This could very well be prompted by the Jet Airways flight that I “had” to take today 🙂 ok I “chose” to take. I expected bad service and got exactly that, grim boarding pass issuers, unsmiling air hostesses with stress lines on their forehead and food that I should not have touched !! Alright I will say it – also the myriad offensive odours from fellow travellers … That’s the moment when I thought of my first ever air travel from Guwahati to Calcutta, 1984. We actually got dressed formally and the Indian Airlines plane seats were beautiful. The music was awesome and the air hostesses were pleasant – it was romantic. I still have what I wrote about that travel, seeing the clouds for the first time from above them, how scared Amma was and we made her sit in the middle seat… Yes ofcourse I was in my favourite window seat. 28 years later – the romance has worn off.
I still get a thrill every time the plane takes off – its a symbol of what the human mind can create, and a great symbol. The levels of safety, the way air travel has brought the world closer, it’s a miracle that we see every day, every hour now – but reduced to the mundane, taken for granted.
We have done that to everything, the romance of train travel has given way to stench and mountains of muck. Just last week, I traveled between Chennai and Bangalore in an AC two tier compartment and it was sad. The curtains were worn off, there were cockroaches in the compartment, the sheets were some shade of grey and the platforms and tracks – a public toilet would have been cleaner. Again the mundane takes over the romance.
We have state of the art movie theatres – but do you ever “dress up” to go watch a movie anymore ? The pleasure of waiting for the last piece of the sweets, replaced with rows and rows of sweets at the sweet shop. No it’s not about speed and the instant world or the processed food, it’s about savouring the moment and making things special.
Hareesh, do you remember scouting for the music they played in Air India flights in 1992 ? That’s how amazing it was and what have we done to air travel today ? If the guy in front of me pushes back his seat, he will break my nose !! How cool and romantic is that ….
We need a dose of romance to lift our spirits from the mundane existence !