Thursday, January 08, 2009

An Easy Man to Please

It had not been going well.

I had had to get up early, at 5 AM. It was freezing outside. I had neglected to pack stuff the night before and it was taking way too long. I knew there were regular trains to the airport, but I didn't know long it would take and how much I would have to walk carrying the luggage, which was getting heavier every minute. Since the washing machine had broken down, I had run out of fresh clothes, so I had decided to carry all my dirty laundry back home, where they could be washed/ironed peacefully, giving me a few more days to get the machine fixed when I returned. But all that meant was that my pack was really heavy.

I got out, and the chill hit me. Bad idea, this, I thought, going in the train, trying to save 40 bucks, rather than take a taxi. I also suddenly realised that I hadn't eaten anything since last afternoon, and wasn't likely to get anything for the next few hours. The snow was slippery and I had to keep watching my step to avoid falling down. So, there I was, a hungry man, trudging slowly in the chill, carrying a heavy pack, and muttering angrily to himself.

I got to the station, and after changing a couple of stations, got to the airport. By this time, my shoulder was aching, and I had a 9 hour journey in a cramped seat to look forward to. I took my boarding ticket, and sat down for the boarding to begin. I never really understand why we need to arrive 3 hours in advance for an international flight - it never takes more than 30 minutes to get through the process.

I don't usually complain about such things, but that's because I have something to do, usually, read a book. But English books here are so expensive, I could never bring myself to spend on them. Everything said and done, I couldn't help myself keep converting prices into Indian rupees, and defer all the buying to when I got home.

I started cursing myself for having paid so much for the ticket. I had ended up booking late, and the prices had zoomed by then, and now, I would also have to reschedule my return, and pay some late charges on top of that. After skimping on small stuff, to pay so much for an uncomfortable ride. It hurt.

I also started thinking about all the things I still needed to do when I returned here. Get my commune card, get my insurance papers, and yes, fix the damn machine. Here, I have to bloody get everything done. Nothing is simple, no handymen, no agents. God, I hated my life.

And then the flight started boarding. There were a couple of cute girls in front of me, and I hoped I would get a seat next to either of them. We crossed business class (those bastards!), and onto economy, and halfway through, they were still with me. I looked down at my card, it said 21A, and we stopped near 20. My heart was beating faster, but a second later, both stepped into 20, and I looked across to see a middle-aged man in 21. Grumpily, I sat down next to him, and thought to myself

"This is great. With no sleep, and no food, and an aching shoulder, I will spend the next 8 hours in a cramped seat next to a middle-aged man with mild BO, and nothing to do but read the inflight magazine".

I was, you could mildly say, in a blue funk.

And then the miracle occurred.

I heard a voice, it was a god-sent angel, in the form of the airline stewardess:

"Sir, would you mind stepping out. We have upgraded you to business class".

Suddenly, the pain disappeared. I found myself grinning stupidly.

"That sounds perfect", I grinned.

I am a very easy man to please.

1 comment:

Atish said...