Saturday, August 11, 2012


I was on the move from the age of 23. I mean have been travelling to places that my work decreed and. On a few journeys C has tagged on and the liberties with a roving pair of eyes were more discreet than other times.

It has been always an anxious moment before boarding a train, a bus or a plane or even waiting for a passenger to occupy the adjacent seat. Though I‘ve kept away from any bonhomie with Gods, I used to discreetly enquire if they would ensure a pretty lass to occupy the seat next to me. But, perhaps they having seen my opportunistic friendliness, have ignored my ask.

So the journeys were always braved with a miserable co- passenger next to me in the form of a hag, an old fella or an insipid middle aged stranger who probably thought that my proximity was a nuisance. The journey was then weathered with a grumpy face and a spoiled mood, mostly feigning sleep or fighting with a book to read.

Once perhaps the Gods smiled and relented or erred in their resolution thence far. I saw an attractive lass in the attire of a flight stewardess joining me in the queue at the immigration clearance in New Delhi. She was wearing a Lufthansa cabin crew uniform. She was very beautiful and elegant that it was trifle difficult to desist from admiring her in spite of the long jet haul and tired, sleepy eyes. I admired her very discreetly (I thought) by ensuring glances that were inoffensive. Outside the terminal, I lost her and made my way to check in for the night at the hotel. 

The next morning on the flight to Coimbatore, I was seated in the seat 1-C, which was an aisle seat. Aisle seats are comfortable as one can move about at will! As usual I tried to have a rapprochement with the Gods, gently reminding them there were two vacant seats next to me and perhaps they can let by gone be so and dispense some favour? For once , as I mentioned they seemed to have relented and a pretty young girl walked in and smiled before she said in sweet lark voice if I would mind her occupying the seat 1-A? I was bewildered and like someone somnambulating, took her bag from her and kept in the overhead loft before making way for her to be seated. The three hour journey down south saw me in close conversation with her, though it was she who let the ball rolling by opening herself. She told me that she was an airhostess with Lufthansa. I told her I did meet a girl who was on the flight from Amsterdam and she was a passenger but in the Lufthansa attire. She laughed and told me it was she who was the one. I failed to recognise her in jeans and tee!

As it turned out she was the daughter of a business man from Kothagiri and she was going home to her father’s Tea estate on a short vacation. When we alighted at Coimbatore, I suggested that she meet C, who would be there to pick me. The elation of the fantasy flight was rather blunted a wee bit when I sensed that C was not too keen to appreciate my new found friendship and rather noncommittal when the girl invited us to her estate. I let the piece of paper on which I noted her telephone number fly out like a dandelion through the car window while we drove home.

It was once on a KLM flight out of Delhi to Amsterdam. With the flying miles I acquired, I could upgrade to the Business class. As I took my seat in the two abreast business class, I wondered who would be joining me in the seat next. Thence upon came a lady who looked most likely to be in her mid-forties, dressed in elegant sari and a pashmina shawl lazily thrown on her shoulder. She was to be my co- passenger. She looked sophisticated and classy. And indeed she was. She was an undersecretary in the ministry of commerce and she was going to the European parliament in Brussels for a meeting. We spoke about issues in Textiles that were vital to India and she narrated how vested lobbies were derailing every effort by the government; how the EU and the US saw with some apprehension the rise of the BRIC nations.

We chatted late into the night and I noticed that she was quite a person with liberal indulgence in matters of exquisite spirits and she may have washed down more wine and champagne than I.  When she knew that I was from Kerala, she told me that she was often in Kerala. I asked her if she hailed from there. She did not reply to that, but her knowledge of even some cities and their roads gave me a feeling that she was a Keralite, but was rather not keen to neither admit to me nor reveal her surname which would have told more. I felt some reticence in her.

