Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The girl on the aircraft

Domestic flights generally turn out to be eventless if I manage to hog both armrests. The rest is simple: I either sleep or read, provided there is no infant kicking its way to glory on the seat exactly behind me.

It was no different when I took the 5.55 AM (yes, yes, I know) GoAir flight from Kolkata to Mumbai. It was supposed to halt at Nagpur, but then, there was no point nagging about it: I managed to save money in the process.

I managed a window seat. The middle-seat was empty. The aisle seat had a woman with her infant son or daughter, who was concentrating furiously on a feeding-bottle that contained either milk or Lactogen. It was a scenario so blissful that I dozed off even before the aircraft had started to move on the ground.

A sleep on an aircraft is seldom a REM sleep, but it is still better than no sleep. I switched between sleep and semi-consciousness. I was vaguely aware of the goings-on: the arrival of the food trolley, the baby crying a bit (but not wailing), and so on.

I sensed the landing at Nagpur. Some passengers left. Some others boarded. It was like those arithmetic problems that I was too sleepy to recall.

The kind of perfume that one associates with girls woke me up from semi-slumber. It was a girl. Middle-seat. Next-to me. She was 25. Or thereabouts. Curly hair. She did not put her backpack in the overhead rack, I noticed.

Gone were the days when I used to be excited when a young girl sat next to me in an aircraft. I have certainly retained my animal magnetism, but it does not matter anymore.

I was sleepy. Baby had stopped crying. I was thirsty. Sleepy. There was still time for the second innings of the slumber.

***

The girl was poking me. Dream. Real. Dream. Real. Girl still poking. Dream. I woke up with a start.

She looked very, very apologetic.

Why is she poking me? And why is she apologetic about it?

My head had started to clear a bit. I realised that the mother, the father (from the other side of the aisle), and everyone within eyesight was staring at me.

Wasn't it too early in my career in the media to make everyone recognise and stare at me? But then, you never know when you become famous. It was extremely important that I kept my feet on the ground.

I realised she was about to speak.

There was a pregnant pause.

Then she spoke.

“I’m really sorry, but you’re snoring too loudly. It is annoying everyone,” she announced in a voice that was not exactly dulcet.

“I’m really sorry.”

“It’s okay. You didn’t do it intentionally.”



It took me less than a minute (by my own estimate) to fall asleep again. I woke up in time, but made sure I did not open my eyes till the aircraft landed.

***

I think she was exaggerating. 

37 comments:

  1. That's the most interesting story I've heard about a snow ring, s(e)nore!

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  2. khyak khyak! Tobe aajkal ei bhoyta amaro hoe! :(

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  3. But why was she apologetic? Did you figure that out? Was it because she was poking you? (I see no reason in being apologetic about it) Or was it because she was sitting next to you? Or was it because she had gone off to sleep as well and people in the aircraft thought that she was the snoring culprit? Or was it because people were staring and you and she was feeling sorry about it?

    I am seriously intrigued now.

    Did you share your blog URL with her? You should have.

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    1. Some very pertinent points, there. We did not exchange contact details (I don't even remember her face now).

      But yes, now that you mention it, I think *she* was the one who was snoring and had blamed it on me. Grrrrr.

