Monsoon Memories 2 : Sukhad Yatra


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

About lkkanuga

65 , Mumbaikar in Gurgaon , celebrates Loneliness interspersed with occasional extended- family & old friends' reunions . Good Music , Single Malts & watching the world go by from his 11th floor terrace are his favorite pursuits. Also into pursuit of Safe & Secure Mid Day Meals for Primary School Children , in association with like minded individuals & institutions
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