Let me narrate yet another funny incident from my adventure diary about my old roommate, Agastya Basu. Circa 2005, we both were working on the same project and had to go to the US for a project. By that time we had already traveled to the US couple of times, so in a way we use to feel like professional travelers, who knew it all about USA and journey to the US.
Usually when a bachelor goes to the US, and if you have married couples in your project team, then they would ask you to carry so many miscellaneous items for them, which we need to collect from them near and dear one in the city. So before we embarked, Agastya had to make these few trips that to their families in the city of our work and collected their stuff…Aaarrrgh! Thankfully, given the good nature, ready to help, and pleasing mannered buy, Agastya was always the one to whom they would be making these demands knowing that he would had put up any resistance, unlike me.
So, Agastya had this giant suitcase, which I think could even fit a human corpse to use when travelling to the US. Just to make everything fit in one he stuffed everything inside the bag, and did not bother to weigh before he left for the airport. I on my part had a standard size VIP suitcase, just good enough to fit my belongings.
As luck would have it, the reputed European airline (name disclosed for good reasons) counter guy told that the luggage was far too heavy and that Agastya need to split it into two bags. He tried reasoning and pleaded to waive as a one off case, but they insisted that everyone needs to abide by rules …so he had no other way than to buy a cabin bag from the airport store. Waste of money. This was just the beginning and he was already cursing those guys for whom he had to go through this ordeal.
At the security check in we had to put the wallet for the X-Ray screening, after which we both were relaxing at the lounge. Then the announcement came and Agastya and I both had this common habit of saying a little prayer before the start of the journey. As Agastya put his hand in his pocket to take out his wallet (which had a picture of God) that he realized that in the hurry he has totally forgot to collect his wallet at the security check-in counter. Now I could sense that his nerves were giving away, and being the good friend; both of us rushed to the security counter. Luckily, they said that the found a wallet, but since no one came to collect and the boarding announcement was made, they had passed it to the Lost and Found counter guys. Arrrgghh!!! Poor Agastya! Cause all his money was in his wallet. Thankfully after a few calls, Agastya got back his wallet. By this time, he was fuming at the airlines guys, although I could not understand why because I thought they were good, but I think the extra luggage thing rubbed on him and having to face with failure since his charm did not work with the counter agent.
Finally, we got into the airplane and as luck would have it, we good the last seats in the airplane. It was OK with me, but Agastya was cribbing again. It was only after he noticed this beautiful flight attendant who was serving our row that I saw a sudden transformation. He was in his old self, Mr. Iceman, who always thought that he has a way with words that pierces the strongest defenses.
After some time, the flight attendant came and asked me what I would love to have and I said that I wanted orange juice. She was indeed pretty, in fact pretty would be an understatement. She had this Latin-American looks like Salma Hayek. Now before this flight to the US, both of us had gone to watch this movie called ‘Hum Tum’, and we liked it although we found so much similarity with the English movie ‘When Harry Met Sally’. Before, she came to us; Agastya told me that he planned to have some fun with words with that FA. I, on my part, said go-ahead as long as it is harmless and in good humor.
So when she came to Agastya, and asked, “What would you like to have, Sir?” Imagine what he said, because even today I laugh when I think about it. Agastya said, “After all the harassment and ill-mannered behavior by your ground staff, I think I can have a glass of poison.”
And without a wink, she replied in the most polite way, ” Sir, the things that we ask our passengers not to carry on board the plane also applies to the crew of the plane, and although our airline prides in serving their passengers to all their needs, I apologize that I do not have a pint of poison, even in my personal attaché case. I am sorry. Can I serve you anything else, Sir?” Still smiling!!! And I was laughing under my teeth. I still remember the look on Agastya’s face. He was dumb-struck, actually thunder struck by the calmness and quick wit of the flight attendant. He knew he has been totally out-witted in his own game.
The rest of the journey we had a few more conversation until we reached Paris, where the staff changed. For my reader’s information and Agastya’s memory, the name of the flight attendant was Annette. The year was 2005. The destination was Mumbai to Newark via Paris.