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  4. এইটা পড়ে একটা ঘটনা মনে পড়ল, বলি। ফ্লাইটের saving grace হল যে ব্যাপারটা কয়েক ঘণ্টার মধ্যে সীমাবদ্ধ, ডোমেস্টিক জার্নি হলে। ট্রেনে এই জাতীয় ঘটনা গুলোর ইন্টেন্সিটি টা অন্যরকম হয়। বাবা মা আর আমি একবার পুরি না কোথাও থেকে ট্রেনে ফিরছি কলকাতায়, বাবা চিরকালই ভয়ানক নাকডাকা পাবলিক। বাঙ্ক এ উঠে সেই যে রাত ১০টা থেকে নাকডাকা শুরু করলে, তার ডেস্ক্রিপশান দিতে গেলে নবারুণের ভাষায় বলতে হয় "আবার, আবার সেই কামান গর্জন"। যাই হোক, আমি আর মা রাত ৩ টে নাগাদ নাকডাকার ঠ্যালায় উঠে পড়ে বিরস বদনে লোয়ার বার্থ এ বসে বসে ঢুলছি, হঠাৎ শুনি পাশের কুপ থেকে একটা মৃদু আলোচনা আসছে। "উফ, মাল টা কে রে? কোথা থেকে উঠেছে?" উত্তর এলো , "লাল গেঞ্জি, লাল গেঞ্জি"। মা শুনে বললে "লজ্জার আর শেষ রইল না, দে ঠেলে উঠিয়ে"। কিন্তু অনেক চেষ্টা করে বাবার ঘুম বা নাক ডাকার কোনরকম হেরফের করা গেল না। তার পরে দেখি, সেই পাশের কুপ মা কে বলছে, "কাকিমা, ছেড়ে দিন, উনি তো আর ইচ্ছে করে করছেন না, আপনিই বা এত রেগে যাচ্ছেন কেন?" আমি ভাবছিলাম ট্রেনে বসে "হে ধরণী দ্বিধা হও" ভাবা টা কতটা যুক্তিযুক্ত হবে, কিন্তু কি আর করা। পরের দিন বাবা ফ্রেশ হয়ে উঠে চা খেতে খেতে পাশের কুপ এর লোকজন এর সঙ্গে দুটো কথা বলার চেষ্টা করল, তার পরে ফিরে এসে বললে, "লোকগুলো কেমন জানি হুঁকোমুখো, ভাল করে কথা ই বলতে চায় না, কিরকম রাগ রাগ মুখে আমার দিকে চেয়েছিল। এরা বোধ হয় রাত এ ট্রেনে ঘুমোতে পারেনা।"

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    1. এটা আমার থেকেও খারাপ তো। :(

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    2. সে আর বলতে!

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    3. কিন্তু, মাইরি, বড্ড এম্‌ব্যারাসিং।

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  5. I think she was! Infact I think the whole plan was dreaming of you snoring :P

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  6. You dreamt all of it... there was no 25 year old next to you, leave alone a nudging one, nor were you the centre of everyone's attention, you megalomaniac! The only true part was probably the snoring. But seriously with most people's auditory sense impaired by the pressure in the cabin, I am certain no one even noticed.

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    Replies
    1. I know it was a dream. I know it cannot be true. I know I do not snore, but... hang on, how do you know I probably snored?

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    2. Daayan stalking you! Boo!

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  7. I can totally understand her problem. A similar story in her support: I occasionally have the (dis)pleasure of sharing the same office cab with a particular colleague of mine from GGN secor 39 to dwarka. She usually falls asleep before the cab leaves the campus, and by the time it reaches the Toll Plaza, her snores make Yo Yo honey Singh on FM radio sing like Kishore Kumar singing Ektuku Chhoa Lage.
    Thereafter I usually brave the delhi winter cold and pull down the windows. It just feels selfish to keep the noise of her snores confined within our car.

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    Replies
    1. Are you sure the lady is not reading this?

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    2. I just hope she is. But my co-passengers said they have learnt to live with it. She is extremely rude and didn't take it sportingly when someone spoke to her about it. Sighhhhh... Poor them.

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    3. I hope the lady *on the flight* is not reading my blogpost.

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    4. HaHAHAHAHAHA!!!!Darun :)
      And i especially likes the animal magnetism bit!!!

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    5. Why do all women fall for my animal magnetism? ;?

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    6. Ya right! Including 'the girl on the aircraft'!!!

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  8. 5 years back, when we were on the way to our honeymoon, there was this dhoti-clad octogenarian in the opposite berth who had retired from service as an IAS officer around 26 years back and was going to visit his daughter then...he had claimed that he preferred not having a dinner but had been munching on something or the other eversince the train started running.... result was excessive snoring and foul-smelling farts...

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