One of the things I love about traveling is that I get to meet and observe a large variety of people. As per my last count at around 6:30 this evening, I have met/observed 51506 people over the last one and a half years- that’s the time I have spent in my current job- . (For the benefit of curious souls the calculation for arriving at this number is available at the end of this post*)
So anyway, I was talking about the variety of people I have met/observed at the airport or during flights. I have realized that the most annoying ones fall in one of the 7 categories mentioned below:
- Whose seat is it anyway? We’ve seen these guys a lot of times. They are the ones who are not able to understand the concept of seats being numbered and end up sitting on the one they like the most. On my last trip, I encountered a gentleman who had occupied my seat and refused to leave it. On insisting, he told me in impeccable Bihari style – Bahut saara to khaali pada hai.. chhek lijiye! ( There are a lot of empty seats around, take another one )
Some of them have a strong curiosity for what lies outside the window. In my opinion it’s also to reassure themselves that the aircraft is still airborne. A friend while traveling on a window seat woke up to a shocking sight of a fellow passenger – a lady- just 4 inches from her face staring out of the window. On being asked to move back, aunti ji replied that she would prefer to retain her position as it allowed her a good view of the clouds
- I own this place: The people from this category usually come in XL sizes and have no sense of someone else’s space. They’d make you contemplate homicide (or suicide depending on their relative size) if they sat next to you. Expect them to own the always disputed shared arm rest. Next, they would position their legs in such a way that they would intimidate the shit out of your modestly built legs. These people also possess a unique ability to expand themselves to occupy all the space available. Almost the way gasses do. So you say bye-bye to every inch of space that your frame couldn’t occupy. It is for these people I never take a window seat as one runs the risk of being crushed to death
- My kid is your kid: Ever felt the need to whack a person because you felt that they don’t know how to handle their kid? Well, I have figured out that the reason these people never intend to get their kid to behave is because they think the kid is as much the co-passenger’s as she is theirs. What else could explain absolute calm and tolerance towards a preposterously behaving kid who is busy throwing bread crumbs all over you? What’s even more appalling is that these people tell their kid to “ go and play with uncle” What am I ? Bozo the clown??
- Hum saath –saath hain : I remember how as a 10 year old I loved traveling in trains in large groups of extended family. The journeys were long but fun as we had almost three sets of cubicles to us and we could just run around, swing from berth to birth, eat, sing and be a complete nuisance to fellow passengers. While traveling by air, such fun is not an option anymore. However, some people have just not accepted the change. These joint family travelers travel in groups of 6-10 and turn the aircraft into their play ground. Some time back I landed up with one such group and spent my time passing chips and cold drinks from one member of the group to another one sitting next to me. To add to it, I also had to handle a baby who was being passed around the group to be played with
- Will you do frandship with me?: I am not xenophobic but I prefer not to get too friendly with unknown people at airports. However, some people can just surprise you with their friendliness and willingness to talk. As I sat waiting for the boarding announcement, this completely random person walks up to me and goes –
Bataiye, tod hi daala!
I looked at him with a big question mark written on my face
Taala aur kya?
I am sorry?
Arey taala tod diya bhai.. poora ka poora!
Sun ke dukh hua.
Arey kya batayen, taala bhi tod diya aur chain bhi rakh li. Chor hain sab!
My clearly evident lack of interest didn’t discourage him from going and interacting with at least 4 other people including the air hostess when he was entering the air craft
- Why, what, where, when, how?: These guys like asking questions at every possible point of contact. You’d probably spot them first at the check in counter asking if the flight is on time. While that is a very normal question, things get out of hand when the questions get too personal for comfort. This rather heavy gentleman ahead of me in the check in queue asked the lady at the counter after getting his boarding pass - Is there enough time to go to the toilet?. The lady promptly replied – Depends on how long it takes you in there sir. Respect for the lady and hail Air India. These guys are also quite unsure when they board the bus confirming at least from 3 sources if the bus is taking them to the right aircraft before coming to peace. And finally, you would meet them on the aisle seat when you ask them to move out so that you can get to your window seat:
Andar wali seat aapki hai?
Nahi sir, aise hi khidki ke bahar jhaakne ka mood hai.
- I loooove you loo!: My nomination for the " Most Annoying of All" award. These guys have made me hate my once beloved aisle seat. People from this category visit the loo like it were Disney Land. Repeat rides at no extra price. On one such occasion I had to request Mr. I – Need – To-Go to stop drinking any more water as it wasn’t helping any one of us. He looked at me with a hurt expression and I had to yield. But that was one of the last times I ever took the aisle seat
So that’s my list. I am sure there are more which might fall outside of these 7 categories. If you know of them, please write in.
*Calculation of number of people met/observed -
Image source: http://dalecarnegiewaysa.com