It was sometime well into the flight when I woke up to find that someone was holding tight around my arms and cosy up against me. Through sleepy eyes I got startled a bit as it was this lady who had coiled up in her seat and leaned on my shoulders, her head resting on my chest, with her arms holding around mine, blankets thrown over our torsos and limbs. She was in deep sleep. My senses were awakened and to me the startling transformed to awkwardness and later to amusement. I let her sleep undisturbed. 

When the stewardess woke me up for the early morning breakfast before the plane landed in Amsterdam, I found the lady awake and dressed up elegantly as she was when she boarded the flight the previous night. She just nodded at me and once the flight landed, taxied and stopped at the terminal she was the first one to exit and without even a friendly glance.
I gathered my cabin baggage and while leaving the aircraft, wondered if I had a dream or was it a hallucination? It was like a dandelion flying away.


Insignia said...

:) My smile dont seem to wane :)

For one, I am satisfied that I am not alone in wishing a good company beside me while flying :P And Gods have been generous with me, but the men were all boring lots.

While you couldnt help ignoring the first one, the second lady gave you the jolt.

dr.antony said...

I forgive you for the first sin.You sinned only in thoughts.
The second one is a serious sin.You must repent and confess.
But how the fuck could you sleep with a lady on to your shoulders? You will be given a Thamra Pathra for that !
No dear boy,,,no touch !

Balachandran V said...

Only persons of the fairer sex make good travelling companions? You have, as most men might, only SEX in your mind, boy! And if you were gay, you would have preferred good looking men! :-D.

My weekend commuting in the Janasathabdi train often offer me the proximity of pretty girls or buxom women by my side - in the three adjoining narrow seats, people with amply proportioned figures find it very difficult not to brush against each other accidentally. And as you know, in the highly 'moral' culture of Kerala, it is equivalent to an attempt at rape even if the man happens to touch the pallu of the woman's sari. I cannot even snooze! :-)

Shilpa Garg said...

Laughing out loud at your 2 'encounters' and at the comments too!! :))
The first one is cool but the second one... well, as Dr Antony said, "You must repent and confess" LOL :D
Hilarious account! :D

rama said...

Repent and confess, and even after that, whether you would be forgiven is doubtful, very, very doubtful.

anilkurup said...

@ Insignia,

B,precisely why I prefer a good female company.

Ha when we see these incidences in the amusing perspective that they deserve it will only add on to the fun.
Yes the second one was a jolt. I presume that after the few glasses of spirits, she may have been in some illusion of sleeping in her bed back home.

And B, the first one was very beautiful lass and well groomed too!

@ doc antony,

"Our father who art in heaven forgive me for I have not sinned. If not do me give me good female companion while I travel!"

Ho doc forbearance in public places!

@ balachandran

Yes, I prefer the fairer sex to insipid gentlemen. Thank goodness I am not a psychotic /physiological aberration - a homosexual!

Now let us be honest, who among the wise men such as we would not think of sex when we first meet a voluptuous woman or an attractive lady? If one dose not then one has to be gay! It is only the social etiquettes that restrain the beastly urge to copulate every other woman.

Moreover is it t not a misnomer to consider a fascination for female proximity as purely promiscuous.

@ Shilpa Garg,

Thank goodness you saw the underlying comedy of the incidences.

@ rama,

Well, well, eternal damnation?

R.Ramakrishnan said...

Yes one does come across interesting travel companions from time to time but yet to find a damsel on my shoulders.You are indeed very fortunate. Glad you quickly overcame the embarrassment,discomfort & guilt pangs and enjoyed the experience. Did you have to resort to any pain balm for your shoulders and chest next day:)

sujata said...

There is a certain amount of romance that I always associated with train journeys. Sitting opposite an interesting guy, starting a conversation and seeing where it leads. Maybe exploring an unknown station together, sharing chai from kulhads along with hot puris and aloo. Train journeys were longer and there was time for a bond to brew.

