Its no secret that I love to travel. And the two modes that I love, apart from walking, are cars and planes. Both are essentially metal tubes that take you from one place to another.
When you are in the car, you are, sort of, in control. You are navigating, you are changing gears (automatic cars – go eat shit!), you are seeing the rear-view mirror and the road up ahead and you are zooming around.
In a plane, however, you are merely tied to a seat and are hurled thru the thinnest air we can imagine, to your destination. Even though a large part of flying is getting tossed around in a pressure-controlled metal tube, there is some charm, some magic to the entire experience of air travel. You know, fussing over the airline, the seat, the plush interiors of an airport, the comfort of a lounge, the pseudo sophistication of people that are regulars and the inside tricks of people that are more regular than regulars?
I’d say I am more regular than most regulars. Even though I may not have the suaveness of thick sunglasses or the Tumi bags with my initials monogrammed but I have been in my share of planes. Of course, since the COVID crisis hit us, I haven’t really been near a rick, let alone a plane. Ok, that was an exaggeration. I’ve been working out of a Starbucks as I type this, I am in a lounge at the Mumbai airport, waiting to catch a flight to Delhi, Y class. The lounge was made accessible by a credit card that I paid a fortune to acquire.
While the entire ordeal of check-in, seat selection, security et al was better than the regular days, I miss the fun of traveling by air. I miss the fuss that I would create over people not behaving when in queues. I can no longer spot kids running amok while their parents take selfies. I am no longer inconvenienced by pushy salesmen trying to sell their overpriced wares (including the ones at Tumi), while secretly hoping I had the money to buy all the crap they were selling. There is no stores selling raste ka maal un-saste me. Btw, these sasta maals have actually saved quite a few days for me when I would take em as gifts for people I was gonna meet.
Like I said, there’s no magic left in travelling by air.
It’s now akin to traveling in a local train where you are merely using the tube as a mode of transport and you can no longer be a humblebrag about the flight you just took and the extra things (baggage, upgrades, etc) you got the airline guys to dole out to you.
It’s now akin to flagging a rick and posting about it on insta cos the cars get stuck in traffic and ricks are “oh so convenient”. It’s like still going to a CCD when you have a Soho House membership, cos, “why would I go to Juhu for a coffee?” It’s like buying a Samsung or a One Plus, cos, “what new feature does an Apple have?”
Get the drift?
I hope so. It’s time to board the flight. While boarding may or may not happen, the seat next to mine may or may not be empty, the flight may or may not be bumpy but I have to mock people on how they want to jump over each other to open the overhead bins before the plane has even landed! Assuming that’s still happening. You never know. Like I said, there’s no magic left!