Sunday, April 19, 2009

The window seat

To get out of the depression of my last post, here goes one more !

Usually the big trip home for a vacation is endured by long hours of travel in a bus. But this time, for a change, i decided to pamper myself and take the luxury of flight journey both ways!
Talking of flight journeys, i am not a frequent traveller by flight and somehow each journey has always made me very anxious.I still remember my first trip by flight.It was to spend a vacation with my brother and sister in Dubai.Since it was my very first trip,heading all alone to a foreign land,my brother was giving me details on how to go about the formalities in the airport, each time he called. I kept pestering him over every call that he even filled up a word document on how to travel by flight and sent it to me.Finally after hearing my never ending volley of questions, my brother arranged for me alight at the sharjah airport instead of the actual dubai international airport, since he said that he was so sure i would never make it out of the airport if i alighted there(Apparently it's that big!).

Finally on the big day, my father and me started off on the regular routine of the question and answer sesssion and Do's and Do Not's. Do not talk to strangers, Do not accept any packages from strangers, Do not eat or drink anything anyone offers you. Hearing all the talks, my mother just had one comment to add, that she has no fears for me, she just fears for my fellow passengers!

With a mobile phone huddled between my ear and shoulder and my brother on the other end of the call, and with loads of baggage i trudged very bravely into the Trivandrum international airport. Standing at the entrance, i memorised for one last time all the directions that i am to follow and marched ahead. Finally after what seemed like a big ordeal, i somehow made it out to my brother's outstreched arms at the oil rich arab land.
His first question to me was, so how did you enjoy the night lights of dubai? I was dumbfound.What is he asking?I just reached now.What night life is he talking about? Seeing my expression, he asked me..didn't you get to see the night lights when your flight was about to land?
"No, i was sitting in the aisle seat.All i could see was the other passengers in the flight. "
Arrghhh... he says and tells me that he had specifically put me in for the night travel so that i could catch the beauty of lights from high above. I was hurt. I really dint know that you could fight for a window seat, like in our local buses.I made a mental note to make sure that no matter what, i will be by the window seat on my return.

The day to return came almost real soon and i could hardly believe that i had to head back.I was back at the Sharjah aiport again. And this time, while collecting my boarding pass, i put on my most innocent look and flashing my most gracious smile, i ask "Can i get a window seat pleaseeee?" .The person at the counter, takes one look at me, has another look at my passport (Probably trying to reaffirm my age!) returns my smile and hands me my pass to the window seat. My return journey was around 1:30 early morning from Dubai.So my brother had specifically asked me to watch out for the transit from the night sky to the skylight break into its golden glory. I was all excited and on boarding i hurridely rushed to my assigned seat.What do i see? One very very old grandma and her accompanying maid have already taken my seat and the adjoining one leaving only the aisle seat to me.Very graciously i ask them if they got the seats right and the old grandmom gives me look which says 'can't you just sit there and keep quiet', which is exactly what i did.Muttering under my breath and furious at having my window seat taken,i sit grumpy all throught my return journey. I dint even get to see a hint of anything which looked like the sky.

Very soon, i got the chance to relive my dreams of a window seat by the flight again when i got myself booked for the kingfisher flight from Bangalore to Trivandrum.Going through the same old procedure of flashing my most innocent question 'Can i get a window seat pleaseeeee?' [Which is always reciprocated with a questioning look by the other party..wonder why!!], i managed to get a boarding pass which read 10A.Finally my chance to see the sky from close up.I board the flight, rush to my seat and to my dismay see that it is occupied by a gentleman in a very professional business suit. I glance up at the seat numbers written and tell him that i think he is in the wrong seat. He pulls out his boarding pass and tells me his seat is 10B and that he is in the right seat. Very innocently i repeat "Sorry, but A is the window seat and B is the aisle one".Off he starts blaring out," are you trying to tell me? Do you know how many flights i have boarded and travelled in? "Ooops...i was taken aback.I dint expect to be hollered at. I had a good mind to reply to him that probably he has enjoyed many flight journeys, but this is just my third one and that i really wanted the window seat. But well, being the 'Decent and well mannered' [;)] girl that i am, i give in and fuming internally, i give up my window seat for the aisle seat again.Before the flight takes off, he propels what looks like a air pillow against the window and sets himself to doze off. Even before the plane takes off the ground, the only sound i could hear was that of his loud snores [even above the roar of the engine!]. With that dumb pillow blocking whatever little view of the sky i could have had and with his loud bull-dozer snoring sounds,it was everything i could do, not to bang his head against the sides of the plane!

So it was Strike One, Strike Two......and Strike Three ...for my window seat in an aeroplane!

Recently, i again booked myself in for air travel [this time more lavish.. i got them reserved for both ways.. To and fro..BLOR<-> TVM]. Finally, asking the same old question for the third time, i again get a boarding pass which reads some number and an 'A'. I reconfirm with the lady at the counter, if 'A' is really for window seat and she re-affirms it. I had a good mind to record her confirmation reply in my mobile, in case i come across some other jerk this time.The same old ritual again, the same old walk to my seat. And what do i see?.. The window seat.. All mine..waiting for me. I was so elated and looked all around to see if i could express my happiness to anyone around.Unfortunately no one around me looked interested in knowing about my joy on this, so i decided against it and simply settled myself in the seat, took in the scene of the airport through the little small window by my side, fastened my seat belt and smiled gleefully. Finally..i made it!
Just then, a small voice beside me says 'Excuse me'. I turn and look to see a boy who looks to be around 3, a lady [his mom]..and another girl around 5 yrs of age standing beside my seat. The lady looks at me very apologetically and tells me that she is travelling alone with her two kids, and that since it's their first time by flight, both kids want a seat by the window. I could guess the rest of the request. Putting on my most gracious smile, i move aside to make place little kenith.Little did the lady know that i was also as eager as kenny was, to sit by the window.. But i guess, the age and size difference does play a very influential role in such situations. So there went my chance again! But i must say that, even though i dint get to enjoy the window seat, i had a nice flight with kenny by my side. We kept blabbering for the one and a half hr of our flying time.

