i think its a nexus between the airlines and the taxi operators. they keep their flights so early in the day, the cabbies rake in a rather healthy moolah! all excited, albeit grogy eyed i reach the airport saturday morning 4am. my first air deccan flight! lest i be categorised as the 'nouveau riche', i must insist that this mode of transport was enforced on me. absence of teleportation and circumstance are my scapegoat. but with the iPod plugged into me, i did not quite come across as a chap who has stretched his pockets to make this trip. stares moved from the paper ticket to the iPod and then to me.
probably the first flight out of kamraj domestic airport for the day was DN 613. LCC is the lingo air deccan (AD for convenience) has taught the indian traveller - Low Cost Carrier. the thriftiest of the travellers will feel at home. in time for check-in, i come with the most abyssmal expectations from AD. free seating a la general compartment, delayed flights, old aircrafts et al. first dose of suprise came in the form of a boarding pass WITH a seat number on it! but was left wondering why a sticker with a seat number was attached onto the boarding pass which already carried a number!! ever since i bought this ticket, cost cutting was so engrained in my head, i found this a wasteful expenditure, not to forget a wasteful activity too. the chappie at the counter is also paid to stick those tags onto the passes. extra cost. i am not asked my seat preference. this must be the free seating i was told about.
move on to security check. not one to have had problems in this part of airline journeys, was rather amused to be pulled to the side for 'detailed inspection'. turned out, the iPod had stirred the security personnel's brains. i've seen it to do to one's heart, but this mental connection was new to me. i gathered, the connection was new to the security personnel too. with a pleading eye he turns to his superior, apprehensive hands holding the iPod and a bleating "saar!". would have gladly inquired what was choking him, but my sight was set on the iPod. almost hit myself for putting it in the bag for the X-Ray! the security superior though casts an omniscient eye from afar and okays the junior to let me go. i would rather have him not look at the iPod that way! humpf! world peace restored, the junior hands me back my precious piece and am off on my way.
the essence of a low cost flight did not quite hit me till i found two seemingly rustic men climb aboard. long kurtas, over-washed dhotis and matching yellow turbans to boot. skins well tanned in the summer sun. i must remind the reader here that i had to stretch my pockets to make this trip. now i need to remind myself to ask my boss for a raise, or probably hone my agricultural skills. the emphasis on cost saving was further drilled into me when the flight purser reminded us to not assume that the life jackets were freebies. also, help them bring to book those who considered it so! boy! i am now a vigilante too! her reasoning was infallible. the more we deprive them of their life jackets, the more they spend on getting new ones, the more we spend on our tickets. rather potent logic. i understood it without the need to be told again. by now i was quite convinced that AD was serious about saving money, but wondered whether the flight crew would charge us for a smile. i suppose they do, but i was on a cost saving trip too! did not want to find out.
the interior seemed quite well made, i had imagined electric chairs with straps for seat belts. but my iPod was acting up. it showed 4 instances of Rock and 5 of Slow Rock. must be the Real Player's handywork. had connected to it the previous day. damn s/w screwed up my playlist. i was no longer interested in the decor. but such maladies hold little fort against a slumber induced by a 3hr sleep the previous night. drifting off into the clouds, i am stirred by the sweet scent of a woman's perfume, fresh bread and coffee. maybe i was dreaming but i do recollect having seen a food trolley go past me. the air hostess chose not to disturb me. bless the soul! back to my slumber and this time jolted wide awake by turbulence. pilot crackles into the PA system asking us to belt up. blast his soul! yeah, he would know what was going on, but i did not and i certainly was all (blocked) ears! we were almost near mumbai. i think of all the rain clouds there and tell myself it must be these that created the shake. telling me that something i had so longed for, is finally here!
mumbai. i am back! but the screwed up playlist was disturbing me. i need to get to the nearest iTunes and fast!