Wednesday, March 9, 2016

From Calcutta to Delhi: the sky is not the limit

A couple of weeks before, I was travelling in India. To put it more aptly, I was travelling from Calcutta to Delhi through an Indian flight. The airline, IndiGo, was a sophisticated one, and quite surprisingly, punctual too. It impressed me. 

Almost all the passengers were Indians, by the looks of them; and of course, by the talk of them. For, the world knows how they look. For, the world knows how they talk. For, the world knows how they smell.

No sooner did I take my seat, some strange smell started to bother me - that of mixed smell of strong perfume and armpits. That was when I remembered Russell Peter’s joke: he smells Indians as soon as he walks off the Delhi airport. He is a hilarious comedian.

Russell sounds more hilarious when he goes on to tell a God’s practical joke,
“I am going to take this people here and put them in the hottest place in the world. And just for fun, I will cover them with hair. Hot and hairy. Men and women.”

In the plane, everything around me began to turn strangely intriguing. When we were about to take off, many passengers didn’t follow the emergency instructions. Those fair and slim stewards had to run after each passenger to fasten seatbelt, straighten seat and request him or her to switch off their phones.

Everybody - old and young, men and women - talked nonstop. They largely talked about sadhi (marriage), cricket and Bollywood. These three aspects, believe or not, are considered lifelines of Indians. 

Hearing them, I could figure out almost all the passengers were either returning from attending wedding and were going to attend it. An Indian friend of mine once told me, “Indians don’t trust strangers, at all, but they give away their daughter’s hand to a stranger.”

And he added, “We are very jealous people. Success of other people makes us more miserable than our own misery.”

Strange, isn’t it?

However, what I have observed in the plane was that everybody wanted to talk, about everything. As if they were talking machines. I could hear them saying, “Hey, you listen to me na.” Which is why, supposedly, they wouldn’t listen and follow the instructions of the airbus.

They would talk in a thin voice, sweet voice, and furious voice, but mostly in a really high-pitched voice. Only those who shout the loudest be heard in India? Seems like that. But to let you know, it was quiet in the plane. Why they had to shout? Perhaps they are used to talking like that, and they still think they are in a noisy crowded place.  

As I continued listening, I understood a different thing. They were not talking, they were whining - whining about all of the problems. They would shout to the gods, shout to the government, shout to the political parties and shout to the people. And they were venting all kinds of opinions - negative and positive, quiet and wary, happy and sad. 

In a book called The Story of my Assassins, Tarun J Tejpal rightly pointed out, “There was too much opinion in the country, too many sob stories.” In India, rather strangely, everyone wants to whine all of it, vent all of it.

Indians are Indians everywhere they are, in the plane too. Indeed, even the sky is not the limit for them. They are simply incredible, and my respect for each Hindustani for being so unique and brilliant. That's why I love India so much; this is one country I want to explore more.


  1. #well portrayed how is the condition of passengers inside a planes in india....Goood one

  2. George Orwell has said "To understand India's national character, you just have to watch a small crowd of Indians" and I guess this is what your post explains. Thanks for sharing your experience of being in that flight. It's interesting!

  3. This is the most hilarious post you have written. I can understand this topic well as I live in a very multi racial country with friends from all races too. We often poked sensitive jokes at each other which often sounded racists.

    I was surprised to learn this - “We are very jealous people. Success of other people makes us more miserable than our own misery.” Now it makes me understand better.

  4. I remember that Russell Peter's joke you quoted in this article. He is a funny dude.
    I see you had a very fun time on the plane Rikku sir, I hope you had a safe journey in between and even more fun listening to their conversation.