Bhuwan's Ramblings

Friday, May 16, 2008

A dream fulfilled

You buy a ticket … get boarding passes … board the airplane … the door closes … you hear safety announcements … … … … sounds familiar?

At the end of the trip … you exit at the same place you boarded by sliding down the emergency exit slide without an accident or emergency landing … … … hmmm still on familiar ground?

The total cost you pay for this trip is similar to the amount you would pay to get to the Delhi IGI airport on the new Metro line or just to surf internet at the same airport.

This is an old Airbus 300 plane parked in the backyard of a former Indian Airlines Engineer in the Dwarika neighborhood of New Delhi. This place is actually not far from the IGI airport.

Thousands of Indians are fulfilling their dream of getting an airplane experience by paying a nominal150 bucks and tours are also offered free of charge for the economically challenged and school children. (Reuters Video)

It is amazing that in the euphoria of a booming aviation industry and increasing air passengers we forget about the majority of our country’s population that cannot afford a plane ticket.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Mist … Morning … Me

A light jerk brought me back to life. I opened my eyes, but was still in the early morning where-am-I-who-am-I moment when I heard some murmurs at close proximity. My cell phone screen read 6:15 with a small AM on the right side. I had seen the combination of these figures on any time-informing-device only if either the device malfunctioned or I had been up all night. I climbed down from my third-tier-bed and lazed through the narrow walkway to the door. Clinging to the vertical handles adjacent to the door I peeped out to the misty winter dawn spreading itself.

The haze had dissolved everything beyond a few meters into oblivion, or rather into imagination. No wonder they use fog while depicting fantasy sequences in movies. A few feet towards my right stood the omnipresent grey cart-shop with a huge cooking bowl filled with oil that had multi-shaped delicacies being fried. In a few minutes people had gathered around the owner-artisan (I think cooking is an art rather than a just a procedure) to please their taste buds. He multitasked to satisfy each customer with fresh crispy samosas and kachories fried to an appetizing light brown perfection. I was still intoxicated with the aroma when I noticed a young boy appear from the white curtain behind.

He held a steel container in one hand and a bunch of earthen cups in another. As the distance between us reduced, he looked at me with question in his eyes; I nodded with a smile. A minute later, as I took the first sip of my drink, he disappeared into the fog with a lighter container and heavier wallet.

By the time I was half-way through my drink I noticed that the movement outside had increased; people walked faster and spoke louder than a few minutes ago. The queue at the drinking water taps had swelled and the persons had got impatient that increased the chaos and decreased the amount of water filled by any one person. The man in the ‘official’ black suit weighed the prospect of earning money from the persons surrounding him. Things had changed since Internet gained popularity, taking control away from him and giving it to the machine. He repeatedly spoke about this unfortunate situation and remembered the good-old-days. The persons around him concurred not because they cared for his feelings, but motivated by the prospect of getting undue priority over others. The scenery in front of me took a dramatic shift to high-energy state with the sound of the whistle at a distance.

The deal between the man in the black suit and persons surrounding him was struck in a spectacular manner right at the moment the whistle was heard and he directed difference persons to different doors. People rushed towards the doors as the huge body of metal screeched from its position. The grey cart-shop, the boys with containers, the drinking water taps, everything drowned into the white sea as we moved forward entering the pallid cloud with a promise to take us into the world of our want and imagination.