Flying in India is an experience…unparalleled….either you have fun or someone else has at your expense.
You have to take a print of the ticket and show at an entry gate….you wonder why ? I am sure airport authorities are not so naive to think that it would prevent terrorists or such kind of people from entering.
They know that anyone can print a document (called ticket) with any name or have a fake ID. Incidentally, I have often used my office ID at the gate, with absolutely no problem !!
There could be two reasons – first that a country of 1.2 billion needs to find employment (after all how many of us can sell pakodas !!) and second that you might not be booked for the flight for that day or terminal which can be detected here.
Then you go to security, where usually you have a big que. There is a half asleep security guard whose job is to ensure that number of people going for security are in manageable proportion. This, he does, on pretext of checking your boarding pass carefully…line by line…and also often looks at you from top to bottom keeping a watch at the crowd from the corner of his eyes. After this, one reaches the baggage screening area which is usually a bit chaotic. There is one security guard, at every counter, giving you instructions that mobile phones, wallets etc should be kept in the bag. At many airports, he is also responsible to give a token as an evidence that the stuff on the tray is yours…just in case someone tries to whack your possessions from the time it starts its 10 feet journey of getting the computer screening.
While on the line for frisking, invariably you will find few hassled passengers who claim to be getting late for their flight and ask to be ahead. There is at least one person who carries his mobile phone and is asked to go and leave it in the tray for screening. He fears for losing his place in the que and rushes back after doing the needful, as if his life depended on it !!
Frisking sometimes is vigorous and you can feel them ‘feeling’ you…I often wonder what if the guys doing it are actually gay !! Then you take the bus to board the flight. Here you meet with people who talk loudly on phone, lately few of them are found doing video call with someone. ‘Are you happy or sad that I am coming’ asked a bearded guy while doing a video call while I was on a bus to board a Hyderabad flight recently, before rotating the phone in various directions to show the runway and aircrafts to the person on the other end. He carried the activity till he actually found his seat on the aircraft.
I found three young sardars doing a video call and giggling on my right as I sat on my seat, meanwhile the person on my left screened the food menu carefully before he got a call and started talking with speaker on.
While the announcement of flight taking off is still in progress, few noble souls need to go to loo…much to the dismay of air hostess. Few people like me remember the LIC advertisement on the staircase while boarding the flight…that awkward feeling calls for a quick silent prayer !
As soon as the flight lands, there is intense competition amongst passengers to be the first one to exit the plane, while it is still on a runway. Air hostess tries to nudge, request, beg and scold people to be seated but with little success.
By the time she announces that we could use our cellphone, half of the passengers are already talking to their drivers or other loved ones.
And as soon as you kinda start feeling sad that adventure is about to end…people start pushing you from behind towards the exit…and the saga continues…