Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Last time during my visit to India, I had a terrible flight journey. I badly wanted to take Srilankan airlines, but when I took it, I seriously regretted it. The overly sumptuous Indian food provided in the airplane made my stomach upset and I had to do frequent visits to the toilet interrupting the wonderful ramarajan movie that I was watching. But it did not matter to me because the idea of seeing my parents and friends gave me extra enthusiasm. My friends had decided to make a get-together on the very day I land as another of my friend was leaving to Mexico the very next day. So, with all these plans and dreams, frequenting the toilet was quite easy. As soon as I landed Chennai, to my surprise, the plane landed 1hr before and there was no ‘Q’ in the immigration line. So I came out of the airport earlier than anticipated. So I thought of cancelling my late flight to Coimbatore and decided to take an early one. After doing the check-in, I finally came to the boarding area an hour early. There was a group of foreigners with an Indian friend who probably have seen one of the mariamman festivals in the south and was making fun of different people’s reactions and beliefs. I thought I’ll give a call to one of my friend to find out the venue of the get-together so I went to the telephone booth. After trying for nearly 15 mins to all my friends I called my parents to ask if any of them called. My parents said none of them called, I did not tell my parents about my early arrival as I did not want to trouble them. (To receive me for this flight they should have started earlier from my house and they‘ll reach only after my flight lands.) So with the blood boiling that none of them cared to call to tell me about the meeting I sat there furious looking around and thinking to myself the efforts that I took to meet my friends. Suddenly I saw an old couple may be 85+ marching towards the seating area with an airhostess dressed in red color. The lady was in a wheel chair. The airhostess stopped the chair next to me and said to the old man that when they announce the flight you please board, I’ll take you wife to the airplane in the end. So until they announce the flight please wait.

Taken from (

By this time my flight was announced and the passengers formed a ‘Q’. Since there was a blast recently somewhere, there were extra check points before boarding the bus. I saw the old lady whispering to her husband something and he was desperately looking around for the red dress airhostess. When he could not find he slowly started pushing the wheel chair away. Seeing this, I felt sorry for him and approached the man and asked if he needs any help. He said, please my wife has to go to the toilet and I don’t think they’ll allow me in the ladies room and I do not know what to do. Overconfident about the Indian work ethics, I decided to take her to the toilet. So I asked the lady if I could push her to the toilet while her husband sat there. She said ok and I took her to the toilet. The cleaning lady who was frowning earlier, when she saw me with the old lady immediately came to my help as she knew it was not a one person’s job. So after cleaning her hands and legs when I came out to the boarding area, I saw the ‘Q’ had vanished. I quickly wanted to rush to the airline to say that I was left out, but the grandfather held my hand and tears fell from his eyes and blessed that you will be fine wherever you are. Though, happy that I could help someone, my head was telling me to rush to catch the flight. After taking leave from the couple I rushed to the counter to say that I was left out from the boarding. The guy in the check counter said that one of the passenger had informed that someone who was standing in the line and gone to help someone and had requested to stop the bus. I was not even checked but everyone in the counter said bye and when I entered the bus, I felt all the people were smiling at me. A sense of deep satisfaction sunk in me, a kind of happiness I have never felt before. The anger that I had for my friends flew away, my overly big teeth shined bright as I could not stop smiling. We help a number of people in numerous occasions, but when you help someone who is in real need of that help, the satisfaction that you get is priceless.

(This story is dedicated to one of my good friend with whom I had an argument few days ago about why someone should explicitly show some of their emotions at places where it is needed)

Ananthi Sankaran