My first time in Gujarat ! Official travel of course. I reach Ahmedabad and the sales team has a hectic three day client tour planned.
The tour starts off with pouring rain and consequent delayed bus travel to Rajkot. Second day pretty much goes the same way with a delayed train journey to Surat, and 8 inches of rain in Ahmedabad. Third day provides a diversion by way of a bus ramming into our vehicle on the way to Mehasa. Barring all travel problems the trip is a success; and despite the the airport drop cab arriving at the nick of time (causing considerable increase in blood pressure), due to the drop timing coinciding with the Ramzan namaz (Id prayers), I am able to board my flight home.
I ask for the emergency exit row and armed with my neck pillow and leopard print scarf am happily looking forward to a hour long sleep. The trick of sleeping on flights I have learnt is to doze off while take off. The dimmed lights and lack of announcements provide the best ambience to doze off, and once you’er in the dream zone its its easy to ignore the clatter during the flight.
I am all settled with the pillow and the scarf over my eyes and am just into a light snooze when the announcement starts-
“We will now begin our inflight service. We wish to provide you expedient service and in order to help us with the same we request you to kindly go through the menu and select the items you wish to order and keep the required change ready.”
I manage somewhat successfully to ignore the bi-lingual announcements and am back into my semi comatose state when the flight attendant’s voice booms over my head –
“What do you wish to order sir?” To the passenger seated next to me.
Passenger 1: “What do you have?”
Attendant: “The menu is in the seat pocket sir.”
Passenger 1: “Do you have the hot items? Dal chawal?
Attendant: “Yes sir”.
I hear some rustling which I construe as her preparing to heat up the meal.
Attendant to the passenger behind me: “What would you like to have sir?”
Passenger 2: “Do you have the hot meals?”
Attendant (With just an octave higher note): Yes sir what would you like to have?”
Passenger 2: “Do you have dal chawal?”
Sounds indicate her giving the meal to the passenger seated next to me.
Attendant: “Please open it only after 10 minutes.”
Gives packet to the passenger seated behind me: “Please open only after 10 mins.”
Attendant: “Do you have change sir?”
Passenger 2: “No”
By this time my semi-comatose state was fully and truly overridden by irritation and I wondered at the patience of the air hostesses who had to deal with this day in and day out.
What I had now was crystal clear knowledge that sleep was not a luxury I was going to have on that flight and all I could think was “Thank God it’s Friday”.