By now, i had given up all hopes of a window seat and decided not to pursue it any further. The return trip, i just stood like a normal grown up without putting forth any requests. The guy at the counter asks me 'Maam, do you have any seat preferences'?

I reply - Not really. [Point to note : i was travelling back on a wednesday evening]

He replies : 'Maam, the flight is not really full and if you prefer i can put you in for a window seat'!

Aarghh..... Now fate was taunting me!
This is probably why people say, never run behind anything. Stop running and it will eventually catch up with you!!
Once more i board the Jet airways flight with a pass to the window seat.My hopes have risen high again.I reach the seat. A very apologetic looking stewardess is standing by my seat and tells me that, since the flight just landed from Bangalore, there had been a slight 'accident' in the previous journey and apparently, the previous passenger had spilled the lunch package on the seat. It was covered with a white turkish towel.
She asks me "Would you mind sitting in the aisle seat? The flight is not full. I shall check if i can get you a better seat elsewhere".
She walks off.
I shout behind her "Please check for a window seat..................................."
I dint see her for the rest of my journey in the aisle seat.

My 5'th flight trip, my last flight trip till date.
I have decided - The next time i ever board a flight,it is going to be on my own chartered flight, with all the window seats reserved just for me!!!!!

But now when i think about this, i really find this entire incident hilarious. Harsh lesson learnt, no matter how hard i try, unless i am destined for it, i dont get it...........whatever be it. A lesson i will always remember in my life. A lesson which has taught me not to have expectations in life.....

But someday...i really do want to sit by the window seat and see the sky or the moon or the cities below or the deep blue oceans or the snow capped mountains..or atleast the flight's wings......... [;).. i dont really change!!!].


Prasoon said...

the next seat on the window shall be yours amen. now, not just you but the world wants the same thing and so, it might very well come true.

The post was nicely written - the hopes and why it was important and the curiosity. Well, for that - you will get a window seat I wish. :)

Deepthi Rajagopal said...

Thank you so much Prasoon. Right now, the only thing between me and a window seat is.. God's will! With good wishes like the one you just gave me, i am sure i am going to make it !!!

Akshay (Bunty) said...

Hmm :) I hate window seats on flights...Seeing the blue ocean or the small outlines of earth below always gives me the shivers..

Ku Klutz Klan said...

Aah...reminds me of the first flight i ever took. it was to Germany, and those were the days of the Jurassic Age of SAP, when we used to fly by business class! We were a bunch of kids laughing and cracking jokes. As we walked into the cabin, we couldn't help notice those immaculately dressed businessmen, gawking at us with their mouths wide open. Their expression seemed to ask the question: "Did these people take the wrong turn? someone should point out to them where the economy class is!". The stewardesses were nothing better, they seemed to completely ignore us. My friend quipped: "Nobody offered me a drink! And all tose gentlemen over there are drunk up to their noses!". Nevertheless, i got a window seat.

The best sight that you can see from the flight is not the sun rising, but the sun never setting! I had the luck to see that - when i flew from California to Frankfurt, the sun never reaches the horizon, there's hours of twilight, and then, LO it rises again...and as you land in Frankfurt you realize that a day has gone past!

I've lost count of how many times i've flown, but i am still afraid of flying. Seeing how i cling on to the seats during take-off and landing, many people have asked whether it is my first flight :)

Ku Klutz Klan said...

...and fighting for window seats...during my last flight, in January, me and my friend royally fought for a window seat :)

But then, gimme a train anyday!

Deepthi Rajagopal said...

@Aks - Shivers? Oh..mebbe even i might if i too get to see the sky or the clouds or the oceans!!
@Ravi - class..Guess i have joined a little late at SAP ;).Glad to know that i am not the only one who has to fight for window seats in a flight!

Rize said...

i really find it amusing! 4 times assigned window seat and still cdnt get close! i like the idea of owning a flight though! :)

Deepthi Rajagopal said...

@ Rize..
Yeah, even i cudnt believe it. Imagine being almost there and still not there ! [confusing isnt it!].
Owning a flight.. right now that seems to be the only way for me to get to fly in a window seat!. Atleast i will have 60 window seats to choose from. And if i get an option to custom make my flight..then its not going to have any aisle seats at all.. Just to be on the safe side!

Bachu said...

Well written.:-)
If God wills next time you will surely get a window seat.
And when you owns an airline, please reserve one window (OK, even aisle will do) seat for myself. And if ever I do own one I shall book one for you too.. Deal!!!

Deepthi Rajagopal said...

@ Bachu...
Hehehe..Deal!! Done!. So lets make it 30 window seats for you..and 30 for me ;)..! We can share the cost of buying a flight!

Nishmi Santosh said...

Now this is called Hard Luck...
I also luv window seats...
Lets hope next time u get a window seat....
and girl.. if u r traveling from tvm to blore, Sit on the Left side Window seat... and u can see the beautiful Arabian sea just as the flight takes off!! Remember Left side Window Seat...
I am kind of inspired to write abt my first flight experience.. :)

Nikhil said...

if I'm in next seat to u . .definitely get u a windows seat .. ;)

interesting blog , kkep 'em going..

jayadevan said...

Btw, the window seat is real cool :P