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The ‘little’ horrors of air travel – News

We bet you have faced them too



Published: Thursday, July 8, 2022, 3:46 p.m.

Every time I say this – no matter what I say – I get a lot of sarcasm, starting with “you don’t like kids” and ending with “you’re a sociologist”. The thing is, whenever I travel, I’m scared of kids. Kids at the airport somehow create a vague environment that you can ignore. But you can’t – or at least I can’t – ignore them when they’re at check-in… and they occupy the top spot in my mind when I’m on the plane. I came back from a short trip to India, and the kids stole the show both ways. Scream, check. Cry, check. Throw hiss fit, check. Bouncing on aisles, check. The checklist continues.

On the way to India, I was annoyed with the parents and showed affection to them in public on the journey. Why do parents take it forward when they are waiting to check in? Why can’t they hug and kiss the contents of their heart at their children’s home (s) before they leave for the airport?

I had this young couple in front of me, and the guy had a bony baby in his arms (“a glaxo baby is a bony baby,” I remembered that jingle). The woman was straightening her hair. So far so good, even though I was a bit hungry, I get sharper whenever I fly.

Now, just before walking to their check-in counter, I render the next person to check-in, the man – who has to give the baby to his wife because he was a ticket holder / passport, and the I-in-charge gig at the counter I will – I was surrounded by tender emotions. What did he do? He began to squirm, and the baby began to speak while the baby was tapping his face, and then, in horrified panic, he began to throw the baby into the air, and began to catch him, as if he were practicing ball … up and down, Up and down, when the baby cringed in joy, and then changed his mind and began to cry out loud.

Mom, who had already taken a break from cutting her hair, laid eggs on the show, clapped. At least three to four minutes are wasted in this process. The man at the check-in counter had no choice but to keep his play face, muttering, “Sir, can you come this way?”

The baby’s father was in no hurry. Another minute passed before the now-crying bundle of joy was transferred to his wife’s custody.

On the way back to Dubai, the flight was significantly empty. In the waiting area, there were very few children. Okay, maybe I’ll be able to shoot something I really needed: it was a very busy trip, no chance to relax. My whole row was empty, save the window seat at one end. I just pulled the blanket around me and quickly slipped into the snooze, even before the flight took off, when a mother-child pair moved into the space behind me.

Since then, there has been no word of silence: the child, perhaps three or four, gave a moving commentary on everything (in a loud, excited voice) – starting from the formation of the clouds to serving food to the people he would meet in descent. I thought the (fairly intense) turmoil would stop him for a while, but, no, he went through it without giving up. When his mother advised him to see Tom and Jerry, I breathed a sigh of relief, but the child turned down the offer to talk more.

sushmita@khaleejtimes.com


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