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Payback Time

July 31, 2015

crying child

As he was putting his bag in the overhead cabin,his passport fell out. I picked it up and held it up to him. He was still busy arranging his bag. Boarding had been delayed by an hour due to late arrival of the flight. So there was a mad rush, when they announced boarding. Luckily they allowed old people and people with infants and children to board, along with the business and first class passengers. I looked up at him. He was about 20 and grumpy as hell. He turned after putting his bag and almost plucked the passport from my hand.I got up to let him go in. My wife had asked for the window seat. She usually likes to look out and commune with nature. It was a bright sunny day. She would make the most of the three and half hour flight..I had opted for the aisle, so that i can stretch my legs a bit.There are some positives in checking in early.  For a moment he looked around if he could find another seat. It was almost full, so he plopped into the middle seat. He started reading from the book that he was carrying

The usual bustle before take- off was on. The crew demonstrated the safety procedure. If at all you want to see someone do their job with such disinterest, it is this part.Except for the first time fliers, hardly anyone watches these things. I have been flying regularly now, but I never miss these rituals, hoping that one day I would be able to find someone who does it seriously.Bigger planes mercifully have screens in front of your seats which  show the exercises, acted out by smiling actors.  I am willing to bet my last cent, that if in case of an eventuality that they talk about happens 90% of the passengers wouldn’t know what to do. What is a aircraft without a crying child? In this case, he or she was right behind us. I don’t know what makes them  howl so much in the confines of an air plane. The mother was trying her best to pacify the child. The child had a brother or sister, who was sitting  behind my seat. Ever now and then he or she would bang my seat with her knees or elbows sending shivers up my vertebral column.

The plane took off without much ado. But the child continued to cry. Was it due to colic or ear ache or hunger, it was difficult to tell. The young man sitting beside me was visibly agitated. He was muttering under his breath. He looked at me occasionally with a stern look as if I was  reason that the child was crying. He got up turned around and glared at the poor lady who was as exasperated as the young man. He sat down and his restlessness grew. He was startled when I called him by name. I told him that I was his father’s friend and had recognized him from the photos his father posted on Facebook. Relax, I told him. He was little perplexed by the wide grin on my face. This just reminded me the time, I told him, when you were a child, you created such a scene with your crying, that your face turned purple. The crew grew so worried that they even contemplated returning back, I added. That did it. He looked peevish. he got up, took a pair of ear phones and plugged it to his music player, asked for a sleeping mask from the stewardess and promptly went to sleep. He didn’t even get up to have the refreshments they served. Somewhere in the middle of all this, the baby had also gone to sleep. So did I and my legs.

As soon as the flight landed and came to a halt, the young man was quick to get up, grab his bag from the cabin and stand in a queue to get off. Normally I would be the last person to get off the plane. So I called out to him to give my regards to his father. He just nodded. He didn’t even know my name. A small girl (it had been a sister) peeped from behind my seat to see who she was kicking. I gave her a toffee, which I always carry with me for occasions like this. The mother looked thankfully at me, maybe for putting the young man off her. The baby was still fast asleep.

In the taxi, on our way home, my wife asked me, whose son it had been. Who knows, I replied, I just got the name from his passport. The rest was a long shot, I said. She started to look out of the window, unable to control her laughter.

* From a stray thought on a flight where an infant was howling away to glory, on how they would react to a similar situation when they grow up.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. July 31, 2015 23:51

    Gosh, you made that up? And what a story you have weaved! *clap clap*

    • August 2, 2015 12:06

      Thank you Shail. You know what kind of a make up artist I am!

  2. July 31, 2015 23:55

    Great make-up of the story. At least you did a noble cause via fiction!

  3. August 1, 2015 07:10

    Wow! A baby too
    Made up you!
    A lesson we forget
    Lest we beget
    More like us, wooohoooo 😀

    I love this one.
    Off topic, or rather if the topic is babies, it becomes my right to do so 😀 Naina, my grandottie has been, surprisingly, a good baby on travels. She’s like a seasoned traveller, with just once incident of crying because of ear pain, poor dear 🙂 🙂 What she never used to like (but now enjoys and demands it 😀 ) were long car rides. Apparently, now they *have to* take her out at least once a day, on a chakkar 😀

    • August 2, 2015 12:12

      Wow. I would like to travel with Naina, not that I mind crying children when I travel. I live children. 🙂

  4. August 1, 2015 07:46

    Oh…wow..that you tackled very well ! That reminds me…my girls were darlings during travel. Thankfully, we never went anyplace on a flight which will be uncomfortable for small babies. The trains soothing movement back and forth is a lullaby that they sleep quite well !!

    I knew there was going to be a twist to all this 😉

    • August 2, 2015 18:31

      Thank you Uma. Yes, trains are much better, much more fun and much more interactive. There are exceptions like the I mentioned in my FB status a week back. :). Is this your first time in Saturday Musings? Or I have become awfully predictable. 🙂

      • August 2, 2015 20:33

        First time here…
        Predictable or not, will know after reading a few of your posts 😉

      • August 3, 2015 07:42

        BTW, am waiting to know your FB status a week back, if you could oblige to the request 😀

      • August 3, 2015 08:13

        The request was accepted
        And I feel corrected
        That comment was totally unwarranted 😀

  5. August 1, 2015 08:19

    And this reminds me my son used to cry through out the whole journey… and me and my mother used to rather curse the 3 hour long journey…and kept on checking our watches …just to see if as to when the big bird would touch the ground . .I could connect …to whatever you have penned here so beautifully. …I thoroughly enjoyed reading this…. 😊

    • August 3, 2015 20:19

      I know the anxious mother and grand mother. My son was like that, but not on flights, in fact he hasn’t been on a flight, but when he cries, he will hold his breath and his lips will turn blue. I had brought this aspect in the story. Thanks Anita for your kind words.

  6. venkata ramana permalink
    August 1, 2015 16:38

    good short story.situation baga describe chesaru.

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