the other passengers, loudly, to "adjust" and move to other seats. Of course, not everyone obliged; I was one of them. I was not going to give up my window seat to anyone, certainly not to obnoxious Chief. This led to louder condemnations in Assamese by other members of the family. Chief Talukdar, in fact, finally sat down two seats away from me.

I thought the family had settled after about five minutes, when I suddenly heard loud conversations break out all around. This family was not going to let a few rows of seats come in the way of the conversations they had going when they boarded. Children sitting ten rows away from each other were conversing. Aloud. Older men and women kept up a din across many rows. Chief is apparently a funny man, for every sentence of his brought forth guffaws from his kin spread strategically around the plane. So much for a surround sound experience.

And then, the plane took off. The entire family, from all around the plane, craned over their seats to get a better look of Bangalore falling away beneath them. As the plane rose higher, their exultations got louder, and reached a climax when the seat belt signs went off. Half of the family got up from their seats and started walking the aisles toward the other half. No longer bound by the (insignificant) constraint of having to sit rows away from each other, the conversation changed to a steady drone.

When the hapless flight attendants started serving snacks, everyone went back to their seats, and there was a thankful moment of silence: the family was going to eat. But soon afterwards, there was a lot of loud smacking of lips. I saw Chief lick his fingers to his satisfaction, and then wash his hands with water in the plate. I was completely rocked. Afterward, his brushy moustache still had crusts of food sticking on his face. When he went to sleep in no time, his moustache and the food crumbs gently waved about, as he snored.