As the inflight announcement commenced, I looked up in blank space, neutering the rest of my 4 senses, to get my hearing sense in overdrive. I don't know if you've ever noticed, but this is exactly what we all do when we try to use one of our senses at the periphery of its ability -shut the others out.
Anyway, so I was paying full attention to this disinterested captain as he expressed his usual, lack of control over the delay and doled out a drawly apology. Apparently, we were stuck because the first officer for this flight had taken another flight to the city which hadn't landed yet.
I looked at my fellow passenger and shook my head with the cynicism of someone who had travelled enough to see through the pretence of these airlines. My fellow passenger, clearly a novice flyer, smiled back and said - " hello". ( The Indian Traveler's guidebook suggests that you should always treat your fellow passengers with utmost indifference. Acknowledging their presence or giving friendly vibes are markers of the less travelled.)
I unclasped my seatbelt, preparing to make myself comfortable for what seemed like a long wait, when suddenly, I heard the captain say the most unbelievable thing ever said from the cockpit of an Indian aircraft.
" Ladies and Genlemen, you are all welcome to come and have a look at the cockpit" , and then added as a careless afterthought, "Please come one by one".
I looked around in utter disbelief. Silence filled the aircraft as everyone seemed to be playing back the announcement in their heads to be sure that they heard what they heard. I guess we all decided to call it bluff, when suddenly, a rotund Sardarji got up and quietly rolled across the aisle into the cockpit.
Hell broke loose as a mob of crazy travelers stormed towards the cockpit. Leading the crowd was a bunch of wild, screaming kids affected by what I could only surmise as a fit of acute avian hysteria. Somebody made a meek appeal to form a queue.
I saw the pilot squeezing himself out of the cockpit and pulling the door shut behind him, horror written all over his panic struck white face. When you throw an offer like this to a bunch of loud Dilli wallahs you don't ask them to come "one by one", you ask them for mercy.
In the midst of this pandemonium, a bulky 6 feet something dude decided that this was the best opportunity to flirt with the air hostess and offered to help by filling in for the first officer. I think the air hostess did well to decline politely.
Just as it all seemed to be getting beyond control, the eagerly awaited first officer arrived. The captain got some courage in his company and sternly refused any more cockpit tours. A few fellow passengers clapped. I whistled. The air hostess frowned.
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