Twinkle Khanna is a globetrotter and shares her travel experiences with the readers…
2 pm: I am in Delhi, sitting on the plane and ready to take off when inevitably an announcement booms out, ‘Sorry we are delayed further as we have to wait for passengers arriving from Brussels.’ The entire plane erupts in moans and groans, demands and complaints. In the midst of all this chaos, I look around me and start thinking about all the different kinds of travellers that I have encountered in my voyages in these enclosed metal boxes.
1. The drinker: This globetrotter boards a flight at 10 am but assumes that since we are up in the air, we are actually cruising through an alternate reality and starts chugging down one drink after the other. I have seen a movie star guzzle down his fifth whisky in less than an hour. He then gets up to go to the galley to scrounge around for his next drink and having accomplished his mission, comes back and sits down, only to have the stewardess run and literally pull him off violently. The man was so inebriated that he had mistaken his seat, could barely see and had actually perched himself ON TOP of a frail old woman asleep in her own seat.
2. The talker/stalker: This is the passenger who happens to sit next to you by sheer chance and then he proceeds to talk to you for the entire eight-hour journey. Just because someone is strapped to their seat and you literally have a captive audience, don’t abuse that situation and drive them to a point where they try to depressurize the cabin by digging a hole in the window with their tweezers and praying for the oxygen mask to drop down just to stop the sound of your voice!
3. The nitpicker: This is the traveller who has to find a reason to get upset about something/anything. He will rudely demand to meet the captain to check on the delay, will send back his meal as it is unappetising, and will complain about the crying baby six rows behind — Do you really think that the harrowed looking mother is purposely pinching her child to make him cry? She is probably more embarrassed than anyone else and is using all the tricks in her repertoire to sooth her child. So, if the crying really bothers you so much, stuff your ears with the ear plugs lying in the pouch that you opened with such glee or better yet, buy your own private plane.
4. The potential friend: Sometimes you end up next to someone who is interesting, witty and insightful. You spend a pleasant hour chatting about myriad things. They do not pick their nose and wipe it on your armrest (this happened) or drop their scotch all over you (this happened as well). This is the person that you exchange business cards with and look forward to getting to know better.
5. The unhygienic slob: I have witnessed passengers who are too lazy to put their shoes back on in the middle of the flight and happily traipse barefoot to the bathroom. It’s a public toilet! There are things that miss the toilet bowl, which are now adorning your feet and then there are other people who seem like they have never heard of these words — shower, toothbrush and deodorant.
The transient people we meet in the sky are part of the enchantment of travelling and like everything in life — some are good, some are bad and some are downright ugly, but each one has a unique story to tell and sometimes what one can confess to a complete stranger up in the air, one can never even divulge to their closest friend.
Also read: Twinkle Khanna: Motherhood circa 2014