Saturday, April 25, 2009

In flight experience

Travelling by an aircraft is always interesting provided one’s ears and eyes are open. Yes, one should not be the traveller who the moment flight takes off calls for a blanket and has his forty winks and gets up when the flight lands with a thud. Some experiences have been exhilarating and I shall share them.

I am generally the type who would pick up a conversation with a passenger seated next, and if the other person is not too cocky would for some part continue the conversation. I happened to be with a humorous seventy five year old gentleman and we connected well during the entire journey. He had a mischievous wink and smile and whenever he laughed, his whole body shook including his seat. We laughed a lot and he also pulled the legs of those seated near to us. Mid flight, a gentleman sitting across got up, opened the luggage cabin and pulled out his bag. The old man gently asked him “Are you getting down somewhere mid air that you are taking your baggage”? Passengers nearby roared in laughter and the gentleman also sportingly acknowledged the humour.

Hilarious was my journey in the company of young mischievous boys recently. One interesting incident I remember was when one guy told the other “ Sachin is sleeping in the front seat”. His friend asked him “with whom?”

During my flight last week, I was seated next to a young woman and her husband. At the start of the flight she had asked for three mini water bottles and I felt it was okay considering the sweltering heat in India. To my dismay I discovered later that she had this habit of asking for water too often. I had no objections whatsoever till the consequences of drinking too much water manifested. Sometime after take off, she started excusing herself to visit the washroom. Being in the aisle seat, I had to get up and give way. It happened seven times in a flight spanning ninety minutes which averaged a visit to the loo every thirteen minutes. This meant she was in the loo for nearly forty minutes considering the time taken every visit depending on what she was upto. Thoughts like what should I do to plug the water onslaught, what about the drainage in the aircraft and its storage capacity, will the aircraft sink - et al crossed my mind. I hated her husband for two reasons, one for having such an extremely beautiful wife like Angelina Jolie coupled with Jennifer Lopez, and secondly for peacefully slumbering like Rip Van Winkle unaware of my plight. I offered her the aisle seat and my ordeal ended.

So much for now. Can you share some of yours?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A lesson learnt

I thought I will share with all of you a lesson that I learnt some years back. I was looking after the human resources function of our Company’s factory. I had a nice glass cabin to myself from where I could see those who came to visit me. Luckily, people from outside could not see what I was upto, and that saved my job.

I remember vividly it was the twenty third of April and I was ensconced in my cabin with a fellow manager of mine discussing certain issues. Both of us could see a certain workman called Kumar approaching my cabin. Kumar had somehow or the other been besieged with several problems in his personal life. On some occasion it was his wife who was sick, sometimes his parents or his children, but problems predominated his otherwise cheerful disposition.

My fellow manager told me "Iyer, can you see Kumar coming? I am sure he is coming to request for a loan for his endless problems". In the next two minutes, Kumar knocked at my cabin door and said " Good morning, Sir". By way of a reaction, I asked Kumar " Some more problems, some more loans?’" Kumar looked at me and said "Sir, I remembered that today is your marriage anniversary and I wanted to congratulate you and wish you many more years of wedded bliss". He offered me a flower and a lemon which in South India are regarded auspicious, and hugged me before he left. My eyes were full with tears and I thanked him profusely. I felt like a full bloomed idiot and also felt extremely embarrassed. Even my fellow manager had not extended me wishes that day, but Kumar had remembered an important day in my life.

The lesson Kumar taught me that day was to view each situation anew and never to operate from my mindset. My own mindset and my mental blocks came my way and evoked a bad reaction from me when he entered my cabin. Kumar could have reacted and behaved very differently and walked away thinking what a nincompoop I was. He chose to act differently and accomplished the mission that he came for.

Thanks Kumar for this important lesson. I no more make gross generalisations. In more than one way, you changed my way of thinking and my reactions to life in various situations.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

All of them - professionals

I have been on leave and just chilling out. Ensured that I kept away from posting on my blog, and it is today that I have posted comments on other blogs and also decided to write a post.

My niece narrated a happening in a party attended by her and her husband. All was joy and fun with whisky, beer and vodka flowing, and lot of good food with about ten friends and their families attending the party. Loud music, jokes, laughter and dance - everyone present had just let their heads down. Dinner was over and liqueur was served and it was just the right setting to go home and get up late on a Sunday morning. It was at this juncture that it was known that a child had gone into a room and mistakenly locked itself. As things often happen, the keys to this room had been misplaced, and the child unable to come out was squealing and literally throwing up. The child’s parents were concerned and also others present. Everyone tried their little bit to open the room – some tried using their physical strength and some their mental. I was told most of them were MBAs, and theoretical models just don’t work in such situations.

The neighbour was summoned since there was some carpentry work undertaken at his house. It was past midnight and the carpenter was summoned. The neighbor who was literally sozzled provided some comic relief to the otherwise tense situation. The neighbour tried all his mastery at opening the door with a screw driver, and was seen driving at everything except the keyhole. When others intervened to help, he felt that his prowess was being challenged. I guess those who drink believe booze provides the answer, but unfortunately they don’t remember the question. Such was the neighbour’s predicament. Alcohol has always been a misunderstood vitamin.

Since the child had to be rescued without causing danger or physical harm, the police and fire brigade were informed. The police could not do much except counselling the parents as to how children should be looked after. The carpenter arrived by then and opened the door and the child was back with his parents. The fire brigade personnel were informed over the phone that the drama had ended but they did not relent. Thus the ordeal was still not over The rules of the fire brigade state that once informed, it was their bounden duty to visit the place. They arrived and it was fun again. Five of them in uniforms arrived with torches and insisted on using heir torches even though the entire house was fully lit. They started inspecting the place with their torches on - much to the amusement of everyone. Despite being told that the child was safe, they insisted on seeing the child and did so in great √©lan by pointing their torches to the child’s face. This was the icing on the cake and a grand finale to the party.

Police, firemen , carpenter and the sozzled neighbour left, and the friends decided to have a final drink – one for the road, and to the child. The toast, of course, was raised for the neighbour , the police and firemen who ensured the friends and their families did not lose their sanity in such tense situation.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Grandfathers' Tales (Tails)

I was told this story recently. It’s quite interesting and all of us have a moral to draw. This is the story of the cap seller and the monkeys, and here it goes ….

Once a cap seller was walking along the forest and decided to rest under a tree after lunch. He placed his caps near his head and went into deep slumber. When he woke up, he noticed that his caps were missing and was quite upset. He soon realized that some monkeys had played a trick on him and found the monkeys wearing the caps and sitting atop a tree. He thought of a plan to retrieve his caps and enacted the same. He showed his fist to the monkeys and they repeated the act after him. He clapped and they all clapped back. Finally, he took out his cap and threw it on the ground, and the monkeys followed suit. Happily, he collected all the caps, mocked at them and went away.

Some years later, another cap seller happened to pass by the forest, and done by the heat, decided to take rest under a tree. Like his cap seller grandfather in the earlier incident, he too fell into deep slumber, and after sometime realized that all his caps had been taken away by the monkeys. The grandson soon recollected the experience shared by his grandfather, and decided to play the trick on the monkeys. The grandson showed his fist and the monkeys repeated it. He clapped and they all clapped after him. Finally, he took out his cap and threw it on the ground. The leader of the monkeys jumped down and slapped him hard on the face and said ‘Do you think we are nuts? Do you think, only you have a grandfather who shared his experience?’.