The Most Charming
Travelling Companions in Town
My better half, Kapil
has been asking me to accompany him to the states on one of his
trips there so that I too can enjoy seeing a new country. I have
not been able to oblige him because , being a rather doting mother,
I cannot bring myself to travel without my two little brats . However
nor can I bring myself to venture a long flight with them. These
flashbacks into the past will help you understand why!
My daughter Tamanna, and I were on a flight to Bangkok and she had
mild fever. As I could not hold her and measure out her syrups myself,
a kind sardarji neighbour willingly obliged. He expressed friendliness
out of compassion for the sick child and tried to engage with her.
The child rewarded him by beaming at him and deftly kicking a glass
of water onto his lap. The poor gentleman tried to undo the damage
with tissues but the seat and his trouser were firmly wet.
the food arrived, little bits kept tumbling onto his (wet!)
lap thanks to the antics of the little one. I kept trying
to field whatever bits I could before they reached his lap
much like a desperate goalkeeper in a finals match but my
daughter was clearly a champion scorer. I kept murmuring apologies.
He heaved a sigh of relief when the food trays were taken
away and put on his headphones to enjoy the in-flight movie.
It was then that Tamanna decided that she wanted his phones
and stood up to pull them off his ears. No amount of reasoning
could deter her from her single minded goal. Not even her
own set of phones. A protracted game of tugging ensued and
the further the sardarji leaned away the more determined became
the hurls of her body in that direction. Anyone who has tried
to hold down a struggling child knows the superhuman strength
I strained every
conceivable sinew but was unsuccessful in stopping her. Finally
the neighbour just surrendered to the focused daughter-distressed
mother duo and handed over his earphones!
After some more novel
ways of torturing the gentleman further she finally dozed off and
a I have not heard a greater sigh of relief than that which emanated
from my neighbour! An hour later, as we were landing, she stirred
in her slumber and I will never forget the look of pure terror on
the gentleman’s face as he turned to his neighbour and remarked-“the
devil is waking up!”
flight to Bangkok where we had wonderful hostesses, my daughter
being well this time was full of even greater energy. She
decided to expend that by running up and down the aisles with
me giving chase. Though tiring, it was not a bad deal. Till
she devised a little game. This involved walking up to the
airhostess, winning her friendship (which is very easy when
one is blessed with an angelic face) and then when the hostess
least suspected it, trying to pull off her sarong! No amount
of reasoning on the part of the airhostesses or me seemed
to make her desist from this game. It turned out to be an
extremely tiring flight with one determined girl, one extremely
harried and embarrassed mother and a couple of pretty airhostesses
clutching their sarongs tightly racing back and forth between
Other eventful flights
involved stacking butter and jam tubs as a substitute for lego building
blocks, running off to return with pieces of food from the plates
of unsuspecting passengers in front and many many more…...My son,
Aditya a newer entrant to the skies, alternates between wailing
loudly with head flung full back for maximum resonance or running
between the aisles as fast as his little legs can carry him.
I find myself constantly
amazed at human tolerance and kindness and ask for God’s blessings
for staff crew and fellow passengers! Meanwhile it will take me
a while to recover from this trauma and build up the nerve to fly
with my two little friends.
Dr Anjali Mehta, is an ex-Army
eye surgeon with my own practice at Dwarka . She enjoys writing
both thought provoking and fun articles now and then.