Aeroplanes on the other hand are like instant coffee. For me personally it doesnt work at all. I am so busy trying to figure out what to do with my feet and which position will make me a wee bit more comfortable that I usually do not notice who is sitting next to me. But train journeys... yes they have fond memories.

Happy Kitten said...

I guess you did not have to report to your wife on the second encounter :)

Wonder what the lady was upto! Anyway since you were asleep, even your wife should forgive you.

anilkurup said...

@ R.Ramakrishnan,

You are right travel brings some interesting experiences.
Pain Balm? Oh no it was anesthetic.

@ Sujatam

You are right long train journeys are interesting, if one can have a good companion . Airplanes are fast food .

@ Happy Kitten,

Sure we had a good discussion about the second incident.

The lady was up to nothing . I guess she got illusion in sleep and also she had a few glasses of wine. Perhaps she was embarrassed about her faux pas that she vanished as soon as the plane parked.

Meera Sundararajan said...

Anil.. this was really nice!! You know a friend of mine ( male) often tells me that everytime he checks his name of the reservation chart he also checks the names of his co passengers and their ages.. But unlike you he has never "struck gold" !!! Another colleague once shared with me that while he was on a flight from Lucknow to Chennai via Delhi he was seated next to a pretty girl in her twenties. When he boarded the Delhi- Chennai flight he found the same girl seated again next to him. She noticed it too and said "Uncle remember we were together in the Lucknow flight too?" My forty something friend was quite hurt I guess :D.. I wonder though what your wife had to say about the KLM experience ...LOL!!!!

Musings said...

@ Meera Sundarajan,

I can feel the total devastation your friend may have known.
Poor fellow!
yes I did mention this to C, but not as near lucid as I mentioned in the post.

NRIGirl said...

I so love the title you have picked for the topic @Anil - Dandelion - so apt!
Interesting read as always.

If you can find Missed Connections by 'the name skips me' please check it out in Amazon - the intro is very interesting - how the author dreams of marrying and settling with kids with this young man she sees riding atop a load truck with his feet dangling...

I'll try to copy/paste it for you sometime.

Balachandran V said...

Homosexuality is not a psychotic/physiological aberration. It is different sexual preference, that's all. Non-procreative sex, as the Bible says, is not abnormal or a sin.

Deepa said...

Hi. Followed your link here from my blog.

Once I boarded a flight at Delhi, coming in from Lucknow. The incoming flight was late and I was the last one into the aircraft. There was no cabin space left to keep my back pack. It was an ESPN bag and I had to shove it under the seat in front of me. Seeing this, my co-passenger, wanting to initiate conversation I suppose asked me if I was travelling to Chennai to cover the cricket match. I was totally baffled why he would think that until he said 'well you have an ESPN bag'!!

....Petty Witter said...

Always happy to converser with an attractive (or otherwise) fellow traveller. I once had the misfortune to fall asleep on the shoulder of an elderly man's shoulder who was quite flattered until he realised I'd drooled all done his jacket.

anilkurup said...

@ Deepa,

Thankyou for coming here. Hope to see you often.
I have downloaded the Abbey and now has to watch it

@ Petty Witter,

Poor fella!

Kavita said...

I am all smiles. Wish you more of such interesting companions.

anilkurup said...

@ Kavita,

Ha , thanks. And thanks for finding time to drop by. take care.

Meera Sundararajan said...

Anil, I have written a story in Kaleidoscope that is inspired to some extent by this tale of yours about travel companions. It also factors in some of the experiences of one my friends in the virtual world ( I mean the friend is real but her experience is from the virtual world). I hope you do not mind it.. My friend felt very flattered that her experience featured in the tale. Now I do not expect the same reaction from you but I sincerely hope that you will not accuse me violation of IPR issues :P...

Musings said...


One cannot deny the fact that in one's words and writings or even art forms, be it lay creations like ours, the influence of what we read, see, experience ( even of others) will cast its shadow of influence. It could be a coincidence as in your case. Certainly there is no question of aping or plagiarism here.