Monday, April 25, 2005

Thoughts From An Airplane

Vignette 1

Mumbai from the air, at night, looks like a glittering sea creature of mammoth proportions, sprawled across the ocean. A jewel-encrusted starfish with gold spurs and tiny, shimmering, now-you-see-them-now-you-don't blue suckers. Extravagant, with tiny ant-cars and ant-people moving - rushing - to and fro, stringy highways full of absurd traffic crawling their way out of sight as we bank and turn.

How terribly exciting to be able to look down as we swoosh into the air and recognise the roads. To look down and say, "OK, there's the highway, that's the train track (and I bet that's a fast train)... and if so, then that's SV Road and that, Linking Road and hey, wow! That's Juhu Tara. Hurrah, I can see where I live from the air.

Why have I never been able to identify these roads before? Is it just that suddenly, everything seems more momentous?

Vignette 2

Lightning bolts around us. we've flown into mildly bad weather. Can lightning strike - and decimate - an airplane wing? And if it can and does, could an aircraft continue to fly, or would it sort of keel over sideways and fall into the sea? (It must be the movies - I never think of planes crashing on land - only the sea, with a great splash and gurgle and Davy Jones' locker. Death by shark.) No, no, go back to thinking positive thoughts - it's my optimism and faith that keeps this thing in the air.

Vignette 3

The difference between Business Class and Economy is that "in the event of an emergency landing on water", business class passengers have a greater chance of survival. They have life jackets. We have a "Seat Bottom Cushion for Floatation." So when we're all floundering in the sea, they'll be all cushy and inflated and possible passing out the cocktails, while we'll be hanging on for dear life. And if, by chance, a great white shark or other-scary-deep-sea-creature-associated-with-horrific-death-at-sea-about-whom-movies-have-been-made happens along to startle you and you lose your grip on your Seat Bottom Cushion - well, you'll have to hope someone lets you share his. And while you're jerking out of your cushion in horror, Business Class passengers can use their hands (opposable thumbs, hurrah!) to do something useful to scare the shark away and protect themselves. Perhaps they can throw your Cushion at it.

Vignette 4

Passenger next to me just too a wad of gum (less likely) or paan (more likely) or similar gross item out of his mouth and wiped it into the folds of a newspaper in his seat pocket. Lesson: always ask air hostess for fresh newspaper. And never open or touch the seat pocket or its contents again. Ever. Steward, could you please drown me in Dettol?

Saturday, April 16, 2005

How To Wreck An Interview

or, Snatching Defeat from the jaws of Victory: A Dissertation

1. Walk in 1.5 hours early.
(How needy can you get?)

2. Carry a book. A Gerald Durrell, for heavens' sake, as though you were on your way to a picnic.
3. Send intermittent texts to the coordinating Catbert-ess, asking to meet your interviewer's boss.

4. Make your interviewer fetch you coffee before the interview begins.

5. At the end of the interview, just before stepping out, turn to interviewer and say, "Thank you for coming" so that he has to revert by saying, "No, no, thank you for coming."

Oh, well, at least it's good for a laugh (or many) over beer.

Monday, April 04, 2005

A Delightful Sentence!

"Women are irrational, that's all there is to that. Their heads are full of cotton, hay and rags. They're nothing but exasperating, irritating, vascillating, calculating, agitating, maddening, and infuriating hags!"

~ Henry Higgins, in My Fair Lady