India has progressed economically. Now everyone has money and everyone travels. The air above is thick with planes and light is in short supply.
It was a confusing flight. We were cheek to cheek with a Lufthansa flight. In fact, the Lufthansa air hostess strayed onto the British Airways flight by mistake. From the window I looked into the Lufthansa plane and found their inflight entertainment more entertaining. A gentleman from the Lufthansa flight opened his window, reached into our plane and took away a coke. Someone else in the BA flight walked across to the LH flight as all the toilets on the BA flight were full – this at 39,000 feet. It was one large happy family.
As we entered European airspace all together (Air France, Swissair, Lufthansa, British Arways, Qantas and Air India), the Lufthansa air hostess wandered through our plane distributing landing cards. I didn't like the Indian vegetarian food on BA, so I walked into the Air India plane and had a good time. Someone from the Swissair flight walked into the Qantas flight, picked up some magazines and blankets and returned. No one batted an eyelid.
I forgot to mention that security has been heightened. All security personnel are very tall these days. They have banned things on board.
"Only one small laptop sized bag will be permitted. No toothpaste, medicines, cosmetics, etc."
"Passengers are not permitted to wear shoes, hats, jackets. etc."
"Passengers are not permitted to wear glasses and socks. Laptops are not allowed."
"Passengers are not allowed to wear clothes."
"Passengers are not allowed".
I am figuring out a way to upload myself to the internet after checking for viruses. It will not be easy. The experience is quite harrowing though novel (which is good, since you aren't allowed to read novels). One dare not ask for a blanket or even food.
It is awkward to be suddenly divested of garments for a duration of nine hours. Of course, after the initial embarrassment, everyone is quite cool and accepting. One is no longer shy of exhibiting one's paunch. It is a sociological catharsis. The thought of 300 naked passengers strapped tightly to their seats seems odd, but its happening.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we hope you enjoyed this flight. We look forward to seeing something new of you on the next one. Welcome to London."
"Exaggerating as usual, VM?", you say, exasperated.
I can only shrug. You have not been travelling lately.