INDIA II – Day One…

Wherein Jack does battle with the most dangerous of India’s Mega Fauna.

Yes dear reader I’m back from my second trip to India with Bob. It was a great adventure with “ups and downs” but mostly all “ups” and the downs were merely character building and learning exercises. So it was all good going on great.

Mother India is yet an enigma to me in many ways but after the first day of this trip I came onto some basic realizations about the land. India is Under Construction and I don’t think it will ever be complete. I’m not sure that even any phase of the construction will be complete before they need to update it or expand it. Even the way they build lends itself to this mentality. They build in tiers with rebar reinforced concrete. Occupying the lower tier whilst the upper tier is being worked on and the top floor awaits a start! If I come back ten years from now there will be two more floors completed but there will still be an identical situation on the top two floors. The top floor always has rebar reaching for the sky. Another observation is that – The apparent exterior condition more often than not is diametrically opposite to the interior condition. For instance you may drive through a congested fetid hot mess of a neighborhood then drive back a narrow dark alley, park the car, then go into a fabulous marble and gold gilt super clean high end hotel! And the obverse — When closely approaching a beautiful fantasmagorical huge marble domed temple structure of fabulous architecture you begin to see how dirty, shabby and littered the interior is. You just want to step back away from the place and forget that you’ve seen the interior. But enough observations – I’ll try and save those for the end.

Jack vs. the fiercest of India’s Mega-fauna

Bob and I make our way to Pearson International in Toronto for our flight out to Delhi. There are hundreds of Indians on their way home vying for position to check in baggage and secure boarding passes and there are no better line jumpers and que circumventers than Indians! Bob and I go with the flow and do our best but find our selves in a “purgatory line”. Then Bob does something brilliant…. He flags down an official looking person and asks him the 10,000 rupee question —- “Is this the line for the flight to New Delhi?” And he does it with his best “Dear father Bob – we have only the worlds best interests in mind” delivery! Ye Gads it works! The official takes us out of purgatory and takes us to the promised land (line)! We are just three people away from boarding passes and checking luggage! This is why Bob is still among the greatest world travelers of all time! We get everything we need go through security and board the plane.

Bob being a tall lanky guy requires more leg room than generally provided by airlines so he will generally purchase seats right aft of the bulkhead behind first class. That gives a lot more leg room and he usually gets the aisle seat too. For the long haul flight a big-ass plane has three seats on each window side, the two aisles, and a row of four seats in the middle. The middle seats just behind the bulkhead are DEATH! There invariably is a baby or babies here as a cradle can be affixed to the bulkhead for the baby when the plane is under way. Ok you got the picture. Now here it comes – the most fearsome of Indian mega fauna arrives —– MAMA JI (and her poor beat down husband). A Mama Ji is an aging matriarch of the family that is in charge of everything and is universally catered to. Mama Ji and hubby have the two tickets for the window seat next to me and Bob and the aisle seat for the center (DEATH) section. Mama Ji wants to consolidate her seats. She asks (read this as commands) me to move to the center section so that she and hubby may sit next to each other next to Bob. LOL that’s a good one! ha hah hah!!! Sorry Mama Ji  – No Way. My ticket says this is my seat and I ain’t movin’. I reply – “No thank you.” Hummph this is not acceptable to the exalted JI! She approaches Bob and sees if he will intercede or move. LOL Bob just looks at her like he can’t hear her and shrugs. She is at an impasse. Next move the Ji speaks Hindi to the flight attendant trying to get him to dislodge the recalcitrant intractable American philistine. The attendant checks the ticket and tells her that her seat choices are on the tickets. Ji is not amused! (Meanwhile the inevitable has occurred — a young Indian couple with a cute yet colicky baby have arrived and occupied the center section!) Next step she tells hubby to sit in the center aisle seat and she takes the seat next to the offensive non-cooperative American. Her goal is now to convince me to move using unassailable “Mama Ji-logic” . “Hello how are you? Where are you travelling to in India?” – “Delhi.” “Why don’t you want to move to that nice aisle seat in the center section??????” “I don’t want to sit near the child.” “What, that cute little baby???? Surely you like children.” (I step back here to advise the reader that all Indians have a deep and abiding love and reverence for all life and most of all their babies. Its absolute blasphemy for anyone to even hint at an oppositional view.) “Why no – I don’t like children.” Mama Ji is visibly shaken and simultaneously taken aback! How can this be the answer????? She thinks how can approach such apostasy  and blasphemy????? Hmmm….I know, I know, everyone has children… he has to love his children….. “Do you have children?” (after he says yes I’ll follow with surely you love them….ha ha ha I have him on the ropes….) “Why no, I don’t – didn’t I tell you I don’t like children?” Mama Ji blanches – I am sitting next to the devil incarnate!!!! “Everyone loves children…..” “No I don’t and that is why I’m not sitting in the center section and won’t move there…”  This cannot be! I must leave the presence of this most unwholesome alien creature…She leans forward and speaks Hindi to her husband and then switches places with him immediately. The plane takes off and the flight goes on for many hours as the baby in the center section cries and bawls and sleeps and Mama Ji advises the young mother as to what all she is doing wrong -no doubt. Nearing the end of the flight the inevitable occurs —THE PROJECTILE BABY VOMIT! Every travelling parent’s favorite! And it has the delightful aroma of sour milk baby puke. I calmly reach up and adjust my vent venturi directing fresh air directly onto my face and adjust Bob’s so he gets a little more air as well fending off the offensive stench. Mama Ji is beside herself and pulls her blouse up over her nose and lower face! The next inevitability occurs… her poor husband is summoned and must now switch seats with her yet again. Baby puke apparently trumps evil apostasy! Mama Ji to me – “I am so sensitive to bad odors!” through her blouse pulled over her nose. My calm and matter of fact reply – “Yes so am I, that is why I wouldn’t sit over there.” Mama Ji is suddenly interested in what is going on out side the window of the plane and is completely engrossed by it for the short remains of the flight.

Game-set-match! To the Evil Philistine American!

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