All flights were delayed by several hours by the sound & fury of the Monsoon. Kolkata ( then Calcutta ) airport , chaotic at the best of times , was in a state of cacophonous disarray. Indian Airlines had only just introduced Airbus A300s , on trunk routes . I was booked that monsoon night on one such sector from Kolkata to Mumbai ( then Bombay ) .
Hourly checks on flight status kept me going , on wings of hope , through the evening at the crowded Airport Hotel bar. As was to be expected in a situation such as this , conversation between friends & strangers alike , was mostly focussed on a severe indictment of Indian Airlines for its “incompetence” ( can’t even fly in bad weather / why can’t they serve a hot dinner / & so forth ) . A very silly joke was repeated umpteen times , about the deployment by IA of wide-bodied stewardesses on their wide bodied aircraft , & evoked hysterical laughter each time from a different corner of the bar. I heartily participated in this meaningless dersion !!
The flight finally took off well past 2 in the morning . The limited supply of blankets on board had soon been cornered by what seemed like a handful of passengers driven by their urge to corner limited resources ( “to-have- & -not -need” is better than “to- need- &- not- have” syndrome ) . It was unusually cold inside the aircraft & though I have seldom needed a blanket on a flight , I could , that night , have used one. Of course , there wasn’t one to be found in the aforesaid scramble .
After the initial few minutes of discomfort I was in deep slumber through what must have been a turbulant flight all the way to Mumbai. I woke up only when we were preparing to land & found myself warmly snuggled & ensconced under a XL sized double-knit jumper with the IA insignia , carefully spread & tucked to give me maximum warmth. I looked around & could quite easily spot the “wide-bodied” stewardess on the wide bodied aircraft who must have observed my in-sleep-discomfort & decided , in the absence of an airline blanket , to put her regulation double-knit jumper to good use.
With a sheepish grin ( what else !! ) & a mumbled “thank you” ( at a loss for words !! ) I returned her jumper , & disembarked , truly at the end of a ” Sukhad Yatra ” that most airlines wish their passengers with perfunctory monotony.
Cheers for now