was on a flight from Ahmedabad to Bangalore yesterday, and something happened, and i can't decide whether i was right or wrong...but am sorry in any case.
so the build up...the flight was 1.5 hours late, it finally arrived and we were comfortably seated. all well till now, the engine starts revving up, u know like just before running down the runway for take-off, how the engine gains full power, you can feel it in ur bones, but the plane was just standing on the tarmac, and was almost at full power...i tell myself its not a helicopter.
soon a lot of mechanics came running to the plane, and after 20 minutes of what seemed like no activity from the window of the plane, the go ahead was given. the plane starts rolling and a rythemic grinding sound starts coming, every driven a cycle, heard that sound when something on the rim rubs agains the brakes, similar sound, just very very loud, almost screechy. ok, i am a bit alarmed.15 more minutes of standstill waiting just before the take-off and i am thinking something is wrong. apparently not, the flight takes of smoothly.
I am seated at the second emergency exit, 13A, someone is at 12A, and then two other people at 13C n 12C. The flight attendants comes to explain the procedure to open the 15 Kg door, and starts with, 'you are sitting at the emergency exit door, will you be will to open it during an emergency' and this guy on 12A, a very well built guy wearing black shades and a black shirt goes 'No'. the rest of us and the flight attendant stare at him to see if we heard right, well we did, his seat is changed. Who says 'No'!!!
we ascent, the pilot tells us on the PA that we are 37,000 feet, outside temp is -49C, and i think, if you would have to crash the plane, you could just open the emergency door. am sure there are some kinds of safeguards.
and then the guy on 12C proposes to the female flight attendant, she couldn't stop blushing for the next 20 mins, and couldn't help smiling every time he passed him for the rest of the time. Her male counterpart kept on making fun of her throughout. not part of the buildup but worth mentioning.
12A (window seat next to emergency door) is empty and this guy moves from his seat a couple of rows ahead to 12A, almost hops, very sudden. a flag goes up, it mostly does in my head when i see something out of the ordinary expected, just me being my curious self. i start observing the guy, muslim guy, bearded, wearing a crushed kurta pajama with a sweater and one of those woolen monkey caps, carrying a red colored handbag, with something written in urdu on it.
i catch his eye, am wearing my black raybans, and his glares into my eyes, doesn't blink...
he keeps on looking out of the window, so much so that his nose is stuck to the window glass. very very fidgety, keeps on unbuckling and rebuckling his safety belt, keeps on looking back and front, all sudden movements.
seems so agitated, i start getting a bit concerned.
now he keeps on staring towards the back, towards the loo's i think, and then suddenly gets up halfway and looks towards the front, signals or something. another guy catches his eyes, and there is this look of understanding in his eyes, accomplice.
now i am concerned, its been almost 45 mins, and my noisy head is full of thoughts. two possibilities, second being he is a first time traveler, you would expect them to be a bit nervous. this guy is grown up, in his late 40's, you would expect some control on his emotions. second thought, if it were the obvious, then he'd actually be quiet, try not getting any attention to him. thats how its in the movies...
meanwhile he keeps at it, still not calm, still as agitated if not more, almost expect him to stand up and start saying his prayers anytime now. and i tell myself, u'd be luck to get to blr this time'
so i take the decision of informing someone, go up to the flight attendant at the back, say, 'i don't want to be alarmist, but the guy in front of me is kinda concerning, is very agitated, keeps on moving in his seat a lot...et al', and the flight attendant asks me my seat, 13A, and he goes ah the guy with the cap, and i say yes.
anyways come back to my seat, and after about 5 mins, his 'accomplice' moves to 12B...not good. they both start fidgeting, one bends forwards...and then suddenly both get up, go to the back toilets, one in each, on the way the guy with the cap signals to some guy on of the back seats. i seriously was preparing for them to come out with weapons...!
they don't, they come back, and start talking. the guy with the cap asks the female flight attendant for some tea who gets it for him and smiles at the guy on 12B. they start talking casually, the guy on 12B showing and explaining stuff in the plane, and pointing out of the window and all....
first time traveler.
now i am feeling guilty, a little bit, tell myself better safe then sorry. tell myself, its not even an error of judgement, anyone observing would have come to the same conclusion. but i don't know, you decide. i know why i was a bit more hyper, and i am a very very calm, quite fearless guy most of the time, but then all the movies and all the news has changed me, unconsciously. tan said day before that u like it or not, u want it or not, all these things do affect you unconsciously, and it had.
my sincere apologies to the guy at 12A, i am thankful that the flight attendants didn't over react, because if they would have, it would have ruined a first time travelers experience, caused him embarrassment and justifiably angered him and would have exposed my hypocrisy.